.- Exposing sexual abuse within the Catholic Church was necessary and a good step, but that investigation must now be expanded to other social institutions, namely public schools, where studies show children are much more likely to be abused, says journalist Tom Hoopes.
Hoopes hopes that the arrest of John Karr, a public school teacher who worked in several schools, in suspicion of his involvement in the high-profile JonBenet Ramsey case will elicit action.
Hoopes cites Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft, who has stated that the “physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”
A 2002 report by the Department of Education estimates that 6 percent to 10 percent of all students in public schools would be victims of abuse before graduation, Hoopes reported.
Yet, says Hoopes, the problem is underreported in the media, which has favored more sensational reporting on the Catholic Church. He questions why the Church is the only institution “under the microscope.”
“The media have left many with the impression that sexual abuse is a Catholic problem — as if Catholic beliefs and customs make sex abuse inevitable,” writes Hoopes in his article, published in the National Review.
“A more likely culprit would be a non-religious ambivalence about the pedophilia, as seen, for instance, in the media’s refusal to broaden its scope to include teachers when considering the issue,” he continues.
He makes the observation that society seems to be experiencing a “widespread epidemic of abuse fed by a new morality that winks at child molestation.” The reaction to this reality, outside the Catholic Church, “is increasingly accommodation instead of outrage,” he says.
“Any institution that has allowed children to be harmed by predators deserves to be taken to task for it. No institution should get a pass. And no profession should get a pass. Not preachers, not priests — not even teachers.”