Monday, January 22, 2007

Catholic League Attacks Sundance Fanning Rape Film Hounddog

When I read that the Catholic League is asking for a federal investigation into whether Dakota Fanning's film, Hounddog contains child pornography and whether her mother and others who approved her participation are accesories to this crime, the call for a criminal investigation struck me as very shallow.

Where was the Catholic League for all those children sexually abused by priests when the first victim disclosed? In their press release they don't ignore the subject completely:

"For the past five years, there has been a steady drumbeat of criticism aimed at the Catholic Church for allowing sexual abuse of minors to continue with impunity. Much of that criticism was right on target. Let's see now whether Hollywood will be held to the same level of scrutiny for promoting simulated child rape movies."
If the criticism was right on target, why aren't they also calling for a similar criminal investigation of those who learned about the real sexual abuse of children and didn't take sufficient action to protect children from known or suspected abusers?

If people in Hollywood should be held criminally liable for promoting simulated rape, then those in the Catholic church who transfered or promoted abusive priests after getting complaints should also be held criminally liable. If there is no criminal statute directed at those who allow abuse to continue, there needs to be.

The recent Frontline episode Hand of God demonstrated that the lack of effective response to complaints about priest misconduct was a key contributor to the number of victims associated with serial offenders.

In the documentary made by producer Joe Cultera about his brother's sexual abuse, the aftermath of the abuse and the response -- or lack of response -- by different official's within the Catholic church, it becomes clear that the problem is systemic.

If the archdiosese of Boston had responded differently and had treated all those who reported abuse or suspected abuse with absolute respect, there likely wouldn't have been a need for 895 settlements which totaled over $150 million because there would have been far fewer victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   0 comments links to this post

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