If you haven’t been bummed out yet today, take a look at this New York Magazine article on sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School. It’s an interesting read and really got me thinking.
A former student at the Boychoir school alleges abuse at the hands of the choir’s director, a claim that nobody seems to refute. The abuse was, apparently, widespread, and the details are nauseating. But the abuse occurred thirty years ago, and now the Boychoir School is being sued when none of the people involved in the abuse (and few involved in the failure to address said abuse) are a part of the school anymore. The alleged perpetrator of such horrors is rumored to be hiding in Canada or Europe. Is this really justice being served?
A few months ago, an elderly priest at Jesuit High School, my sophomore Latin teacher, was accused of sexual abuse. The incident, if it occurred, took place over thirty years ago at a Jesuit school in Dallas, a school which all of my male uncles and several of my cousins attended. The school settled the case; as part of the settlement, the priest agreed never to teach again.
The details of the accusation are not known to the public. How, then, am I supposed to form an educated opinion on the situation? How am I to reconcile my fond memories of Fr. Boudreaux with these nebulous allegations of horrible crimes?
This, to me, is the most tragic thing about pedophilia. It’s a disease that afflicts its host for life, and it strikes people who are otherwise good. How does that fit into one’s moral system? I’d find it hard to believe if Fr. Boudreaux were accused of robbing a bank or dealing drugs, but I’m not equipped to determine whether he suffers from a very private sexual disorder. Sexual molestation spreads shame, depression, guilt, and terror directly, but indirectly it also spreads doubt and dissonance: I’ll never know whether my former teacher is a pedophile.