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Seeming parallels abound in Penn State, Catholic Church abuse scandals
The statute of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday, in State College, Pennsylvania.
November 10th, 2011
04:10 PM ET

Seeming parallels abound in Penn State, Catholic Church abuse scandals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Both are managed by male dominated-hierarchies. Both are revered by millions of people. And both allegedly dealt with accusations of sexual abuse of children internally, without going to law enforcement authorities.

To many victims’ advocates, commentators and others, the parallels between this week’s allegations about how Penn State dealt with reports of sex abuse and decade-old revelations about sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church are uncanny.

“It is really a striking and almost identical factual pattern that has emerged in the Catholic Church cases and at Penn State,” says Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer who has represented hundreds of American abuse victims in lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

Penn State: A campus divided

“The only difference is that two people have been fired at Penn State who were in revered positions,” says Anderson. “That’s in contrast to every diocese in the U.S where a cover-up has been revealed.

“Not one bishop, archbishop or cardinal has been fired or disciplined.”

Anderson is referring to Wednesday’s firing of Penn State President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno, days after former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with abusing eight boys, including in a Penn State locker room.

My Take: Paterno's unfulfilled ethical obligations

Two top Penn State university officials who were allegedly told about the abuse and declined to notify authorities have been charged with perjury and with failure to report suspected abuse.

Anderson says both the alleged abuse by a Penn State coach and the institution’s apparent response mirrors the abuse scandal in the Catholic church.

“In both cases, very trusted and revered male offenders used their positions and their care, cunning and trust they enjoy not only to access the victim but to keep those around him from speaking out,” says Anderson.

Prosecutors have alleged that Sandusky used a charity he founded for troubled youth to help lure victims, allegedly engaged in fondling, oral sex and anal sex with young boys over more than 10 years.

Photos: Responding to scandal

Many of those outraged by the allegations against Penn State, including that Paterno had reportedly been told about the abuse but declined to notify authorities, have pointed a finger at what they say was the school’s and its football program’s commitment to maintaining a sterling public image, drawing parallels to the church.

“Both institutions are big and powerful and hierarchical and have very carefully crafted public reputations that they value,” says David Clohessy, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “There’s an obsession with an institution’s image over children’s safety.”

Clohessy says news of the Penn State scandal has triggered a wave of calls and e-mails to him from victims who say the new revelations evoke their experiences with priest abuse.

He and others allege that an aura of righteousness surrounding Penn State football, an object of worship in State College, Pennsylvania, and the Catholic Church helped fortify them against accusations of abuse in their midst.

“When we idolize any institution or individual, it’s unhealthy,” says Clohessy. “We almost invite them to act like they're above the law.”

Share your thoughts through iReport

Anderson says a related parallel between the Penn State and Catholic Church scandals is the existence of hierarchies that apparently allowed personnel to report abuse allegations up a chain of command without higher-ups taking decisive action.

“It’s not because they’re bad men or want kids to be harmed,” said Anderson, speculating about the motives of top officials at Penn State and the church who allegedly kept quiet about abuse allegations, “but because they want to preserve the reputation of the institutions.”

Anderson is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania but would not say whether he is representing any of Sandusky's alleged victims, saying he would want to respect their confidentiality if he was.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents the American Roman Catholic hierarchy, declined to respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Many abuse victims applauded Penn State for firing top officials and criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not taking similarly dramatic action.

“What happened at Penn State tonight is a lesson to officials of the Catholic Church,” said Robert M. Hoatson, who leads a New Jersey group that assists abuse victims, in a statement after Wednesday night’s firings at Penn State. “The only just solution to the clergy abuse scandal of the Catholic Church is the wholesale removal of bishops.”

Church experts say Penn State’s decision to fire its president and its football coach reflect more of a top-down approach to personnel than in the Catholic Church, where issues are expected to be resolved locally, at the diocesan level.

“The American model of accountability drove the decision on Paterno, which is that ‘accountability’ means losing your job,” says John Allen, CNN’s chief Vatican analyst. “Whereas the Roman model tends to shape decisions on bishops, where ‘accountability’ means staying put and cleaning up your own mess.”

Still, some Vatican watchers say the church sex abuse crisis has helped shaped Penn State’s reaction to last weekend’s indictment.

“The Catholic Church's experience with this has raised public awareness, which probably helps to explain the swift reaction in this case,” says Francis X. Rocca, who covers the Vatican for the Religion News Service.

“It is a lot harder than it was 10 years ago,” he says, “for administrators to argue that they didn't understand the gravity of the problem or thought it could be dealt with internally.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse

soundoff (765 Responses)
  1. hippypoet

    i think it is an equal statement to say that evil green knee high beings rule the planet from behind a vail of foggy false images that can only be seen with special gl@sses..... "I CAME HERE TO KICK @SS AND CHEW BUBBLE GUM, AND I'M ALL OUT OF BUBBLE GUM!" see how mine is a joke while yours is mean and stupid – but both are ignorant cause everyone knows the green creatures that rule the planet are really just lizards in human skin suits...

    November 11, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  2. Know the truth - victim of catholic church

    In New York State I was gang sodomized by 4 priests, one a bishop today. Senator Defransisco, of Syracuse NY, stopped a Bill that would expose these pedos. Two of those who sodomized me, held a camp for disadvantaged boys a few years ago. The FBI could do nothing since laws protect the pedos. The Bill that Senator Defransisco stopped would have exposed over 1000 abusers in New York State that we have identified. The promise of catholic votes was his reward to help in the continued cover up.

    This same senator, who knew the bishop sod-om-zed me, had a plaque made for this bishop thanking him – PAID FOR WITH TAX DOLLARS.

    Likewise, PA legislators did the same. Maybe in 2002 when the Bill was presented, older victims would have come forward. In California they sure did and many children’s lives saved plus an additional 600 child abusers identified.

    In murder there is usually one witness and that witness has passed. In pedophilia, they average over 80 victims and that’s a lot of witnesses! – better than DNA.

    Another note. One of those who abused me abused another. That child later committed suicide and his mother cried to her death.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  3. Chuckles

    care to back up this as.sertion or do you really like just being anti-semitic?

    November 11, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  4. A victim of gang sodomy at age 9

    Seems CNN and other media fear reporting the WHOLE truth about the catholic church. Not only did the catholic church cover up the abuses, they were directed on how to cover it up, from the pope down. And yes, threats were to be used when necessary.

    And if people think the students at Penn State are unfair to the victims, try this truth; State senators are promised catholic votes to deny victims justice and to expose the truth. Yes, senators help continue the cover ups.

    You have now viewed this through the eyes of a first hand witness.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  5. hippypoet

    you must be in a state of bliss. For i have heard that ignorance is bliss!

    November 11, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  6. fred schumacher

    This incident points out a great weakness in Catholic Church structure: the lack of external oversight with power. Catholic governance is a closed circle, a feedback loop where popes appoint bishops of like mind and bishops, as elector cardinals, elect a pope of like mind. The laity are left on the outside, with no recourse to correct bad judgement on the part of the hierarchy.

    Penn State regents are appointed through a public process and have the needs of the people of Pennsylvania as their primary concern. Through the election of public officials, the "laity" of the state of Pennsylvania have ultimate control. The regents, as a result, acted quickly and decisively.

    In addition, the Catholic Church's handling of priest pedophilia was hindered by its long-standing labor shortage, a self-inflicted wound resulting from an unwillingness to ordain married and female clergy. Denominations not faced with this problem have been quick to get rid of their own pedophilic clergy, unlike Catholic bishops, who merely reshuffled the deck, moving priests around, with the hope the problem would go away by itself.

    Penn State's "bishops," Joe Paterno, the athletic director, and the vice president, did not act appropriately when given the information; Penn State's "archbishop," the university president, did not act appropriately. In the Catholic Church, there was no external mechanism to correct the errors of its bisops. The State of Pennsylvania did have such a mechanism, its board of regents.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  7. Experience

    Twenty years ago my wife was the director of religious education in a small catholic parish. Because of the abuse scandal in the church, procedures to prevent children from being abused were implemented. She was given a very large printed procedure from the diocese for keeping children from being abused, and to keep innocent adults from placing themselve in situations that might appear compomising. Penn State should be sent a copy of this procedure. Public schools should also receive a copy, although currently those schools are having enough trouble dealing with drugs, bullying, guns, poor test scores, and other problems resulting from general social decay.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • hippypoet

      "general social decay." this is often a result of a group of people or just one with power that holds themselves above the rest... THE CHURCH! i agree with everything else you posted, i just can't be silent when someone says or implies that the church has the any kind of social kindness – its from the church the KKK was born, its from the church that The Spanish Inquistion came about, Its from the church that the curasdes happened, its from the church that killed millions over the years and still has the ablity for there are those that follow the churches word like a dog follows its master!

      November 11, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Todd

      Hippypoet, let's keep to facts. Yes, the Church mishandled the abuse issue but, the KKK? They were anti-Catholics as much as they were racist against blacks. The Crusades? Please, they were in response to Muslim agrression against the Christian Byzantine empire. Ironically, the a significant number of the 5,000 or so deaths (over 500 years) resulting from the Inquistion were the execution of pedophiles. Millions of deaths caused by the Church? Not a chance. Hugely more deaths have been cause by atheist dictatorships e.g. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @hippypoet Evil seems to beget evil. While reprehensible, the Inquisition itself resulted from purging of Muslim Moors who had invaded Spain. Spain had been rebuilt under Ferdinand and Isabella, the Inquisition was an brutal measure to protect that state from outside threats, including the chaos in Europe during the Reformation. The KKK was mainly the result of a desire to kick out carpetbag northern exploitation in the South, but later deteriorated into a hate group. Natually, the churches were seed grounds for such behaviour because the churches were centers of community life. But on the other hand: Oklahoma recently lost a woman named Clara Looper, a black woman who for many years peacefully resisted white treatment of her people. She said (I paraphrase), "Had it not been for the churches, the black people could not have persevered. The black churches gave us a sense of belonging, of dignity, and family."

      November 11, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • hippypoet

      todd i will leave you with your rationalls...the church and religion has killed many over the years and the KKK is a christian group, check it if you think i'm wrong!

      November 11, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Brad

      Anyone who would set himself up in authority over other people deserves the closest scrutiny. Vigilance is our duty along with every other part of our faith. We should have all safeguards in place that we can envision – but even then we are accountable if we close ranks and cover up the truth when bad things happen.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  8. Spotlight

    There was a situation like this covered up a few years ago at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis. To this day no charges came out of the incident as it was covered up due to the pedophile being "in therapy." A wide brush may be being applied at Penn State, but at least they'll clean up the environment that allowed it to happen.

    As for churches, day care centers, and schools, the punishment need to be severe, not counseling......

    November 11, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • jsutton

      Agreed. First put the abuser in jail. Give him counseling while he's behind bars where he can't hurt any more children.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Keith

      Agreed, and go one step further and point out the obvious LBGT connection and condemn it.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Sorry keith, the majority of pedos are straight, just as the majority of people are.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Keith

      Let's see, grown man sodomizes 10-year-old boy in Penn State shower=g^y. Face the fact Mark, this is just one of many results of sowing and reaping. Ever heard of NAMBLA? The fact that there even is such an organization speaks volumes about the h0m0 community-they're sick. I suggest pulling your head out the sand, or muck or whatever the hell you have in FL.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • hippypoet

      kieth, face the fact that most straight people in relationships have had butt s-ex or tried....some even enjoy it – sticking something up the rear is not gay, just another hole to probe! much like when it goes in the mouth – is that gay also? cause thats the most common ho-oker job! Ignorance is blissful yes?

      November 11, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Keith

      hippypoet, Like a broken record....your resource supporting your riduculous statement, please.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Keith

      I must amend my statement about agreeing. Counseling be damned. Nail his nuts to a stump, then kick 'em over backwards. Then gut-shoot the pervert. Walk away. Coyotes, buzzards and opposums gotta eat, too.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • hippypoet

      i am a man and i have had s-ex... in all holes with women – i have discussed such acts with other men while they share there stories and they seem pretty much the same – all but timing 🙂 And you are an idiot so that makes it easy as well. lol, no really thou, its a fact that most straight couples practice an-al s-ex, the butt has the most nerve ending and therefore can be if done properly, far more pleasurible! tis a science factoid my dear silly man... go ask your wife is she has ever had anything "unnatural" up her bum? LOL

      November 11, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • hippypoet

      here, let me put it in rather graphic terms for you... its tighter, you do the same movement so nothing new to learn, its done doggy style which is the most commonly preferred position – thank you karma sutra for that bit of info – and to top is off – you get to finish without a condom because there is no chance of prego – yeah, sounds good don't it...

      November 11, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Keith

      hippy punk, so in other words, you have no credible data, other than your useless opinion.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • jsutton

      blaming gays is just like blaming Jews. They are canards and we should all speak up against them.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • hippypoet

      lol, oh keith you are a sterotypical christian, you damn anything you don't understand and will never try to understand -so i believe its your opinion that is worthless... yee having of no experience is the only who is ultimately ignorant of others – that would be you as well as most other christians.. you must have experience to be able to form a proper opinion of anything or everything you say is mere conjecture and suspect to scrutiny by others with extreme bias! deal with it!

      November 11, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Keith

      hippyfullofit, So by your thinking, I cannot condemn someone as evil who cuts people up, packages the pieces, and puts them in the freezer, unless of course I have not done the same thing myself? OOOOKAAAAY. I have some bad news for you HP, you have a depraved mind. You know something else? I have better things to do than debate with the likes of you. bye for now.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • hippypoet

      keith, thats right, you shouldn't condemn those who do things you can't understand, however, murder is murder and against the law – its as simple as that... Now if we knew why those that cut and people did what they did, we could all condemn them for there actions now having understood the why...without the why, we are nothing but ignorant cops upholding the laws of the land for the reason of "its our job". I think cops should know every law, and understand them to better serve the public at large.. but you would argue against that because you want cops just "doing whats right" – which is suspect to personal feelings of right and wrong! Hence with full knowledge of and understanding of one can make a proper judgement call! check out Albert Fish, he is a devoted christian who beat, killed, and ate people – yet he claims to have done it all in the name of god – he wasn't insane – he was even proven to be sane by a panel of doctors!!!

      November 11, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Keith, do you plan to grow a brain someday? Or are you content to remain stupid?

      November 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  9. HerbCain2012

    Herb Cain heard Penn State is looking for a few new coaches. Herb Cain has a 9-9-9 plan to fix 'em right up.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • MarkinFL

      At least he goes after adult females.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  10. William Demuth

    What do you call an old woman who likes to seduce young boys?
    A cougar

    What do you call a group who protects child buggerers?
    Nitany Lions

    What do you call an old man who likes to bugger little boys?
    Father

    November 11, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  11. Ed Fern

    The Pope has not been fired because only God can fire the Pope and there is no God.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • jsutton

      good one.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  12. jsutton

    The Catholic Church should really take note of how this is being handled correctly. Although tragically the abuser was enabled to operate for many years, finally he is outed and all people having to do with this are fired. As this article points out – not so the Catholic Church. They have obfuscated and dragged their feet, pointing to all kinds of untrue reasons and trying to shrug off the blame. While doing so, they have enabled the gods know how many more children to be violated. Shockingly, they still pride themselves on being the world's moral arbiters. The Catholic Church should learn a lesson from the Penn State story.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Correctly? "The public is infuriated! Fire someone!" American mindset, through and through. If we still had gladiators, they would have summarily thrown them into the ring instead of out of their jobs. This is just as barbaric and just as useless. They didn't even fire the people who were directly responsible for breaking the chain of command - the athletic director and his superiors. No, they crucified the one guy who trusted the system to do the right thing.

      It's like saying the Church should have defrocked the bishops who reported abuse but leave the pedophile priests and coverup cardinals in place. They've got the right idea, but they're practicing it on a fall guy instead of the actual perps.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • jsutton

      Shadowflash: I'm interested that you mention Bishops who reported child abuse. I can't think of any. Who are they?

      November 11, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      There are a number of Vatican reports showing that some bishops in the current Pope Benedict's jurisdiction reported abusive priests to their superior archbishop/cardinal, which is the appropriate course of action. It was the cardinal's (and other Church higher-ups) decision to cover up the abuse. The names are not coming to me right now, but I (or you) can go look em up if you wish.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • MarkinFL

      And when those bishops were told to move the priests they became part of the Pedo protection racket themselves. Point is that the higher ups that were involved have never been held accountable. Unlike the Catholic church, Penn State has already begun to clean house.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • jsutton

      OK. But reporting to superiors did no good, as you must know. Those priests were protected, enabled, transferred, only to abuse more children. Some live to a comfortable old age leaving hundreds of victims traumatized for the rest of their lives. Similarly, the Penn State abuser was reported to a superior, and was not stopped by him. All child abuse must be reported to the police, not to an insider.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • claybigsby

      "which is the appropriate course of action."

      no the appropriate course of action would be to notify police of the crimes you know about.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Joe

      There are Roman Catholic bishops who report suspected cases of abuse. One specific example is that of Salvatore Matano. My hunch is that he's not the only one. He's the guy in charge of the Burlington, VT dioceses that I happen to be familiar with having grown up there:
      http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/05_06/2007_05_01_Hemingway_PriestGets.htm

      November 11, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  13. FatherWannaBE

    Oh people are SO ignorant on this site. There is no comparison between the two. This is sensationalistic "journalism" – typical of CNN and other left-wing nut-job news agencies. When are people going to start rioting against MEDIA to stop the spread of hatred and stupidity?

    November 11, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Rev. Ray Dubuque

      Spoken like a true BishopWannaBe!

      November 11, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      You sir, are an idiot.

      Anyone, or any organization that protects old men who bugger little boys must be DESTROYED.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • jsutton

      You should be thinking of the welfare of children not of the big organization.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • MarkinFL

      The only difference is that when it became public Penn State actually held people accountable, unlike the Catholic Church.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  14. Got2BKidding

    I was surprised that Penn State didn't take a page from the catholic church's book and just "transfer" him to Notre Dame

    November 11, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • Toney

      Good one!

      November 11, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  15. csp

    One stark difference is that in the Church scandal, we didn't have Catholics and parishioners protesting and rioting to protect the Church officials (cardinals, etc.) that knew about abuses, but didn't do anything about it. At Penn State, we have hundreds and hundreds that are still supportive of a "heroic" coach that also did not do much about what he knew, with some even rioting in support of the sports "hero". If this was a priest in a position of power that failed to act, I don't think the reaction would be the same. Just shows how much we elevate sports to this mythical level where there can be no wrong done in so many fan's eyes.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Teresa

      Well said.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • jsutton

      I second that.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • Toney

      Your point is well taken. But I think the silence of Catholic parishioners, and especially Catholic mothers, on the Vatican's numerous cover ups of similar scandals is deafening – a quiescent riot. (Ireland dared to criticize. It's a start.)

      November 11, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  16. CR Green

    Judgement begins in the House of God. We are only going to see more of this until our culture changes.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  17. u

    Lol. CNN uses every possibility it has to smear and humiliate Catholic Church. Even then it is not their business at all.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • djwazu

      Whose business is it when you have molester molesting children and ruining lives? You must be a member of NAMBLA!!!!

      November 11, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • mat

      Sound like gays to me. Film Actor Guild memberS.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • William Demuth

      The Church AND Penn State are complicit in predatory assaults on children.

      I am frankly surprised a victim has not shown up at a game with an assault rifle and sought the justice of vengance.

      If it were me that had been abused, the corpses would be littering the field.

      Little boys playing with a pig skin while their supposed "coaches" were the personification of evil.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • Rev. Ray Dubuque

      Who needs the NEWS MEDIA to "smear and humiliate Catholic Church", when the Roman Catholic Church has so many priests and bishops doing such a great job of doing that ? See http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/

      November 11, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  18. mjack

    Why aren't University employees legally obligated to report suspected abuse...just like Public School personnel? In the schools, the first person with knowledge has a legal duty to report to DSS. Administrators are notified, but the duty still falls on the person with first hand information. Children are often on university campuses..so why hasn't this been addressed before now?

    November 11, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Fairplay99

      I believe they are required to ensure it is reported. When Paterno reported it to his boss and nothing happened, then his boss broke the law. I noticed last night on CNN.Co that Paterno retained a high-falutin criminal defense attorneey.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  19. Reality

    There are a few short phrases that define good human conduct.

    Failures to follow two such phrases, "Do No Harm" and "Call A Cop" define the current "vomit inducing" situation at Penn State.

    No God, god(s) required, needed or desired !!!

    November 11, 2011 at 7:33 am |
    • Fairplay99

      So you say.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  20. unowhoitsme

    CNN, you obviously don't know enough about the Catholic church to make this comparison. They are NOTHING alike. Keep church and state separate. Why not compare the Catholic church to LA police department and Boy Scouts of America? Now that would be a better comparison.

    November 11, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • El Kababa

      The Boy Scouts Organization has also covered up incidents where boys have been molested by scout leaders.

      This is not about keeping church and state separate. This is about keeping pedophiles from molesting children. It is about organizational leaders from protecting their organizations by protecting pedophiles.

      November 11, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Reality

      http://www.ocregister.com/news/ordered-245722-abuse-oregon.html

      "A jury in Oregon ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay $18.5 million to a former Scout who suffered se-xual abuse as a child at the hands of his troop leader — the largest such award levied against the organization, reports The Oregonian.

      Attorneys for 38-year-old Kerry Lewis said the verdict exposed the organization’s “dark history with pedophiles and its unwillingness to come to terms with the problem.” They waved “perversion files“ around the courtroom – secret files kept by the Scouts docu-menting claims of se-xual abuse by troop leaders and volunteers over a 70 year-period."

      November 11, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • William Demuth

      I know more about the church then any three people you know.

      They are PREDATORS, and have been for centuries.

      They exploit the stupid, the weak and the vulnerable, and they are evil incarnate.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:05 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.