I've been reading some pieces that increase my suspicion that a very dangerous witch hunt is afoot against alleged child abusers. Extrapolating from real cases of child abuse, people are projecting demonized images of priest rapists that go far beyond the evidence.
The case of Paul Shanley, for instance, seems to be entirely based on recovered memory, which has notoriously led to many false convictions.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Shanley Shanley was a liberal gay priest, sexually active, with a sympathy for NAMBLA (not a hanging offense at that time); he had a bad record of allegations concerning adolescents typically of the 15-16 yo range. It is easy to see how from these premises, in a climate of panic, people could project scenarios of him raping 6 year olds. Of the four accusers, who knew each other, three withdrew their accusations and the court accepted the other one even though they it was based entirely on Recovered Memory.http://www.irishsalem.com/international-controversies/usa/index.php
The investigators of the Ryan Report determined that the allegations against Sr Xaveria of Goldenbridge by Christine Buckley, whose feet were washed in the penitential ceremony in the Dublin Procathedral, were in fact false. The Ryan Report found that the school had been a tough one in the 1950s but has no earthshking revelations of criminal abuse such as Christine Buckley alleged. http://www.richardwebster.net/print/xbrynestynireland.htm http://www.alliancesupport.org/news/archives/001398.html
Now we hear that 37 priests in Philadelphia are "credibly accused" of "inappropriate behavior with minors" -- surely a formula for paranoid suspicion?
To raise these questions at all is probably futile in the present climate, and this in itself confirms that there are elements of a witch hunt at work. The impatience of the indignant with any effort to differentiate between different levels of gravity and credibility in alleged offenses is itself a formula for abuse.