There has been endless coverage of a priest in Philly who kept mum on a list of suspected pedophile priests. He did so on orders from his Cardinal, now deceased. The Philly priest was a low level bureaucrat who also took a vow of obedience, but he is the one they are making an example of. He was convicted and is facing 3 1/2 to 7 years, which for him, at age 61, could be a life sentence.
I am not condoning what he did or questioning the conviction. I do, however, question the media coverage on the cases involving the Catholic Church while cases throughout our public school system go unreported or unnoticed.
Sexual molesters in public schools, and there are many of them, end up in rubber rooms or are allowed to resign quietly. Things are changing for public schools as they are for the Catholic Church. The media reporting on the two school systems – secular vs. religious – is uneven however, and smacks of anti-Catholic venom or a pro-public school cover up or both.
Adults who have sex with underaged children are evil, especially so when the adult is in a position of trust. There is no justification for anyone, priest or teacher or administrator to let child molestation go unreported to the proper law enforcement officials.
Horace Mann, the elite prep school in the Bronx, had a sick culture in years past. A recent NY Times Magazine article revealed what seemed to be an endless number of sexual predators teaching at the school and no adult said a word. It was kept hidden from the public and the perverse culture went on for decades. Some adults said they didn’t know, but they should have known. The ones who did know, did nothing or nothing much.
While I focus on only one predator in this article, the point is not about him per se.
Why the recent scandalous report of the outrageous number of sexual molestations in the Horace Mann school is not receiving more attention has something to do with there being less interest in bringing the failings of secular schools to the light of day.
The elite Horace Mann school in the Bronx has apparently had more than their share of sex perverts in teaching positions in the past. The stories of sexual molestation date back 20 – 30 and more years. They came to light with a NY Times Magazine article this month. Victims are now coming forward and law enforcement has set up abuse hotlines to help the many victims. One of several teachers who was brought up for his perversions was Tek Young Lin.
Tek Young Lin was a revered teacher at the Horace Mann School. As a Buddhist, he had a certain strange charm. He tended gardens and when the branches of a tree were cut, he cried. He served as a chaplain and cross-country coach. The English Department chairmanship was named in his honor.
There were rumors that his attraction towards certain students went over the line but no one followed up apparently because he lived out his career unscathed and has been happily retired.
In an interview this month, the 88 year old retired teacher admitted to having sex with students. He didn’t know how many – maybe three. [I can guarantee you it was more than 3]
He said the times were different and it didn’t really seem wrong. [Oh please, seriously, really?]
Tek said his conduct was never a power play and what he did was all warmth and love [sure, right]. He said IF [IF???] he did anything wrong, he’s sorry and offered to help any victims if he could. In his interview, he said he was okay with death. I’m okay with his death too.
We aren’t hearing much about this story but if the doers were Catholic priests, the outrage would be shouted from the rooftops of every major news service.
The Horace Mann story showed an erratic handling of the cases, ranging from prompt dismissals, though it’s not clear if the predators lost their teaching licenses, to doing nothing.
I credit the writers of the NY Times Magazine and the NY Times for exposing this scandal, but it’s an old scandal. How about reporting on the many still taking place in our public schools?
From the NY Times Magazine piece –
..In just the past couple of years, among just the tiny fraternity of elite New York City private schools, two allegations made the news. A male math teacher at Riverdale Country School pleaded not guilty to charges that he had oral sex with a 16-year-old female student. And Poly Prep was named as a defendant in a lawsuit in which 10 former students and two day-campers say the school covered up for a football coach who was molesting boys.
In New York City public schools, during the first three months of 2012, reports of sexual misconduct involving school employees were up 35 percent compared with the same period last year…