Editors at the Buffalo News are demanding that New York’s attorney general investigate alleged collusion, decades ago, between Buffalo police and the Catholic Church. Their professed indignation is bogus for several reasons.
To begin with, their claim that the alleged collusion involved “church and law enforcement conniving to shield priests at the expense of the children they molested” is contradicted by the very news story—in their own paper—that they are citing.
The May 19 news story is built on the recollections of two retired Buffalo Police vice squad officers that “Starting around 1968, when you picked up a priest, you had to call the bishop’s office. The bishop’s office would send someone to pick up the priest. No arrest was made. The diocese handled these problems.” The practice ended, one of the retired cops said, in 1994, when a new police commissioner took over.
More importantly, both retired vice squad officers, as well as several other retired Buffalo cops, told the Buffalo News that none of these instances involved a priest accused of molesting a minor.
“I never had any experience with priests who molested children,” said one of the retired vice cops. They had arrests of priests caught with pornography, he said, or picked up for publicly masturbating. But “I never heard of any priests molesting children.”
Thus the very basis for the editors demanding a state investigation—”church and law enforcement conniving to shield priests at the expense of the children they molested”—is false, according to their own newspaper’s account.
Then there is, once again, the selective outrage. Last July, the Buffalo News reported on two women who say they were sexually abused more than 40 years ago by different teachers at the same public school in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, near Buffalo.
Both women said that years later, in the 1990s, as adults, they tried to report the teachers to school authorities. In both cases, they said, nothing was done, and they never heard back from school authorities. Moreover, one of the women said she also contacted local newspapers, including the Buffalo News. “I never heard anything back from anybody,” she said.
So where was the Buffalo News editorial demanding an investigation of this school district—or, for that matter of the Buffalo News itself—for “conniving to shield teachers at the expense of the children they molested”? And where, over the years, have been the Buffalo News editorials calling for state investigation of the public school practice of “passing the trash”—allowing predator teachers to quietly leave one jurisdiction only to continue landing jobs—and abusing children—in other public school districts?
As usual, the double standard persists. Attack the Catholic Church—even if you have to distort the facts to do so. But look the other way when it comes to children victimized in our public, taxpayer-funded schools.
Contact editorial page editor Kevin Walter: [email protected]