On May 27, Barbara Bradley Hagerty did a piece that was posted on the website of National Public Radio (NPR) titled, “Just Doing His Job Is Catholic Official’s Defense.” Here is how she opened her story:
“A clergy sex-abuse trial in is [sic] reaching a crescendo in a Philadelphia courtroom. One defendant is James Brennan, a priest accused of trying to rape a minor, which is not that unusual.” [Emphasis added.]
We are asking NPR to respond to our complaint. In this day and age when it is considered taboo to make sweeping generalizations of a negative sort about so many demographic groups, it is astonishing that NPR would allow this bigoted swipe at Catholic priests.
For the record, almost all priests in the nation—now as well as before—have never had a single charge of sexual molestation made against them. Of those who have, a large share of the accusations have been proven false. Of the guilty, the most common form of abuse was “inappropriate touching”—not rape—and the most common victim was an adolescent. So to feed the perception that it is not unusual to find rapist priestsis unconscionable.
What makes this offensive characterization so doubly despicable is that Father James Brennan was initially charged with anally raping his alleged victim, yet at the end of last year the charge was amended to attempted rape.
I hasten to add that I have done several interviews with NPR recently and have found their correspondents to be very professional. But what happened in this instance cannot go unanswered.