Another sad bit of news in the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal involves a lawsuit from men who were once students at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin. The reported abuse began as early as the 1960s and claims that Father Lawrence Murphy sexually assaulted about 200 of them. Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) who was head of the church's Doctrinal Enforcement Institute knew of the abuse and failed to discipline Murphy. The Cardinal is now pope and one lawsuit is aimed at him.
Last week, four young men accused Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, GA, of sexually abusing them when they were in their teens.
CNN anchor Don Lemon held an hour-long newscast, September 25, and talked about the abuse issue. Lemon himself admitted that he had been abused but didn't speak about it until he was more than 30 years old.
The good news is that we're now reading and hearing about sexual abuse of boys; the bad news is that it happens.
I don't know details about the latest Catholic scandal and I don't know Don Lemon. I write about this because I know Eddie Long. I've known him for 20 years, and I've admired the humanitarian work he and the members of his church have done.
Eddie Long and I did a book together called 60 Seconds to Greatness that came out in January. We were scheduled to meet October 7 to begin a second book. I don't have any knowledge of any abuse perpetrated by Long and it's not my intention to accuse or defend.
Whether the allegations are true or not, they point out that adults in positions of trust and authority sometimes molest boys. The accusations aren't against drug addicts or men who sneak into public parks. Relatives, neighbors, church leaders, politicians, therapists, teachers—those we expect to trust to guard our children—are often the perpetrators.
For those of you who are survivors, this isn't to suggest lawsuits against the perpetrators--that's an individual decision. I do urge you to face your abuse and move toward healing.
As a survivor myself, I have this advice for parents. It's not enough to love your children, but they must know they're loved. Unless they feel loved, appreciated, and wanted, they become vulnerable to abusers who seek the loners, the wounded, and the isolated. As I look back on my abuse, I didn't feel loved and I needed attention. Because I was needy, I became an easy victim.