Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

_0Character assassination and trial by media can only ever hurt the innocent

I am somewhat disturbed at a story in Pink News, which concerns a Roman Catholic priest who is defending charges of molesting little boys.  Am I disturbed by the story?  Well, yes naturally, but the abuse of children within the RC Church is now so endemic that one comes to expect it.  What concerns me more is the level of journalism Pink News appears to have sunk to.

“Catholic Priest had huge gay S&M porn collection, court hears”, screams the headline; and my immediate and initial reaction is “So what?”

The story concerns Father Anthony McSweeney (68), who is defending charges that he molested three young boys between 1979 – 1981.  He has admitted buying gay S&M pornography during a visit to Amsterdam’s red light district, which he kept hidden until it was discovered by his housekeeper.

There is no indication of this pornography being of a paedophile nature, and if that is the case, then I completely fail to see what bearing it should have either upon the case, or Father McSweeney’s character for that matter.  I can already hear some of you shouting that he is a priest, he’s supposed to be celibate and an upstanding member of the community.  Yes dears, and first and foremost he is a human being, with the sexual drives and leanings of all human beings.  Oh, and by the way, if he’s tossing off to gay porn, he is still effectively being celibate.

If the prosecution is seeking to convict Father McSweeney, who denies all charges laid against him, then they are using the guilt by character argument.  And as far as the public is concerned, Pink News is merely helping them to do that.

Father McSweeney may be guilty for all I – and you – know, and he may well be innocent.  To attempt to destroy him by his character and by bringing his other sexual pecadilloes into the case however, could very well sway the case against him using an extremely low blow and on a completely false dichotomy.

Consider the case of silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and his part in the death of starlet Virigina Rappe.  On 9 September 1921 Virginia Rappe attended a party at a hotel suite rented by Roscoe Arbuckle.  That Rappe was a “good time girl” was no secret and it wasn’t long before she disappeared from the scene, as did Arbuckle.  She was found in a bedroom, bleeding profusely from her anus.  Her last words to other girls at the party were “Roscoe Arbuckle did this to me.  Don’t let him get away with it.”  She died soon after from a ruptured bladder and secondary peretonitis.  After three mistrials Arbuckle, accused of killing the girl by either vaginally or anally raping her, was acquitted of all charges.  His defence had been to prove that Virginia Rappe had loose morals, had several previous convictions, including extortion, and that veneral disease and, absurdly, cystitis, were the case of death.  The result was that a man guilty of the brutal rape (Arbuckle was hung like a horse, as well as being obese) of a young girl, walked free, purely because of the girl’s past character.

So it is that if Father McSweeney is tried on his character, because he is gay and has a penchant for sado-masochistic sex, then he is being tried on a false dichotomy which has absolutely no bearing on any paedophilic tendences he may or may not have.

That may have serious repercussions over who and what exactly on trial here.  Is it a priest accused of molesting young boys, is it being gay, or is it the BDSM lifestyle?  Most of my readers will already be painfully aware that the LGBT community in general and gay men in particular are often falsely accused of being perverts who prey upon little boys.  In fact, for those of you who are not aware, the opposite is true.  The overwhelming majority of active paedophiles who prey upon little boys are in fact heterosexual men. As case studies and statistics have proven, children are in fact much safer in the company of gay men.

Likewise, one would be hard-pushed to find anyone in the BDSM lifestyle who is sexually attracted to children.  BDSM is built upon trust between two or more consenting adults, who achieve sexual satisfaction through the willing subjection of the body and humiliation of the person.  I am not for one moment saying that there are not gay or sado-masochistic paedophiles; of course they exist, just as there are people with many sexual preferences who are also paedophiles.  No-one however could ever suggest that any child forced into gay or sado-masochistic sex would or could be a willing and / or consensual participant.  Yet by bringing the priest’s pornography collection into the case, it seems to me that the prosecution is immediately trying to make that correlation.

To attempt to make any such connection has the extremely dangerous potential to demonise both the LGBT community and those in the BDSM lifestyle (sometimes the same people) in both the eyes of the jury in the case, and worse still, the eyes of the public as sexual perverts who are a danger to children.

As we live in a culture of paranoia where parents see a paedophile on every corner (they’d do better to watch their own relatives and friends), such reporting can only serve to exacerbate the suspicion both LGBT are viewed with, at the very time children should be being taught all genders and sexualities are normal and something to be proud of.  To say I am disappointed in Pink News therefore would be an understatement.


The Pink News article can be read here:

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/02/23/catholic-priest-had-huge-gay-sm-porn-collection-court-hears/

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2 thoughts on “Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

  1. Actually, wanking is a breach of celibacy. And having a porn collection is a bit sad, he is old enough to find himself a proper partner. So the Pink News story shows he was trapped in sad adolescence, rather than maturity; which is to say that the damage his church did to him caused the sexual abuse of the children.

    • There’s no proof that the damage the church did to him caused sexual abuse of children, Clare. Firstly, the case is still ongoing and – whoever someone is – I firmly believe in innocent until proven guilty. Secondly, even if guilty there is no proof he was not a paedophile before he entered the priesthood. One does not necessarily follow the other.

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