In Searching for Lincoln’s Ghost, John Malone is a 12-year-old boy who takes it upon himself to try to bring a child-molesting priest to justice. This is way back in the 1960s, long before the child abuse scandal in the church was brought to light. Back then, the very thought that a holy man, held to a higher law than mere mortals, could so abhorrently violate a child in the most unthinkable way was beyond imagination.
We’ve come a long way since then, right? Maybe not. The Sandusky trial clearly shows that, for many, keeping our heroes intact, be they priests or sports heroes, is still more important than the truth. I’m thinking about Penn State, who looked the other way for years after Mike McCreary blew the whistle. I’m thinking about Dottie Sandusky, who tried to vilify the victims, calling them “demanding and conniving;” “clingy;” a manipulator who “knew what to say and when to say it.” And I’m thinking about that lifelong friend of the Sanduskys who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN. Insinuating the victims were liars, she said, point-blank, that the only way she would believe Sandusky molested children is if she’d seen him doing it with her own two eyes.
I guess it’s always about the “other guy”, not OUR priest, OUR friend, OUR sports hero.
The real heroes in this story, and in every child abuse scandal, are all the John Malones who have the courage and faith to stand up and tell their stories, at great personal sacrifice. The very least we can do is give them justice.
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