Alabama’s for­giv­ing view of child mo­lesters

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - PHIL KADNER Email: philkad­

In an era of zero tol­er­ance for pe­dophiles, Alabama vot­ers seem to be tak­ing an en­light­ened at­ti­tude that should send a mes­sage to the rest of the na­tion.

Judge Roy Moore, the Repub­li­can can­di­date for the U. S. Se­nate and for­mer state supreme court jus­tice, has been ac­cused of sex­u­ally mo­lest­ing a 14- year- old girl in 1979 when Moore him­self was 32 and an as­sis­tant district at­tor­ney in Alabama.

Four other women also have ac­cused Moore of mak­ing sex­ual ad­vances when they were teenagers. One said she was only 16 when Moore tried to push her face into his lap.

Moore has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions, telling a TV in­ter­viewer that as a gen­tle­man he al­ways asked a mother’s per­mis­sion first. Per­mis­sion to do what? Ram a teenager’s face into his crotch?

Sto­ries are ap­pear­ing on an al­most daily ba­sis about men un­dress­ing in front of grown women dur­ing so­cial en­coun­ters, re­veal­ing their gen­i­tal or­gans and in­dulging in self- grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Peo­ple through­out the coun­try have de­nounced such be­hav­ior in the strong­est terms and ridiculed men who use their pow­er­ful po­si­tions to in­tim­i­date and hu­mil­i­ate women.

In state­houses across the coun­try, it turns out, male politi­cians were sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing women for decades. Yes, men who used their po­si­tions to en­rich them­selves and their friends at the ex­pense of tax­pay­ers also of­ten at­tempted to ex­tort sex­ual fa­vors from fe­male col­leagues and con­stituents.

Through­out the na­tion, across all eco­nomic and so­cial strata, there is dis­gust and out­rage.

Just when it ap­peared there was no safe place left for men who felt it was their right to sex­u­ally abuse women, Alabama stepped up to the plate and said, “We don’t care as long as the abuser is a con­ser­va­tive.”

Ac­tu­ally, what some Alabama res­i­dents said was that even if Judge Moore mo­lested a 14- year- old girl, it didn’t mat­ter be­cause as a Chris­tian he had likely begged for God’s for­give­ness long ago.

For decades, the Catholic Church adopted a sim­i­lar at­ti­tude to­ward pe­dophile priests, which led to re­peated sex­ual at­tacks on chil­dren over decades.

The Amer­i­can pub­lic ( per­haps out­side of Alabama) re­jected the prac­tice of the church for­giv­ing and ex­cus­ing the be­hav­ior of priests af­ter sev­eral widely pub­li­cized sex scan­dals.

Pe­dophilia in gen­eral was con­demned. Men have ac­tu­ally been chem­i­cally cas­trated by court order. In Illi­nois and else­where, any con­vic­tion is treated like a scar­let let­ter, with the names, ad­dresses and pho­to­graphs of sex­ual preda­tors placed on web­sites.

Even an un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tion that a child has been mo­lested could cost a teacher or foot­ball coach his job.

But an Alabama county Repub­li­can chair­man named Jerry Pow said that he would still con­sider supporting Moore for the U. S. Se­nate even if he had com­mit­ted a sex crime be­cause he “wouldn’t want to vote for Doug ( Jones),” the Demo­cratic can­di­date.

In fact, many Alabama res­i­dents in­ter­viewed on na­tional TV ex­pressed the view that it would be bet­ter to have a child preda­tor rep­re­sent­ing the state in the Se­nate than a Demo­crat.

And that’s when I re­al­ized that whether Moore is elected or even­tu­ally with­draws from the Se­nate race, this may be the dawn­ing of an en­light­ened pe­riod in hu­man­ity’s treat­ment of child preda­tors.

In the fu­ture, Illi­nois and other states could send child preda­tors to Alabama, in­stead of prison, where they would be wel­comed and hon­ored. Heck, they might even­tu­ally get them­selves elected to Congress.

In ex­change, folks up north would of­fer to ac­cept ev­ery Demo­crat mov­ing out of Alabama as a way of rid­ding that state of in­di­vid­u­als who, in the eyes of Repub­li­can vot­ers, are worse than child mo­lesters.

Peo­ple had told me that Alabama was no longer the back­ward, racist state it was back in the 1960s. Un­til now, I had no idea how the place had changed.

| AP

U. S. Se­nate can­di­date RoyMoore has de­nied an Alabama woman’s al­le­ga­tion that Moore made in­ap­pro­pri­ate ad­vances and had sex­ual con­tact with her when she was 14.

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