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April 2002 Email this to a friend
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Failure to Fondle
SADD Day for Catholic Church

Boston, April 1, 2002­ Confidential sources reveal that the Boston Globe is planning an April 1st launch for its new 180-part series on sexual impropriety and the Roman Catholic clergy, a journalistic crusade that is sure to engender thousands more lawsuits against the already beleaguered Boston Archdiocese.

But there's a twist to the April 1st exposé: the spotlight falls on allegations that several, perhaps dozens, of local priests have failed to show any sexual interest in their parishes' young boys, thereby triggering feelings of low self-esteem in the ignored youth. Left untreated, such neglect can lead to what some psychotherapists have dubbed Sexual Affection Deprivation Disorder, or SADD.

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(When asked whether this new six-month installment didn't represent a radical shift in editorial direction given The Globe's incessant campaign to brand any sort of contact between clergy and youth as "rape," publisher Richard H. Gilman replied, "Not really. We're just trying to keep children's sexuality on the front page every day of the year. Advertisers want readers, after all, and stories with kids and sex sell.")

One mother who spoke with The Globe reports the her 12-year-old son has repeatedly signaled his sexual availability to their priest but has been constantly rebuffed. "What do you think that does to his sense of self-worth?" queries the distraught mom. "Taunted at school because he can't even interest a priest! Mikey doesn't have any older brothers, and what with the Scouts canceling all their overnight activities and the Y's new 'no shower' policy, I worry who will guide Mikey through the traditional homosexual rites of pubescent passage. I don't want him growing up fearing his God-given urges."

Many parents of local boys exhibiting SADD symptoms (failure to keep a tidy room, backtalk, poor handwashing habits, interest in violent video games, listening to loud music) reserve particular anger for Cardinal Bernard Law. Some have openly speculated that Law himself may be suffering from SADD, his inattention thereby underscoring the cyclic nature of such abuse. "I can tell you one thing," one Boston-area priest reports on condition of anonymity, "If we had a great man like Cardinal Spellman still around, and he saw boys being abused with such neglect, I have no doubt he'd step in and do something himself!"

Church officials would not officially comment on the April 1st exposé other than to stress that only a very few priests are accused of having no sexual interest in youths.

Dr. Harmon Toony, author of Come Unto Me: Interesting Today's Youth in Yesterday's Church, claims that the new revelations are bound to hamper church recruiting efforts.

"Let's face it," notes Dr. Toony, "it used to be a parish could count on its never-to-wed types, if you know what I mean, growing up to be priests who would then take a special interest in boys at that 'awkward age.' Sure, it was all veneered with hypocrisy, but the plan worked well for generations. Fathers would send their sons to the same kindly priests who had ministered to them­ and to their fathers before them. Now, they don't know what to expect."

"With this SADD scare," Dr. Toony shakes his head, "a priest can have his reputation ruined with reckless charges that he never touched someone 40 years ago. Who wants to subject themselves to that?"

While some have questioned the harm done by decades-old non-actions, proponents of a zero tolerance policy for priests who sexually neglect church youth note that SADD produces far more than a mopey teen.

"Those who've grown up fearing their genitals," claims Rynn Looney, formerly of the Middlesex County District Attorney's office and now a private psychotherapist, "often have very uptight sex lives as adults. They never stop being victims of sexual neglect. Some of these 'hands-off' priests will get a slap on the wrist, but my clients will forever be suffering the consequences... which include two $150 sessions with me per week for life."

Ms. Looney's prosecutorial efforts in the daycare witch hunts of the 1980s (which had the unfortunate side effect of imprisoning only innocent people) led to pioneering interrogation techniques that proved a team of adults, working for weeks, could get a three-year-old to "remember" events that never happened. (And in an ironic twist, many now burdened with "memories" of being attacked by machete-wielding Satanic clowns in secret underground rooms, all notions concocted by Ms. Looney the prosecutor, now receive counseling from Ms. Looney the therapist.)

"I got to thinking," recalls Looney, "maybe we can help SADD sufferers by 'assisting' them to recall sexual attention that they craved, but tragically never got. If they 'remember' their priest fondling them lovingly, perhaps we can restore some of the self-esteem that has been stolen from them."

Looney has enlisted the help of Dr. Toony, who also endorses "implanted memory counseling," and the pair is hoping to attract funding for their novel approach. "It could be private funding or government grants," says Toony. "We go wherever the money is."

"What's important," he continues, "is that anyone who feels they may have SADD is that they get into Looney/Toony therapy immediately. To contact us, see our ad in the Boston Globe."

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