Posts Tagged NCRJ
June 15, 2017
Thank you, Mr. President, for crying “witch-hunt” about an investigation that everyone knows has a factual basis.
Maybe the next time the NCRJ cries witch-hunt—which they have done in countless cases where there is strong, even overwhelming, evidence of guilt—people will be a little more likely to pause and reflect on this knee-jerk response. Crying witch-hunt is the NCRJ’s favorite technique for distracting people from the underlying facts.
February 21, 2017
Milo Yiannopoulos has worn out his welcome. An old videotape just surfaced in which Mr. Yiannopoulos, as the NYT put it, “condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.” That was enough to lose Milo a book contract and an invitation to speak at CPAC. And it is encouraging that many people agree that such remarks are inappropriate, to say the least. But the fact remains that Milo Yiannopoulos’s repugnant views still find a warm welcome in America. And it comes from an organization with a perfect name for the age of Trump: the “National Center for Reason and Justice.”
The NCRJ “sponsors” cases in which they claim that criminal convictions for child molestation are somehow unjust. Here is an example of their “reason” at work: the NCRJ sponsors the case of Paul Shanley, defrocked priest and convicted pedophile, covered in the award-winning film, Spotlight.
What is their reason? They cite writers like JoAnn Wypijewski, whose article in Counterpunch, “The Passion of Paul Shanley,” actually allows that Paul Shanley presents “an alarming picture of a priest obsessed with sex, one who exploited school settings or counseling sessions to make conquests.” But Wypijewski’s response to 19 affidavits attesting to sexual abuse heartens the NCRJ:
Yet repeatedly in the affidavits, the teenager faces a choice: to go away for the weekend with the priest after being propositioned, to climb into his bed naked, to travel alone to another state to visit him, or stay with him another night, or return for counseling, all after allegedly being molested or raped. Repeatedly, the teenager chooses the priest. In one affidavit, a 14-year-old comes to Shanley to talk about his worries; there is a full-body massage and a sleepover. He returns another time and there is a candlelight bath, Gregorian chants on the stereo, and the priest performs oral sex.
She, the NCRJ, and Milo Yiannopoulos, all see choices to be protected rather than behavior to be condemned, even with children as young as 14, and possibly younger.
Judith Levine, one of six members of the NCRJ board of directors, once argued that football players in Sayreville, New Jersey should avoid prosecution entirely because the specter of being on a sex offender registry, even without prison time, is far worse than “having a finger inched up your anus.” Levine also presented the case a 23-year-old man manipulating a 13-year-old girl as “young love.” Another member of the board of directors, Debbie Nathan, once gave an award to Lawrence Stanley, a known child pornographer.
Lacking reason or justice, the NCRJ stands as one of the only places in America where the unapologetic embrace of child sexual abuse is still considered fashionable. The NCRJ might disagree with Milo Yiannopoulos on many things, but they have a lot in common when it comes to the remarks that got him banned elsewhere in the world.
August 28, 2016
Spotlight received many accolades. The New York Times called it “a gripping detective story and a superlative newsroom drama, a solid procedural that tries to confront evil without sensationalism.” Spotlight later won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie portrays the journalistic effort, by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, to uncover widespread abuse by Catholic priests and the related cover-up by their superiors. Paul Shanley, one of the offenders highlighted in the movie, was described in the Globe as coming “to symbolize the alleged failure of the Archdiocese of Boston to control sexually abusive priests.”
Shanley’s eventual arrest and conviction is often hailed as evidence of how far we have come in acknowledging and confronting child sexual abuse in America. Maybe so. But there is an advocacy organization that still defends Shanley, minimizing or denying in its entirety his “trail of abuse,” as Maureen Orth put it in this article in Vanity Fair. The so-called National Center for Reason and Justice “sponsors” Shanley’s case notwithstanding 19 affidavits from Shanley’s victims. They stand with JoAnn Wypijewski, who acknowledges (near the very end of this lengthy, pseudo-defense) that these affidavits “present an alarming picture of a priest obsessed with sex; one of who exploited school settings or counseling sessions to make conquests.” She even allows that these accounts convey “clearly manipulative” behavior but she objects that 16-year-old boys are “capable of consenting” – adding “Regrets don’t negate the choice.” As to the 14-year-old boy, well, Wypijewski notes that he went back five or six times as well. She does not address his obvious inability to consent under law.
Paul Shanley has come to represent the failure of the Archdiocese of Boston to control sexually abusive priests. He also stands for something equally important to remember: the continued tolerance of such behavior by misguided advocates who stand with the convicted even in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt.
June 14, 2014
An advocacy group, named the National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ), has written a response to The Witch-Hunt Narrative. Their response mischaracterizes the book in several important ways that are explained on this page. Their response also ignores almost all of the specific cases and evidence in the book. As it turns out, many of those cases are “sponsored” by NCRJ, meaning that the organization has been fundraising and advocating on behalf of the defendants in these cases. The book agrees with NCRJ’s position on the Baran case (pp. 126-28). But there are eight cases discussed in the book, sponsored by NCRJ, in which there was significant evidence of guilt. For readers interested in knowing more about that evidence, see the following passages in The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Kellers (pp. 144-47), Smith/Allen (pp. 149-50), Friedman (pp. 130-33), Fuster (pp. 283-354), Halsey (pp. 147-49), Krivacska (pp. 393-94), Malcom (pp. 134-37), and Rouse (pp. 394-400).