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Friday, December 16, 2011

Need a Course So That You Don't Molest Kids?

My daughter swims for a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) team. (One needn't be a practicing Catholic to join such teams.) We just received a safety letter saying that, amongst other things, my wife cannot go fetch my daughter from the locker room unless she has received Virtus training, which deals with sexual molestation. ( I assume I am not allowed in the girls' locker room under any circumstances except extreme emergency.)

Well, my wife has no intention of molesting any of my daughter's teammates. What purpose is a course telling her not to do so going to serve? Look, she might be a serial killer -- does she need a "don't be a serial killer" course before she enters the locker room as well? A course in not going through the girls' lockers looking for spare change? Should she take an anti-arson course, so that she won't burn the locker room down?

And just who is going to be willing to spend the time to take this course? Is it worth taking it to run in the locker room the one or two times a season when your daughter is dawdling? Of course not. But you know what sort of person would be happy to spend the time taking such a course, in order to gain access to locker rooms where adolescents are naked? Think about it.*

Look, I'm not trying to downplay the seriousness of child molestation. And Lord knows the Catholic Church has a particular need to address this issue. But it seems to me the best way to prevent such abuse is to minimize the opportunities for it. A rule that keeps most parents out of a locker room, and ensures that the only one's who can get in are the ones willing to take a course for the privilege of entering it, is a very, very bad idea.

* I certainly don't mean to imply that every person who takes a Virtus course has evil designs on children. The coaches, for instance, are probably required to take this course. And people who sincerely want to help out in some other way may also find themselves forced through the course because of Church regulations. What I am noting is what having a high barrier to entry does to the population mix of those entering the locker room.

UPDATE: As I continue to fume about this dumb, counter-productive rule, I realize what is going on: the CYO is doing a CYA. In future cases of child molestation in a locker room, the CYO can look shocked and say, "We made them take a course! What else were we supposed to do?"

7 comments:

  1. The heresy of bureaucracy.
    A bunch of impersonal rules, easily gamed by those who aren't honest, and just get in the way of honest people. Look at the rigamorale folks have to go through to get married in the Church these days, as an example.
    I'd rather see more priests (through the ancient expedient of ordaining married men). We should have enough clergy so that they'd actually have relationships with the people in the pews. Confession used to involve a confessor; now it seems even when you see the same priest twice they've carefully forgot anything that distinguishes you from anyone else.
    Aggravating to see it is even in the locker rooms.

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  2. Completely agree with your point, Gene, but, to be charitable, the course could be intended more for the Paternos of the world rather than the Sanduskys.

    That is, I agree it's a waste to teach parents, "Don't molest kids, m'k?" It's not as much a waste to teach parents, "Hey, if you see another adult doing something inappropriate, yeah, you're going to need to report that, even if they're your buddies. No, waiting years isn't going to cut it. Or weeks. Or days."

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  3. Silas, the course may be great. What bugs me is keeping parents out of the locker room unless they take it. They have seriously cut down on the number of people who might catch something going on with this move.

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  4. I'll bet a lot of pedos will be first to sign up for that class.

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  5. Exactly. Who else is going to sit through a whole course to get access to a kids' locker room?

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  6. It is my opinion that you will get two types of people that will actually go through the class. The first and most prominent will be the over-protective parents (they're probably the one's that thought up the idea in the first place), followed by those who actually have twisted motives. Who wins? Certainly not the kids.

    On the one hand they have to deal with the heavy hand of somebody else's ultra-authoritative parent, on the other they have to worry about getting molested. The balance created by the inclusion of the more sensible parents is diminished due to the disutility of having to go to the class.

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  7. I'd also like to add that one of the greatest deterrents to deviant behavior is the prospect of getting caught.

    While there is no telling how restrictive this policy may turn out to be, I think that we can say that it will certainly restrict access, thus decreasing the prospects of catching somebody who IS engaging in deviant behavior.

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