12 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 761 (2005-2006)
A Brief Examination of Pedophilia and Sexual Abuse Committed by Nuns within the Catholic Church

handle is hein.journals/wmjwl12 and id is 769 raw text is: A BRIEF EXAMINATION OF PEDOPHILIA AND SEXUAL
ABUSE COMMITTED BY NUNS WITHIN THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH
INTRODUCTION
As a child, my father was a little hellion.' He's told my sisters
and me countless stories of his early years, which were mostly spent
tormenting his younger siblings. He would, however, occasionally
take a break to torment instead the nuns who ran his Catholic
school.
One of my favorite stories concerns my father's practice of
putting massive amounts of Butch Wax2 in his hair. On one par-
ticular day, he was acting up in class. A nun grabbed him by his
flat-topped hair and slammed the back of his head into a black-
board. His hair product left a grease spot that never came off the
board, rendering it unable to be written upon ever again.
Though my father's point in telling this story was to make fun
of how much wax he used to put in his hair, it always disturbed me.
As a child, I was the opposite of my father: a very quiet and obe-
dient girl growing up in the age of political correctness. Acting up
in class was unthinkable, and the thought of a teacher hurting one
of her students was beyond my wildest nightmares. So my Dad's
story of nuns impressed upon me at an early age that perhaps nuns
were not to be trusted.
Fast-forward to the current era, when the allegations of child
abuse by the clergy of the Catholic Church are so widespread, they
are caricatured.3 Not only priests, but the bureaucracy of the Church
itself is accused of enabling child abuse by shuffling priests from
diocese to diocese without any thought about the dangers of keeping
them near children.4
1. This note is dedicated to my father, William, for growing up into a big hellion.
It is also dedicated to my uncle, Robert, for leaving through the window when the nuns
told him he couldn't leave through the door.
2. Butch Wax is a thick and greasy hair care product that was most popular in the
1940s and '50s. Boys of that era (my father included) used Butch Wax to hold their flat-
topped haircuts straight up. Reference to Butch Wax may be found in vintage hair care
discussion forums throughout the internet. See, e.g., The Fedora Lounge Discussion
Forums, http://www.thefedoralounge.com (last visited Mar. 15, 2006).
3. See, e.g., Daryl Cagle, Professional Cartoonists Index: Pedophile Priests,
http://www.cagle.msnbc.com/news/PedophilePriests/main.asp (last visited Mar. 15,
2006) (displaying numerous political cartoons on the subject of sexual abuse by priests).
4. ELINOR BURKETr & FRANK BRUNI, AGOSPELOF SHAME: CHILDREN, SEXUALABUSE
AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 19-20 (1993).

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