These Stone Walls is host to David F. Pierre, Jr., publisher of The Media Report, with a post on judicial and news media double standards that hits close to home.
Editor’s Note: The following guest post by noted Catholic author, David F. Pierre, Jr. is his third for These Stone Walls. David’s previous posts were “Kicking the Dead and Collecting Cash” and “Catholic Media Join the Sex-Abuse Pile-On.” David is considered a media expert on the Catholic abuse narrative and has published several books featured at These Stone Walls including “Sins of the Press,” and “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” which features a chapter on the Fr. Gordon MacRae case. David is also editor and publisher of the popular media watchdog site, “The Media Report.”
Fr. Gordon J. MacRae has been sitting in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men since 1994 after being sentenced to 33½ to 67 years after refusing to plead guilty to abuse charges with reams of overwhelming evidence indicating his innocence.
The fraud that was perpetrated against MacRae has been well documented, prompting Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal to take up Fr, MacRae’s case and calling his entire affair an obvious “perversion of justice.”
Indeed, when Fr. MacRae’s case is also examined in light of how several other abuse cases have been handled – including those involving celebrities – it appears that MacRae’s only crime in the eyes of the courts may simply have been being a Catholic priest.
TAXPAYER-SUPPORTED DOUBLE STANDARD
In their fundraising drives in the past several months, affiliates of the public television network PBS have been airing 50 Years with Peter, Paul and Mary, a documentary of the 1960s popular folk trio. The group rode to stardom in part because of one of its songs, “Puff, the Magic Dragon.”
A half century, later, however, a different title could apply to the group’s history: “Puff, the Magic Felony.” In March of 1970, the trio’s Peter Yarrow was convicted for taking “indecent liberties” with a 14-year-old girl following a concert the previous summer. It is an incident that the vast majority of PBS’ viewers are surely unaware of, and, of course, the network’s special makes no mention of it. A judge sentenced Yarrow to a modest three months in prison, and President Carter warmly pardoned Yarrow in 1980. Yet Yarrow has continued to perform unabated for decades, and fans continue to shower praise upon the convicted molester.
In addition, the millions of listeners who enjoy the weekly radio quiz show on National Public Radio (NPR), Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, surely are unaware that one of the show’s popular guests, comic Paula Poundstone, was arrested and charged in June 2001 with three counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl under the age of 14 and one count of child endangerment.
To avoid jail time, Poundstone pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abuse and a misdemeanor count of “inflicting injury upon a child.” The New York Times cited a Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney who said the misdemeanor charge involved “inappropriate touching.”
The court records were sealed, so the full scope of Poundstone’s abuse remains unknown. And naturally there has never been any outcry in the media over the secret proceedings or a demand that the records be made public.
It also turns out that the children that Poundstone abused were her own adopted children, a fact that parallels a case that TSW’s readers are well aware of: the abuse of Fr. MacRae’s friend and cellmate, Pornchai Moontri.
WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?
Richard Alan Bailey savagely abused Pornchai and his brother as young boys decades ago, yet even though he was finally convicted in 2018 of 40 felony counts of brutal sexual assault, a judge determined that Bailey should never actually see the inside of a prison cell.
As Pornchai himself wrote in a recent post as he faces his upcoming deportation to Thailand, there surely would have been a different outcome if Bailey had been “Fr. Richard Bailey.” In addition to Bailey surely being sent to prison for the rest of his life, Bailey’s victims would have received sizable cash settlements, and deportation would no longer be a worry.
Of course, this disparate treatment is not anything you will ever read about in your local newspaper or see on your favorite web site. Ever since the “Catholic Church sex abuse story” first ballooned in the media in 1985, the media’s narrative has not changed one bit. An article written in 2020 is indistinguishable from one written 35 years earlier. Only the names have changed.
But the story has changed. The fraud being perpetrated against the Catholic Church today is off the charts. While false accusations against Catholic priests have always existed, they are now rampant. And the money once set aside as a form of restitution for those who were genuinely wounded by clergy has now become an opportunity for fraudsters, flimflammers, and mental cases to score monetary settlements. The Catholic Church has become a virtual ATM machine.
Even the so-called “Catholic media” can no longer be trusted to tell the truth about what is happening to our Catholic priests and the fraud being inflicted against the Church. Lest they be berated on social media for “defending child molesters” or “being a Vatican flak,” Catholic voices have now decided to simply parrot the attacks of the mainstream media and join the ongoing assault against the Church. It is truly a cowardice. Prominent Catholics have abandoned speaking the truth out of fear of a mob attack on Twitter and thus endangering their number of skillfully amassed followers.
Such a gutlessness is not the mark of a Christian. Indeed, by no means can wrongdoing ever be defended. But there are moral reasons why faithful Catholics should make their voices heard when priests and bishops are wrongly maligned. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says:
- “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45b)
Are not accused Catholic priests and bishops among the “least” in today’s society? What segment of our culture has been treated as maliciously and unfairly by the media mob for the past several decades as Catholic priests and bishops? Christians are obligated to act in their defense.
Jesus instituted the Catholic Church, and truth and justice demand that we defend our innocent priests.
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Editor’s Note: We thank David F. Pierre, Jr. for capping our posts of the last two weeks with this sobering view of the state of justice. You may also like these related posts from These Stone Walls:
- A Mirror Image in the Devil’s Masterpiece
- Human Traffic: The ICE Deportation of Pornchai Moontri
- Why this Wrongly Convicted Priest Is Still in Prison
- A Grievous Error in Judge Joseph LaPlante’s Court
David F. Pierre, Jr. is the creator and author of The Media Report, an educational cooperative to chronicle and monitor the mainstream media’s coverage of the Catholic Church sex abuse narrative.
David is the author of four books, and his brand-new one is The Greatest Fraud Never Told: False Accusations, Phony Grand Jury Reports, and the Assault on the Catholic Church.
David has been cited in The New York Times, interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR), and noted by many other media outlets for his work. He has also contributed to print publications.
David is a graduate of Boston College and lives with his wife and family in Massachusetts.