KABOOM! Most Unethical Defense For Child Rape Ever…


If your head doesn’t blow over this one, it’s missing something.

Richard Keenan, 65, the former mayor of Hubbard, Ohio from 2010-2011 and a self-proclaimed devout Christian, confessed in a group therapy session to having sex with a little girl over three years beginning when she was four. He’s now facing life imprisonment for rape, if his statements are admissible.

Prof Jonathan Turley discusses the legal issues involved with using admissions made in a clinical setting, and you can read about them here. I am posting to commemorate the ex-mayor’s other defense position, which is why my head is on the ceiling and walls of my office. Are you ready?

Keenan says that the sex was consensual, because the four/five/ six /seven-year old was a“willing participant, ” and..

…she initiated it.

I think that’s all I want to write about this now, or ever.

I’ve also got to go get an armful of paper towels.

Oh—how’s your head?

30 thoughts on “KABOOM! Most Unethical Defense For Child Rape Ever…

        • I’ve seen that animation around in a lot of other places. I never knew its origin but I didn’t realize it went back that far, at least. There’s no telling how long it’d been running around before she gave a copy to you.

  1. I need to stop reading the news. I heard this the other day and have been depressed ever since. And I just read about a 9 year-old who killed himself this week because of bullying. Seriously, why did I have children?

  2. Unfortunatly this is standard behavior for grooming pedofiles. They twist a child’s mind until the child does not resist what happens. It makes it even more insidious because the child is more prone later blame themselves for the abuse.

    The only sliver of a silver lining is that among the sane crowd, this claim is inflammatory. Judges and juries are more inclined to throw the book at guys who are too stupid to realize that these claims should stay internal dialog.

    • “Unfortunaetly this is standard behavior for grooming pedofiles. They twist a child’s mind until the child does not resist what happens. It makes it even more insidious because the child is more prone later blame themselves for the abuse.”

      Yes, you are absolutely right. And their grooming techniques are one reason why young children cannot enter legal contracts. They don’t have the experience, knowledge or understanding to fully comprehend what they’re getting into. Anyone who truly thinks that a 4-year old child instigated a sexual encounter with an adult is delusional.

  3. “Richard Keenan talked to several people, including his wife and a pastor, about alleged assaults that occurred over the course of two years, beginning in 2013, when the girl was 4.” At what point does the word “alleged” disappear if one admits to doing something?

    And Jack, by now your ceiling should be a gigantic tiled backsplash which can easily be hosed down. Your former tin or copper ceiling, while elegant, was very impractical, considering your line of work.

  4. I have no words…just a motive to find a way to minimize the time Richard Keenan has, to remain alive on earth. Maybe I can rely on a surrogate…

  5. For anyone who’s seen “Spotlight” — about the almost 250 priests in the Boston Archdiocese who were proven pedophiles over a 10 year period — this excuse is no surprise, if at least as sickening. The Boston Archdiocese settled cases of priests’ pedophilia, and even sent said priests to ‘treatment centers’ before putting them back in parishes to continue their awful deeds. A great quote from the movie (and since the ever-vigilant Roman Catholic Church has not attempted to discredit the facts contained in it): Priest: “Yes, I fooled around with boys. But I never got any satisfaction from it. This is an important distinction.” !!!!

    I guess Keenan missed that particular rationalization. Maybe he should try it.

    (Please don’t get on me about the RC church not discrediting the movie, as if that’s proof of anything. By all reports, the movie is a very fair representation of the Boston Globe team — Spotlight — and their investigation of this issue in that city.)

    Seriously, Jack: isn’t this where his defense attorney needs to step in and make it clear that this is not, repeat not, a defense? Or is this Keenan’s public stance, not an in-court one? Regardless, the problem with effective pedophiles (priests or not, but priests are worse, because they use the faith of innocents as their leverage) is that they do in fact rope children in, make them want to keep the secret, and believe somehow that it was their own fault… No wonder so many victims end up suicides.

    I have a grown son. Even then, in private schools in the early 2000s, I knew enough about the Geoghan case in Boston to keep him out of parochial schools, since I saw no evidence that the Roman Catholic Church was doing anything about this, I didn’t want to risk my son’s health and future… (The only response I know of so far — and even the new pope is skirting this issue despite all hopes — is that in 2002 Cardinal Law resigned form the Boston Archdiocese after a year of the Boston Globe slamming him and the Archdiocese. His punishment? Called to the Vatican, and the most prestigious church in that nation state. What a great institutional response. No wonder someone like Keenan feels free to come up with the most ridiculous rationalizations possible for his truly evil behavior. Compared to priests, “it’s not the worst thing.” Aaugh!

    PS If anyone out there knows anything about an official RC Church response to the priest pedophilia issue, I’d like to know it.

    • E2, that line about “I never got any satisfaction from it,” in addition to having altogether too many things wrong with it, which I’ll rant about after this paragraph, prompted me to realize something. Jack, methinks we need a rationalization for, “I don’t enjoy doing this,” or, “I feel really bad about this, but…” It’s sort of the inverse of the Hippie’s License, where instead of positive feelings excusing an action, it’s negative feelings.

      Now, back to the “satisfaction” excuse… How soul-stunted does a person have to be to say the equivalent of “it’s not rape because I didn’t orgasm”?! This is the sort of thing that happens when a religion makes feelings the measure by which you are condemned or pardoned. “I feel angry/lustful/selfish… now I need to feel guilty to be forgiven!” Who cares about your feelings? You think your deity is only paying attention to you, the leader? What about the feelings of the people you’re affecting? Oh, of course; I’m sure it was a great comfort for the children involved to know that you weren’t reaching the peak of ecstasy. If you’re not going to change your behavior, why should you be forgiven?

      I wonder what would happen to his psyche if I deconstructed his theological paradigm, and left him with nothing behind which to hide from the existential abyss and the pain his actions have caused. Some people are so trapped by their fear of admitting they are wrong that they need to be torn apart in order to change. It takes much more finesse than merely berating them, because they can just ignore direct criticism. Seeing him weep as the lies he built his mind on are ripped out of him would be… satisfying. Granted, the aspect of me saying this is incomplete, but it’s not totally wrong.

      • EC: I agree with you on the new rationalization. Because this is clearly not a one-time/one-incident/one-category excuse, I think it should be on the list.

        Re another of your points: I have always — as a lapsed Protestant — been mystified about the RC confessional and penance. If you feel guilty enough about the murder/robbery/sex crime/lie/other misdemeanor you committed, then a priest can absolve you. And your penance? 10 Hail Marys, 100 Hail Marys, etc. What about real amends? Making things right to the extent one can? Apparently the Church will tell you that priests ‘encourage’ the sinner to come forward in the secular world and pay the price of his or her sin, but this is not necessary for forgiveness (!). If priests have this direct line to God, and if priests can therefore grant God’s forgiveness, why do they not use this power in more constructive ways? Hail Marys indeed.

        And, not coincidentally, take this power, this direct line to God, transfer that concept to every little Catholic kid, and when the abuse comes down, it is GOD, or his surrogate, doing it. Where does a child go from there? (Also in ‘Spotlight’ — A victim in Boston says that “These priests not only rob you of your innocence, they rob you of your faith. This is more than physical abuse…[it is emotional abuse of the highest order]. So you turn to the needle, or the bottle…”

        See also my response to Patrice, below.

  6. PS In Boston, regarding the above: The Boston Archdiocese settled out of court with victims’ families and the Church. The plaintiffs entered into a ‘private mediation’ with the Church, had to sign confidentiality agreements, and so the unbelievable cover-up was allowed to continue for years. It took the Globe a year to uncover what they did, and another year to continue their investigation before the Cardinal left in disgrace for his part in this, including moving priests from parish to parish after their abuse was discovered, and not removing them from the clergy completely as promised.

    • “…before the Cardinal left in disgrace…”

      My husband, a convert to Catholicism, refused to go to Communion until Law was removed. Then his move to Rome… I don’t think my husband has been to Communion yet.

      As the token RC commenter here, I am forced at times to defend the Church. But if there is anything less defensible than the Church’s actions, policies, et al. regarding the pedophilia tragedy perpetrated by ordained clergy, I don’t know what it would be. Inquisition? Pretty bad, but doesn’t have the breadth of evil nor the insidious secrecy.

      • Patrice,

        I, too, am Catholic, and I too think that the Church’s response to the crisis was appalling. The Church suffered hugely from a scandal largely of its own making. Hopefully the Church learned how from it and address the core problems. All I can say is that if the Church can survive the De Medicis and the Borgias, it may just survive this awful scandal.


        • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Roman Catholic clergy has been nothing but a nasty, gay cabal for millenia. There’s just no getting around it. Nor has it changed yet.

          I’m not an anti-Papist, I’m a lapsed, for about fifty years now, Catholic. Altar boy, Catholic grade school and high school (even law school, ironically). Never molested or even approached but I didn’t come from a rough family situation like most of pedophiles’ targets.

        • Jvb, the church will never change. The faithful will continue giving money and the clergy will continue abusing children with impunity. The clergy will never allow heterosexuals to gain any sort of a foothold. What heterosexual wants to be celibate for life? Celibacy is their impenetrable line of defense.

      • To Patrice, EC, johnburger, and Other Bill:

        ‘Spotlight’ got me interested in this, so I checked some facts, including the Richard Sipe who appears by phone in the film with some stats and information. In Sipe’s 30 years of research, begun when he was an MD psychiatrist/priest at a ‘treatment center’ in Maryland, he found among other things:

        1. 50% of all priests are having sex. Although most of these are having sex with other adults, this creates a culture of secrecy throughout the Church which may not condone pedophilia but at least protects it. (Thus a sense that if the priests having sex with children are exposed, other non-celibate priests will be exposed as well.)

        2. 6% of all priests (six percent of all priests!), “act out sexually with children.” In Boston during the time period dealt with in the film, that meant a probable ‘metric’ of 90 priests; in fact, the Globe uncovered 249 priests who had sex with children. This is what a culture of secrecy can create. (Some percentage within the 6 have the “psychosexual development of a 12-year-old.” Attributable, if I recall correctly, to the age at which young men enter the priesthood, the celibacy requirement taking hold at the height of adolescent male sexual development. So many are effectively stunted from becoming healthy adult males because of this early behavioral mandate [or an inability to adhere to it, with requisite problems related to that]…)

        So why not do away with the celibacy requirement? A revolutionary if simple response. The Greek Orthodox Church is now the single fastest-growing denomination in the US. One major difference from the Roman Catholic Church is that Greek Orthodox priests marry and have families. The Roman Catholic pedophilia scandal is worldwide and still out of control as of 2015 (throughout the US and in about 50 countries documented thus far); has there been any similar scandal with the Greek Orthodox Church? Not that I’ve found. Why not?

        Finally and FYI: Richard Sipe left the priesthood long ago, but not Christianity. His books and key facts about him can be found easily on-line, including his website. (He is married, has lost both his position and his belief in the Roman Catholic Church, but apparently has not lost his faith. “Tricky,” to quote him…) I presume he’s still around and active, because of the website.

    • “Full Transformation” meaning a change of wardrobe and hairstyle, and being referred to by the correct pronouns.

      Medical treatment, if that becomes necessary, will happen about 7 years later. Irreversible medical treatment, about 12 years later.

      • And of course would require an assessment by the Family Court before any medical intervention is authorised, with legal costs approaching $100,000.

        The story is perhaps a little misleading by missing out these details. Still, the omissions were neccessary in order to provide red meat to the Religious Right. “Clickbait” I think it’s called. Being “economical with the truth”.

        • Perhaps this might help explain:

          The treatment of adolescent transsexuals: changing insights. Cohen-Ketternis et al, J Sex Med. 2008 Aug;5(8):1892-7.

          Professionals who take responsibility for these youth and are willing to help should yet be fully aware of the impact of their interventions. In this article, the pros and cons of the various approaches to youngsters with GID are presented, hopefully inciting a sound scientific discussion of the issue.

          Click to access Cohen-Kettenis%20JSM2008.pdf

          Children of a younger age do well merely transitioning socially, and even then, that’s not recommended nor appropriate for those merely “gender nonconformant” as about 3/4 of those taken by worried parents to clinics are. It doesn’t appear to do any harm, but has no therapeutic benefit.

          But when diagnosed by a competent specialist, social transition is a possibility. If there’s a radical change for the better, no more anxiety attacks, bedwetting, self-harm etc that’s a pretty good indicator that we’re on the right track. If there’s no radical improvement, we need to rethink.

          Gender Identity usually crystalises a little later, around age 5, but even age 3 is not that unusual. It’s almost always by age 9.

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