Wednesday 24 May 2017

Child abusers are criminals - but they need support too

A few years ago, in the porch of a Catholic church in a rather posh part of London, I encountered a group of middle-class women clustered around a man in late middle age. I knew one of the women and we said hello. The group then moved away, protectively accompanying this older man.

Later, I learned that he had been a priest at a well-known Catholic boys' school, and he had been dismissed for having improper relations with boys. The women with him were providing friendship and support while awaiting legal developments. They had respected this priest as a teacher and wanted to help.

It wasn't the first, or the last, time I have encountered a situation where a man who is accused of child abuse - one of the most despised crimes in our societies today - has found a circle of friends to support him.

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