April 2, 2012

Among the contaminants reported in the deliberations of the first Little Rascals jury was a Redbook article used to profile Bob Kelly as a child molester. Its content never was detailed, so I looked it up (thanks yet again, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library).

Beneath the panic-inducing headline – “Why I’m Every Mother’s Worst Fear” – I was surprised to find virtually nothing relevant to day cares. Instead, the author offered insights such as:

“There are far more child molesters who operate like me than there are those who forcibly kidnap children. What the abductors do makes the headlines. What I do is more common and less noticeable. Most child molesters are established in our communities, known to others as just another good neighbor. We may even be married with kids of our own.”

An editor’s note drove home the point: “Finally, believe a child who reports a sexual overture or encounter, no matter how respectable or unlikely the accused person might seem.”

These descriptions, of course, fit the crazy-making template for ritual-abuse prosecutions:

If he seems like a child abuser, then he is.

If he doesn’t seem like a child abuser, then he is – “no matter how unlikely.”