In a previous post, I mentioned the notorious Fr. Ted Llanos, the priest who trained me to be an altar boy back in 1974, and I explained why I believed the allegations against him. (You can find those allegations online by clicking on the link, above.) The information in Fr. Ted’s online file rings true to me because it comports so completely with what I knew of the man personally. You will read in that file that Fr. Ted was a hugger. He regularly would ask for hugs, and some of those would last quite a long while. In my own case, there was never a trace of anything of a sexual nature going on as far as I could tell. But on one occasion, things definitely took a strange turn in that direction. I was in the sacristy, preparing for Mass, and Fr. Ted asked for a hug, as he so often did. But this time, he unexpectedly lifted my head and gave me a kiss. It was not a peck on the cheek or forehead. It was big wet kiss on the lips.
Was I psychologically traumatized by this event? No I was not. “Grossed out” would be more accurate. And I do not consider that I was sexually abused by Fr. Ted. Certainly Fr. Ted’s behavior toward me was reprehensible. But the story I tell is not significant because it identifies me as another victim of sexual abuse. The story is important instead because it explains why I believe the charges against Fr. Ted. For the things that happened to me also happened to others whose stories are contained in those police reports. And that’s why those reports are credible to me.
One of the things that these reports show is that Fr. Ted was a porn consumer. As I mentioned previously, the logic of parsimony teaches us to look for common causes, and that is precisely what we have with porn consumption. For porn consumption is a common denominator of the lion’s share of abuse cases, whether the perpetrator was a priest or a layperson. It is a fact that tends to be downplayed by too many of those in the mental health sciences. But fortunately the people in law enforcement have better sense.
In my next post on Spotlight, the spotlight will be on celibacy. We will see that the pioneering field of neuroscience has much to tell us about the likely causes of sexual abuse. And what the research of neuroscience shows is that sexual abuse has much more to do with porn consumption than with celibacy. More on that in my next post on Spotlight. JG