After the Fall

Faced with lawsuits and struggling to treat clerics accused of sexual abuse, the Catholic Church lags behind in forging a policy on priestly pedophilia

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

-- Jesus, according to Matthew's Gospel

Over a period of 14 years, Father John Hanlon of St. Mary's in Plymouth, Massachusetts, would occasionally take boys under his charge to a nude beach. It was, a lawyer would later claim, the parish priest's way "to desensitize" them to their own nakedness. Hanlon, however, would subject his wards to more dissolute initiations. He sexually abused 10...

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