THERESPONSE to our series on priests accused of sexual abuse (March30-April 2) was swift and passionate. In hundreds of e-mails, telephonecalls, Web site forum posts, and letters, readers reacted with strongopinions.
That reaction ranged fromoutrage at the newspaper for bringing up "old news" to outrage at theDiocese of Oakland for "its cover-up and denial." There were alsoheartbreaking personal stories of abuse.
The four-part series,researched and written by Rob Dennis, Jeremy Herb, Matthew Artz andChris De Benedetti of the Fremont Argus, showed that the number ofclergy accused of sexual abuse, many multiple times, has been vastlyunderreported in the diocese that includes Alameda and Contra Costacounties. One element of the series was a list, including some photos,of 64 priests who are serving or had served in the diocese and thesexual abuse allegations against them.
Hundreds voted in onlinepolls, overwhelmingly in favor of the diocese being more forthcomingwith information about accused priests. Responses to an e-mail accountset up to handle feedback was 2-1 positive. Calls to a telephone lineset up for responses tilted toward the negative, as were many calls toreporters and editors.
"It is well-known," an angry caller said, "that journalists are biased against religion."
"What is your point?" a reader asked in an e-mail. "The priest scandal is not new news."
wanted to know why we don'texamine sexual abuse in schools, or among other groups such aspediatricians. For that matter, one asked, "Why haven't you printedphotos and information of all the men accused of abuse in the Bay Areasince 1952?"
Others praised the report and asked for more. "It goes way, way deeper," wrote one.
"Thanks,"wrote another. "I am sure a lot of people are finding a sense of peaceand justice in all this." Another e-mail: "This is exactly why theprint media is so important to everyone."
Still others detailed personal accounts of abuse.
"Bothmy sister and I were abused at the school, in our home, in his home andon trips we took with him. The abuse was abundant, horrendous and hellon earth," wrote one woman. "Our family was destroyed in more ways thanI care to mention."
Here are some of the reactions we received.
A collection of the preceding week in the news in USA