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Not just a Catholic problem: 'The Whole Truth' will set the record straight

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Child sexual abuse isn't just a Catholic problem. Child abuse can occur in every community, every corner, and in every religion and organization. Of course, to listen to the media reports, it only happens in the Catholic Church, but a new project is working to dispel this misconception.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Whole Truth is a campaign launched by Joseph Klest, intended to set the record straight on child abuse issues. Klest is an advocate for children who has spent twenty years prosecuting claims against child abusers and representing the victims. Based on his work, he knows that child abuse is a far-reaching problem that goes well beyond the Catholic Church.

In an effort to cast light on the issue, Klest is making a documentary film about abuse in other churches -abuses that get much less air time because the media tends to focus on sensationalistic reports involving Catholic clergy.

Acccording to Kleist, on The Whole Truth website:

"There is no statistical evidence that shows more abuse occurred in the Catholic Church than in any other institution, organization, or for that matter your home town.  Most data, as well as my own  experience, demonstrates that the problem is similarly present across all religions, organizations, and nationalities, yet the Catholic Church seems to get an inordinate amount of press on the issue. 

"This injustice has puzzled me for years. Since I pursue abuse cases against a wide variety of institutions, I questioned why the Catholic church has taken the brunt of the heat?   Is there something in the Catholic church's structure that made them more vulnerable? Deep pockets? Media bias?  If the problem is similarly present in all religions, why is the Cathloic Church the only one with a "crisis"?

"This documentary will address this complex and troubling question. Our greatest asset is our children and their well being is our responsibility.  It's time we look past the headlines and set the record straight about the actual extent of child sexual abuse in our society."


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Catholic Online put a few questions to Klest, to learn a little more.

COL: Mr. Klest, please tell us about your project.

Klest: We intend to show that the child sexual abuse IS NOT a Catholic issue, as the media would have us believe, but rather similarly present in every major religion.  We will demonstrate how other religions and organizations have handle the matter in ways similar to the Catholic church.  We also intend to expose the media bias and bullying that the church has suffered through. 

COL: Why is it important to deliver this message?

Klest: It is important to deliver this message so that everyone is aware that they need to protect their children, regardless of their religion.  It is also important of course to exonerate good priests from the taint of the few bad priests and a biased press.


COL: Aren't you just deflecting attention away from the Church and its responsibility towards children?

Klest: We are not trying to excuse the Catholic church from any errors they may have made.  We are just trying to tell the whole truth about the issue free of media bias.

COL: What similarities have you uncovered in how abuse is handled in religious communities?

Klest: For the most part every religious and non religious community handled it in the same way. With institutional self preservation in mind but also with some confusion about what was best for the child or children involved. In some non-Catholic communities the child and their family became ostracized when they went to civil authorities and the perpetrator was supported by the community. There is no one cookie cutter method to handle these allegations. Each case needs an analysis of what is best for the child

COL: In addition to changing the discussion to acknowledge the broader problem, what can we do to become part of the solution?

Klest: Help support a broader understanding and discussion, don't always believe what the self-serving media feeds you. We need to be open and honest about the issue from this point forward. Nothing is more important than our children.

COL: Have your investigations run into any trouble?

Klest:  Not yet. I'm sure we'll hit a few speed bumps along the way though.

COL: Mr. Klest, good luck and we look forward to updates on this project.

Please support and follow this project by visiting this link here.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)