Tag Archives: sex

STIs Aren’t a Consequence

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Youth Pastor Watch

One of the most amazing features on Slog, which I would read during my years in Seattle, was Youth Pastor Watch. As Dan Savage explains:

I started doing weekly YPW posts during the long-but-way-shorter-than-we-thought-it-would-be fight for marriage equality. Religious bigots were running all over the country claiming we had to protect the children from married same-sex couples because married gay couples would want to have kids and won’t someone please think of the children! These same religious bigots didn’t seem interested in protecting kids from the sexual predators in their own churches. They didn’t want to have a conversation about who was actually preying on vulnerable kids. They didn’t want anyone thinking about that. Et voilà, Youth Pastor Watch!

It went away for a while – the article I linked to explained why – but now it’s back, because, as Dan Savage explains:

Because trans men and women are already using restrooms all over the country and there isn’t a single case anti-trans bigots can cite to justify their anti-trans hate campaign—not a single case of trans women exploiting civil rights protections to prey on children in public restrooms—but the news is still full of stories about kids being raped in the churches they’re dragged to by their parents. Because children are actually safer in restrooms being used by trans men and women than they are in church basements, on church retreats, or during church youth groups. Because it’s something we need to bear in mind while pious shitstains like Ted Cruz—and the pious shitstains pushing an anti-trans ballot initiative here in Washington state—insist they’re just trying to protect the children.

A few final thoughts before we get to this week’s youth pastors: If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they got raped at church, it would be illegal to take your kid to Denny’s. Trans urinators aren’t a danger to kids. Youth pastors are. And why focus just on youth pastors? Because when I included pastors, priests, Sunday school teachers, and church staff… these posts were way, way too long. I had to find a way to narrow the scope. So: youth pastors.

I just have to excerpt the two most recent entries, here and here. This is now (and was before) a once- or twice-weekly roundup on Slog.


VIRGINIA: “The man who once led a church youth group has pleaded guilty to committing sex crimes against children he met through the organization. Jeffrey Clark, 46, entered a guilty plea on three counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery and two counts of Indecent Acts with Child by Custodian, Monday morning in a packed Colonial Heights courtroom. A judge sentenced Clark to 60 years in prison. Forty-seven years of that prison sentence was suspended. A 21-year-old college student, who said Clark abused him as a child, looked Clark in the eye when he told Clark the former youth group leader ruined his life…. Clark was arrested last summer when police said he inappropriately touched another boy at his Chester home.”


ARIZONA: “The pastor of a church in Tolleson is condemning a youth leader who’s accused of having sex and doing drugs with a teen parishioner. Pastor Tony, as he’s known, has admitted to all of it and the girl’s father has the ‘sexts’ to back up the sickening stories. Robert Anthony Jerez is behind bars facing nine counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of sexual abuse…. The 35-year-old Jerez is accused in court documents of having sex with the girl 10 times from October of last year until this past January, using drugs and drinking with the girl at her house and sexting with her…. The documents show Jerez admits to having sex with an underage girl at least three times. Court documents reveal he knew the victim was underage.”


TEXAS: “A Texas youth pastor who has been accused of sexually assaulting at least three kids was beaten up by good Samaritans as he molested a child last week. Willie Bell, 29, was caught in the act attacking a 6-year-old kindergarten student behind an apartment building in Dallas on March 31… Bell did not live at the apartment complex and did not know the child or the mother. ‘When I heard he is a student pastor, I’m like really?’ the mom told the station. ‘Who can you trust? Who can you believe?’ The youth pastor has also been accused of molesting two young boys in Cedar Hill in February while wearing ‘church shoes,’ according to the station.”


ARKANSAS: “A Craighead County circuit judge has sentenced a former Jonesboro youth minister to two life sentences for rape, Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro said. Anthony Waller, 39, of Marion was charged in November on two counts of rape after authorities found a ‘very large amount of child pornography’ on his computer, Ellington said. An arrest affidavit filed in Craighead County Circuit Court in November indicated that police found thousands of images…. Waller was the youth minister of Jonesboro First Assembly of God from 1999 to 2015. He was fired two days after the voyeurism charges were filed.”

And some more:


MAINE: “A youth minister affiliated with a Canaan church has been charged with sexually abusing a young girl. Lucas Savage, 37, of Clinton was arrested Friday night and charged with unlawful sexual contact, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Savage is director of ministries at Youth Haven Ministries in Canaan. That organization is affiliated with the Canaan Calvary Church, McCausland said. Savage was arrested in Mercer and taken to the Kennebec County Jail.”


CALIFORNIA: “A 54-year-old Bay Area man who volunteered for a local church’s youth group was arraigned Wednesday on 30 charges of child molestation and possession of child pornography, officials said. All of the charges pertain to one victim, a man now in his late 20s, who recently came forward with allegations that he was sexually abused and shown child pornography between the ages of 5 and 12 by the defendant, Gregory Helfrich, of Los Altos Hills…. The suspect volunteered for the Abundant Life Christian Fellowship’s ‘SAFARI kids’ program in Mountain View.”


OKLAHOMA: “A former Moore youth minister is behind bars Friday, accused of sending pornographic pictures and videos to several teens at his church. Casey Haynes is no longer employed as the youth minster at the Central Church of Christ…. Court documents say Haynes used the social media app Snapchat, to ‘[exchange] pictures and videos with at least four minors’ — teens who detectives say were part of Haynes’ youth group. One of the girls told the investigator, after a church youth event Haynes ‘put his hand under her shirt and grabbed her breast.’ ‘It’s unfortunate that we see a lot of this in the schools and now in churches. It’s someone you trust with your kids,’ said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, Moore Police.”

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If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot

I agree with most of the article; here’s a sample:

We need a varied, active, and dynamic picture of sex workers, not a muffled, stunted one. I started porn after going to grad school for writing and biology and being a college English instructor. I know plenty of porn performers with other jobs: meteorology, fashion design, dairy farming, law, freelance writing, directing, nursing, nonprofit organizing. Those are just off the top of my head. Yes, there are porn performers who—like many writers, actors, etc.—have no other job and are struggling. And there are other sex workers working out of various causes of necessity. The point isn’t that doing sex work out of need doesn’t exist. Nor is the point that we have to absolutely love sex work to do it. Not everyone loves their job, and sex workers should not be singled out and forced to simply because of the “sex” in their work. The point is, your picture of who sex workers are must be multifaceted. It’s a picture that’s ineluctably complex, yet anti-sex activists want us to hear one voice and will symbolically kill the rest of us to achieve the effect.

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Great logic.

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The War on Sex Trafficking

…is the new war on drugs:

Instead, we fund police task forces to monitor Internet ads for weeks in search of suspect code words or tattoos. We pass laws mandating more prison time for pimps. We set up elaborate sting operations for both sex workers and their customers. We hang “Are you being trafficked?” signs at strip clubs and highway rest stops, and train airport staff on how they can spot the signs of sex trafficking. We act as if sex traffickers are organized, jet-setting, diabolical, and legion. We are chasing our own mythology, to the detriment of actual results.

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Sexting And Crime

I couldn’t agree more.

Police Detective Mike Mohney told WBST.com that sexting is a serious crime because [when teenagers sext it can lead to] “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they’re so embarrassed about it.”

Mohney’s statement is a perfect example of the inherent contradiction of ruining kids’ lives for sexting. If the goal is to avoid “severe consequences,” why would they pursue charges in the first place? If sexting-induced embarrassment is a source of violence and suicide, certainly the risk of embarrassment is made much worse by branding the offender a pedophile—for abusing no one but himself—and sentencing him to the sex offender registry…. Authorities warn that the consequences for the underage are just too dire, but the most awful outcome is the one the authorities themselves impose on perpetrators: criminal charges. Can you imagine being a 14-year-old, trying to get your life back on track, after being socially stigmatized, expelled, charged with a crime, and publicly branded a sex offender? All because you took a picture of yourself?

Teens who create and share sexy photos aren’t child pornographers. They are teenagers. To pretend the law can suppress their natural curiosity about their own bodies, and each other’s, is to subscribe to vindictive madness and paranoia about human sexuality. These kids aren’t hurting themselves—we’re hurting them.

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Komen Losses

I hadn’t heard these numbers:

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation committed one of the great PR faux pas of the decade in January 2012, when it summarily cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in what appeared to be a bow to anti-abortion crusaders.

Now, with its release of its latest financial statements, the cost of that decision can be measured: It’s more than $77 million, or fully 22% of the foundation’s income. That’s how much less the Dallas-based foundation collected in contributions, sponsorships and entry fees for its sponsored races in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, compared with the previous year.

Or this:

The affair led to more public scrutiny of the foundation’s own record. It transpired, for instance, that while the foundation depicted itself as devoted chiefly to research for a breast cancer cure, it spent only about 20% of its donations on research; the biggest expenditure category was public education, at more than 50%. Critics questioned whether “education” really should be such a heavy priority in a field where research issues remain important.

Or this:

Since the controversy, the foundation has struggled to regain the nearly unquestioned public support it once had. Its founder, Nancy Brinker, a prominent figure in the Texas GOP who says she founded the organization after her sister Susan Komen succumbed to breast cancer, has stepped down as CEO.


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Language vis a vis Women, Reproduction, and Violence

I adore this article by Rebecca Solnit, because of how carefully and analytically – and humorously – it untangles the relationship between language and the inequities between men and women. It begins this way:

In a detective novel, you begin in a state of ignorance and advance toward knowledge, clue by clue. The little indicators add up at last to a revelation that sets the world to right and sees that justice is done, or at least provides the satisfaction of a world made clear in the end. If detective fiction is the literature of disillusion, then there’s a much more common literature of illusion that aspires to deceive and distract rather than clarify.

A perfect recent example is the Center for Disease Control’s new and widely mocked guidelines to drinking. They are like a detective novel run backward—if you read them with conviction, you’d become muddled about what a woman is and how violence and pregnancy happen and who is involved in those things. On the other hand, if you read more carefully, you might know why the passive tense is so often a cover-up and that the missing subject in a circumlocutionary sentence is often the guilty party.

Just one more excerpt:

Language matters. We just had a big struggle around the language about rape so that people would stop blaming victims. The epithet that put it concisely is: rapists cause rape. Not what women wear, consume, where they go and the rest, because when you regard women as at fault you enter into another one of our anti-detective novels or another chapter of the mystery of the missing protagonist. Rape is a willful act, the actor is a rapist. And yet you’d think that young women on campuses in particular were raping themselves, so absent have young men on campuses been from the mystificational narratives. Men are abstracted into a sort of weather, an ambient natural force, an inevitability that cannot be governed or held accountable. Individual men disappear in this narrative and rape, assault, pregnancy just become weather conditions to which women have to adapt. If those things happen to them, the failure is theirs. This training begins early. Girls in middle and high school even now, even in supposedly progressive places like New York and San Francisco, are told their forms and garments cause male behavior. Who is responsible for the behavior of boys in these narratives about spaghetti straps and leggings? Girls.

We have a lot of stories like this in this country, stories that, if you believe them, make you stupid. Stories that are not expositions but cover-ups on things like the causes of poverty. Stories that unhitch cause from effect and shunt meaning aside.

Go read the whole thing.

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