A Columbia University professor is siding with a twice-accused child molester who is the voice for the character Elmo and is hurting gays and lesbians in the process.
In today's New York Times, professor Katherine Franke defends Kevin Clash as “the most recent victim" of "a ‘sex panic,’” adding that “At precisely the moment when gay people’s right to marry seems to be reaching a positive tipping point, sexuality is being driven back into the closet as something shameful."
These callous remarks seem to equate gay sex with pedophilia, which is wrong, hurtful, and irresponsible. They play into and help perpetuate the most archaic and discredited notions about sexuality. Franke owes a deep and public apology to gays, lesbians and child sex abuse victims. And the Columbia administration should discipline her for such harmful comments which rub even more salt into the already deep wounds of many people.
Rarely is a civil child sex abuse lawsuit, especially one from the second alleged victim, a "completely unsubstantiated, vague complaint,” as Franke claims.
Consenting sex among adults is one thing. Child sex crimes are something else. The two should never be confused, especially not in such a hurtful way in such a public forum by a college professor.
And when one in four girls and one in eight boys are sexually violated in childhood, this is no "sex panic" but a genuine and devastating public health and safety crisis.
Shame on Professor Franke. And shame on Columbia University if its administrators and staff ignore her irresponsible behavior.
Read the story here.