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From Dead and Gone (2000) by Andrew Vachss

Down the road a piece, I saw the signs for Jemez Springs. After we passed through the town, the road started to get steep. The Indian nodded his head in the direction of a church. There was a row of rooms behind it, like some motel out of the fifties, but very neat and well maintained. "Servants of the Paraclete," he said.

I'd never been near the place, but I'd heard about it for years. A safehouse for pedophile priests, where they could hole up for a while . . . and then go back into a new parish, all "cured." The church doesn't call them child molesters, or baby-rapers, or anything so terribly stigmatizing. No, predatory priests were "ephebophiles," part of the church's PR campaign to "dimensionalize" its own degenerates.

They know exactly how to play it. First you make up some "syndrome" or "disorder" that covers the crime. Then you give it some fancy-sounding name, and count on the whores and fools to spread the word. You don't have to prove anything, just repeat it often enough, preferably through a good media machine. Doesn't matter if the entire scientific community sneers at it. What counts is that it gives defense attorneys an argument for a "nonincarcerative alternative." And black-robed collaborators all the excuse they need.

I could see why they wouldn’t have a sign out front. But I didn’t know if the Indian was offering to educate me, or trying another test to see if I was who I claimed to be. So I just said: "Oh yeah. The recycling center."

He grunted an acknowledgment. Or maybe it was an agreement.

© Copyright 2000 Andrew Vachss. All Rights Reserved.



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