- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Let me get this straight. An adult man sends lurid electronic messages to a teen-ager. Parents of one boy complain to adults who know this man. The media gets hold of some of the messages — which are as disgusting as all get out — and the man who sent them resigns from his job.

If any of those facts are wrong, then I stand to be duly corrected.

But I ask, dear readers, what’s missing from that scenario — a scenario that happens day in and out across America? A scenario that puts our children at risk because, for one reason or another, adults excuse certain types of behavior and because we have lost our collective sense of right and wrong?

You know the adage: If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.

Seems Americans have bought the wag-the-dog story hook line and sinker.

There was a time when the line of demarcation was straight. There was no gray area between wrong and right. But times have changed — and not for the better.

Listen in on this conversation:

Man #1: “Is there a part of you that really wishes there was this… 13-year-old girl here?”

Man #2: “If there were really a 13-year-old girl who looked like your friend there, then … (laughs) then I don’t know (laughs).”

Actually, there’s nothing funny. Nothing to laugh about. That conversation was between an NBC “Dateline” correspondent and a man who thought he was about to get it on with a 13-year-old girl.

Thirteen years old, for goodness sake.

Man #2 is creepy, the “Dateline” series exposing the pervasiveness of child predators is creepier, but the fact that parents and the mass media defend child predators is the creepiest of all.

The crying game by Democrats and Republicans alike is a sham. The dirty laundry isn’t Mark Foley’s alone.

Mark Foley is hiding, as any shame-faced man would, because his enablers and his handlers are shame-faced, too. But dispense, already, with the sympathy and excuses.

Alcohol didn’t make Mark Foley do what he did. Homosexuality did not make him do it. The people of Florida entrusted him to go to Capitol Hill and do the right thing.

If a closet door is open long enough, sunshine will eventually expose everything in it — the clean as well as the dirty.

Republicans and conservatives are now trying to sniff out the dirty laundry, which will be neither clean nor dry by the Nov. 7 elections.

Everybody’s trying to take sides. Some are trying to push the Justice Department toward a quick investigation. But that’s as wrong as failing to swing wide the door to the closet.

If a politician tries to hide behind gender or sexuality, then how can voters possibly trust that politician to do the right thing?

If the media consistently pays favorites with pedophiles, rapists and perverts, how can we wag the finger when we let the media wag the dog? Here’s what I mean: A lesbian molests a female student and the media dubs it an “affair.” A teacher in Massachusetts e-mails naked photos of herself to a student and all she receives is two years’ probation. A teacher in Florida molests a 14-year-old boy and she gets no jail time. A member of Congress entices boys via electronic messages, and, instead of focusing on his potential criminal activities, we raise eyebrows about his sexuality, who knew what and when did they know it.

Any adult man or woman who tries to sexually entice a child is morally bankrupt and must face the full wrath of the law.

Don’t make excuses for those people. Don’t let them get away with trying to hide in the closet of mitigating circumstances — i.e., “I’m sick, I couldn’t help myself, or “I was molested as child,”or any other such nonsense.

Face the facts.

For months now, tens of millions of viewers have watched as “Dateline,” working with an organization called Perverted Justice, helps law enforcers nab predators. Predators come from various faiths and professions. Some are older than we might expect, and some have even tried to run from the cameras when they’ve learned they no longer are in the closet. Some are straight and some are not.

But there are two things they all have in common: They are eager and anxious to molest our children as soon as we turn our backs.

That is why it is unconscionable that adults were aware that another adult was trying to develop relationships with boys but looked the other way. Flip the script, with the enticer being a congresswoman instead of a congressman, and the scenario is equally lewd.

And the political stench is unbelievable.

But, hey, who knows? Perhaps Mr. Foley wanted to get caught. He certainly wasn’t hiding his “overly friendly” interests. After all, Mr. Foley’s e-mail handle was as obvious as all get out: His initials and the year of his birth.

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