A 62-year-old former Mormon bishop pleaded guilty in Logan yesterday to lewdness (see here, third item). According to the article, this guy took two 15-year-olds on a nude snowmobile ride and hit the sauna at his cabin in the buff with them. I assume that the two juveniles were male. Otherwise I seriously doubt prosecutors would have only pursued misdemeanor charges.
In his defense, the guy told police that “he didn’t feel that anyone was uncomfortable.” What universe does this man live in? Didn’t this guy learn anything from the MoTab member that skinny dipped with boys and videotaped it (see here)? There is obviously a good reason Mr. Nude Snowmobiler must undergo a mental evaluation. Thank goodness he’s been ordered to have no unsupervised contact with juveniles, even if he’s not in jail.
In our post-modern sexually liberated world, snowmobiling and saunaing bare is OK, right? Perhaps, provided there is adequate privacy. But not with minors. Maybe that’s OK in Scandinavia, but it’s not OK in the USA. It’s called child abuse, folks.
This man’s clueless response to police is actually a very common pattern for child abusers. In their minds they see themselves and their victims as equals. They think they and their victims bear equal responsibility for what occurs in the relationship. They completely discount the tremendous power differential in the relationship.
Can’t this guy see that being four times these kids’ age, being successful (at least successful enough to have snowmobiles and a cabin with a sauna), and having held venerated leadership positions gives him extraordinary influence over these kids? Well, no. Abusers don’t see it like that. They lie to themselves about equality of responsibility and fool their own consciences.
Don’t get me wrong. Every capable individual bears a certain level of responsibility for his/her own actions. But in interpersonal relationships we need to consider the power differential and comprehend appropriate levels of responsibility to have successful and morally appropriate interactions.