When Child Sex Abuse Isn’t News

Five years ago, Pope Benedict arrived in London to erupting controversy. Around 10,000 people took to the capital’s streets for a rally against the Holy Father’s “intolerance,” and as the Guardian reported, against “the child abuse scandal for which so many hold the pontiff personally responsible, for both accelerating it and then covering it up.”

The abuse in question centered for the most part on incidents that were 40 years old or more.

Nevertheless, CBS reporter Mark Phillips described the trip as “A test of whether Pope Benedict can get his message across over the background noise of the Church’s child abuse scandal. And that test gets harder as time goes on.”

The media were pledging to never let up with the noisemaking.

Today the United Kingdom is ablaze with the official discovery that in the northern English town of Rotherham, at least 1,400 children, some as young as 11, were groomed for sexual exploitation and rape (even gang rape) while the authorities looked the other way — from 1997 to 2013. The abusers were Pakistanis.

Some would ask (correctly): Where were the police? We would ask: Where are these child-defending networks now?