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P.A.S.T.O.R. program allows convicted priests to teach Sex Ed

 article about P.A.S.T.O.R. program allows convicted priests to teach Sex Ed
2007-03-02 01:21:26

This article belongs to Ignorance Inc. column.

BROOKLYN, NY (Nov. 8)–Billy Green is confused.

The 15-year-old Clara Barton High School freshman doesn't know who to ask for a date: Ashley, the cute blonde in his third-period Biology class . . . or his best friend Mark.


Billy, who has been an altar boy for several years at St. Michael's, the Catholic Church in his neighborhood, doesn't know exactly why he has feelings for both teens. He only knows that Father Doug told him to "be true to his nature."


"It's strange; you know what I'm sayin'? I mean, Ashley is a shorty for rizzle!! Only . . . I don't know . . . I be all comfortable and what not when I be with Mark. Know what I'm sayin'?"


His confusion about this complex subject is easily explained. At Clara Barton, sex education isn't taught until tenth grade. So, when Green had his first erection – his "morning glory bloomed," according to his friends – he naturally sought out the advice of Father Doug Thompson, the rector at St. Michael's.


"Poppa D be knowin' all about that stuff," Green said. "He spent three years up at Attica, so I guess he be learnin' about it there."


In 2001, Thompson was convicted of sexually molesting Zachary Bittrell, the 12-year-old St. Michael's altar boy. Near the end of his prison term, Thompson met with prison officials to discuss a plan he'd devised for himself and other clergy who'd been convicted of similar crimes.


Thompson's plan became known as P.A.S.T.O.R., short for "Priests Are Still Teachers Operating Respectfully." The program would require a convicted clergyman to teach sex-education classes as a stipulation of his parole.


"Well, it's quite simple, actually," the priest said. "We members of the clergy are the only remaining icons of dignity and morality in the community. Who better, then, to teach our young boys . . . people, I mean, young people . . . about the birds and the bees?"


Thompson then said that he needed to end the interview because it was "playtime for the children." Since 1997, St. Michael's has hosted a community activities period for neighborhood youth. (Oddly enough, Thompson said that about 95% of the youths are male.)


The Roman Curia, which governs over the Catholic Church's daily affairs, has been supportive of the program. According to Thompson, the organization has even volunteered to provide books and photographs to aid in classroom presentations.

So next fall, Billy Green's sex-ed class will be taught by none other than Father Doug himself. In addition to films and round-table discussions, the priest said he is offering private tutoring sessions for students who need help.

"Obviously, I'm male, and since I'm more knowledgeable of the male anatomy, I'll only be tutoring the boy students." 23-year-old P.E. teacher's assistant Gina Dellacorta will tutor the females.


"Aw, you know it's gonna be off the hizzle, B!!!" Green said. "Poppa D be knowin' all about the copulizzle, and the sodomizzle . . . he done told me that if I be good, he gonna hook me up with a menage-a-trizzle!! I be buggin' when he told me that."


When reached for comment, Clara Barton Principal Gert Alexander simply said, "I'm scared . . . please help me."


"Our streets are filled with drugs, sex, and the devil's music," said the priest. "Hopefully, some of our clergy's exemplary behavior will . . . well, 'rub off' is how I'd put it."


If successful, prisons across the nation will implement the program.


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