Hoosier Controversy

Recently the school that hosts the Kinsey Institute temporarily removed the web log of a faculty member for suggesting gay men might not be the best teachers of young boys.

Indiana University Business Professor, Dr. Eric Rasmusen said on his web log, or blog, that “male homosexuals, at least, like boys and are generally promiscuous. They should not be given the opportunity to satisfy their desires.” Likening male teachers to foxes in the chicken coop, he reasoned that such access to young boys might be too much of a good thing for a gay man.

Now you can imagine the weeping and wailing in Bloomington. Doug Bauder, coordinator of IU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender services, was quoted as saying, “It’s not an easy Web page to look at. From what I read, it is very offensive.” Initially, the chair of the School of Business required the site removed. Dr. Rasmusen, apparently not of the ilk of Judge Roy Moore, forthwith moved the site to Yahoo. However, after some lawyers convened, the site is now back on IU’s server, no doubt attracting more visitors than ever.

So this much we know: whether true or false, saying that gay men might be more likely to molest boys than straight men can get you in trouble. But what of the claim we are investigating – are gay men more likely to molest boys than straight men? Well, in a nutshell, it all depends on how you define “more.”

From the statistics I have seen, self-defined heterosexuals probably commit more molestations in sheer numbers. However, since heterosexuals comprise 95-97 percent of the population, one must reexamine the definition of “more.” Adding the word “likely” to the word “more,” it seems that self-defined male homosexuals are more likely to abuse than are male heterosexuals. Male homosexuals are responsible for 36-40% of all child molestations but only make up 3-5% of the population. More straight men may molest than gay men but gay men may be more likely to molest than straights. Women rarely molest children and are not included in these statistics.

Here’s an analogy. Companies A and B both make auto brakes. Company A had 1,000 reports of brake failure last year, whereas Company B only had 500 such reports.

Company B gets my business, right?

Nope, I’m getting my brakes from Company A. Why? Company A made 1 million brakes and only 1,000 went bad; Company B made only 100,000 brakes with 500 offending items. Company B’s brakes are 5 times more likely to get me killed than the products of Company A.

So if this is all true and we probably need more research to say for certain, but if it is, then are Professor Rasmusen’s musings so irresponsible after all? One wonders if Dr. Rasmusen had questioned the appropriateness of another group as teachers, say Catholic priests, then would he have gotten the same reaction? What if research suggested a greater likelihood between identifying as homosexual and committing a sexual crime against a child? Wouldn’t responsible gay and lesbian leaders want to know that and do something about it?

We have asked no less from the Catholic church and no one needed statistics to make that call.