December 04, 2007
Spelling 'sex scandal' with no 'H'
Posted by: Chris
[The Cooperating Witness (CW)] and McHaney were conversing online Friday afternoon when the CW asked whether McHaney was interested in engaging in anal sex with a 13-year-old boy. "I'll be there," McHaney allegedly replied.
He later asked for a photo of the child with whom he and the CW would have sex and whether the boy had "any pubes." When told no, McHaney allegedly replied, "That's hot." McHaney was nabbed in the lobby of an unnamed "predetermined location," where he had arranged to meet CW.
There can be little doubt that if McHaney were an aide to, say, Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott or some other anti-gay Republican, the blogosphere would be having a field day with the arrest. But as it turns out, McHaney works for gay-friendly Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat.
The logic here is what fascinates me. It would be hypocritical for the aide to an anti-gay Republican to be busted as a sexual predator, but it's not hypocritical for the aide of a pro-gay Democrat. What does that say about pro-gay Democrats exactly? That we expect this sort of behavior from them and their staff? Or is that so long as you don't legislate morality, your own immorality and that of your staff doesn't "stick" on you?
It will also be interesting to see as this story plays out whether it's picked up in the gay press or treated as a gay story in the mainstream press. Whether it should is not an easy question if you're reporting the story fairly. McHaney's name isn't familiar to me, so I don't know if he self-identified as gay or not.
Dealing in the hypothetical, a 28-year-old like McHaney who attempts sex with an 8-year-old is clearly a pedophile, but if he tried the same thing with a 15-year-old then he looks a lot more like a predator who is gay. In this case the fictional victim was a male of 13 -- who shouldn't be called a "child" as he was in press accounts but is clearly beyond the pale for adult sexual interest -- putting the perp in a gray area to be called "pedophilic."
When the gay newspapers under my direction covered the Catholic priest sex scandal, we regularly confronted the question of when a particular allegation was gay vs. pedophilic or, as some psychologists argued, ephebophilic, which means a sexual interest in teens in the midst of the puberty. In this case, McHaney would appear to be ephebophilic or pedophilic, if the police reports are accurate -- especially since he thought it was "hot" that his fictional sex partner had no pubic hair.
And speaking of whether the police report was accurate, I was also interested to see that Cantwell fired McHaney hours after his arrest, before he even entered a plea, much less was found guilty. Just a reminder that "innocent until proven guilty" is true in a court of law but not in the court of politics and public opinion.
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