Child molestation?
Committed by a member of a church?!
Alert the media!

And who better to spread the word on this alarming "new" aberration than Channel 10 reporter Teresa Fischenich, latest recipient of New Times' prestigious Bill Close Award. Named in honor of Channel 10 antiquity Bill Close, the award is periodically bestowed on local newscasters who go below and beside the call of duty. (Previous honorees include Rebecca Aguilar, C.E. "Pep" Cooney, Bud Wilkinson, and the entire staff of NewsChannel 3.)

The intrepid Fischenich cops the coveted Close for her eyebrow-raising naivet. The subject was the arrest of 40-year-old volunteer church counselor John Wayne Nase for allegedly molesting a 12-year-old boy in the loft of St. Paul Lutheran Church in west Phoenix. The story was certainly sad, but it unfortunately was no surprise considering the slew of stories about church-related molesting during the past ten years. (The highly publicized list of local villains has included several Catholic priests.)

Oblivious to the "Not again!" nature of her story, Fischenich valiantly plowed ahead. "What parents are saying right now [is], 'If my children aren't safe at church, where are they safe?'," she announced solemnly during the KTSP-TV 5 p.m. newscast on July 21.

Then, in voice-over narration as the TV screen was filled with dramatic shots of the church's empty parking lot, Fischenich added, "It's the one place that parents assume they can leave their children without worrying about their safety."

Eventually concluding that such crimes against children can occur anywhere (in church, even!), Fischenich attempted to calm panicky parents by pointing out that the kiddies are probably safe in Sunday school "99.9 percent of the time."

Whew, what a relief! By Fischenich's less-than-reassuring calculations, that means one out of a thousand juvenile churchgoers--that's a high number, folks--can expect to be molested in their houses of worship.

Let us pray.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.