The problem with treating everyone like a criminal rather than just those who might actually be guilty of something is that there is a law of unintended consequences. Case in point: The Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, requires that everyone in the diocese be fingerprinted: priests, seminarians, nuns, church employees, lay volunteers, and so on. Does your 80-year-old Aunt Gertrude teach CCD to toddlers? Fingerprint her like any felon down at the country jail.
It’s the same impulse that requires the same 80-year-old woman be pulled aside at the airport to be sure she’s not smuggling box cutters in her girdle. We must do that, we’re told, because we can’t offend people by profiling them. Never mind that every single terrorist highjacker in recent history has been an Islamic adult male from the Middle East. In the same way, never mind that the vast majority of sexual abuse in the Church was caused by homosexually inclined adult men who gave all the warning signs of being an abuser which were ignored by their bishops. No, in order to show that these same bishops are “doing something,” we have to order fingerprintings and background checks. One problem with background checks and fingerprinting, of course, is that they won’t catch the first-timers. After all, if a guy’s never been caught and arrested for abuse, then he won’t have a criminal background to check.