Authority figures are frequently sexual predators; drag queens, not so much • Louisiana Illuminator | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

The Louisiana Legislature and other lawmakers around the country will attempt to further marginalize the LGBTQ+ community through new laws, and you can expect more distortions of truth when their authors and proponents argue for their approval.

Drag queens and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual will be blamed for all things ranging from climate change to the Kennedy assassinations. Another version of the “Don’t Say ‘Gay’” bill will go before Louisiana lawmakers this session, with better odds the governor will endorse it into law. More forced, fact-challenged conflation from its proponents is all but certain. 

But what you won’t hear are inconvenient truths, such as the disproportionate share of authority figures who are perpetrators of child sexual abuse.  

A recent report from the Washington Post explored the alarming frequency at which law enforcement are accused of the sexual abuse of young people. Rodney Vicknair, a former member of the New Orleans Police Department, was the centerpiece of the story that counts hundreds of cases involving law enforcement. 

The New Orleans Police Department highlighted Officer Rodney Vicknair as a mentor to younger members of the force. (NOPD photo)

Vicknair was arrested in 2020 for the sexual battery of a teenager. He responded to a 14-year-old girl who had been raped and convinced her to go to a hospital for a sexual assault exam. Vicknair then began grooming the teen, whom he would send suggestive text messages, ask for inappropriate photos and eventually molest.

The NOPD had disciplined Vicknair four times before his arrest yet still elevated him to positions of authority. He was even a mentor for newer officers who the department singled out with a feature story on social media. 

Vicknair was convicted in federal court in 2023 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. He died Jan. 1 from a brain tumor after serving just six months. The survivor’s family is now suing the NOPD, claiming its leadership had long been aware of his inappropriate behavior.


Vicknair is hardly alone as an authority figure slow to be held accountable for their transgressions with minors.

Sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic faith is a global scandal, with thousands of priests and affiliated church personnel accused and hundreds of thousands of substantiated victims since 1950, according to church-compiled figures. Just within the Archdiocese of New Orleans alone, scores of priests and deacons have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, with the overwhelming majority of allegations involving young boys. 

Almost none of the perpetrators have faced criminal consequences, and Catholic leaders have been heavily criticized for not being more forthright and failing to hold offenders accountable. 

Catholics are by no means alone. Last week in Virginia, police arrested John Goodrich, a former Morman bishop, on charges he sexually abused his daughter while accompanying her on a school trip. An Associated Press investigation published in December revealed the extensive lengths The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gone to in order to protect Goodrich from any criminal consequences.

Instances of educators entering into inappropriate relationships with underage students have become disturbingly commonplace. Just last week, two teachers in Florida were arrested for allegedly having sex with students at their respective schools, located just miles apart. One of the accused, Boris Bastida, was named Educator of the Year in May 2023.

Now if you look hard enough, it’s certain you’ll find a gay person or drag queen who’s been accused or convicted of a sex crime. Like the rest of us, they’re not perfect people. But such instances are nowhere near as frequent as you’ll find among church leaders, educators and law enforcement — all figures of authority who are frequently given the benefit of doubt.  

Yet no one has suggested creating laws to treat police, teachers or clergy as lower-status members of society. Their basic civil rights or pursuit of chosen livelihoods have not been hindered. To the contrary, people frequently go out of their way to place them on a pedestal, often ignoring whatever transgressions their peers might have committed.

Meanwhile, people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and drag queens automatically earn a negative connotation, or they’re blamed for some societal ill with absolutely no evidence to support it. 

If data drives policy, lawmakers inclined to legislate against LGBTQ+ folks and drag queens would be hard pressed to defend measures they want taken. Their proposals should be called for what they are — fear-driven and hateful. 

They’re also pointless as long as the powerful go unpunished.

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