Hello my darlings,

Mere hours after The V’s article on sexual harassment was edited, we learned that Michael Pratt, former principal of the seminary at Lone Peak High School, was sentenced to five years to life for forcible sexual abuse, forcible sodomy, and object rape of a 16-year-old student.

There is no doubt that Pratt’s actions were immoral – sex with a minor under any circumstances is reprehensible, and Pratt’s position as a spiritual advisor only magnifies his culpability. But by pleading guilty to all counts, Pratt saved some of his dignity.

The immediate response to the articles about Pratt’s conviction has been nauseating. Commentators on The Daily Herald and Deseret Morning News websites have placed the blame on everyone but the convicted – they say it’s the victim’s fault, his wife’s fault, the devil’s fault, the church’s fault or the fault of women that have sexually harassed students. Those who have investigated the event have decided that Pratt is fully accountable.

Furthermore, blaming his crimes on the women around him is straight-up misogyny. Commentators are saying that he couldn’t have been culpable because he held the priesthood, and therefore the victim is at fault – this is a deeply dangerous pattern of thought.

Too often in our culture female sexuality in any form is condemned unless used to intentionally create life with a husband. We cannot blame the adolescent victim for being a sexually viable candidate to Pratt. We cannot blame his wife for not “keeping him in check.”

In 1842, Joseph Smith said that men were accountable for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. When will women finally shake the odium of Eve’s sexual manipulation?

Mel Sundquist

Editor-in-chief of The V