Sex scandal and compassion

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Friday, February 8, 2013

I HATE to compare but I am tempted to do so. Which is more daring and scandalous, the spread in the Internet and cell phones of a sex video involving a female university student or the posting of photos of female students in their bikinis on a social networking site?

I ask this question following the much-publicized video sex scandal involving a graduating female student of the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) that made me recall the case of St. Theresa’s College (STC) students who were not allowed to join the school’s commencement exercises after photos of them in bikinis were posted on Facebook.

When the recent sex scandal cropped up, the media withheld the name of the school out of respect. But USJR administration voluntarily came out the other day by holding a press conference acknowledging that the woman involved in the scandal is one of their students (reportedly a “dean's lister” who may graduate with honors).


School officials said they already received reports about the involvement of the student in the sex video weeks before the issue came out in the local media. They conducted an investigation and called the student. She was cooperative and was remorseful for what she and her former boyfriend did two years ago.

The girl claimed that they filmed their sexual encounters for their own consumption. But the cellular phone of her boyfriend was stolen and the one who took it could have been responsible for uploading the video on YouTube.

I saw the video just yesterday morning. I got tempted to watch it out of curiosity and to have first-hand knowledge of its contents.

Mao ra na. Dili na lang nako kaayo i-detalye. Layo ra kaayo sa ubang mga sex scandal. Pang-amateur ra gyod.

But instead of expelling the student for the immoral act which also painted a negative image of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR)-run school, the administration helped her recover from that traumatic experience. She was given special classes to avoid being a victim of heckling by fellow students and people who might recognize her.

The girl's plea that she would be allowed to graduate got a positive response from school officials. She will be allowed to graduate provided she will complete all the requirements for graduation.

I think she will be able to do so. In fact, she had completed her internship and is scheduled to defend her thesis.

I admire the manner USJR treated their student who was involved in a scandalous situation. At least school officials showed understanding, care and compassion to the student. That is what Christianity is about.

This is in contrast with the action of the Immaculati Cordis Mariae (ICM) sisters, who are running STC, against their students who posted pictures on Facebook last year showing them in their bikinis.

Although STC allowed the students to graduate, they were banned from participating in the commencement exercises as a sort of punishment for violating the students' manual on morality. The case even reached the court.

I believe that USJR and STC being sectarian schools have the same policy on morality. But how come USJR showed compassion to their student? Do STC nuns have a different meaning of compassion? Or does this mean that they have a higher standard of morality?


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 09, 2013.


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