In a case which explores the depths of human depravity, authorities say that a Duke University official tried to persuade a person he had met in an internet chat room to travel to North Carolina to have sex with the official's adopted 5-year-old child. Unfortunately for Frank Lombard, the associate director of Duke's Center for Health Policy, he did not know at the time he attempted to pimp out the son he had adopted as an infant that the other person in the chat room was a police officer.
A District of Columbia police detective's affidavit charges that Lombard -- using the internet handle of "perv dad for fun" -- said he had sexually molested his young son:
Lombard was arrested and charged in federal court in Washington with attempting to induce someone to cross state lines to engage in sex with a child. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
A Duke spokesperson says Lombard, who has been employed with the university for ten years, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave. The university, which was notified of the incident after Lombard's arrest, is said by the spokesperson to be cooperating with the investigation.
Lombard's Facebook page proudly proclaims that he is a fan of Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, who delivered the invocation at the ' We Are One ' Inaugural Celebration for President Barack Obama.
According to the arrest warrant (PDF), Lombard lives in Durham with a gay partner and has two adopted children.
It will be interesting to see if this story gets half of the media attention that the Duke Lacrosse incident received. Our guess is no -- far from it. When the victim of a crime is not a member of one of the leftist media's protected groups, they show little interest in allowing such a story to grow legs.
The case is sure to add fuel to the controversy over the issue of gay adoption. On a pro-gay website, a post titled "What’s wrong with gay adoption?" claims:
...there’s nothing wrong with it. It improves the lives of children by bringing them into loving homes. Where’s the problem with that?
Apparently conservatives (such as luckily-not-president McCain) believe that allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt is somehow bad or immoral. McCain had this to say about it:
I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption.
So, better to leave them in an orphanage rather than to let them be adopted by what he think (sic) is a less than ideal family?
The issue of gay adoption doesn't get the press that gay marriage marriage does, but increasingly it is seen as an important new front in the battle for gay rights. On the other side of the battle line, it is also seen as a front in the battle for religious liberty:
For example, last year Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, filed a discrimination complaint against an Arizona-based adoption service.
The reason? Adoption Profiles refused to post same-sex couple profiles on its website. The result? That agency no longer operates in New York or California.
In 2006, Boston's Catholic Charities abandoned its adoption work rather than comply with Massachusetts' gay adoption law.
Religious liberties advocate Kevin Hasson worries about the implications of such moves.
"What's wrong with gay adoption from a religious liberties perspective is that it forces religious agencies and individuals to do something that violates their conscience," he said. "And that's wrong."
For now, the battle over who will adopt our nation's children remains in the courtroom both for individual cases and broader policy issues.
For every statistical study that shows that gay adoption is not harmful to children, there's one which shows that it does harm them. The battle will continue to rage, but stories like this one do not help gay activists make their case.