“Church Report Cites Social Tumult in Priest Scandals,” by Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, May 17, 2011
“In one of the most counterintuitive findings, the report says that fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia, which it defines as a “psychiatric disorder that is characterized by recurrent fantasies, urges and behaviors about prepubescent children.
“Thus, it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests,’ ” the report says.
That finding is likely to prove controversial, in part because the report employs a definition of “prepubescent” children as those age 10 and under. Using this cutoff, the report found that only 22 percent of the priests’ victims were prepubescent.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies a prepubescent child as generally age 13 or younger. If the John Jay researchers had used that cutoff, a vast majority of the abusers’ victims would have been considered prepubescent.”
34 thoughts on “New York Times Article Makes Good Points About John Jay Report”
While I have not yet read the report myself, I understand it also does not disclose its alleged source of information concerning the priests’ “recurrent fantasies [&] urges”. W/o truthful answers from the priests themselves (not likely) the only judgment the authors could possibly make would be w/ respect to “recurrent … behaviors”, & we know there are many unreported incidents of those.
While I have very little confidence that the data provided by the bishops to the John Jay researchers was complete and/or truthful(see The Fog of Scandal by Ana Maria Cantanzaro), I feel compelled to make a few observations.
The report defines “prepubescent” children as those under age 10, while the American Psychiatric Association classifies
a prepubescent child as 13 or younger.
The report says that fewer than 5% of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia. Are we supposed to be happy that 95% are just your garden variety child sexual abusers?
In law enforcement, the term “pedophile” is generally used to describe those accused or convicted of child sexual abuse under sociolegal definitions of “child” (including both prepubescent children and adolescents younger than the local age of consent. (In PA, the age of consent in cases of sexual assault is 16; for corruption of a minor, 18)
I don’t think that many judges would find the excuse of the social and sexual turmoil of the 60s and 70s,a compelling excuse for crimes committed by me or my fellow boomers.
Way to go Claire !!! I’m a boomer as well and I agree we should stop blaming these crimes on the wild and crazy 60’s. These predators groom their victims for months before the encounter of sexual assault and repeated abuse takes place. The bishops should have used common sense when informed of these abuse cases and acted quickly, mainly, get this guy to jail and not react to protect the institution first.
If you are up to it, read some of the readers comments on the NYT article. They are not as “polite” as the comments here.
As always the ‘rcc’ continues to place the ‘blame’ on someone / something else, like a child who gets caught doing something wrong. To me the John Jay report is another PR tactic as the rcc will use all means what ever to create doubt . What about the other countries that did not have Woodstock or this cultural revolution what is their excuse ?
Nick and Claire
I was a youngster growing up in the 70’s and my parents were very protective and strict.I can’t ever remember being warned about the sexual predators that were spawned from the “free love” generation.
I also can’t remember reading anything in history about the 60’s and 70’s resulting in adult/child sexual relationships.But then again no sex between an adult and child is a relationship,it is abuse.Always has been, always will be.
read especially from 6 down – free love try club preverts.
You could relate a few of these to current offenders. At least one is on Megans list in Md.
Again. many of the members of these orders/congregations probably had no idea of what was happening.
There is no amount of stress or isolation that would cause me to sexually abuse a minor. There is no amount of explicit pornography or free love thinking that would make me find a child sexually attractive. Pedophilia or sex abuse has and always will be deviant. Criminals in jail kill other inmates who harm children – even in the 60s and 70s. It’s basic human instinct to protect children. What could over ride that? Money and power, perhaps.
You would think priests were only surrounded by kids……..what about all the adults they minister too????? I have been told by protestant friends’s their problem is ministers having affairs with the women that help out in the church or come to them with problems……our priests could just as easily have affairs with women or men for that matter. Alot of the victims being men are because these priests are mostly gay…….who are they trying to kid with this study??????
I meant to say male……..they are just boys
That’s not to say all gay priests molest kids. If you look up defintions of pedophilia and child molester you will see there is a a difference in terms. Either way what they did was to a child and was a crime and a sin.
Susan, what else need be said:
“There is no amount of stress or isolation that would cause me to sexually abuse a minor. There is no amount of explicit pornography or free love thinking that would make me find a child sexually attractive. Pedophilia or sex abuse has and always will be deviant. Criminals in jail kill other inmates who harm children – even in the 60s and 70s. It’s basic human instinct to protect children. What could over ride that? Money and power, perhaps.”
ANY QUESTIONS ????????
These bishops and cardinals are amazing in their shameful distortion of the truth.
They don’t like the word “pedophile”, so they change the definition of “minor” to be under 10 years old because that is the definition of a minor somewhere in the world. By the way, that’s also how Rigali got away with saying that “no priests accused of abusing minors are in the church” just days before he removed 37 of them.
The Catholic church will be as dishonest as technicalities allow them to be, and as dishonest as their stupid congregation allows.
They knew that you thought “under 18” when Rigali was talking about minors, but he meant “under 10”. They don’t like the word pedophile, so they change the definition. I don’t care what you call it – if you rape a 13 year old and lie about it, people like me are going to make sure the world knows about it, and what is written in newspapers today will be read by teenagers for years to come.
Here’s what this means for you:
It’s tough for a teenager to remain a Catholic, so here’s the gift that you’ve just given them.
When you ask them if they “do drugs”, they will use the “Catholic truth”, which is that technically marijuana and cocaine are plants, and not drugs, so they aren’t doing drugs. When you ask if they did drugs and had sex, they can technically say that they didn’t, because they drank and had sex. When you ask if they used a condom if they had sex, they can say yes, even if they only used a condom for part of the time.
Did you go to mass? (Yes, last month)
Did you do your homework? (Yes, last month)
Did you fill out your college application? (yes, after the deadline)
This is what your future teenagers are learning about truth in the Catholic church, and now they can get away with almost anything with the right word play, thanks to the teachings of your Catholic church.
Actually, it looks like I lied. I said it was tough to be a teenage Catholic. It’s much easier than when I was one, when there was just the truth and lying.
When I go to my wife’s cancer doctor the reach on the drug is funded by the drug company, Penn State did research on the Marcellus Shale that was poor, even researchers will admit that the researchers have a certain goal in mind when they start a project – determined by the funding. Now why would I question this study? I questioned all of the above studies.
Rest assured the predators in this study are not liars, and the age that they define pedophilia is somewhere in canon law. I guess next they will claim the victims were more mature for their age so 10 years would be more accurate. Also, that Latin was the original language for all books of the Bible. Also, nothing is lost in translation from one language to another. (Even Psalm 22 is open to error in translation – suffering servant). Did they use lie detectors, I would prefer shock treatment sorry that’s against the law and I would be in jail.
I really don’t understand – there are multiple offenders – so screening isn’t a factor, hiding the truth is. Maybe multiple offenders don’t fit their criteria.
Still like to know why when I substituted in the Catholic high schools (when I worked for the gov) why their brains hurt so much when I challenged them, the girls a little less, than the boys.Maybe they listened when I talked about male domination and how if would affect their lives.
Wish they would experience the Mass, not saying the Mass. Not only administer the sacraments, but minister to your people. Washing the feet on your feast days is not as important as freeing their souls. You have kept us in bondage too long. Open your records and free us all.
Two decades ago I was in my early twenties and I took my beautiful new baby to our Catholic church to inquire about him being baptised. I was turned down and told it was a new church policy that they were trying to get rid of Catholics like me because we cost the church money. They only wanted Catholics who went to mass every Sunday. I knew there was something terribly wrong with this church and that they were not following the Bible. All they ever wanted was money. They never cared about the people. The way they are covering up these scandals does not surprise me. They are not acting like Christians.
I hope to see reports like this on a regular basis. The more that the rcc tries to justify and explain away their criminal behavior, the more media coverage is generated. This report made the NBC world news last night. The national attention to this cover-up is reaching more people each day. No matter what they do or say, or how they try to spin the facts; the church cannot now and never will be able to convince the world that they are innocent in this massive betrayal of trust. The hierarchy is so used to bullying their flock through guilt and fear, but those days are coming to an end. The victims, and all of us, deserve better. Our children will never accept this.
Hurray!!!! and to add, we have all become “victims”. We have all been abused in one way or another. Abuse is sexual and emotional.
The bishop also acknowledged that he did little in response to a string of complaints that Father Shanley was giving speeches outside of Boston that endorsed sex between men and boys and was attending the formative meetings of the North American Man-Boy Love Association.
I heard about this …….this is what I meant that there is definitely a prefernece to molest boys by priests…..it does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out…..these priests could have had affairs with women …..but they didn’t
May I ask if you have any academic or scientific support for your opinion. My understanding is that most experts disagree.
Would be difficult to get any proof as the Church holds the records. When I work on water quality, I got primary records, and when I did cancer audits I worked on the actual medical records of the patients. As most religious priests work with boys and usually nuns with girls the victim of “opportunity” would tend to be same sex. Also, men would go with Boy camping while women would go with girls camping. A man taking girls by himself would not be acceptable.
Again, these are people with a warped sence of conscience – they believe that this is okay on one level, but realize it must be wrong on another level. Though some had no problem admitting they molested.
Waiting for the rest of the problems to come out. Hopefully this site continues to be open so other victims have the strength to come forward when the SOL is lifted.
Still like to know what the next excuse will be Disco, heavy metal, those racy novels. Better take the TV out of the rectories, might be the next cause of abuse.
Thanks for being polite. I will try to find a few studies for you. After you are around things long enough just common sense and experience lead me to believe it. Let’s just say I was in the health industry and seen too much……… also my husband’s offender was gay though married and prefered boys and liked to talk about the man-boy group as justifying his behavior.Ed was tallking about it. I repeat not all gay man molest kids………..this I know from experience too. I agree with drwho13 about the 90%. Read alot of things to support it……just can’t come up with one off the top of my head.
Beth – Here’s one for you.
“Dr. Richard Fitz gibbons, a psychiatrist who has treated many troubled priests, said that the statistical evidence in the John Jay report clearly indicated a connection with homosexuality: a connection that the report itself denied. Fitzgibbons said that “analysis of the research demonstrates clearly that the major cause of the crisis was the homosexual abuse of males.” He added that the John Jay College authors, who are experts in criminology rather than psychology, “lack the professional expertise to comment on causes of sexual abuse”” (Catholic Culture).
For the full article go to:
lpmulligan – All other things being equal, if about 90% of the sexual abuse cases involving priests also involve boys, I can thing of only two possibilities that are reasonable.
Homosexual priests offend far more frequently that do heterosexual priests, or 90% of the priests are homosexual. Which is it?
If it’s neither, give me a reasonable alternative hypothesis.
” and that one of the bishops’ main problems in the past had been the acceptance of advice of psychologists and psychiatrists at various treatment centres who assured them that abusing priests could safely be returned to parish work.”
Don’t agree with all of it, but here are some stats(article). Rev Harvey and I had a few discussions in the 70’s before he began treating these offenders. He did a lot of good work with gays (70′), but not sure of what happened once he started working with offenders. I believe that some experts believe he did enable some predators. He is now deceased.
I have little knowledge of the details, but know enough to find articles. The Church needs to own these problems that the caused and relieve the suffering of Beth, her husband and all of us in the Church. These problems have caused the loss of vocations and have hurt every Catholic as less become religious and priests causing staffing problems at schools and churches.
These are stats, but individual souls had their innocence taken from them – from the people they trusted the most.
Thanks Ed. I just wanted to clarify. My husband was not molested by a priest by a member of a protestant church but there were similarities with him being gay.
I worked in many churches – abuse in all of them as far as I am concerned you are part of God’s Church. Just had a minister sentenced in Bradford county –
God blees you.
Ed – As you noted there is sexual abuse that takes place in all Churches, however the RCC’s centrally controlled organizational structure allows that abuse to become systemic, unlike independent churches.
As long the RCC has a bishop or a pope who is a benevolent Shepherd, the organization behaves morally. When a malevolent bishop or pope comes to power, the situation can’t be corrected from within, due to the lack of a system of checks and balances (C&B).
Without C&B in place, when an evil leader comes to power the problem can not be resolved without external intervention, i.e., Libya.
How much faith can one place in the results of a study that is in large part paid for by the Church, and the Church Herself has selectively provided the data that is to be analyzed?
For organizations constructed in this manner the only hope for justice is some form of external intervention, in this case the secular legal system. Unfortunately, that system is often shy about intervening in Church matters for fear of political repercussions.
Only point I am making is it is not just a Catholic problem and unless all religions get together the SOL will not be lifted. It is not just the bishops, the people need to get their heads out of the sand. If it is a “Philadelphia problem” then many people outside the area won’t support it, if it is outside the philly area many people in Philly don’t support it. Just PA politics. I have a few abuse stories in my family that I don’t feel comfortable – or at least my family members won’t feel comfortable because it doesn’t fit the criteria here.
My pain is not just from people I ministered. These issues are complicated and we can not afford to lose one supporter. And yes it(sexual abuse I encountered) involves both Catholic and non catholic abuse at higher levels.
I agree the Catholic Church has the ability to hide the truth, but all victims are hurting. So we agree about the Catholic Church, I just want people to know that pain of watching a love one who has been abused crosses all boundaries.The fear it could happen again, the fear that it could happen to the children and the flashbacks.
Ed – “If it is a ‘Philadelphia problem’ then many people outside the area won’t support it…” “…it(sexual abuse I encountered) involves both Catholic and non catholic abuse at higher levels.”
Point made – point understood!
Agree with you Ed.We have recently joined with advocacy groups outside of the Church who are working to have the Statute of Limitations changed in Pa. The House Bills will better protect ALL the children in the state of Pennsylvania.
It will take many organizations working together to make a difference.