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← [UPDATE] Priest sex abuse scandal was temporary problem, study finds

[UPDATE] Priest sex abuse scandal was temporary problem, study finds - Comments

plasma-engineer's Avatar Comment 1 by plasma-engineer

So - if a bank robbery was a "was a temporary problem caused by poorly trained" bank robbers, that would make it alright?

Let's just have the (alleged) criminals in court and let the court decide.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:10:15 UTC | #628236

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 2 by mirandaceleste

I've read about 1/4 of the (very long) report so far. It's problematic, to say the least.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:18:12 UTC | #628237

Art Vandelay's Avatar Comment 3 by Art Vandelay

The scandal was not merely in the acts of abuse themselves (although coming from an organisation claiming to have the last word on morality adds to the stench of hypocrisy): the real outrage lies in the systematic cover-up that enabled priests to rape their way from diocese to diocese unimpeded for decades. And the paedophile-enabler-in-chief has been rewarded with his own papacy.

Nice work if you can get it.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:34:15 UTC | #628240

yanquetino's Avatar Comment 4 by yanquetino

They don't get it. Whether it was a "temporary problem" or not is completely irrelevant.

The real issue is that it has been systematically covered up by using the age-old "get-out-of-jail-free" card given to... wait for it... religion.

If adult leaders in any secular organization engaged in such a "temporary problem" with the minors in their program, you can bet that they would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law --not just given a wrist slap and then shielded by the top officials.

Think of summer camp counselors, scout leaders, athletic coaches, teachers in the public schools. In the latter example, would principals and commissioners simply move them to a different school as an "internal" matter? Not! As we all know from several recent cases, school districts immediately turn such individuals over to the judicial system.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:50:18 UTC | #628245

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 5 by El Bastardo

I saw some of this on the news earlier and nearly choked. First, it wasn't a big problem, then it was jsut gay sex, not child abuse, now it's the hippies fault?

Dang liberal hippy priests.

Seriously though, do they think that people aren't aware that this is endemic within the church? That this was happening in many countries across the globe? There was no "permissive culture" in Ireland in the 60's,

It's only a matter of time before they try th old "Devil made me do it" defense.

Of course, sill nothing approaching an apology.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:53:54 UTC | #628246

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 6 by Rodger T

Yo Benny,we need more whitewash ova heya

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:55:31 UTC | #628247

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 7 by Tiende Landeplage

We've heard all this before, and paying $2 million to serve all the evasions up again in the form of a "study" does not make them anything other than evasions.

a temporary problem caused by poorly trained seminarians, bishops who focused too little on victims and a permissive culture in the 1960s and 1970s that saw an increase in divorce, marijuana experimentation and robbery.

Of course! An increase in divorce, marijuana experimentation and robbery (three of a kind, eh?) is what caused Ratzo and his gang to execute their shameful and disgusting cover-ups and enabling of abusers.

Thu, 19 May 2011 00:57:23 UTC | #628248

DocWebster's Avatar Comment 8 by DocWebster

Does this mean that only priests in the 20th century discovered young boys. What did they use for pleasure before? They can't seriously think that they can just wall off a hundred year swath and call that the extent of this scandal.

Thu, 19 May 2011 01:30:56 UTC | #628258

skiles1's Avatar Comment 9 by skiles1

"just nice guys who were confused by the 60s"

Society didn't became more permissive to pedophilia! If these men were that confused by the 60s and 70s, it should have been obvious that they weren't fit for leadership. And what is with the special research done on homosexual priests - what were the Catholics trying to prove? Anyone want to take a wild guess? Furthermore, divorce has no reason to be mentioned here, and it's highly questionable (no pun intended) to suggest marijuana experimentation could somehow be responsible!

Eight miles high and when you touch down, You’ll find that it’s stranger than known: Signs in the street that say where you’re going, Are somewhere just being their own. Nowhere is there warmth to be found, Among those afraid of losing their ground. Rain gray town known for it’s sound: In places small faces unbound. Round the squares huddled in storms, Some laughing, some just shapeless forms; Sidewalk scenes and black limousines: Some living, some standing alone - So why not sexually molest some children? (You are a priest, after all).

..Is not the way the song goes! But what's particularly perplexing about 60s groups like the Byrds, is how they found time to write songs at all between their cat burgling pursuits. No; actually the study might refer to Watergate - maybe that's the robbery suggested.

How miserable!

Thu, 19 May 2011 01:39:25 UTC | #628260

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 10 by mirandaceleste

One of the most egregious aspects of this report is that they arbitrarily define "pedophilia" as sexual abuse of victims that were ten years old or younger at the time, despite the fact that the DSM sets the cutoff age at thirteen. Defining it as "ten years old or younger" allows the study's authors to make claims like:

Less than 5 percent of the priests with allegations of abuse exhibited behavior consistent with a diagnosis of pedophilia (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.”

and

It is worth noting that while the media has consistently referred to priest-abusers as “pedophile priests,” pedophilia is defined as the sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Yet, the data on priests show that 22 percent of victims were age ten and under, while the majority of victims were pubescent or postpubescent.

... whereas if they had stuck to the DSM's guidelines (age thirteen or younger), most of the abusers could legitimately be called "pedophiles". Changing the age from thirteen to ten was a very sneaky and self-serving thing to do, and, unfortunately, I imagine that many media outlets will probably report those "5%" and "22%" figures without explaining the study's authors' arbitrary re-definition of "pedophilia".

(& The report is available here (.pdf))

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:21:16 UTC | #628267

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 11 by Marc Country

The holocaust was a temporary problem cause by poorly trained individuals... but, I blame WEED!

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:22:46 UTC | #628268

zengardener's Avatar Comment 13 by zengardener

Unsurprisingly, they completely miss the point.

Pedophiles are attracted to the priesthood.

  1. Authority status.
  2. Access to children with little oversight.
  3. The celibacy requirement deftly hides their lack of desire for or lack of the ability to form a normal sexual relationship with a mature consenting adult.
  4. A wealthy and influential international organization that is above the law and will protect it's reputation and by extension, the priest, at all costs.
  5. Almost nobody in power has the gall to even question the legitimacy of the whole stinking setup.

criticisms to my critique are welcome.

Why don't we interview the convicted pedophiles and ask them what attracted them to the priesthood?

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:25:51 UTC | #628270

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 14 by Andrew B.

Comment 11 by mirandaceleste :

One of the most egregious aspects of this report is that they arbitrarily define "pedophilia" as sexual abuse of victims that were ten years old or younger at the time, despite the fact that the DSM sets the cutoff age at thirteen. Defining it as "ten years old or younger" allows the study's authors to make claims like:

Less than 5 percent of the priests with allegations of abuse exhibited behavior consistent with a diagnosis of pedophilia (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.”

and

It is worth noting that while the media has consistently referred to priest-abusers as “pedophile priests,” pedophilia is defined as the sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Yet, the data on priests show that 22 percent of victims were age ten and under, while the majority of victims were pubescent or postpubescent. ... whereas if they had stuck to the DSM's guidelines (age thirteen or younger), most of the abusers could legitimately be called "pedophiles". Changing the age from thirteen to ten was a very sneaky and self-serving thing to do, and, unfortunately, I imagine that many media outlets will probably report those "5%" and "22%" figures without explaining the study's authors' arbitrary re-definition of "pedophilia".

(& The report is available here (.pdf))

Kind of like the attempt by Republicans to redefine rape to only include "forcible rape" in their battle to eliminate abortion. What kind of person thinks like that? "Well, what if we redefine pedophilia to exclude those of 11 years of age and up? Would that improve our image? How would that sell with the public? What would be the church's liability if that were the case?" Very lawyer-ly of them.

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:36:05 UTC | #628274

Steve Hanson's Avatar Comment 15 by Steve Hanson

Of course the problem is temporary You wouldn't have pedophile priests if you stopped having priests at all.

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:37:11 UTC | #628275

zengardener's Avatar Comment 16 by zengardener

The mandate for the Nature and Scope study was substantial; the USCCB wanted to know the extent of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on a national level from 1950-2002. Any method of data collection on a project of this scope has limitations. The John Jay College researchers determined that it would be impossible to gather an adequate sample—there was simply not enough known about the problem nationally. It was decided that the best method to study this problem was to conduct a “census,” or to collect comprehensive information from the records of every diocese, eparchy, and religious institute in the United States. Though this method had restrictions, these files provided a wealth of information regarding the abusers, minors who were abused, and the financial cost of the individual cases.

Am I reading this right? They went to the diocese and asked for their records? Did they bust down the door with a dozen cops and the DA's team in the middle of the night?

how accurate could this be?

Thu, 19 May 2011 02:50:20 UTC | #628276

SeanSantos's Avatar Comment 17 by SeanSantos

I have an amazingly huge huge huge problem with this report. The last paragraph of the section on "period effects" (pages 36-37) follows.

For the Causes and Context study, the social indicators found to be most relevant to the modeling of the change in incidence of sexual abuse are divorce, use of illegal drugs, and crime. Sexual abuse of a minor by a Catholic priest is an individual deviant act—an act by a priest that serves individual purposes and that is completely at odds or opposed to the principles of the institution. Divorce is an act also made for personal reasons that negates the institution of marriage. Illegal drug use and criminal acts violate social and legal norms of conduct, presumably at the will of the offender. The recorded or reported incidence of each of these factors increased by 50 percent between 1960 and 1980. If the data for the annual divorce rate are compared to data for the annual rate of homicide and robbery, the time-series lines move in tandem. From stable levels in 1965, the rates increase sharply to a peak at or soon after 1980 and then begin to fall. This pattern is indicative of the period effects that can be seen in the Nature and Scope data on the incidence of sexual abuse by priests.

This is the entirety of the connection drawn between sexual abuse by priests on the one hand, and divorce on the other. The only sources sited here simply acknowledge that these things happened in and around the 70's. All they say is that these things happened at the same time, and insert some language that is blatant pandering to the Catholic Church's desire to draw a false equivalence between the "deviance" of divorce and pre-marital sex, and the "deviance" of child rape. They imply that there is therefore a causal link, with no explanation of what that link is, or what evidence they have for it.

I'm not ready to trust a report that blames child rape by priests, on a culture promoting a sexual liberation that the Church vehemently opposed, based on nothing more substantial than "Well, they happened at the same time..."

Thu, 19 May 2011 04:00:57 UTC | #628281

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 18 by godsbelow

Comment 11 by mirandaceleste

One of the most egregious aspects of this report is that they arbitrarily define "pedophilia" as sexual abuse of victims that were ten years old or younger at the time, despite the fact that the DSM sets the cutoff age at thirteen. Defining it as "ten years old or younger" allows the study's authors to make claims like:

Less than 5 percent of the priests with allegations of abuse exhibited behavior consistent with a diagnosis of pedophilia (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.”

This seems to me to be a deliberate attempt to distract attention from the central problem. Who cares whether the rapists and abusers meet some psychiatrists' definition of pedophilia? (Psychiatrists have a remarkable history of "diagnosing" behaviour that societies consider aberrant as mental pathologies: I seem to recall some "diagnoses" of homosexuality back in the earlier part of the twentieth century.) Who cares whether the rapists and abusers were fantisising about or attracted to their victims? The point is that they raped and abused young people under their care. Their actions make them pedophiles, so that is what they are called.

Although, as Hitchens has pointed out, pedophile isn't a particularly appropriate term for those who abuse and rape children, as the term suggests a degree of love which is obviously absent from such acts.

a temporary problem caused by....a permissive culture in the 1960s and 1970s

Ah, that makes sense: priests raped children because of hippies and rising divorce rates. Because the Catholic clergy were so down with the whole Summer of Love thing, right?

Thu, 19 May 2011 04:16:25 UTC | #628283

Sample's Avatar Comment 19 by Sample

The Vatican paid for more than 50% of this study. This is called a direct conflict of interest. It is a well known phenomenon that where the money comes from can and does influence what gets published.

Mike

Thu, 19 May 2011 05:14:03 UTC | #628291

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 20 by alaskansee

Brutal, and the "study" will be accepted and parroted by all the usual unquestioning masses, no pun intended.

Thu, 19 May 2011 05:16:43 UTC | #628292

Dax's Avatar Comment 21 by Dax

This study was practically performed by the RCC themselves... they have never opened up their records willingly, so they must have been quite selective. As long as the church protects pedophiles, shuffles them around, focuses on the perp, not the victim, doesn't allow priests to just have a normal sex life, et cetera, et cetera, this will continue. Worst thing is, that they keep claiming they are the sole source of morality in the world...

Thu, 19 May 2011 05:53:34 UTC | #628295

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 22 by Jos Gibbons

Interestingly, this article is in its own “More on this story” section. The only other thing there is “Study: Lax culture allowed Catholic Church scandal”.

the scandal was a temporary problem

40 years?

a permissive culture in the 1960s and 1970s that saw an increase in divorce, marijuana experimentation and robbery

Did it see an increase in child rape?

a small minority of accused priests meet the clinical definition of pedophiles

The fraction of accused who raped children wasn’t a small minority, so there must be a way to rape children without being a paedophile.

John Jay was given unprecedented access by the church — which paid for about half the study — to priests’ personnel files and psychosexual testing, as well as seminary records

Most people respond to studies which find conclusions they find surprising and which were largely funded by a group which has always advocated such a position with some degree of scepticism. Of course, such scepticism must address the question of how someone can buy the answers one wants. Failing to come up with a sensible answer is a major reason enemies of “Big Pharma” are stupid. Therefore, I want to raise a different point: the study does not appear to have any evidence other than church’s written reports. “Stuff the church has written down implies they are awesome.” Ah, right.

I haven’t read the whole report, but I looked at the contents pages to see if I could find a section in which their method and/or data sources are detailed, and I could only find data in the appendices. What I saw did not assuage my suspicions here, as all figure & table titles are suggestive of their being based entirely on what the clergy has claimed. If anyone has read a part of the report which proves me wrong on this, I would strongly encourage them to let us all know.

Who else has studied child sex abuse at this level? No other organization has anything similar. If we’re really serious about keeping kids safe, other organizations have to follow suit: the public schools, the Boy Scouts, sporting organizations

Why think everyone else is inadequate in their handling of this because they LACK the awful problems the RCC has seen? None of these organisations have had sex abuse allegations at a majority of their US branches or literally every single one of their branches in certain nations such as Belgium, whereas that is true of the RCC.

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:07:05 UTC | #628304

sbooder's Avatar Comment 23 by sbooder

It would be interesting to ask the victims of these crimes how temporary they find the whole thing, did it all go away after the 1970s is life all happy and memory free?

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:12:42 UTC | #628305

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 24 by strangebrew

It explains nothing except the chronic and vile practice that is the RCC. It neither explains nor excuses the present cover ups going back decades if not centuries. It does not highlight what Benny knew or ignored and certainly does not address the institutionalization of the problem...every country in the world with a Catholic presence suffers their administration to children.

This is NOT a temporary glitch it is a systematic world wide chronic contagion aided and abetted by the top cretins in the Vatican.

This report is a fatuous glob of putrescent dribble financed and presumably apron stringed by RCC....the clash of interest is an obvious elephant in the room. The fact that john Jay is a college that caters to the New York police department is, I suggest, not a boast to foster independence when it comes to Roman Catholic criminality.

If the demand for a truly independent investigation was sincerely meant then other arrangements would have been made to aid the independence of the investigation.

This is a whitewash...and is a poorly presented one at that...typical of the RCC in fact!

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:19:29 UTC | #628308

cheesedoff17's Avatar Comment 25 by cheesedoff17

@Zengardener comment 14

Precisely.

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:33:44 UTC | #628311

Raiko's Avatar Comment 26 by Raiko

This is the most important part of the article:

"This report misses the boat. What deserves the most scrutiny are not child sex crimes but continued clergy cover-ups of child sex crimes,” the advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Tuesday in a statement.

One could not emphasise it enough.

And also...

It has been closely watched by experts, historians and advocates for victims and accused priests. This is because John Jay was given unprecedented access by the church — which paid for about half the study — to priests’ personnel files and psychosexual testing, as well as seminary records.

This is not "was given unprecedented access to church records", it's more like "was given unprecedented access to selected church records", which is a bit of an oxymoron.

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:49:16 UTC | #628314

Peter Watkinson's Avatar Comment 27 by Peter Watkinson

Through the National Secular Society I've found these two articles about this report:

US Catholic Church study blames 1960s permissiveness for rise in sexual abuse, guardian.co.uk

Greenfield lawyer calls report on sexual abuse by Catholic priests 'hogwash', MassLive.com

Peter

Thu, 19 May 2011 07:55:15 UTC | #628316

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 28 by strangebrew

28

The study said there was no single cause of the abuse and concluded that few of the abusive priests were paedophiles, as their victims were not all pre-pubescent. Less than 5% of the abusive priests could be defined as paedophiles because the majority of victims were aged between 11 and 14.

So seeing as the homosexual gambit failed quite spectacularly ...that was one of the very first official excuses remember....they now start another tactic to DEFINE the victims ages cos a 15 year old is a sexually mature adult according to the spin...this tactic is to reduce the nasty wasty pedophilia accusation and might deprive the RCC detractors from ammunition.

' No Pedo's in here' quoth they' another couple of years shaved off the age of the victims and they can claim consensual sex and no problem here! The tactic is being co-ordinated to back up Bennie's puerile bullshite earlier this year about society being at fault and the poor priests were just as much victims...as the errr! victims.

This report conclusion is for the 'faithful' to bind their eyes and wounds with....it is a blatant attempt to woo the fleeing gullible back...that is all.

Anyone thinking this report is a definitive result of an independent and neutral investigation are not likely to have a brain worth mentioning or indeed enough integrity to realize the shell game being played in front of their self imposed blindness is a shell game organized and monitored by Jesuit corruption.

Thu, 19 May 2011 08:27:55 UTC | #628325

Teknical's Avatar Comment 29 by Teknical

I am surprised that the church have not yet thrown in a few 'fall guys' who are willing to take the blame for something they later proove never happened.

This also depends upon the validity of their (own) records including the collection and recording methods used and the interactions between the abuser and the abused before during and after the records were collected. Any evidence appearing after the 'case' has been collated can then be safely ignored and even parodied by the defence and as such all of this evidence becomes invalid.

Mix this in with a specialist who can destroy evidence by caliming such things as trawling, false memory syndrome, and the obligatory 'satanic abuse connection because that always gets paedophiles off', and this thing will fall apart before our eyes.

Then of course the church can claim that the dignity shown by the (fall guys) innocent (and by association all of the others) is close to saintly behaviour.

Then the real sickener, give the poor accused (and because they never did it - they were just fall guys) compensation.

Then just when you thought it couldn't get any worse you then compensate the real abusers. The victims are called liars and crawl away with their lives in pieces.

Then more 'specialists' emerge in the field of 'Priest Abuse Hysteria' whilst the prevention of child abuse is set back another 20 years.

Thu, 19 May 2011 09:44:07 UTC | #628357

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 30 by Stevehill

Seems all those Catholic priests in the first few rows at Woodstock didn't quite get what it was all about.

Thu, 19 May 2011 09:49:32 UTC | #628359