This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


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

mirandaceleste's Avatar Jump to 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.”


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