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About That John Jay Study

The study commissioned by the Bishops performed by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City has been all over the news.

Any such study, particularly one that relies in many ways on self-reported information (particularly in the are of homosexuality), is open to some legitimate criticisms for some of its conclusions. However, the study brings some interesting information to the fore. First, some of the conclusions.

The researchers concluded that it was not possible for the church, or for anyone, to identify abusive priests in advance. Priests who abused minors have no particular “psychological characteristics,” “developmental histories” or mood disorders that distinguished them from priests who had not abused, the researchers found.

Since the scandal broke, conservatives in the church have blamed gay priests for perpetrating the abuse, while liberals have argued that the all-male, celibate culture of the priesthood was the cause. This report will satisfy neither flank.

The report notes that homosexual men began entering the seminaries “in noticeable numbers” from the late 1970s through the 1980s. By the time this cohort entered the priesthood, in the mid-1980s, the reports of sexual abuse of minors by priests began to drop and then to level off. If anything, the report says, the abuse decreased as more gay priests began serving the church.

Many more boys than girls were victimized, the report says, not because the perpetrators were gay, but simply because the priests had more access to boys than to girls, in parishes, schools and extracurricular activities.

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.
A couple of points before I delve into some of the illegitimate criticisms. The NYT article says that the finding that "fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia" is counterintuitive. I find the NYT conclusion more remarkable than that of the study since this "fact" has been widely discussed and established for years, nowhere more so than the Catholic blogosphere.

That said, the studies conclusion that homosexuality was not the problem either surprises me. In a word, I find it counter-intuitive. Yet, I do not dismiss it merely because it does not fit a narrative I prefer. However, this is what many of the studies critics are doing.

Some critics cite the fact that the study was commissioned by the USCCB. Yet, the same people railed against the Bishops for not conducting such a study earlier. They yell that this study seeks to "exonerate" the Bishops. For the life of me, I don't see how. This study addresses the root causes of abuse, not the despicable behavior of some Bishops who chose to shuffle offenders around and dismiss the victims. But facts are facts. The incidence of abuse has dropped sharply since 1985. This is a verifiable fact. Perhaps not a convenient fact, but a verifiable one none the less.

All this said, the study is a tool commissioned by the Bishops for the Bishops. There will always be abusers out there, even if it is difficult to impossible to identify them completely in advance. The usual suspects complain about this fact, but no one is probably more frustrated by it than the Bishops. Don't you think if they could identify ALL these people up front, they would do it if for no other reason than to save themselves embarrassment and liability? Of course they would.

It is just not that easy. I think that the the offense rate has dropped so precipitously in the last years shows that what they are doing is working. The real frustration with this report is that it provides precious little actionable intelligence that could be used to reduce rates even further. But facts are stubborn things. Abusers will always be with us, all they can do now is try to limit opportunity and damage.

I am as frustrated by the study as are the professionally aggrieved, but that does not mean it is wrong.

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15 comments:

Mary De Voe said...

The value of the John Jay study is that it reinforces the truth that clerical sex abuse has dropped "precipitously". A fact ignored and abused by the media in their mob mentality and anti-Catholic bias. The media gave us "PRAYER BAN", unconstitutional changes in the law of statute of limitations, assumed guilt by association. (The Bishops could not have witnessed to clerical abuse.) The violation of sovereignty, almost an act of war, against the sovereignty of the Vatican City State and the sovereignty of the Catholic Church, violating ex post facto-statute of limitation, change of venue to bankruptcy court for the money, without proving a crime in criminal court, corruption of blood, bills of attainder(see US Constitution). The Catholic Church is instituted by Jesus Christ. The state is constituted by its citizens who pay their taxes and remain parishioners, double taxation, one vote, two taxes, taxation without representation. Violation of all trusts held for future generations at the Vatican and the parish level, ignorance of separation of church and state, but mostly violation of the people and the common good as in removing the Ten Commandments from the common good, leaving man stupified and unarmed against the devil himself, while the state establishes the worship of the devil in human sacrifice: abortion, fornication, promiscuity, pornography, desecration of human existence and sovereign personhood. the devils love it. Next: they will be looking to blame the Catholic Church. Homosexuality is defined as arrested development by the American Psychiatric Association. If this people inaugurates a half wit to be their leader and then wants responsible leadership or joins a mob mentality for what little mind they have for reason, it is time to petition the government for redress.
Oh, yes, the pedophilia scandal is laid to rest.

JMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

Why would the study define post-pubescent to be 11 years old? Oh, that's right: so they can pretend that it's not weally pedophilia, it's cause of teh gays.

Anonymous said...

That's not a study, that's inane babbling.

-- Mack Hall

Doug said...

Oh, waits a minute! It's not cause of teh gays, it's cause of straight men who have sex with boys cause there's no womens around! Yeah, that's it!!!

Question: Are the JJ College and USCCB really that stupid? Or is it that they desperately hope everyone else is that stupid? After all, they know they'll get propagandizing help from such sources as EWTN and most of Catholic Radio.

Mark said...

Yes Doug, a professional organisation such as the John Jay College of Criminal Justice is going to risk its reputation and academic status by falsifying evidence and producing a fictitious report at the behest of the Catholic bishops? You must be living on Mars. No secular professional organisation would do that. These are the findings - the real problem is these findings do not suit those who have an ax to grind against the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

I like the way allegations of abuse have dropped precipitously even though ALL U.S. seminaries started heavy recruitment and ordination of homosexuals in the 70s thru the 80s. The abuse allegations of the 60s and 70s didn't arise until the 90s and 2000s. The seminaries that were recruiting homosexuals back in the 50s like St. Johns in California accounted for most of the reported abuse: "About 10% of St. John's graduates reported to have been ordained in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1950 — 65 of roughly 625 — have been accused of molesting minors, according to a review of ordination announcements, lawsuits, published reports and the archdiocese's 2004 list of alleged abusers. In two classes — 1966 and 1972 — a third of the graduates were later accused of molestation."

http://www.snapnetwork.org/news/calif/la_trail_of_abuse_seminary.htm

Many of those seminaries were closed even as the rest started the same practices that got those seminaries into trouble:

http://www.tldm.org/news5/seminaries.htm

It is the Roman Catholic Church that has been aggressively promoting homosexuality for 60+ years and the fruit is a precipitous drop in vocations, a homosexual hierarchy (that is constantly being accused and resigning for homosexual activity that they don't believe is a sin), and a society that passes out condoms to six year olds no questions asked, teaches homosexuality in kindergarten, has hit shows like "Glee" & "ol", and has invented "gay marriage". Parents who refuse to let their children be indoctrinated and abused by this society are having their children taken away from them by a homosexual judiciary and legislature.

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/engel/110401

Foxfier said...

I think they wiggled a bit -- it's true that guys who didn't control themselves (probably for the reasons they listed) did the molesting. I think the homosexual aspect was important, just not a deciding factor.

Anon above me is a bit... ahem... but I do remember that some seminaries were recruiting open homosexuals well before the 70s.

All that said, I'm sort of giggling about people claiming that this is some big dodge when the radio quotes sounded like it basically says that the messy BS around Vatican II (not the actual stuff, but what's called the "spirit" in common use) is to blame....

Anonymous said...

"If anything, the report says, the abuse decreased as more gay priests began serving the church."

Right - the total numbers could go down.

Watch this:

Say we have 10,000 priests, a tenth of whom are gay, so that we have 9000 straight and 1000 gay. Say the abuse rate is 4% for both populations. Then we would have 360 female and 40 male victims, for a total of 400.

Now let's say the total number of priests declines while "more" gay priests begin serving the church, so that we have 7000 straight and 2000 gay for a total of 9000. Maintaining the same abuse rates, we would then have 280 female and 80 male victims for a total of 360.

Hence a decrease in abuse can be caused by heterosexual attrition as "more" gay priests join the ranks.

Mary De Voe said...

Our Lady at Fatima told the three children in the year 1917, that the devil would be given free reign at the last part of the century. Thomas More said that when all the security of the laws of God are removed,(as is now with prayer ban and the removal of the Ten Commandments) the only law that stands between you and the devil is civil law. The 1960’s saw prayer ban defined as freedom from religion, abortion defined as Right to choose human sacrifice, the other put to death for the sins of his parents, pornography defined as free speech, capital punishment defined as cruel and unusual punishment and abolished, drug use, fornication, promiscuity, every vile and despicable humiliation heaped on the innocent virgin children of the age. The sexual abuse of children did not happen in a vacuum, clerical sexual abuse of children started in a free love culture that presupposed that homosexuality, being defined as arrested development, by the “professionals”, could be cured by bringing the homosexual into normal situations. Megan Kanka, a seven year old girl is raped and murdered by Jesse Timmendaquas, now in solitary confinement for life, because the death penalty was abolished when Timmendaquas committed his murder of the little girl. Timmendaquas, a serial sex offender released from the prison for sex offenders at Avenel, in Rahway, N.J., is placed by social scientists in a “NORMAL NEIGHBORHOOD”, across the street in the quiet neighborhood of Megan Kanka. (When was the last time the government bought you or me a house and resettled us in a quiet neighborhood???) Within weeks, Timmendaquas called Megan Kanka over to see his little puppy dog, raped, strangled and stuffed her body in a suitcase, then, Timmendaquas went on a neighborhood search for the child with other people. “ The Professionals”, Social Scientists and the American Psychiatric Association, believing that homosexuality was curable because it was a case of arrested development, like giving a shot of growth hormone to short people, gave priests with homosexual problems, maybe even possessed by the devil, clean records to return to priestly ministry, where we have sadly learned, too late, to save all the children, that they could not behave and they weren’t willing to sacrifice themselves for the safety of the children.
The Catholic Church hierarchy, trusting the “Professionals” fell into the pit and succumbed to the counsels of the ”professionals” and reassigned the offending priests, who had by their consent to commit mortal sins, excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church, and by their treacherousness, betrayed our Catholic Church, and by their crimes had become outlaws.
The death penalty had to be returned to the law books because many innocent persons were being eradicated. Free worship of God, free speech and press, free assembly in still not allowed by the “Professionals”. The Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment, “nor prohibit the free exercise thereof” is still not allowed.

Mary De Voe said...

@Anonymous at 10:03 There have been 8 credible cases of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in the last two years. That is DOWN wouldn't you say??? While the public schools put their sex offenders in "rubber rooms " where they get their pay and benefits and when the 90 days are up, the statute of limitations for public schools, offenders are transferred, "passing the trash" to another public school district. The statute for limitations was changed to two years, but only for the Catholic Church, but that is not singling out the Church for bias???. Teach the children, all children about their original innocence, their perfect virginity, their human diginity and their spiritual worth. Sticking a pencil in the eyes of your rapist still works as blind rapists have a hard time finding victims.

Matthew S said...

Bill O'Donohue of Catholic League is on EWTN right now. He's saying it as it is. I like this guy!

Mary De Voe said...

@Matthew S. Bill Donohue is a good man. Before Bill Donohue was Reverend Virgil Blum, founder of the Catholic League.
The soul of the beloved must be the primary concern of every priest, minister, vicar of Christ and each and every homosexual lover. To call another person a "partner" to satisfy lust is not brotherly love, not Christian love, is not marital love or wedded bliss. To abuse another person's human body to gratify homosexual urges is diabolical and casts both immortal souls into hell. Our constitution cannot legalize or codify human sacrifice or the condemnation of immortal souls to the devil without violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Dennis O'Donovan said...

This isn't rocket science. If you do not want men in the priesthood who will molest males then do not allow men who are attracted to males in the priesthood.

Anonymous said...

Mary de Voe: How many credible cases of sex abuse were known in, say, 1970 that had occurred in 1968-1969? I don't know the answer to that, and you probably don't either; but the point is that just because there are eight known cases in the last two years doesn't mean there were only eight cases in the last two years. Most of these cases took years to come to light, and I don't see why that should have changed.

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