February 24, 2006

Clergy Sexual Abuse: Facts, Myths and Questions

The Tidings

By Rev. Thomas J. Reese, SJ

First of two parts; 14th in a series.

For those who have been following the sexual abuse crisis in the American Catholic Church since the mid-1980s, the reports by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and theAbuse Tracker Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People provided confirmation of hunches and the destruction of myths. At the same time, they left many questions unanswered.

The myths have been promoted by people on both sides of the debate --- those who want to beat up on the church and those who want to downplay the crisis. But what are the facts reported in this study of sexual abuse in the church between 1950 and 2002?

Myths About the Priests
Myth: Less than 1 percent of the clergy are involved in sexual abuse. Fact: 4,392 priests, or 4 percent of the total number of members of the Catholic clergy between 1950 and 2002, have had allegations made against them.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2006 07:53 AM