But I have another feeling, which is almost as strong; namely, that sexual abuse of minors is not a “Catholic” problem, and that the blowtorch directed at the Church on this issue reveals something unhealthy about society around us. What had begun to be talked of in the 60’s has become a problem so endemic that it seems at times too big to be tackled; and rather than tackling it, we have created a surrogate – the Catholic Church – to take the flack which belongs more widely.
The statistics are scattered about, but not hard to find. Professor Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia University studied 290,000 cases of alleged abuse in the ten years between 1991 and 2000. Out of a sample of 225 teachers who admitted to sexually abusing a pupil, not a single case was reported to the authorities.
Yet the John Jay College of Criminal Justice study of 2004 – independent auditors commissioned by the US bishops -- found 10,667 people who made allegations about sexual abuse by priests and religious in the 52 years between 1950 and 2002 (roughly 200 a year compared to the 29,000 a year in public schools). The allegations were made against 4,392 priests, of whom 56 per cent were accused of only a single incident, some of which were never proved.
As a result of the Dallas norms introduced by the US Catholic Church in 2002, last year the entire Catholic Church in the US – which has 65m members – received six contemporary allegations of clerical abuse. In the UK, where the Nolan Report of 2001 led to strict guidelines, the Catholic Church is unique among institutions for making public each year the number of allegations of sexual abuse by priests. For 2007 the number of such contemporary allegations was precisely four for the whole of the UK – in a Church of about 5m.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Jack Valero in The Times
Abuse isn't just a Catholic Problem, the follow is an extract, so read the whole thing.
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