“They are not trained to understand those causes – that training is given to mental health professionals.”
“They can report on the statistical analysis of the behavior but in terms of causes, they've crossed a line, in my view.”
The John Jay researchers also clarified in their study that priestly celibacy was not a factor in clerical sex abuse and said that the offenders chose to victimize boys because clergy had greater access to them.
Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League for Religious Liberty, reacted to the notion of accessibility to boys over girls, saying the “there are so few incidents of abuse these days – an average of 8.3 per year since 2005 – that it makes no sense to compare the percentage of male victims at the peak of the scandal to what has happened since altar girls were allowed.”
“The latest study on abuse notes that 83 percent of the allegations made in 2010 were by males, and the bulk of incidents took place in the early 1970s,” he said.
“Besides, priests had nothing but access to male altar servers before the 1960s, and the report notes that sexual abuse was not a problem then.”
“That’s because there were fewer gay priests then,” Donohue argued.
The report “says that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent were post-pubescent,” he reiterated. “Since 100 percent of the abusers were male, that's called homosexuality, not pedophilia or heterosexuality.”
“A homosexual is defined by his actions, not his identity,” he said.
Despite the disagreement incited over the particulars of the report, the numbers ultimately show a drastic decline in sex abuse occurrences within the Church over time.
The “peak of the crisis has passed,” the report noted. Because the Church “responded,” abuse cases decreased and sexual abuse of minors “continues to remain low.”
Researchers said data show that abuse incidents were “highest between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s.”
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“Ninety-four percent of the abuse incidents reported to the Catholic Church from 1950 through 2009 took place before 1990,” the study said, adding that currently, “fewer new reports are brought forward” each year.