RESPONSE TO THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER
The editorial of June 16 taking the Catholic League to task for its New York Times op-ed page ad (“Spin without end in abuse scandal”) is simply wrong on the facts.
On p. 29 of the 2005 annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, it says that 81 percent of the victims were male and that 14 percent were younger than age 10 when the abuse began. On p. 43 of the John Jay Supplementary Data Analysis that accompanies the audit, it defines pedophile priests as those who began their abuse when their victims were 10 or less. Now if NCR wants to conclude from this data that homosexual priests do not account for most of the abuse, then it needs to explain itself.
Similarly, the Catholic News Service coverage of the John Jay report that studied the years 1950-2002 said that “An overwhelming majority of the victims, 81 percent, were males,” and that “A majority of the victims were post-pubescent adolescents with a small percentage of the priests accused of abusing children who had not reached puberty.”
Indeed, in the National Review Board’s 2004 report, it said that “we must call attention to the homosexual behavior that characterized the vast majority of the cases of abuse observed in recent years.” No wonder board member Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital, said last year that “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth, yet it’s not being discussed.” (My emphasis.)
We know why the homosexual connection is not being discussed—it’s politically incorrect to mention it. Even the most recent John Jay report tries to cover-up this reality: it mentions the word pedophile 14 times, ephebophile 12 times, but never once does it mention homosexual. It should be noted that the term ephebophilia, meaning sex with postpubescent adolescents, is rarely used by experts outside the Catholic Church, has no clinical standing and is never used to refer to heterosexual acts.
Our ad also says that “it is estimated that the rate of sexual abuse of public school students is more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” The editorial brands this as “more spin,” claiming that “Sexual abuse of students by teachers, coaches and school employees is an area worthy of investigation, but virtually no serious research on the topic has been carried out.”
Apparently, NCR is unaware of the report, “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature,” that was published in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Education. The report, authored by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, provides valuable insight into the problem. It was her conclusion that nearly 10 percent of American students are the victims of sexual misconduct by public school employees each year. And it was Dr. Shakeshaft who told Education Week that “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”
New York magazine recently did a story, “On Rabbi’s Knee,” that was subtitled, “Do the Orthodox Jews have a Catholic-priest problem?” To which the answer came, “Rabbi-on-child molestation is a widespread problem in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and one that has long been covered up….” (As the article makes plain, it seems that the rabbi molesters typically choose boys as their victims.) While this does not constitute hard data, it offers a glimpse of reality.
Finally, the editorial admits that while our ad correctly cites the figures of priestly sexual abuse found in the bishops’ audit, “It frequently takes years for those abuse victims to come forward.” Wrong again. On p. 13 of the John Jay supplementary report, it says that “reporting patterns have stabilized over the last decade” and that “the decrease in sexual abuse cases [cited in the report] is a true representation of the overall phenomenon.” Looks like NCR has paid too much attention to Dr. Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea. In 2003, she said, “You will see some kind of a bubble [in the figures] in 2005, when the people who were abused in the 1990s come forward.” As I said at the time, “It remains to be seen whether her bubble will burst in 2006 when 2005 turns out to be a bust.”
For the record, I have spoken out on TV and on radio many times against those who have called for an outright ban of homosexuals from the priesthood. That’s because I know too many good homosexual priests and know how unscientific and malicious it is to say that homosexuality causes molestation. What I’ve said repeatedly is that while most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters are gay.
One more thing: if molesting priests like to hit on boys because they lack access to girls, then why is it that since girls became altar servers in 1994, the numbers haven’t changed? By a margin of 81-19—the exact figure found in the report covering the years 1950-2002—the molesters still prefer the boys.