Following the release of the John Jay study on the “Causes and Context” of clergy abuse, the media jumped all over the report. We followed up by issuing a statement addressing what they were saying.
The report says that fewer than 5 percent of abusive priests were pedophiles. The New York Times took issue with the report for defining prepubescent children as those age 10 or younger, mentioning that the American Psychiatric Association uses the age of 13. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics says puberty begins at the age of 10. This is important because the lower the age when puberty begins, the more it implies that heterosexuality or homosexuality was at work, and nobody wanted to squarely address the obvious.
The report says homosexuality was not a factor because a) not all homosexuals define themselves as such b) sexual relations with adolescents is ephebophilia c) the degree of abuse declined after gays entered the priesthood in large numbers in the late 1970s and 1980s, and d) they did not have access to altar girls when the abuse peaked.
A homosexual is defined by his actions, not his identity. Ephebophilia has no clinical definition and is nothing more than a description of adult men who have sex with adolescent males. The surge of gays in the seminaries began in the 1960s—not in the late 1970s. Finally, 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. 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.
Finally, the report says that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent were postpubescent. Since 100 percent of the abusers were male, that’s called homosexuality.