The Rockford Files

A Few Bad Men

The results of two extensive studies were released too late for me to consider them in my column (“Truth and Consequences”) last month.  Both the “Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the 2006 Supplementary Report to “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002,” the 2004 study released by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, echo the four main points that I made: the majority of priests have been accused of only one incident of abuse; most of the confirmed cases of abuse were at the hands of repeat offenders; most of the cases were homosexual in orientation; and most of the cases were in large dioceses on the East and West Coasts.

More interesting is the confirmation of several points that were only hinted at in previous studies.  For instance, the 2006 Supplementary Report charted the sex of victims by the type of abuser (those with a single victim; those with a single victim but potential other victims; those with two to nine victims; and those with ten or more victims).  The pattern is very clear: The more victims a cleric abused, the more likely he was to have favored male victims.  Slightly more than one in three victims of single-incident abusers were female; only...

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