Skip to comments.Child Molestation Among the Clergy
Posted on 05/26/2003 2:18:36 PM PDT by Remedy
How often are religious leaders involved in child molestation? Roman Catholic priests have captured a great deal of attention since the late 1980s. Press reports and opinion pieces in the 1990s made it appear that child molestation was exceptionally frequent among priests. Speculation about 'the cause' ranged from the celibacy rule imposed on most priests, to the fact that, since most of those who were molested were boys, the priesthood had become densely populated with homosexuals. What are 'the facts' regarding child molestation by religious leaders? Are priests more apt than Protestant clergy to molest boys?
These are difficult questions to answer. Even were random samples of priests and Protestant ministers asked about their sexual desires toward, and activities with, the underage, their reports would be highly suspect. Often there are strong personal and institutional motivations to conceal molestation. How could we be sure we would be getting truthful responses? And in light of these difficulties, can any reasonable empirical estimate of the rates of child molestation be generated?
Enter the news media. Cases of child sexual abuse by persons in authority are exceptionally newsworthy. Neighbors may be interested in the stepfather who molests his stepdaughter, but unless the stepfather is famous, it may not be worth a story. On the other hand, 'everyone' is interested in the boy who got raped in the men's room at the mall or the girl molested by her music teacher. So when it comes to those in charge of children Ñ as teachers, priests, preachers, etc. Ñ it is likely that such molestations are more apt to be covered in the press.
This is another of FRI's series of reports derived from examining child molestation stories in major newspapers. FRI used Academic Universe (a search engine on the Internet) to review the whole text of the 50 national and regional newspapers in the English-speaking world with the largest circulations. This database was examined for "child molestation" for 1989 through 2002 inclusive, a period of 14 years. We recorded the numbers of victims [unless it was "victims" without a number, in which case it was counted as 2], as well as the numbers and status [e.g., priest, teacher, policeman, father, etc.] of the perpetrators [unless it was "perpetrators" without a number, in which case the number of perpetrators was counted as 2].
If a minister molested his step-daughter, it was counted as a step-father molestation, but if the child was a member of the congregation, it was counted as a molestation by a clergyman. If a man molested both a girl and a boy, he was counted as a 'homosexual' perpetrator. If a man and woman molested a boy, it was counted as 0.5 heterosexual (for the woman) and 0.5 homosexual (for the man). If a man molested a girl, it was counted as 'heterosexual.' Only news stories, not opinion pieces were tallied. What FRI Found
What FRI Found
There were 6,444 stories about child molestation captured by Academic Universe, 1,914 of which concerned unique events (that is, not additional stories about the same event, and not opinion pieces). Of the 2,181 perpetrators in these unique stories whose sexual proclivities could be inferred from the sex of their victim, 41% engaged in sex with their own sex, and were counted as 'homosexuals.' Almost all the remaining 59% molested the opposite sex (labeled as 'heterosexuals'), while another 118 perpetrators violated at least 190 children of unreported sex. Of the 5,630 underage victims, 61% were victimized by 'homosexuals' (i.e., 3,386 boys and 60 girls raped by those who engaged in homosexuality), the remaining 39% by 'heterosexuals.'
One very important thing to remember is that there are significant limitations to newspaper stories as a database. Because some events are more newsworthy than others, there is no way to know for sure how representative newspaper reports of molestation are of general child sexual abuse. It is also unknown whether the types of molestations most likely to 'hit' the papers Ñ those by persons in authority over children Ñ accurately reflect molestation rates by those same authority figures. Does an environment where one regularly works with children encourage more temptation? Is a position of authority Ñ with its tendency to be under greater scrutiny Ñ associated on average with more responsible or less responsible behavior? Does a position of trust over children allow individuals to slip 'under the radar' more easily and lessen suspicion of them as potential molesters?
We know from a multitude of reports that a fairly significant fraction of homosexuals admit to sexual molestation of the underage in one form or another. The Kinsey Institute survey of male homosexuals in San Francisco reported that 23% of 979 admitted to sex with those no older than 16 while they themselves were at least 21 years old. Other studies also suggest that about a quarter of adult homosexuals have had sex with the underage. Less well understood is what fraction of individuals molest large numbers of victims. It is also unknown how rates of child molestation vary by professional role or occupation.
These questions are important because if lots of teenage and younger boys have been molested, for instance, by Catholic priests, does that mean that there are a bunch of homosexual priests or merely that those who are homosexual tend to molest more victims per capita?
Another limitation to the news story database is that molesters only 'show up' in the paper after they've been caught. Estimates of newspaper-based molestation rates are dependent not only on whether a case is newsworthy, but also on how often individuals are actually apprehended. Some molesters are almost certainly more clever than others in this regard. But what about for whole professions? Are clergy less likely to be caught (and thus show up in the paper) than non-clergy? Are there different rates of apprehension between clergy and teachers?
There is evidence that homosexuals who molest are less apt to be caught than heterosexuals who molest. For instance, the very fact that homosexual molesters generally claim more victims than heterosexual molesters, and thereby appear to 'get away' with it longer before they are found out, would seem to attest to this fact. In 1987, Abel et al found that while about 34% of their approximately 561 child abuse male perpetrators engaged in homosexuality, 84% of the 28,574 victims of abuse under 14 years old that their perpetrators admitted to were boys. The Academic Universe database similarly shows that homosexual perpetrators, while comprising 41% of the total, accounted for fully 61% of the reported victims.
The reason for this disproportionate homosexual share is not fully understood. Perhaps homosexual molesters are simply more clever than heterosexual molesters on average. In other cases, even if discovered, homosexual perpetrators are given a pass. A boy who is homosexually molested may be considered 'contaminated,' and both parents and neighbors often assume that the boy might have enjoyed the molestation enough to be 'primed' to molest other boys. Because of this, if the parents find out he was molested, and they wish to protect the boy from shunning at school or in the neighborhood, parents often decide that it is better to 'shut up about it' than run the risk of ruining their son's reputation and social life.
All in all, deriving estimates of molestation rates from newspaper stories is a bit tricky. Still, the information is fairly 'hard' data, not simply based on what an individual might claim on a survey or to a clinician. And there are patterns that emerge from these data that are generally consistent with other modes of inquiry, as well as types of information that are relatively unique in the child sexual abuse literature. Religious Leaders
Religious leaders were grouped into Roman Catholic priests, non-Catholic Christian clergy, and non-Christian clergy. There were 116 Catholic perpetrators: 95 who engaged in homosexuality and who violated 229 children; 17 who engaged in heterosexuality and who raped 24 girls; and 4 who engaged in sex with at least 4 children of unspecified sex.
There were 61 non-Catholic Christian clergy who molested the underage. Those who engaged in homosexuality included four clergywomen (Church of Christ, Protestant, 2 Pentecostals) and 35 clergymen (one each from 7th Day Adventist, Salvation Army, Evangelical Free, and Greek Orthodox; and 9 Protestants, 8 Pentecostals, 2 Lutherans, 4 Episcopalians, 2 Methodists, and 6 Baptists). These 39 'homosexuals' raped 229 children. Twenty one 'heterosexual' clergymen raped 31 girls (2 Seventh Day Adventists, 2 Church of Christ, 8 Protestants, 6 Pentecostals, and 3 Baptists). One additional Episcopal clergyman raped a child of unspecified sex.
In addition, 4 Rabbis homosexually raped 10 children, 2 Rabbis heterosexually raped 2 girls, a Mormon pastor who engaged in homosexuality violated 3 boys, 3 Mormons heterosexually raped 10 girls, and a (male) Buddhist monk raped a boy.
Overall in this set, clergywomen accounted for 6.7% of non-Catholic Christian clergy molesters, but 10.3% of homosexual molesters Ñ suggesting that clergywomen may be disproportionately homosexual. Are Christian Clergy Molesters More Frequently Homosexual?
Are Christian Clergy Molesters More Frequently Homosexual?
With at least 78% of the 172 clergy perpetrators whose sexual proclivities could be determined engaging in homosexuality, the Christian clergy were statistically more apt to engage in homosexuality than were non-clergy perpetrators, only 37% of whom practiced homosexuality. Broken down by religious factions, of 57 Protestant clergy perpetrators (excluding Eastern Orthodox priests), at least 34 (60%) engaged in homosexuality. Of 116 Catholic clergymen perpetrators, at least 95 (82%) engaged in homosexuality. Protestant clergy were thereby statistically less apt to engage in homosexuality than Catholic clergy, but more apt to do so than non-clergy. Even adding Rabbis to the mix Ñ of whom 4 of 6 engaged in homosexuality Ñ would not change the fact that a higher fraction of Judeo-Christian leaders engaged in homosexual molestation than did non-clergy.
In terms of numbers of children victimized, non-clergy perpetrators raped 5,080 children, while the 189 clergy (8.7% of all perpetrators) victimized 572, or 11% of the total. Clergy raped at least 2.3% of the 2,206 children victimized by heterosexuals, and at least 14.5% of the 3,446 children raped by homosexuals. These numbers are consistent with the notion that there seem to be higher rates of homosexual molestation among the clergy than among the non-clergy. Teachers
Because newspapers have a bias toward reporting on 'newsworthy' individuals, we can't look only at clergy and make a reasonable conclusion about how often they molest. Again, in terms of the overall molestation picture, the rates for clergy extracted from the database of newspaper stories are likely to be overstated relative to the general public, especially given their position of authority. So we also need a comparison group that is similarly educated and with ready access to children. Here, teachers naturally come to mind.
In the Academic Universe database, there were 251 teachers/principals/school counselors (all labeled as 'teachers' for this analysis) who had sex with their pupils or charges. Altogether, 11.6% of the 2,167 perpetrators in the news stories were teachers. Of these 251 teachers, 38.6% were men who engaged in homosexuality; these men had sex with 500 pupils (of whom 25 were girls). 54.6% of the teacher perpetrators engaged in heterosexuality, having sex with 334 pupils (19 female teachers had sex with 27 boys, 118 male teachers had sex with 307 girls). In addition, 17 teachers had sex with 26 pupils of unreported sex.
In this case, female teachers comprised 8.1% of the perpetrators whose sexual proclivities could be determined, but none of the homosexual teacher perpetrators. Overall teachers accounted for 15.2% of all child-rapes: 'homosexual' teachers accounted for 14.5% of all child-rapes by homosexuals and 'heterosexual' teachers accounted for 15.3% of all child rapes committed by heterosexuals. Are Clergy More Frequently Homosexual Than Teachers?
Are Clergy More Frequently Homosexual Than Teachers?
The question could be readily answered if the numbers of clergy, homosexual and otherwise, could be compared to the numbers of homosexual and heterosexual teachers. But such numbers are not available. There is no register of 'homosexual teachers' or 'homosexual clergy.' Even the number of clergy is uncertain given that the U.S. Census Bureau does not collect those kind of statistics.
Nevertheless, one estimate can be gotten by looking at the ratio of homosexual to heterosexual perpetrators. If we assume that Ñ within a given profession Ñ homosexual and heterosexual child molesters (e.g., teachers) are equally likely to be reported on, the ratios within the Academic Universe database will tend to reflect perhaps not absolute numbers, but at least accurate relative proportions of molester types by profession. Using this measure, the data we gathered show a ratio of 1 homosexual teacher perpetrator for every 1.4 heterosexual teacher perpetrators. On the other hand, Catholic priests split 5.6 homosexual to 1 heterosexual, and Protestant clergy split 1.6 homosexual to 1 heterosexual perpetrator. For the dataset as a whole, the ratio was 1 homosexual for every 1.4 heterosexual perpetrators.
Thus the relative proportion of homosexual teacher-perpetrators was approximately the same as the entire dataset, suggesting that there might be an 'average' proportion of teachers who are homosexual child molesters. By contrast, the ranks of the clergy would seem to have a much larger share of homosexual molesters. Compared to teachers, the Protestant clergy in our database had 2.24 times the proportion of homosexual perpetrators, and the Catholic clergy had 7.84 times the proportion of perpetrators who practiced homosexuality.
If we further assume that there is a reasonably 'stable' fraction of teachers or clergy who ever become child molesters, then FRI's estimate from our 1983-84 national sexuality survey of the proportion of teachers who are homosexual can be used to crudely estimate the percentages of Protestant clergy and Catholic clergy who might also be homosexual. In that study, we estimated that 4.2% of teachers were homosexual. This would lead to estimates of 9.4% of Protestant clergy and 32.9% of Catholic priests being homosexual Ñ that is, approximately 10% of Protestant and a third of Catholic clergy. Are Catholic Priests More Frequently Homosexual Than Protestant Clergy?
Are Catholic Priests More Frequently Homosexual Than Protestant Clergy?
The media attention to homosexual rape of children by Roman Catholic Priests probably biased its child molestation stories by elevating the number of stories about molestation by priests. Many of the stories involving priests concerned rapes that took place decades before the newspaper story appeared. While some stories about preachers and teachers who raped children also concerned events that occurred many years ago, the volume of homosexual rapes by priests seems seriously inflated by the media attention to the issue.
Given this circumstance, it appears likely that the absolute numbers of children victimized by priests is 'too high.' Nevertheless, the ratio of homosexual vs. heterosexual priests as indexed by the sex of the children they raped would appear to be relatively unbiased, especially since rapes of girls as well as rapes of boys from ten, twenty or even thirty years ago were included in the tally.
Catholics tend to be more concentrated in major cities where the newspapers indexed by Academic Universe were published, so this bias may have inflated the number of Catholic molestation stories that appeared in the sample. Further, the priest molestations were often more removed from the present than molestations by teachers or non-Catholic clergy. But even if these biases elevated the numbers of Catholic priests who were caught homosexually molesting by a factor of as much as two, it would still suggest that about a sixth of priests and around a tenth of Protestant ministers are homosexual. Implications
The major opposition to homosexual behavior comes from Christianity. Before Christianity appeared on the scene, homosexuality appears to have been generally accepted in both the Greek and Roman civilizations. By the time the Church got done influencing society, homosexuality had been made a capital crime. The first law against homosexuality appeared in the Empire's Christian era 342 Ñ it made homosexuality a capital crime. About 50 years later, the emperors Valentinian II, Theodosious, and Arcadius published "All persons who have the shameful custom of condemning a man's body, acting the part of a woman's... shall expiate this sort of crime in avenging flames." And under Justinian (c. 527-565) it was declared that "We admonish men to abstain from the aforesaid unlawful acts, that they may not lose their souls... so that the city and the state may not come to harm by reason of such wicked deeds."
Nowadays, although most Christians still oppose homosexuality, the presence of significant numbers of homosexual clergy presents a challenge for Christendom. The apparent 10% of Protestant and one-third of Catholic clergy are a 5th column within the Church. They have personal reasons to see Christianity change and to see homosexuality accepted as OK.
Outside the Church, the 'group rights revolution' is knocking hard against its traditional stance. In New Zealand, a Parliamentary committee wants "censorship laws changed so Christian films critical of gay men and lesbians can be banned" (Washington Blade, 3/14/03). Similar 'group rights thinking' has led to censorship of Christian radio content in Canada, and even censorship of pulpit content in Scandinavia. This censorship forbids even the general criticism of homosexual behavior, as though all 'homosexuals' are 'insulted' if they and others are told that what they regularly do is unhealthy or in any way substandard. The 'group rights' revolutionaries don't care what the 'truth' is, they care that members of a 'historically victimized' group not be put in a situation where they might 'feel bad' about themselves.
If, as FRI estimates, about 15% or one of every 7 clergy is personally involved in homosexuality, the fight within the Church is apt to be as time-consuming as the fight of the Church against outside 'group rights' forces. That so many 'sexual traitors' inhabit the modern pulpits bodes ill for the Church retaining its stance against homosexual activity. Reference:
Abel GG, Becker JV, Mittleman M, Cunningham-Rathner J, Rouleau JL, Murphy WD. Self-reported sex crimes of nonincarcerated paraphiliacs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 1987,2,3-25.
...The media, however, has made the actions of a few pedophile priests the main problem. Bad as it is, the main problem of errant priestly crimes is not in the area of pedophilia, which is strictly defined as an adult having sexual relations with someone below the age of puberty (12), but rather in the phenomena of priests with homosexual inclinations seeking out vulnerable youth. The secular press refuses to recognize that these priests are actively homosexual, not pedophiles.... Although one priest involved in sexual relations with teenage boys is one priest too many, still it should be stressed that the number of priests who have seduced teenage boys is a very small percentage of the 47,000 odd priests in the U.S.A. One report said that 177 priests throughout the USA have been removed from ministry. This of course is the source of serious scandal, which is made even greater by the anger of Catholic laity, who hold that our bishops have covered up these situations, and have made immense payments to settle law suits made by victims and their families. But one may ask whether our bishops as a body have been judged too harshly by both the media and our Catholic laity.
The archbishop said that the Catholic laity demand that any complaint against a priest concerning sexual abuse should be turned over to the D.A.'s office. Were he not to do so, he could be accused of covering up. This disclosure of individuals could lead to unsubstantiated charges against a priest, and, once published, this would do irreparable damage to the good reputation of the priest. He would be removed from his work, and not allowed to minister to the faithful until it is proven that the charges are false. In other words, priests are vulnerable to false accusations with no adequate defense.
But from the statistics on various dioceses - covering 30 or 40 years concerning priests' involvement with teenage boys - it is clear that the percentage of such crimes among priests is very low indeed. When recently in New York, Allentown, and Philadelphia, records of such sexual misbehaviour were submitted to District Attorney's offices, it was noted in the media that most of the cases were beyond the statute of limitations; however, throughout the country, one notes practically everyday one old case or another is brought to light. Unfortunately, this conveys the impression that such crimes are increasing, and the Church in America has been inept in taking care of victims, and in exercising necessary discipline of the accused priests.
Such views of 'designated Catholics' like Sullivan are put forth as expert moral opinion. But this is only a pose, leading up to the real message "which is that the Church will have to abandon its commitment to preserving the moral order in the sexual realm." The political purpose of the current crisis is "to break whatever hold the Catholic Church still has on morals, because morals, especially sexual morals, are the only thing which stands between the nations' beleagured individuals and families and the globalists control of culture through appetite..." (Jones, Culture Wars, April 2002).
Homosexual Manifestos Finally, we will in all likelihood want to expunge a number of passages from your Scriptures and rewrite others, eliminating preferential treatment of marriage and using words that will allow for homosexual interpretations of passages describing biblical lovers such as Ruth and Boaz or Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Warning: If all these things do not come to pass quickly, we will subject Orthodox Jews and Christians to the most sustained hatred and vilification in recent memory. We have captured the liberal establishment and the press. We have already beaten you on a number of battlefields. ... You have neither the faith nor the strength to fight us, so you might as well surrender now."
"Homosexual teachers are 8 to 10 times more likely to sexually involve themselves with pupils." J Psychology, 1996:130:603-613
My oldest son's male kindergarten teacher was fired for something untoward. I never did find out what it was. But within a few months he was calling me to find out if he could take my son fishing. I worked my way out of that one. He called again about six months after that and asked again. I found out later that he had called some other parents to see if he could take their kids fishing. I get real creeped when I think about it.
Except that the "old system" invited fag bashing by bored cops. Driving an activity underground by using laws and police never worked very well. And cops ahve not exactly improved. When they can't get the burglary solution rate above 20%, they ain't gonna do much useful about a complex social and moral issue.
Yeesh. Maybe you should mention this to the police. Some parent might say "yes."
Agudath Yisroel (an Orthodox Jewish group) has filed an amicus in the Texas case now before the Supremes. Their position is that the law against homosexual activity, EVEN IF NOT ENFORCED, should remain on the books.
It is their contention that the law is "a teacher."
....a perspective which should be more common...
This is a point of contention between Sinky and me--I think the number should be MUCH lower, like 10%...
Presently, some fourteen States, including AMICI , have criminal statutes prohibiting either homosexual sodomy alone or all extramarital sodomy. Many States also discourage homosexual activity through policies regarding, for example, same-sex marriage, child custody, adoption, and foster parenting. And many States have laws that regulate other kinds of private consensual adult sexual activity, such as polygamy, incest, pedophilia, prostitution, and adultery. AMICI are concerned that, if this Court should adopt petitioners' expansive and undisciplined interpretation of the Constitution, many if not all of these laws will be invalidated.
OK, dumb it down a little more. How do I bookmark this thread?
I can hardly be called a "Researcher" on this issue....but from what I have read, anywhere from 40% to 85% of homosexually oriented priests act out in homosexual sexual behaviors.
Therefore anywhere from 15% to 60% of homosexually oriented priests are chaste. Thus its almost impossible to estimate the total number of priests with a homosexual orientation.
However, it is more likely that one may ascertain the number of homosexually oriented priests who act out in homosexual sexual behaviors, because of the bizarre and obsessive natures of the Same Sex Attraction Disorder behaviors and the difficulty of hiding such bizarre behaviors for long by a public figure such as a priest.
In our diocese, of approximately 100 priests, we know od approximately 20 homosexually active priests. If anywhere from 15% to 60% of homosexually oriented priests are chaste, then in our diocese we most likely have 30 to 40 out of 100 priests who are homosexually oriented, or approximately 35%.
BUT OUR DIOCESE IS LIKELY IN THE FAR HIGHEST PERCENTAGE RANGES.
The average diocese probably only has 5-8% sexually active homosexual priests, and 10-20% homosexually oriented priests.
So no, I do not believe 32% of all Catholic priests in the US are homosexual. I think that number is too high by about 50-100%
The problem is that the "collective insights of the last forty years concerning homosexuality" contradict the collective insights of the prior 1,960 years, much if not all of recent research on this topic is worthless, and there is no reasonable basis to assert that forty years worth of recent "insights" should trump the wisdom of the centuries.
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