Pope Benedict XVI met with a group of clerical abuse victims and promised them that the Catholic Church will continue to implement "effective measures" to protect young people in the future. Meanwhile, the sexual abuse of children across other segments of society continues to be largely ignored by the media. And this only serves to suggest that the media are not so much concerned with the welfare of children as they are with unfairly portraying the abuse of children as a "crisis in the Church."
The 2002 John Jay report tabulated a total of 4,392 priests and deacons in the U.S. against whom allegations of sexual abuse were considered by their dioceses to have been substantiated. Most of these were incidences of homosexual misconduct - somewhere between 80-90 percent of all cases. Dr. Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University has said that, "available research suggests that approximately 2 to 5% of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor" which "is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%."
In her report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education entitled "Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature," Charol Shakeshaft explains that, "This analysis indicates that 9.6 percent of all students in grades 8 to 11 report contact and/or noncontact educator sexual misconduct that was unwanted." (p. 25). And then Ms. Shakeshaft puts this percentage in a proper perspective:
"To get a sense of the extent of the number of students who have been targets of educator sexual misconduct, I applied the percent of students who report experiencing educator sexual misconduct to the population of all K-12 students. Based on the assumption that the AAUW surveys accurately represent the experiences of all K-12 students, more than 4.5 million students are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade. Possible limitations of the study would all suggest that the findings reported here under-estimate educator sexual misconduct in schools." (p. 26).
Full Shakeshaft report may be found here.
Where are children safer: in the Catholic Church or in the public schools? Who are they safer with: a Catholic priest or a male within the general population?
The numbers tell the story. But the media do not. The statistics do not lie. But a biased media has been known to.
What a shame that those who produce our media do not believe that people deserve the full truth. Until they do, how many more children will have to suffer because of the lack of scrutiny and the denial within the media that the sexual abuse of children is a societal problem?