Having heard some clergy members and others lie about the clergy sexual abuse issue and how the FBI said that it is a myth I did some searching. The FBI said no such thing and if they are even involved with an investigation the are keeping information tightly sealed.
I have signed up for FBI email’s and blog information and there has been nothing, repeat nothing on clergy sexual abuse. Sadly there is not a day that goes by that there is not a report from somewhere in the country about an indictment or conviction of a person involved in some way in child pornography, (ages have varied from the early 20’s – 60’s). There are also many reports of trafficking in underage sex, be it workers or others.
It is distressing. Those of us who have been sexually abused know that it does effect every aspect of our lives. Look at the likes of Lindsey Lowhan, Amanda Bines, Michael Jackson and so may other actors, singers and personalities. I would put money on them suffering abuse in general, sexual abuse specifically. Unfortunately self-medication via drugs, alcohol, sex, conspicuous spending, violence et. al. is the norm. The famous get headlines. A nobody only get headlines for a sixth DUI or worse. As a society there are complaints of overcrowded prisons but we do little about the co-dirty little secrets of abuse/violence and sexual exploitation. (I must say that abortion is not the answer. Human beings can lift themselves up from the most dire of situations. To do that one needs to be alive.) The shame of abuse does not belong with the abused but with the abuser. We have to get over that shame as difficult as it may be..
The FBI reference seems to come from a Catholic League document. It doesn’t actually quote or come from the FBI – but why let something like that stop one from pushing their agenda.
Here’s the link to the story.
What That Part of the Article Says….
David Pierre is one of the country’s leading observers of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. In Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, the Fraud, the Stories, he presents case studies backed by hard data which clearly demonstrates some of the injustices foisted on Catholic priests and the Church.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is identified by Pierre as a major culprit in advancing the destruction of innocent priests. He outlines the methods used by the group to manipulate clergy abuse charges and how they play the media. The organization, he says, provides talking points and staging tips for accusers and their attorneys at the workshops they hold at their yearly conference. SNAP’s tactics, he says, have grossly exaggerated the clergy abuse problem in the Church. He contends, that with data garnered by expert crime investigators, it is not unreasonable for an observer to deduce that “approximately one third” of all accusations against Catholic priests are entirely false or greatly exaggerated.
It is important for Church officials to challenge and, if need be, litigate every accusation. The results of these investigations should be publicized. And, if the allegations prove to be false, the name of the accuser, if an adult, should be made public. Not to do so lets the lies live on and continue to undermine the Body of Christ. “According to a sworn declaration submitted to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in November of 2010,” Pierre writes, “attorney Donald Steier claimed, ‘One retired F.B.I. agent who worked with me to investigate many claims in the Clergy Cases told me, in his opinion, about ONE-Half of the claims made in the Clergy Cases were either entirely false [or] greatly exaggerated.’
For the Record:
I would just invite you to consider that no where in the article does it say that the statistics come from the FBI. I did a search on the FBI website and their statistics system doesn’t carry any numbers on clergy abuse. The search came up empty.
This seems to be the latest strategy to make the situation seem less worse than it really is. The priest in my diocese who brought this up got this FBI “fact” from “a Bishop he really respects;” and bloggers and Facebook users who think they are helping the Church by posting this mis-information label it as “Telling The Truth About The Scandal”.
You would think that the people behind, “The Catholic League”, would love the Church enough to want to deal properly with this scandal instead of making up statistics. That behavior really does hurt the Church that I love.
An author has written a response to David Pierre’s book. Here’s one of the links.
Re: “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories” by Dave Pierre
On 7th January 2012 the website of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests published a long interview with the author of this book. Subsequently, on the ACP website on March 9th, under the heading ‘News for ACP members’, a contributor to the site made a comment strongly recommending the book. He related how it details “how in one American Diocese over a third of accusations were found to be false”.
This conclusion is likely to have been drawn from a chapter of this book entitled ‘Hard Data’. There Dave Pierre recounts how in Aug 2011 the Boston archdiocese listed 53 priests who had been removed from ministry on foot of abuse complaints over several decades. He then relates that the diocese had also posted a list of 25 priests against whom allegations for the same period had been found to be unsubstantiated.
Mr Pierre then writes:
“With these two numbers one can arrive at the figure of false accusations being at 32 percent.”
This figure is apparently derived by adding 25 to 53, to make 78, and by then calculating 25/78 x 100 =32.05.
If so Mr. Pierre has made at least three mistakes in arriving at this conclusion.
First, a total of 250 priests were the subject of abuse allegations in Boston in this period. So, of those 250 accused priests, if allegations against 25 priests were found to be unsubstantiated, then 10%, not 32%, of the total of accused priests, were the subject of allegations deemed unsubstantiated by the diocese.
Second, in the child protection regime in the US, abuse allegations are categorized as follows: (a) substantiated, (b) unable to substantiate; (c) false. ‘Unable to substantiate’ simply means that the matter is unclear — one cannot confirm or disprove. It is therefore not correct to conclude from the figures given by Mr. Pierre that even 10% of accused priests in Boston were victims of false allegation.
Third, in concluding that a given percentage of falsely accused priests translates into the same percentage of false allegations, Mr. Pierre does not allow for the probability that innocent people will be the subject of far fewer allegations per head than true pedophiles. In fact, as pedophiles commonly have multiple victims there could easily be a situation where in the case of ten accused people there could be a total of thirty allegations. By Pierre’s method of computation, if one of those ten had been found to be falsely accused, the rate of false allegation in this case would also be 10%. But what if there had been only one allegations against the person found innocent and a total of 29 allegations against the nine who were guilty? The true rate of false allegation here would in fact be 3.3%.
If the Boston archdiocese has published data for the total of abuse allegations made, and the total of allegations subsequently deemed to be false, why did Mr. Pierre not use those figures? If it hasn’t, why did he conclude that he could reliably compute the percentage of allegations deemed false in Boston?
Careful studies of the actual rate of false accusation in the US, using real data, have always arrived at an even lower figures. For example, the comprehensive John Jay study of Catholic clerical child abuse in the USA of 2004 put the figure at 1.5%.
A US child protection professional, Gary Schoehner, comments to me on that latter figure for false allegation as follows:
“Even the John Jay 1.5% has been challenged. The criteria for determining that they were “false” is not standard and it was made by the dioceses themselves. What is astonishing is that across the country so few are discounted, even by the Catholic Church.”
On this same issue the US Conference of Catholic bishops posted a bulletin this year, to be found at:
Click to access 12-bulletin_announcements.pdf
At # 46 of this bulletin the following will be found:
“Did You Know?
Children Do Not Lie About Abuse
Most children are not lying when they say that they were abused. Less than 5% of all allegations are intentionally false. It is more likely that children will refuse to tell about abuse than to lie about abuse. Several studies estimate that only about 6% of all children report sexual abuse by an adult to someone who can do something about it. The other 94% do not tell anyone or talk only to a friend. (And they swear their friend to secrecy.)”
~*~ Finally, in February of this year Fr Stephen J Rossetti – who is a consultant to the US bishops on this issue – informed a Vatican symposium on clerical child abuse as follows:
”There are false allegations to be sure. It is critical that we do all that we can to restore a priest’s good name once it is determined that the allegations are false. …. decades of experience tell us that the vast majority of allegations, over 95 per cent, are founded. There is little benefit, and much to be lost, for a person to come forward and to allege that he or she was sexually molested by a priest.”
The rest of Mr. Pierre’s book needs to be subjected to similar scrutiny – if anyone else has time to spare and money to spend.
Sean O’Conaill http://www.seanoconaill.com
I have followed Michael Jackson for years because I have always believed he is an abuser of boys. Recently an article came out that stated Michael Jackson paid out over 35 Million dollars to his victims to keep them quiet. I have never heard he was sexually abused. I have heard that he and his brothers were driven by their father but never sexually abused. I have no sympathy at this point for michael jackson. Boys are safer now that he’s gone.
It happened. According to Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler only 33% of people who have been sexually abused become abusers themselves. Michael Jackson suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It doesn’t excuse him if he indeed became a preditor but it does explaine a lot. Our job as Catholic Christian’s is to forgive and at the same time to fight for truth. It is never a good thing for a person to be dead especially if we are not sure of repentence before death.