The number of pedophile priests found so far in the U.S. Catholic Church is "extrapolated" to be as high as 10,969 according to Bishop Accountabillity.org, and they are still counting.
The international numbers get higher as courts order release of documents in American and European dioceses. "The percentage of paedophile priests is 20 to 200 times higher than the incidence found in the secular population," according to a report by Vania Lucia Gaito (pictured) that City of Angels has published in today's post. Italian psychologist and journalist Gaito is known for her work with the blog Bispensiero to bypass mainstream media restraints and broadcast the BBC documentary Sex Crimes and the Vatican with subtitles in Italy in 2007. When CofA received her report last summer, we realized it coincides with numbers released at Bishop Accountability July 1, 2010:
After the March 2009 release of audit documents by the New Hampshire AG, the names of 74 accused Manchester priests are known, or over 8.9% of the 831 diocesan priests, which extrapolates to 9,768 nationally. Covington diocese states that 9.6% of its priests have been accused, which extrapolates to 10,531 nationally. Over 10% of Providence RI priests have been accused, which extrapolates to over 10,969 nationally.BA founder and president Terry McKiernan writes: "When an independent assessment is done with true access, the percentage of accused priests is about 10 percent. That is a shocking number. No other profession has such a high percentage." Read the updated numbers here at Bishop Accountabillity.
"To hand a child over to a clergyman means to expose him/her to a risk which is at least twenty times higher than that of handing him/her over to a teacher, to a neighbour, to a family friend," writes Gaito from Italy. "In regard to what the Church wants you to believe; i.e., that the risk is the same, you only have to analyze the figures to realize that it is not true."
Still parishioners prefer to believe the numbers they hear from the pulpit, as evidenced in a recent Denver Post editorial:
“The problem [of pedophile priests] is vastly different from that described so enthusiastically by the media, and most of the critical measures have already been taken. Based on the results of the John Jay Criminal Research Study conducted in New York in 2004, Jenkins summarizes that the documented evidence for clerical crime is far less extensive than is widely believed. Even in the overheated and litigious atmosphere following the Boston scandals, the Jay study reported no allegations against 24 priests out of every 25.…" Continue reading My brother, the priest in Denver Post.
And just days ago: Belgian bishops admit "errors," say child abuse is societal problem as reported in Monsters and Critics
Here is the real story, from Italy:
What's Unfair is Trying to Minimize the Problem
By Vania Lucia Gaito
The percentage of paedophiles amongst Catholic clergymen is 20 to 200 times higher than the percentage of paedophiles amongst the common people. To hand a child over to a clergyman means to expose him/her to a risk which is at least twenty times higher than that of handing him/her over to a teacher, to a neighbour, to a family friend.
In regard to what the Church wants you to believe, i.e. that the risk is the same, you only have to analyze the figures to realize that it is not true. In order to better understand, it is necessary to have a closer look at the figures, without being deceived by abstract numbers, that are not compared with others.
Pope Benedict XVI says that the Catholic Church has often come under "unfair and unfounded attacks" referring to the issue of paedophilia.
According to Monsignor Mariano Crociata, Secretary-General of the Italian Episcopal Conference, in the last ten years the the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has investigated about a hundred Italian priests, accused of sexual abuse with minors.
Monsignor Crociata has never provided details on the outcome of these proceedings, claiming that in Italy there is no need for a special committee from the Church to cope with cases of child molestation. Furthermore, nothing is known about that “hundred” pedophile priests the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith investigated: not even if there were a hundred priests, nor how many victims, nor how long the abuse continued. We don't know if other priests or bishops knew about the crimes.
The percentage of paedophiles amongst clergymen in Ireland is thirty times higher than the percentage of paedophiles amongst the common people
So are “attacks” on the Church for its paedophilia really unfounded and unfair, as the Pope and his spokesmen say? When you examine the numbers, you realize the problem is very serious, much more serious than the Church presents.
A first question concerns the “hundred cases” mentioned by Monsignor Crociata. If you add up the number of cases of sexual abuse with minors perpetrated by Italian priests and reported by the press in the last ten years, you find that the cases of paedophilia and child pornography involve at least 172 priests. There are no two ways about it: either not all the priests accused have been investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or Monsignor Crociata is definitely too optimistic.
Understand the problem of clerical paedophilia is not a matter of statistics, but rather a matter of morality,
But if you do take a close look at the figures concerning other Countries you get an idea of the extent of the problem: 4,392 priests accused of paedophilia in the U.S.; 1,700 priests accused of sexual abuse on little children, orgies and use of drugs in Brazil; 107 priests and clergymen convicted in Australia of abuse with minors; 800 clergymen accused of more than 14,000 cases of abuses in Ireland. Plus, hundreds of cases in Holland, in Poland, in Croatia, in France, in England, in Alaska, in Mexico. Up to now, and only in the U.S., $3 billion has been paid in financial compensation. More than one billion for financial compensation has been asked by the survivors of Ireland's industrial schools.
Thousands of victims.
Sometimes even very little children.
A careful analysis of the phenomenon of clerical paedophilia, commissioned by the American bishops to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, known as the “John Jay Report,” determined that 4% of American priests have been charged with paedophilia. However, in September 2009 the archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, minimized the problem claiming that "only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy was involved in child sex abuse.”
Not at all, if you compare these proportions to those of the secular population.
The percentage of paedophiles amongst Catholic clergymen is 20 to 200 times higher than the percentage of paedophiles amongst the common people.
Should the percentage of paedophile priests be 1.5%, as suggested by Monsignor Tomasi, it would be twenty times higher than the incidence found in the secular population.
To hand a child over to a clergyman means to expose him/her to a risk which is at least twenty times higher than that of handing him/her over to a teacher, to a neighbour, to a family friend. In regard to what the Church wants you to believe; i.e., that the risk is the same, you only have to analyze the figures to realize that it is not true. In order to better understand, it is necessary to have a closer look at the figures, without being deceived by abstract numbers, that are not compared with others.
In March 2010, spokesman for the Holy See, Federico Lombardi, claimed: "In Austria 17 abuse cases were found in Catholic institutions, while a good 510 abuse cases were found in other environments; therefore it would be as well to concern ourselves also with them and not to direct the searchlight only towards the Church."
Lombardi makes it seem that the phenomenon of paedophilia in other environments should be considered more worrying: but is it really like this? Understanding that cases of paedophilia in other environments certainly do not justify child abuses perpetrated by priests, some easy calculations make you realize that the problem of paedophilia in the Catholic Church is not the little problem they portray it to be.
In Austria, how does the number of paedophile priests in the total number of priests compare with “common paedophiles” in the overall Austrian population?
In all, there are about 6,700 Austrian clergymen from a population of a little less than three million four-hundred thousand Austrian males. If you compare the number of abuses to the reference population, 17 cases of paedophilia out of 6,700 priests and 510 cases of paedophilia out of 3,400,000 Austrian adult males, you realize that the percentage of paedophile clergymen – which seemed to be small –is instead very high.
Among Austrian priests the percentage of paedophiles is 0.26%, whereas among the secular population the percentage of paedophiles is 0.015%. As a consequence, actually the percentage of paedophiles among priests is equal to seventeen times the percentage of paedophiles in the secular popolation.
The number of pedophiles among priests in Australia is 200 times the percentage of pedophiles in the secular population.
You can draw the same conclusions if you examine the statistical data of Countries such as the U.S. According to the last annual report by the Children’s Bureau - the bureau of the U.S. Department of Health that deals with children and young people - in the U.S. there have been about 88,000 cases of sexual abuse with minors out of a population of 118 million adult males, a percentage of 0.075%.
Should the percentage of paedophile priests be 1.5%, as suggested by the most conservative estimate of Monsignor Tomasi, it would be twenty times higher than the incidence found in the secular population. The statistical data that the Church itself has been pouring out, in an attempt to play down the phenomenon, is instead extremely worrying.
The Irish numbers are even worse than American numbers as physical and emotional abuse combined with ill treatment, in addition to sexual abuses in Ireland Catholic schools, according to 14,000 victims in 2,500 testimonies.
In Ireland, it is difficult to establish the percentage of paedophiles among the population, since only 160 crimes of this kind are reported every year, whereas the anti-paedophilia organizations receive about 2,400 notifications per year, out of 1,7 million adult males.
Thus, the percentages among “common” Irish people fluctuate between 0.01% and 0.14%. The percentage of paedophiles amongst clergymen turns out to be at least thirty times higher than the percentage of paedophiles amongst the common people.
JOHN BROWN of Australia sends this:
Can you pick the real number of those sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Australia?
15,227 110,007 145,549 62,243 130,137 or 33,681
Per John Brown of Australia read more here
Vania Lucia Gaito continued:
In Australia the percentage is almost identical to Austria: 107 priests convicted out of 3,800 priests – ordinary and diocesan – with an incidence of paedophiles of 2.82%.
As regards “common” paedophiles, Australia has a public database with names and pictures of the children sexual offenders and it gathers more than 1,200 names out of a population of 8.5 million adult males, with an incidence of paedophiles equal to 0.014%.
Therefore, in Australia, the percentage of paedophiles amongst priests would be 200 times higher than the one found in the general population.
In several Countries the number of reports and testimonies concerning sexual abuse perpetrated by priests has significantly increased as a result of the establishment of Government’s commissions of investigation, as in Ireland, or of independent commissions, as in the U.S. The possibility for the victims recognize the wrongs they suffered has driven thousands of people who had been abused by priests during their childhood to come out in the open and tell their tragic story.
Some American states established the so-called “one-year window” in order to allow victims to report abuses that would be prosecuted by state law, even if they had occurred decades before and were barred by statute.
Therefore, it is difficult to understand why Monsignor Crociata can claim that in Italy there is no need to establish a commission of investigation on clerical paedophilia. It is not clear why Italy should be considered an “oasis of happiness,” free from the scandal.
According to the data divulged by Archbishop Tomasi, and considering that in Italy there are about 35,000 diocesan priests, there could be 500 to 1750 priests involved in paedophilia cases. Not to mention the presence of other clergymen and ordinary priests, which would make these reasonable estimates increase.
In Ireland the percentage of paedophiles amongst clergymen turns out to be at least thirty times higher than the percentage of paedophiles amongst the common people.
But why in our Country (Italy) has the scandal not burst yet?
Victims are afraid that they won’t be believed and that the wrongs they have suffered won’t be recognized. Due to a sort of “sacred-ism,” the figure of the priest is considered to be above certain wickedness. Often, when a victim reports to the police, the public sides more with the accused rather than with the accuser.
Not to mention that, in legal quibbles of Italy, it is easy for the victims to see their abuser remaining unpunished, even after having reported him to the police and, perhaps, even after that the Law has prosecuted him.
From the percentages reported, it seems that in some countries the incidence of child sexual offenders in the population is higher than in others. Actually, this phenomenon is easy to explain: in the countries where the Law prosecutes the offence of sexual abuse with more engagement and effectiveness, reports and convictions are superior than those of other Countries where the same crime is not prosecuted with as much effectiveness.
In plain words: victims are more inclined to report to the police if they know that there is a concrete possibility to obtain justice.
But is the Italian situation really so different from the one of other Countries? Even if you assumed that the estimate of “a hundred” paedophile priests was true, as claimed by Monsignor Crociata, which is the percentage of paedophiles among Italian priests?
It’s only 0.29%, according to the Church.
On the contrary, the Caramella Buona, an anti-paedophile association that has recently joined criminal proceedings as a civil party seeking damages in the trial of Father Ruggero Conti, reveals that in Italy there are 1,322 people convicted of paedophila.
Out of a population of more than 20 million adult males, the percentage is 0.006%. the incidence of paedophilia among Italian priests turns out to be 48 times higher than the one found among common citizens. Furthermore, we'd better remember that it is very rare that a paedophile stops at one victim. Even “only” one hundred cases may mean thousands of victims.
What is unfair is not to make a devastating problem such as the one of paedophile priests publicly known.
What is unfair is trying to minimize the extent of that problem, to offend victims by talking of “idle chatter,”to insult those who have already been offended by abuse by minimizing figures, and to try to make people believe that the victim, in this dirty business, is the Church: that Church which has tried to make people believe that all abuses were “isolated cases,” the Church that had to be hauled up to Court before compensating victims, the Church that has ignored who has turned to it to get justice.
The Church that has preferred to keep on defending its possessions and its privileges rather than to deny itself, to take its own cross and follow that Christ who lives in any abused child.
Vania Lucia Gaito, psychologist of Salerno source, collaborates with the blog Bispensiero which, in May 2007, broadcast the subtitled BBC documentary, SEX CRIMES AND VATICAN, in Italy. Video of Vania Lucia Gaito on Italian TV
Posted by Kay Ebeling, Producer, City of Angels Blog
Watch video of Gaito discussing her pedophile priest research on Italian TV Talk Show here:
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ADDED: Later in the day Sept. 14:
OTHER writers trying to explain away the pedophile epidemic as if it were made up in the media:
"The fact is that sexual abuse by priests is a relatively rare phenomenon." - Brendan O'Neill- Spiked Online from last spring.