Friday, 1 July 2011

Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Report Blames Social Upheaval for Scandals

A report by the Catholic Church into the reasons for widespread sexual abuse involving clergy members during the ‘60s and ‘70s, blames the abuse on those tumultuous times. To Los Angeles sexual abuse attorneys, this seems like an attempt by church authorities to blame external factors for the shameful behavior of clergymen.

The report, which was paid for by bishops, was based on research by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The report, which was released in May, concludes that many of the incidents involving sexual abuse of children that occurred in the ‘60s and ‘70s coincided with periods of social upheaval and changing sexual mores. According to the report, these dramatic changes confused clergymen, causing them to act in ways that were inappropriate.

Additionally, according to the report, there was an increase in the incidence of behaviors like drug use and premarital sex during these decades, and this confused priests, contributing to horrible crimes committed against kids. The report says that the increased incidences of sexual abuse involving priests in the ‘60s and ‘70s simply reflected the changing social and sexual mores of the day.

Much of the reason that clergy sexual abuse was so widespread in the past decades was the lack of information about the existence of such abuse. Not too many victims were willing to come forward with stories about what really happened in Sunday schools or after altar duties.

Additionally, many dioceses had well-established policies in place that simply shuffled pedophile priests from church to church when their deviant behaviors were exposed, instead of removing them from the priesthood altogether. This created an environment that fostered concealment of clergy abuse, and gave other priests the confidence to engage in similar practices, knowing that the Church would turn a blind eye.

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