Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Letter to the Editor - Sexual abuse

Letter to the Editor

Sexual abuse
Columbus Dispatch - April 6, 2010
By Dan Moriaty

Sexual abuse among adults and children is a SOCIETAL problem, not specifically a CATHOLIC problem and exists among all Protestant and Jewish denominations and other occupations such as coaches, teachers, care givers, et al.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the results of national surveys by Christian Ministry Resources.  The conclusion: "Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers." This is NOT an attempt to slur other denominations or occupations only to point out that Jesus' Church is being singled out for attack (par for the course and no surprise)

According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse, and according to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse.[1][v]  Thomas Kane, author of Priests are People Too, estimates that between 1 and 1.5 percent of priests have had charges made against them.  Of contemporary priests, the Associated Press found that approximately two-thirds of 1 percent of priests have charges pending against them (all of the priests were homosexual, a protected class in this country by US citizens).

Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, reports that 30 percent of rabbis who changed positions in 2000 did so involuntarily, and that sexual abuse was a factor in many instances.  The Awareness Center devotes an entire website to "Clergy Abuse: Rabbis, Cantors & Other Trusted Officials."  It is a detailed and frank look at the problem of sexual abuse by rabbis.

The problem of sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses is evident among church elders but most of the abuse comes from congregation members.  "The victims who have stepped forward are mostly girls and young women," writes Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times, "and many accusations involve incest." In New York City alone, at least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day, one study concluded.  Another is the fact that teachers accused of sexual misconduct cannot be fired under New York State law.

The TRANSFER PROBLEM of sex abusers rather than firing them is also NOT a Catholic problem that more than 60 percent of employees accused of sexual abuse in the New York City schools were transferred to desk jobs at district offices located inside the schools.  Most of these teachers are tenured and 40 percent of those transferred are repeat offenders.  They call it "passing the garbage" in the schools.  One reason why this exists is due to efforts by the United Federation of Teachers to protect teachers at the expense of children.

Shakeshaft has also determined that 15 percent of all students have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct by a teacher between kindergarten and 12th grade; the behaviors range from touching to forced penetration. She and Cohan also found that up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children.

Finally, in the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests are pedophiles.  The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent. None of this is happy news; however, it is the public's "politically correct" attitude that is the problem, not any specific religious organization--the same people who are responsible for the US bankruptcy problem.

Dan Moriarty, Reynoldsburg

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