The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, commonly known as the John Jay Report, is a 2004 report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, based on surveys completed by the Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States.
In June 2002, as a result of the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in the United States, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops met in Dallas and approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter created a National Review Board, which was assigned responsibility to commission a descriptive study, with the full cooperation of the dioceses/eparchies, of the nature and scope of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The National Review Board engaged the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York to conduct a study analyzing allegations of sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses in United States. The time period covered by the John Jay study began in 1950 and ended in 2002. The product of the study was a report to the National Review Board titled "The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States" and commonly referred to as the "John Jay Report".
The Report determined that, during the period from 1950 to 2002, a total of 10,667 individuals had made allegations of child sexual abuse. Of these, the dioceses had been able to substantiate 6,700 accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, about 4% of all 109,694 priests who served during the time covered by the study. The number of alleged abuses increased in the 1960s, peaked in the 70s, declined in the 80s, and by the 1990s had returned to the levels of the 1950s.
The surveys filtered information provided from diocesan files on each priest accused of sexual abuse and on each of the priest's victims to the research team so that they did not have access to the names of the accused priests or the dioceses where they worked. The dioceses were encouraged to issue reports of their own based on the surveys that they had completed. Of the 4,392 priests who were accused, police were contacted regarding 1,021 individuals and of these, 384 were charged resulting in 252 convictions and 100 prison sentences; 3,300 were not investigated because the allegations were made after the accused priest had died.
Thus, 6% of all priests against whom allegations were made were convicted and about 2% received prison sentences during the period ending in 2002. According to the John Jay report, one-third of the accusations were made in the years 2002 and 2003. Another third of the allegations were reported between 1993 and 2001.
The study was based on surveys completed by 97% of the Catholic dioceses in the United States. The surveys provided information from diocesan files on each priest accused of sexual abuse and on each of the priest's victims. That information was filtered, so that the research team did not have access to the names of the accused priests or the dioceses where they worked. The report presents aggregate findings. The dioceses were encouraged to issue reports of their own based on the surveys that they had completed.
Nature of the problem
The John Jay study analyzed allegations of sexual abuse gathered via survey of Catholic dioceses.
The period covered by the John Jay study began in 1950 and ended in 2002. The number of alleged abuses increased in the 1960s, peaked in the 70s, declined in the 80s and by the 90s had returned to the levels of the 1950s.
Of the 11,000 allegations reported by bishops in the John Jay study, 3,300 were not investigated because the allegations were made after the accused priest had died. 6,700 allegations were substantiated, leaving 1,000 that could not be substantiated.
According to the John Jay Report, one-third of the accusations were made in the years 2002 and 2003. Another third of the allegations were reported between 1993 and 2001.
Profile of the alleged abuses
The John Jay study found that, "Like in the general population, child sex abuse in the Catholic Church appears to be committed by men close to the children they allegedly abuse." According to the study, "many (abusers) appear to use grooming tactics to entice children into complying with the abuse, and the abuse occurs in the home of the alleged abuser or victim." The study characterized these enticements as actions such as buying the minor gifts, letting the victim drive a car and taking youths to sporting events. The most frequent context for abuse was a social event and many priests socialized with the families of victims. Abuses occurred in a variety of places with the most common being the residence of the priest.
The John Jay report catalogued more than twenty types of sexual abuse ranging from verbal harassment to penile penetration. It said that most of the abusers engaged in multiple types of abuses. According to the report, only 9% of the accused performed acts limited to improper touching over the victim's clothes. Slightly more than 27% of the allegations involved a cleric performing oral sex and 25% involved penile penetration or attempted penile penetration, reported the study. Most of the allegations involved touching over or under clothing.
The study said sexual abuse "includes contacts or interactions between a child and an adult when the child is being used as an object of sexual gratification for the adult." The report categorized allegations of sexual abuse even if the allegation did not involve force or genital or physical contact.
Profile of the victims
The John Jay report found that 81% of the victims were male; and of all the victims, 22% were younger than age 10, 51% were between the ages of 11 and 14, and 27% were between the ages to 15 to 17 years.
Profile of the abusers
Half the priests were 35 years of age or younger at the time of the first instance of alleged abuse. Fewer than 7% of the priests were reported to have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse as children. Although 19% of the accused priests had alcohol or substance abuse problems, only 9% used drugs or alcohol during the alleged instances of abuse. Almost 70% of the abusive priests were ordained before 1970, after attending pre-Vatican II seminaries or seminaries that had had little time to adapt to the reforms of Vatican II.
Of the priests who were accused of sexual abuse, 59% were accused of a single allegation. 41% of the priests were the subject of more than one allegation. Just under 3% of the priests were the subject of ten or more allegations. The 149 priests who had more than 10 allegations against them accounted for 2,960 of the total number of allegations.
Diocesan awareness of the problem
In response to criticism that the Catholic hierarchy should have acted more quickly and decisively to remove priests accused of sexual misconduct, contemporary bishops have responded that the hierarchy was unaware until recent years of the danger in shuffling priests from one parish to another and in concealing the priests' problems from those they served. For example, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said: "We have said repeatedly that ... our understanding of this problem and the way it's dealt with today evolved, and that in those years ago, decades ago, people didn't realize how serious this was, and so, rather than pulling people out of ministry directly and fully, they were moved."
Diocesan response to allegations
Some bishops have been heavily criticized for moving offending priests from parish to parish, where they still had personal contact with children, rather than seeking to have them permanently removed from the priesthood. Instead of reporting the incidents to police, many dioceses directed the offending priests to seek psychological treatment and assessment. According to the John Jay report, nearly 40% of priests alleged to have committed sexual abuse participated in treatment programs. The more allegations a priest had, the more likely he was to participate in treatment.
The Church was widely criticized when it was discovered that some bishops knew about some of the alleged crimes committed, but reassigned the accused instead of seeking to have them permanently removed from the priesthood. In defense of this practice, some have pointed out that public school administrators engaged in a similar manner when dealing with accused teachers, as did the Boy Scouts of America.
In response to these allegations, defenders of the Church's actions have suggested that in re-assigning priests after treatment, bishops were acting on the best medical advice then available, a policy also followed by the U.S. public school system when dealing with accused teachers.
Some bishops and psychiatrists have asserted that the prevailing psychology of the times suggested that people could be cured of such behavior through counseling. Many of the abusive priests had received counseling before being reassigned. Critics have questioned whether bishops are necessarily able to form accurate judgments on a priest's recovery. The priests were allowed to resume their previous duties with children only when the bishop was advised by the treating psychologists or psychiatrists that it was safe for them to resume their duties.
According to the John Jay study, 3% of all priests against whom allegations were made were convicted and about 2% received prison sentences."
From a legal perspective, the most serious criticism aside from the incidents of child sexual abuse themselves was by the bishops, who failed to report accusations to the police. In response to the failure to report abuse to the police, lawmakers have changed the law to make reporting of abuse to police compulsory. For example, in 2002 Massachusetts passed a law requiring religious officials to report the abuse of children.
Factors contributing to the abuse problem
The John Jay report identified the following factors contributing to the sexual abuse problem:
- Failure by the hierarchy to grasp the seriousness of the problem.
- Overemphasis on the need to avoid a scandal.
- Use of unqualified treatment centers.
- Misguided willingness to forgive.
- Insufficient accountability.
- Child abuse
- Child sexual abuse
- Religious abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual misconduct
- Spiritual abuse
- Roman Catholic sex abuse cases
- Ferns Report — on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns, Ireland
- Crimen sollicitationis
- Pontifical Secret
- Deliver Us from Evil (2006 film)
- "Sex Crimes and the Vatican" — Panorama documentary episode
- Barbara Blaine — founder of SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests)
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- ↑ "Executive Summary of the Research Study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice". https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/exec.pdf.
- ↑ A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States National Review Board, February 27, 2004
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Reese, Thomas J. (2004-03-22). "Facts, Myths and Questions". America (New York City). https://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=3497. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- ↑ Owen, Richard (2008-01-07). "Pope calls for continuous prayer to rid priesthood of paedophilia". Times Online UK edition (London: Times Newspapers Ltd). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3142511.ece. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Terry, Karen et al. (2004). "John Jay Report". John Jay College of Criminal Justice. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2004_02_27_JohnJay/index.html. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Bono, Agostino. "John Jay Study Reveals Extent of Abuse Problem". http://www.americancatholic.org/news/clergysexabuse/johnjaycns.asp.
- ↑ Roberts, Tom (2009-03-20). "Bishops were warned of abusive priests". http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/bishops-were-warned-abusive-priests. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- ↑ Bruni, A Gospel of Shame (2002), p. 336
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Steinfels, A People Adrift (2003). pp. 40–6
- ↑ Irvine, Martha; Tanner, Robert (2007-10-21). "Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
- ↑ Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution, Patrick Boyle, 1995
- ↑ Filteau, Jerry (2004). "Report says clergy sexual abuse brought 'smoke of Satan' into church". Catholic News Service. http://www.catholicnews.com/data/abuse/abuse08.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- ↑ Frawley-ODea, Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (2007), p. 4
- ↑ "Chapter 107 of the Acts of 2002: An Act Requiring Certain Religious Officials to Report Abuse of Children". http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/seslaw02/sl020107.htm. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
- ↑ Robinson, B.A. (2009-08-30). "Independent survey of sexually abusive Roman Catholic priests". Kingston, Ontario: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. http://www.religioustolerance.org/clergy_sex20.htm.