About the Video

No one wants to talk about this. We get it. And while our leaders have rightfully focused on apologies and assisting survivors of abuse, the world hasn’t heard this reality: The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a better track record in youth protection than perhaps any other institution since 2002. No one has heard that because … we don’t want to talk about it.

The lack of knowledge about the societal epidemic of child abuse and the media’s fixation on ONLY the Catholic Church have certainly impacted people’s perception of our clergy and our Church. Here’s our issue with that. If the media wants to put the spotlight on our past failings, then we need to start putting a spotlight on solutions. We need to broadcast what we’ve done – not to make excuses, or to falsely claim we are now perfect – but because we want everyone to feel the urgency we did in the early 2000’s and enact measures that better protect kids!

In our culture, topics that should be handled seriously are far too often subjected to partisan arguments that ignore facts. This issue demands more – for the sake of young people. We thank Scott and Brian for courageously introducing to the rest of us, how this conversation can be respectfully entered into.


While post-production continues, enjoy this rough draft:

Research Notes

1:40 – A thorough review of the PA Grand Jury Report found that 140 of the 301 identified priests are deceased. It found that 97% of the alleged incidents happened before the 2002 Dallas Charter, and thus only 3% have happened in the last 15 years. The average year that each alleged incident of abuse ended was 1979. Further Reading: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/philadelphia-archdiocese-commissions-analysis-of-grand-jury-report-98000

Problems with the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report: A handful of reporters and media outlets have taken the time to move past the “300 priests, 1,000 victims” headline, and have noted some significant issues with the report.

2:15 – From the peak of the Catholic sex abuse in the 1970s, the total number of allegations per decade decreased by 95% from the 1970s to the 2000s. Source: Data collected by CARA and the 2010 John Jay Report. Further reading: http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2018/08/pain-never-disappears-from-unhealed.html

Schools comparison: The PA Grand Jury listed 23 alleged clergy incidents since 2002 (16 years). In just 2017, 42 Pennsylvania school teachers lost their licenses because of sexual misconduct with minors.  The PA Grand Jury report listed 301 priests with allegations over a 70+ year period; in Texas, over 300 teachers were investigated for inappropriate student-teacher relationships in 2017, and over 400 were investigated in 2018.

2:50 – Even as “new” allegations are reported, the dates of the alleged incidents continue to fall into the same historical patterns. The chart below shows how allegations that have been reported since 2004 are still predominantly from incidents that allegedly occurred in the 1960s to early 1980s. Source: CARA.

5:50 – The issue of sexual abuse of minors is not a Catholic Church problem, it is a society problem. The referenced Center for Disease Control study surveyed over 17,000 adults nationwide from 1995 to 1997 and found that approximately 24.7% (1 in 4) of women and 16% (1 in 6) of men reported to have been sexually abused before they were 18-years-old.

This survey was done again in 10 states in 2010 and showed a decrease of 10 percentage points. 15.2% of women (1 in 6.5) and 6.4% of men (1 in 15.5). 2010 Survey.

6:10 – According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members; 60% of perpetrators are people known by the victim; and only 10% of perpetrators are strangers.

Link: https://www.nsopw.gov/en/education/factsstatistics/#reference

7:30 – It is common for the media and society to refer to the crisis in the Catholic Church as a problem of “pedophile priests,” when in fact, less than 5 percent of priests with allegations of sexual abuse of a minor exhibited behavior consistent with a professional diagnosis of pedophilia, and only 22% of the alleged victims were aged 10 and under. Source: 2010 John Jay Reporter

8:10 – The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures originally established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. It was revised in 2005, 2011, and 2018. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/Charter-for-the-Protection-of-Children-and-Young-People-2018-final.pdf

*An in-depth analysis of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report actually reveals that the implementation of the 2002 Dallas Charter has worked. Not perfectly, but it by and large has been successful. https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/pa-grand-jury-report-not-what-it-seems

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