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March 4, 2004 Edition   •   Volume 134, No. 9   •   Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

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The Catholic Herald is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison. Its purpose is to inform and educate people of the Diocese through communications that proclaim Gospel values, report the news, and comment on issues as they pertain to the mission of the Catholic Church, which is to bring all in Jesus Christ to the Father.
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News & Features:

Catholic social teaching:
Offers set of valuable principles

Youth rally: 'Make a difference'

Pioneer priest:
Honoring Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli

Eucharistic Adoration:
Offered in parishes, chapels
in Diocese of Madison


• Question Corner
by Fr. John Dietzen -- Questions:
How long Jesus was on cross;
last day of Lent

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Article removed: Because of a licensing agreement with Catholic News Service, The Catholic Herald may archive CNS news stories for only 30 days. A CNS article has been removed from this site: Clergy sexual abuse: Study, report reveal extent, causes of crisis. A related story was published in the March 4, 2004 print version of The Catholic Herald.

Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Catholic Clergy and Other Professionals

Excerpted from a special report, Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Catholic Clergy and Other Professionals, published by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The complete text with footnotes can be found at

Reprinted with permission

Overall data

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems was developed by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Human Services in partnership with the States to collect annual statistics on child maltreatment from State child protective services agencies.

For the year 2001, it was found that approximately 903,000 children were victims of child maltreatment, 10 percent of whom (or 90,000) were sexually abused. It also found that 59 percent of the perpetrators of child abuse or neglect were women and 41 percent were men.

The purpose of this special report is to put the recent scandal in the Catholic Church in perspective. It does not seek to exculpate anyone who had anything to do with priestly sexual misconduct, but it does seek to challenge those who continue to treat this issue in isolation. Indeed, to discuss the incidence of sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic priests without reference to the level of offense found among the clergy of other religions, or to that of other professionals, is grossly unfair.

It is the belief of the Catholic League that no meaningful conversation can take place on this issue without having some baseline data regarding the incidence of abuse that occurs outside the Catholic Church. That was the sole intent of this special report, and if it contributes to that end, then it will have been a success.

William A. Donohue, Ph.D, president
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

In 2001, clinical child psychologist Wade F. Horn reported on the work of researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. The researchers found that nearly 20 percent of low-income women, recruited through family planning, obstetrical, or gynecological clinics, had experienced child sexual abuse.

Horn summarized the researchers' findings on poor women as follows: "Family friends and acquaintances compose the largest group of perpetrators (28 percent), followed by such relatives as uncles and cousins (18 percent), stepfathers (12 percent), male siblings (10 percent), biological fathers (10 percent), boyfriends of the child's mother (nine percent), grandfathers and stepgrandfathers (seven percent), and strangers (four percent)." Horn was struck by the fact that 10 percent were biological fathers and only four percent were strangers.


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.

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.

In a database analysis of reports on more than 1,200 alleged victims of priests identified by USA Today, 85 percent were males. In another study by USA Today, it was determined that of the 234 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the nation's 10 largest dioceses and archdioceses, 91 percent of their victims were males.   Full story ...

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