The long-awaited report on the causes and context of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church finally emerged in 2011. The study by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City cites the lack of transparency and accountability as key factors in the cover-ups that prolonged the scandal and delayed justice for the abused–the same factors that Voice of the Faithful has long identified as obstacles to true healing and reform.
The report also says, “The most significant conclusion drawn from this data is that no single psychological, developmental, or behavioral characteristic differentiated priests who abused minors from those who did not.” Poor training, social isolation, job stress and lack of support all contributed to the problem.
Although the study offers some praise for recent efforts to fight child abuse, it also says Church leaders were defensive and self-protective, attitudes that fostered and concealed the problem rather than resolving it.
You can read the initial VOTF response to release of the study here. The links below will take you to the study itself and to some early reports on it as well as to the earlier volume called Nature and Scope of the Problem:
Causes and Context Study (2011)
The Boston Globe: Abraham column
The Washington Post (blog item)
The John Jay Study (Nature and Scope of the Problem)
John Jay Nature and Scope Supplementary Data Analysis (2006)