Critics Claim That John Jay Report Blames Sex Abuse on '60S, Not Bishops

Article excerpt

THE JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF Criminal Justice released its report "The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States" to a storm of criticism from different corners of the sexual abuse debate.

More conservative commentators like George Weigel of the National Review Online agreed with the report's suggestion that the "deviant" behavior of the 1960S and '70s was reflected in the increase of abuse cases among the clergy--what has been called the "blame Woodstock" explanation. He differed with the researchers' conclusion that homosexuality--whether that of individuals or what he calls a cultural "victimization of adolescent males"--is not to blame for the preponderance of male abuse victims.

A.W. Richard Sipe, a former priest and recognized expert on the mental health and sexuality of the clergy, had other misgivings about the methodology. Among them were: that no one on the research team had been a seminarian or priest; that evidence from Grand Jury reports was not included; and that no clinical observations of the accused priests informed the study. The research team concluded that there was no one characteristic that would make it possible to identify abusers in advance. …