Report on sex abuse shifts blame away from Catholic Church


An in depth study of clergy sexual abuse says the crimes which exploded in the 60's and 70's were in part a reflection of the times due to free love and social upheaval.

Thomas Plante, Ph.D., is a leading expert on the topic and a consultant on the report. He says the crisis also steamed from an overall lack of education about child abuse.

"There was a confluence of factors both in the church and outside the church that came together to create a situation where there was a sizable number of particularly problematic offenders. We're talking about 149 men, serial offenders," said Plante.

The report by John Jay College for Criminal Justice concludes that the abuse of children within the church has nothing to do with mandatory celibacy or priests who are gay.

Many victims of clergy abuse say the findings did not focus enough on the church cover up which took place at the highest levels for decades.

Tim Lennon lives in the Bay Area and says he was 12 years old when a priest repeatedly violated him.

"The bishops by funding this study, providing the information for the study, only skews what the results of the study is and that is everyone's to blame but the bishops and the hierarchy and that's what needs to change and that's the problem," said Lennon.

The Catholic Church says it has been taking aggressive action since 2002 to right the many wrongs.

"I believe that bishops need to be held accountable and we need to be responsible for the decisions that we make," said Bishop Blase Cupich from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The report is the most comprehensive study of its kind and many say will be a valuable tool moving forward.

"We are going to hear all sorts of spin on this report, but at the end of the day we have to avoid the emotional hysteria in order to keep the kids safe," said Plante.

The John Jay report called the abuse crisis history and to survivors like Tim, that is the first point of contention.

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