WASHINGTON (October 29, 2004) - The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People announced the release of a Request for Grant Proposals (RFP) for a comprehensive study on the causes of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and deacons in the United States and the social context in which it occurred.
According to the 2004 study, "The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, 1950-2002," conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, during the past 52 years, at least 10,667 boys and girls were abused by members of the Catholic clergy in nearly every part of the country. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, 2002 directed the Board to commission this study and also a study to determine the causes of the abuse.
The results of this second study may enable the Church to affirm its current procedures for the prevention of abuse and to realize additional methods that would promote safety for children in all types of environments.
The study will also seek to learn:
- the epidemic aspect of the sexual abuse of incidents shown in the surge of incidents in the 1970s and the subsequent decline of reports of sexual abuse in the 1980s
- the prominence of young adolescent males among the victims
- the content and influence of seminary admission policies and priest formation programs
- before and after the 1980s
- the ecclesiastical environment and the ways in which the Church responded to reports of sexual abuse
- the behavioral and psychological problems of abusers
- circumstances which enhanced the vulnerability of the victims
- cultural, social and psychological factors in American Society and the Catholic Church which contribute to sexual abuse of children, particularly during the surge of incidents in the 1970s
- the response of law enforcement to reports of sexual abuse committed by clergy in the 1970s as compared with current response protocols
- the common psychiatric treatment models of the 1970s as compared with current treatment models
The National Review Board Members are: Nicholas Cafardi, Chair; Dr. Alice B. Hayes and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, co-chairs, subcommittee on research; Dr. Michael J. Bland, Mrs. Jane Chiles, Dr. Patricia O'Donnell Ewers; Dr. Angelo Giardino, Pamela Hayes, Esq., Justice Petra Jimenez Maes; Ralph Lancaster, Esq., Hon. Michael R. Merz; Joseph Russoniello, Esq., and Mr. Ray Siegfried.