As a Catholic the various entertainment centers tend to continue with the molestation jokes to a disconcerting numbers. If one was to swallow the spin, you would think the pervasive number of molestation are instigated by the clergy and the Church has done nothing more then shield the perpetrators. This is a major falsehood.
First of all it is this bloggers opinion that ANYONE convicted of child molestation should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Further they should be regulated to make it nigh impossible for the crime to be repeated.
Notwithstanding the media hysteria over sex abuse in the Catholic Church, priests abuse at a rate far lower than that of other males. While even one case of abuse is too many, approximately only 4% of all active priests between 1950 and 2002 were even accused of abuse – a rate far lower than that of other males in the general population. Source, source.
You would never know it from the media's frenzied coverage, but the bulk of reported stories of sex abuse stem from a historical anomaly as the vast majority of allegations occurred only during the narrow band of time of the Sexual Revolution from the 1960s to the early 1980s. And despite media intimations of dark conspiracies and cover-ups, the Church merely followed the then-prevailing view of experts that offenders could be successfully rehabilitated and sent accused priests off treatment, rather than reporting them to police, which then resulted in a high rate of recidivism.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, the Catholic Church, following the then-prevailing societal practice, sent suspected abusers to psychologists rather than calling the police.
In this respect, the Church was far from alone. When the Church was sending accused priests to psychological treatment, "the criminal justice system was doing the very same thing with convicted offenders – sending them to treatment instead of prison." Source.
Yet in almost every media account, the media has failed to provide this important historical context that the Church was following the then-reigning advice of experts to send accused priests to treatment. Source.
Tragically, sending accused priests to treatment rather than reporting them to the police only resulted in a high rate of recidivism among those priests. According to the 2004 John Jay College report, 149 priests were "serial abusers" (10+ victims) and accounted for an alarming 26% of all of the abuse between 1950 and 2002. Source.
Yet these 149 men represent only one-tenth of one percent of all priests who served in the Catholic Church in the United States between 1950 and 2002. Most accused priests (56%) have been the subject of only one allegation.