Grant Gallicho, over at Dotcommonweal--in response to Bill Donohue's having apparently convinced himself that the sex abuse crisis is about gay priests--provides a master class in analyzing the John Jay study data.
Yet Donohue thinks that because 81 percent of the victims were male the real cause was homosexuality. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, Donohue asserts that three-quarters of the victims were postpubescent, noting that the American Pediatric Association says boys start puberty at age ten. In other words, the more postpubescent male victims we find, the more likely it is that we’re looking at a gay problem. Obvious, isn’t it?
Not quite. First, John Jay researchers did not measure the pubescence of victims. They collected two sets of data about victims. One, the “Cleric Survey,” recorded the victims in the following age groups: 1-7, 8-10, 11-14, and 15-17. Researchers presumed that victims aged 11 to 14 were postpubescent; according to the Cleric Survey, 50.9 percent of victims were aged 11 to 14. That’s why on page 56 of the “Nature and Scope” study the researchers claim that “the majority of alleged victims were postpubescent.” It’s not clear to me why John Jay would make that claim, given that researchers didn’t collect data on victims’ pubescence and that the DSM-IV defines a pedophile as someone with recurrent sexual desires for prepubescent children “generally aged 13 or younger.” The American Pediatric Society actually says that for males the onset of puberty–not its conclusion–usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 14. So why would John Jay presume that victims between 11 and 14 years of age were postpubescent? What’s more, according to the Cleric Survey, nearly 73 percent of victims were 14 or younger.
James Martin, SJ