Stranger on a train

<<The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for Pedophilia (302.2) are:

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger);


B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;

C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.>>

Questions I'm pondering on the train to Washington to learn more about the John Jay report and attend a USCCB press conference (sadly, unlike certain other news outlets which shall remain nameless, America was not handed a clandestine pre-release of the report):

Why such a broad deviation from the DSM? (John Jay defines as 10 and under, thus “erasing” something close to half the assaults from pedophilia classification)

Does anyone think an 11 or 12, even 13 year old constitutes a “youth,” not a child?

And why is so much attention being paid to this in the first place? Don’t we have a common sense appreciation for who a child is and what sexual assault looks like?

Can John Jay researchers cite any other parallel historical or cultural phenom when “stress” and “social confusion” and "poor monitoring" led to the sexual assault of children? The whole premise seems more than a little odd to me.

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7 years 8 months ago
"Does anyone think an 11 or 12, even 13 year old constitutes a “youth,” not a child?"

I think what matters is not the definition of "child" but the motivation of the person commiting the act and the nature of the act, regardless of age.  For example, a man's motivation for raping an adult woman is sometimes sexual, sometimes an act of power.  So, it stands to reason that (and I'm going to get a little graphic here) if a homosexual man performs oral sex on a 5 year old boy, then it would be fair to consider that that might be a sexual act, not an act of power.

Drawing arbitrary lines based on age is not helpful to the analysis and only serves to support the biased objectives of the line drawer.  I think that height, weight and other factors of sexual attraction might actually be better than age in identifying what the motivation for a sex act is.  E.g., a 10-year-old boy over 5-feet tall might be more sexually attractive than a 15-yo boy under five feet.
Molly Roach
7 years 8 months ago
I would have to say that while rape might seem like a sexual act to a rapist, to the one being raped, it is an act of power.  So this is an empty distinction.  Sexual
attraction to a 5 year old or a 12 year old does not take into consideration that the child lacks a context to understand the intent/feelings of the adult and is not in a position (physically, psychologically)to make the adult stop the sexual behavior.
The sexual feelings of an offender is not a lens through which I will look at sexual assault.  It's not relevant data.
David Nickol
7 years 8 months ago
I think it will be important to read exactly what the report says rather than going by news accounts. But it seems quite possible to me from the little I have read so far that the report is making a distinction between homosexual acts and homosexual persons, and also between ''pedophilic acts'' and pedophiles. Many people have been assuming since the majority of victims were boys and the majority of acts were homosexual in nature, that the majority of the abusers were homosexuals. The report says this is not so. Likewise, since a great deal of the abuse is the kind of behavior that would be expected from pedophiles, the assumption has been that the abusers are pedophiles. It may very well be that those who abused children as young as 11 or 12 nevertheless do not meet criterion A from the DSM IV definition listed above. Like heterosexual men in prison who may engage in homosexual acts with other men because that is all that's available to them, non-pedophiles in certain situations may engage in sex with young boys not because they (the abusers) are particularly attracted to young boys, but because the boys are available. But of course we must see what the report says!
Grant Gallicho
7 years 8 months ago
Yes, the John Jay researchers explain in some detail why they believe that the question of opportunity has been neglected in studies of sexual abusers. They cite data to support that view. For my part, I find it convincing.
As for the pedophilia question, John Jay is going to have to explain that more fully. I wrote about this last May. The Nature and Scope study worked from two data sets:

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.
John Jay also collected individual surveys for every victim about whom there was data. The “Victim Survey” has a different age breakdown. Table 4.3.2 of the “Nature and Scope” study shows that 60 percent of victims were 13 or under. Granted, the Victim Survey data set isn’t as large as that of the Cleric Survey, but it is broken down more carefully. Again, it remains mysterious why a bullet point in the Nature and Scope study summarized only one set of data about victims as: “The majority of alleged victims were postpubescent, with only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children” (4.2 Summary). As far as I can tell, that conclusion doesn’t follow from any data collected by John Jay.

You can read the rest of that here
7 years 8 months ago
Hello, church?  Message FAIL.  

I've read some of the 400 (so far) comments on the NYT article.  People point out who funded the study and the quibbling over pedophile age (tell that to any "youth's" mother) and that there has been worldwide abuse by priests and for many more decades than the Woodstock time in this country.  
Anne Chapman
7 years 8 months ago
They are manipulating terminology and data as part of the ongoing strategy to whitewash what happened, and to point the finger at anyone and anything but those who were actually responsible (the bishops and Rome) for protecting pedophiles from the criminal justice system, thus enabling them to continue abusing new victims.  Now they're trying to blame the 60s.

 These men literally have no shame - apparently as a group they have no conscience and no developed moral sense. They continue to rely on deceit to lull average Catholics, most of whom are blissfully ignorant of the facts because they don't read the publications that provide the most information (America, NCR, etc).  The story was in the Washington Post today - on p. 3, dramatically shortened.  I doubt that many Catholics in the Washington DC area are even aware of what is happening in Philly - it's become a non-story because it's become all too common.
7 years 8 months ago
@Anne, yes, it looks like a whitewash.  And, it effectively negates all the past ''apologies'' and crocodile tears and penance services. 

7 years 8 months ago
Sorry for multiple posting - I meant to add, thank you to Kevin Clarke for the very  best question I have heard on this John Jay report:

Can John Jay researchers cite any other parallel historical or cultural phenom when “stress” and “social confusion” and "poor monitoring" led to the sexual assault of children? The whole premise seems more than a little odd to me.
david power
7 years 8 months ago
@Anne and C GREEN

Is the John Jay report independent??
Why do you think it is a whitewash?
I have trouble getting my head around it all and 
think that it is obviously a question of power.Priests often have a very 
developed sense of the "will to power" and the domination of kids minds 
was the norm but their bodies was a novelty.
I am often very stressed but feel no desire to violate kids.
I think that these were very damaged people before they entered the priesthood and that the catholic view of things is so warped that anything that is slightly off is holy.
These are Borgian times for the Church.The lord will of course point out the path but until then we have to put up with them hamacting their way to sanctity.
But I still don't see how this is a whitewash.       


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