I am just absorbing the news articles outlining the results of the long-awaited study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice regarding the causes and contexts of clergy sexual abuse. Both David Gibson of Religion News Service and Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times have detailed pieces on the study, which will be released today.
My first thought is how incredibly valuable this study will be to help us understand what caused the scourge of clergy sexual abuse, both in understanding what creates an abusive priest and what kind of culture protects him.
The RNS piece states: “The ‘situational’ nature of the abuse by clergy is comparable to that of police officers who brutalize people, the authors write. The stress of the work, the perils of isolation and a lack of oversight are factors that contribute to ‘deviant behavior.’”