Monday, August 27, 2018

The Pennsylvania Report; By the Numbers

Back in mid-August (2018) the attorney general of Pennsylvania released their grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.  The full text can be found [here].

It's been the subject of much discussion and reporting, and it seems like every Catholic blogger on the planet has an opinion about it.  What led to the abuse?  Who is to blame? What do we do about it?

I'm interested in those questions, of course.  They are critical to the safety of our kids and the well-being of the Church in America.  But I don't think I have anything useful to add to the matter.

So today I'll do what I'm good at... crunching data.  I've now gone through 800 pages of abuse reports - (a challenging task on multiple levels) - and kept some stats along the way.

Is there anything we can learn from the data itself?

Let's find out.

1:  The Same Iceberg

Back in 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned an independent study of the sexual abuse history of the Church in America.  The result was the John Jay Report, the full text of which can be found [here].

It gave us a snapshot of the pedophilia / ephebophilia crisis which looked like this:

It showed an increase starting around 1955, a peak around between 1975 and 1980, which then fell to pre-1955 levels in 1995.  That was the scope of the abuse crisis back in 2002.

Now, when the Penn. Report came out, it led to headlines which implied the abuse crisis was continuing unabated, as if there had never been any decrease in incidents.

Is that supported by the findings of the Penn. Report?  No.

As I said above, I went through the entirety of Section 5 of the report and documented every year in which a report was made.  Here is the resulting histogram:

The trends of the histograms match.  This means the Penn. Report doesn't reveal a *new* crisis.  Instead it describes how that crisis was felt in Pennsylvania. 

Both datasets show that 1960-1990 (a full generation!!!) was a terrible time to be a Catholic child.  And the period from 1970-1985 was worst of all.

If it is any comfort, we can see that the levels of abuse have now fallen.

2: It is Still Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Another thing which became obvious when reading the reports was that there are many, many more unreported cases.  Tons.

Let me give you a typical example:
  • A priest was ordained in 1979.  
  • A complaint is made about the priest in 1984.  
  • The diocese pays money to the family of the victim 
  • The priest is sent away for "evaluation".  
  • The evaluation determines the priest is just fine - (they always did).  
  • Another complaint is made in 1992.  
So now we have two registered complaints against the priest.  But do you really think he only began abusing kids in 1984?  Do you think he didn't abuse any kids between '84 and '92?   The idea is ludicrous.

The behaviors recorded in the report makes clear that these men were incurable, compulsive addicts. A few sessions of counselling wasn't going to cure them. The only thing which would stop them from abusing children would be freezing them in carbonite and storing them in the Nevada nuclear waste facility.

On a personal note: I remember meeting a fella at a friend's wedding who became immediately angry and hostile when I mentioned I was Catholic.  He said he was a former Catholic himself.  At the time I figured he'd fallen victim to bad anti-Catholic preaching.  Reading the Penn. Report has made me reflect if there wasn't more behind his instant hostility.

He would have been a Catholic kid in the 1960's.

3: Most of the Incidents Involved Boys

This has been observed elsewhere, but the victims were predominantly male.  As I was tracking the incidents of reported abuse, I found 18% involved a female victim.  The remainder were boys.

[Note: This is different from a graph of male vs female victims.  I was keeping track of the data by report/incident.  Although the two charts would be very similar.]

4: Something was Desperately wrong in Seminaries from 1950-1985 

The Penn. Report recorded the ordination dates for most of the offending priests.  As one might expect, it showed an increase in sexually perverted men being ordained for a whole generation.  The peak of this chart occurs from 1960-1975, ten years preceding the peak of the abuse reports.

What was happening in those seminaries?  What was happening in American culture?  Why the rise in defective men?

5: The Decline is Real

Now a person might say:
"How do you know there has been a decline in cases?  Perhaps things are as bad as ever, but the victims haven't come forward yet."
Well... that possibility is worth looking at.  After all, it's true that victims often delay in reporting until long after the events in question.

This is where the John Jay report has some light to shed.  It catalouges how long victims take to report their abuse.  Here is the chart:

If you were to rearrange the graph in terms of percentage of cases reported over years, it would look like this:

When the data is arranged this way, we can see that 50% of the cases are reported by the 22nd year.

Now let's take a look back at the abuse data.

Suppose the abuse never subsided from the 1980's peak.  Using the report % data from the John Jay report, we can estimate what the reported abuse trendline would be if there was no real decline.

The current year is 2018.  Compensating for unfiled reports, if there was no real decline since the 80's, we'd see the level of reported cases from 1995 (23 years ago) rising to half of the 80's peak.  (Because that's long enough for half the reports to come in.)  But instead, the data shows the reportage level at about a quarter of the 80's peak.

This means there is a decline even when one compensates for delayed reporting.

That said, I believe the delayed reporting effect is likely less pronounced today. A person who reported abuse prior to 2002 was doing so alone.  Today the idea of abuse from Catholic clergy has entered into the public consciousness and I suspect this makes it less difficult to come forward. 

6: Better Policies Matter

As I mentioned before, the cases in Section 5 of the report followed a pattern:
  1. A priest would take advantage of the implicit trust which parents place in him.
  2. Priest would abuse minor.
  3. A complaint would be filed against the priest.
  4. He'd go for counselling for evaluation.
  5. The counselling center would say he's fine.
  6. The parents would take a cash settlement.
  7. The priest would be reassigned
  8. Repeat.
One could go on all day about the abject failure of the bishops in protecting their flock.  It seemed they wanted to treat the abuse as a personal matter, to be worked out "in the Church".  And their first priority was to protect the reputation of their diocese.  Only when parents had the good sense to go to law enforcement were results achieved.

[And here I have to note something which I've not seen other people say.  The negligence of the parents in many of these cases is staggering.  Over and over again, parents would complain to the bishop, get ignored, and NEVER go to the police.  What were they thinking?!]

Anyway, Section 3 of the Penn. Report says conditions began to improve after 2002. Specifically, the report says the following about the modern day:

This bares out in the case files.  Here are three examples from the Scranton Diocese which stretch into recent times: (Click to enlarge)

After 2002, the collective eyes of the American media were fixed on the Church.  The incurability of pedophiles became well-known and suddenly pastors and bishops weren't taking chances on abusive clerics.

In the three cases above you can see how church officials got law enforcement involved and quickly removed the offending priest.  This is typical of modern cases which appear in Section V of the Penn. Report.


When sharing these conclusions with folks, a common response has been:
"What nonsense is this?  You're saying everything is fine and we can relax about our children's safety now?  You are shameless!"
This is a nonsensical response.  There's an ocean of difference between saying "things have improved" and "all is well".  And as the recent Cardinal McCarrick scandal has shown, our Catholic bishops still have a lot to learn.

The improvements we've seen since 2002 did not come from any improvement in our bishops' moral character.  It came because of a newspaper expose', a public outcry, and the strong arm of the government.  The implicit trust which parents used to afford to priests is gone.  And while it is sad that priests today live under a dark cloud of suspicion, that is the price paid for the horrors of the past.

As a lay person and a father of young boys, I say:  Never again.

Improvements still need to be made.  Without the constant vigilance of the laity and law enforcement, we have no expectation that they will happen - or even that we won't slide back into 20th century negligence.

So, one cheer for the improvements the bishops have made.  Three cheers for the laity who demand better from them.


For those interested, I went back and recorded whether the accused priests are alive, dead, or unknown.  The case files give a date for the death.  If it says N/A, I assumed that means alive.  It also lists "unknown".


  1. Thank you Steve... what an amazing achievement to break this all down for us! I'm really grateful for your analysis!

    1. I'd say "my pleasure" but in reality I'm scarred for life after reading all those reports. I'm glad I've spared other people having to do this.

  2. as you pointed out, without words, it points to a profligate gay culture at seminaries, who saw even their flocks as ripe pickings.

    it does not address the culture at those seminaries, which need breaking down nationwide, linked to abuse cases, as they actively recruited likely candidates, often approved by Bishops, and only points out those cultures have learned that you now cannot go after young men in your parish.

    implicit in all of this is a total denial of vows of celibacy and chastity, not one bit of which dealt with at all in last 50yrs stateside, with perhaps half of bishops now gay, and 10-20% of priests nationwide in that camp.

    1. until gay = pedophile, your response is complete, utter, unmitigated male bovine fecal matter.
      Homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children. A homosexual culture in seminaries would likely lead to issues of priests not being celibate,which is a whole other issue, but it does not explain the numbers abusive priests, and also females comprising just under 20% is not an insignificant number. It also does not explain the tendency to move abusive priests around, and not report them to authorities. It also does not explain the tendency when the scandals first began coming out, of attorneys for the Church digging up dirt to discredit victims. The centers around 2 things...abusive priests and an unhealthy attempt by people in power to "protect mother Church from scandal by hiding the problems" No we see people attempting to misguidedly blame the issue on homosexual.

    2. The female victims make up for 20%, and you are correct that this is not insignificant. However, it is still wildly disproportionate and cries out for some kind of explanation. There could be multiple explanations for it.

      As for the matter of whether homosexual men are not more likely to abuse minors... that's an empirical question, not an ideological one. I'm not aware of any studies on the matter. But until I see one, I'm agnostic on the question.

    3. Thanks for this, Steve. We need number-crunching and I think most of your resulting arguments are sound. You make a careless but crucial error in the last two short paragraphs prior to your conclusion when you refer blanketly to pedophilia (in your introduction you are more careful): all the more conspicuous as one of your three final examples, Fr. Liberatore was most definitely abusing late-teen, early-twenties young men. This is a persistent error being made, even by those not seemingly interested in trying urgently to drive a wedge between same-sex attraction and any clerical sexual abuse. It can't be done. While clerical sexual abuse is clearly not limited to same-sex attracted priests, a substantial swath of the reported acts are very difficult to explain when same-sex attraction is treated as a non-factor. However anecdotal, the "defense" offered by one offender against the charge that he had molested girls as well as boys - that "they don't have a penis" (see the GJR) - has to be reckoned with as meaning SOMETHING, something very real and non-fungible about victim selection in a significant majority of cases. Abuse of power is hugely relevant; it cannot adequately account for the whole of the facts without the vital qualifications regarding age and sex as key criteria for the selection of victims.

      We need more number crunching, as I mentioned. Here's a project that would unfortunately require digging outside what the GJR so stingily gives us: Two demographics of the greatest interest: (1) what are the age breakdowns not of victims but of all altar servers at the average parish over the past 60 years, and (2), what percentage of those are female (the latter statistic would be most helpfully broken down gradually according to the integration of female altar servers, whenever it began). These two numbers would speak volumes about the claims that a choice is, or is not, being made by priests with respect to both sex (male or female) and age. I suspect that we will find that the 80/20 breakdown is rendered drastically more extreme, in reality, the more eligible female victims arrive on the scene who are typically not chosen by predatory priests. I also suspect that the preponderance of older boys being victimized will become even starker, when we observe that the majority of altar servers are in fact under the average age of the victims (which, according to the John Jay report has steadily risen, every decade from '50 to 2000, from 11.5, to now 14!).

      Thanks again for this work: I challenge you to keep going!!


    4. Alright, let me give you my take on this.

      It seems to me that the Catholicland is divided on the question: Is this a pedophilia crisis, or a homosexuality crisis? And for those in the latter camp, the distinction between pedophilia and ephebophila is really important.

      But for me the distinction isn't as important. What I saw in the reports were men with insatiable urges for underage boys. The distinction between is "pedo" or "ephebo" is kinda academic to me. Either way you're dealing with men who have defective sexual compulsions.

      The elephant in the room is the question: "How much - if at all - does that predilection toward underage boys reflect run-of-the-mill homosexuality?"

      That's a question I've purposefully avoided because I have no data.

  3. There's a problem with your "Suppose the real value never went down..." graph. If the number of incidents was non-decreasing, the number of reported values should be, too.

    1. Howard, you would be correct if we were 50 years beyond those dates. The rate of reporting increases over the course of 50 years to 100%, so, 22 years (says the article) after an event, it has a 50% chance of having been reported (a little loose on the statistics, but you get the idea). So, a non-decreasing rate of incidents would, today, appear to have a decreasing number of reported values. See? :)

    2. Having looked at it a bit more, I think I see the problem. It is an ambiguity about what is being presented: (1) the number of actual incidents that took place during a given year, (2) the number of reports made DURING a given year ABOUT any time previous to that, and (3) the number of reports made at any time up to the present ABOUT the specified year. If (1) is non-decreasing, (2) will be non-decreasing, but (3) might well decrease, since some reports about recent years will take time to be exposed.

  4. You know Bill Donohue of the Catholic League came to a similar conclusion just the day after the grand jury report came out.

  5. It's great to see real numbers instead of listening to every bodies opinion about what wrong with the Church. What I would like to know is why the abuse incidences starting falling after the 80's, I don't agree that there is any reason to doubt that they did start to fall. Back in the 80's we started to hear
    cases of abusive priest so what happened to make the numbers to go down. Also are things better then the past and there is only one conclusion you can make and that is yes. It would be great if 0% of priest never did anything abusive, but this will never happen here on earth. We live in a fallen world and therefore we must always be vigilant.

    1. "What I would like to know is why the abuse incidences starting falling after the 80's"

      One thing I wish I'd recorded was how many of the offending priests were dead, and when. I think that might reveal part of the story.

    2. I wonder if the reduction is due to the huge thrust of secular acceptance of SSA at that time - the early 80s. I recall when AIDS infected the homosexual culture in an effort to decrease the spread of AIDS we seemed to push for everyone to "come out" and told the how great they were and that "gay is okay". No longer needing a cover for that lifestyle may have effected the desire/need of gay men to "take the collar" to hide their proclivities and have a safe haven to engage with an endless supply of "new recruits" to the lifestyle.

    3. I think you are onto something.

      I've heard the argument before that the celibate priesthood provides a cover for Catholic men who have same-sex attraction. It makes sense.
      A man gets to be 26 and folks start asking questions about why he isn't married. So he says to himself, "I'll become a priest. Then I'll stop getting these questions and my parents will be proud."

      As much as I am inclined to defend the discipline of celibacy, I can't deny that this makes sense. It wouldn't explain the abuse crisis in its entirety, but I think this is a piece of it.

    4. Another aspect to examine is the shift in media coverage during the 80's. Sexual abuse by priests really came into the public spotlight at that time.

  6. Interesting results. As a fellow data guy, it would be nice if you could share your data so we don't all have to dig through the *traumatic* full report.

    1. Well... this is me sharing the data. Are you asking for the raw data, as in my working file?

      I'd thought about sharing that, but then wondered if it was wise to have strangers accessing my Google Docs.

  7. As for above comments of mine, they are reflective of a seminary culture of active homosexuality, ignoring vows, and thinking anyone and anything fair game, throwing off the strictures of "the old Church", for the "New and Glorius sexually liberated church".

    The exact same thing could have happened to heterosexuals, but, for the most part, did not, as they had not crossed that first forbidden line in the first place, and so remained faithful to rest of teachings.

    As former military, who was there when the idea of allowing confessed homosexuals and lesbians into the military was floated, my first thought, which still remains until this day is,....

    "oh, where do we billet these people?! Putting them in barracks with people of the same sex makes as much sense as putting me as a groaningly randy 18yr old male into a barracks of young women, where concentrating on the mission would always be totally destroyed by staring instead at someone's (blank). They would need be suoer-human, a saint, or nuetered to not collapse and take others with them!"

    Same in a seminary...the Mission, FIRST.....

    1. Exactly Bob: those priests that have participated in sex - regardless of whether it was with other men, or women, or boys, or girls - first crossed that line of throwing celibacy away. Covering up for sexually active priests is reprehensible. Covering up for sexual predators goes beyond words.

  8. Thank you thank you! very useful. I think the fact that most of the victims are boys is really important show of homosexuality.

    I was the one who asked you last night if Jesus suffered on the cross more than people in hell

    1. It's very nice to hear from you. I really loved coming up to Purdue.

    2. Kirsten, you make a very good point: if homosexuality was not a factor, then the victims would have been equally divided between males and females (not the 80/20 that we've seen). And yes, Jesus suffered more: He suffered for ALL of our sins.
      As to Purdue, Steven, just one thing: Boiler Up!

  9. Do these figures take into account the tremendous reduction in the number or seminarians and priests? Is The issue being resolved?

    1. Well... yes and no.

      Yes in the sense that it could be a cause of the decline in cases.

      No in the sense that it isn't controlled for, or explicitly stated.

  10. Thanks Steve; finally someone brings to light the statement "Priest sent away for 'counseling and evaluation'then was determined to be OK.

  11. Hallmark used to have a slogan "when you care enough (to send the very best)". You have all the marks of someone who cares deeply about our Church, I commend you for taking the time to make sense of this data. These are all things I've been pondering since the release of the Penn Report and I sincerely thank you for bringing your expertise to bear on this horrific situation. May God bless.

  12. It might be worth adding another graph, showing the number of reports filed in each year, regardless of the year of the incident. I strongly suspect you would find that the reports come in avalanches, not independently based only on how many years since the incident. Your argument about where the trend line would be if the rate of incidents had remained constant seems to assume that reports are independent, not correlated.

    1. Didn't occur to me to do that at the time. However, my recollection is that many more incidents began piling in after 2002.

    2. That is to say, someone would call up and say, "This happened to me back when I was a kid."

    3. Precisely. People are probably reluctant to make reports when the topic is not in the news, so reports will come in clusters, even avalanches. I do think people have been more willing to come forward since 2002, but we should still expect a new flood of data over the next year or so. The change to the trendline is likely to come in jumps, not steady changes.

      By the way, I'm criticizing your argument because I think it is a good one, but I think we have to be on the lookout for hidden assumptions.

  13. Great job with the analysis. This is very helpful. We're going to have to be vigilant always because complacency has created tragedy. I think it would be interesting to see which seminaries produced the most of these perpetrators.

    1. Now THAT would be telling. It might help answer some questions about why things started flying off the handle in 1955. Who was in charge at those seminaries?

    2. I hate to say this, but reports would have been very muted due to lack of press connectivity, and it making only local news, if not suppressed by EVERYBODY back then, due to social propriety in that such things simply were too horrid for mass consumption.

      This likely is a very old thing, but perhaps smaller, still just as widespread and connected, collecting compromising data to protect self, and only became full blown with the new theological winds shaking the Church directly after WWII.

      There are already out there lurid books detailing known and assumed such activity among clergy, and the underground USA gay subculture well aware that certain US seminaries were hot spot places to be in the 1950s. But, who reads that stuff?

      The liberal press called it dictatorship suppression when theologians censored, many "rehabilitated" to participate in Vatican II. And this DID also include elements of sexual liberation.

  14. A nice summary, but there is a much bigger problem now with a "Lavender Mafia" running the Church at the highest levels.

  15. As a veteran, mathematician by training, and ordained in '84, I very much appreciate this analysis. My heart has been breaking and has been filled with anger these last few weeks. Seeing the displayed graphs, my anger is not as displaced as it has been. It is now at all that has transpired, and been … white-washed. Seeing these graphs points out that while there is more to be accounted for, it appears to be a lesson we need more than anything. That lesson: defense is the best offense. We are in a spiritual war. Circling the wagons is not the best strategy. We need leadership that will defend those who need defending (the victims and potential victims) and attack (so-to-speak) those who need to be disciplined.

    1. So how does on defend the overwhelming majority of priests who were never involved with these crimes. Bill Donoghue has been one of the only voices willing to defend the innocent in the public square. He gets immediately attacked from all sides as trying to cover for the guilty.

    2. One begins... by presenting statistics in a non-confrontational manner.

    3. That, together with noting that justice demands that each trial be independent. Once we start down the road of saying, "You belong to a group. Some members of this group have been guilty of terrible things. Therefore, you are guilty of terrible things," it's all over for us as a plausibly just society -- and that is true whether the group is Muslims, Catholics, Japanese, Mexicans, priests, the rich, the poor, WHATEVER.

  16. Can you make a graph or chart of the ages of the John Jay and PA victims?

    1. Oh boy.... I could try. But it would mean reading it all again.

      The John Jay report says the following: "The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17,
      16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7"

  17. Thanks very much for the number crunching, Steven. Perhaps there was a really bad period of formation and don't-ask-don't-tell in the US diocesan seminaries in the period 1950 - 1985. Maybe we are actually past the peak of ordaining suspect clerics, due to better vetting, the fact that homosexuals need no longer hide behind a Roman collar and the impact of potential molesters being aware that becoming a priest will immediately make them Public Suspect No. 1.

    But I see no reason to rejoice yet. The religious orders have not been cleaned out. The Jesuits are plainly cheerleaders for sodomy. The Dominicans are equally suspect. In 1995 they decided to let in homosexual applicants, on the ludicrous grounds that celibacy applies to both hetero and homo Dominicans. The former Master of the Dominicans, Timothy Radcliffe, has told us how wonderful gay sex is. And just about every Benedictine school in England has been busted for molestation of male pupils.

    And there is another unknown factor - Catholic parents have become far more savvy since at least 1992, when the first US guidelines on preventing abuse were issued. So they have become reluctant to let their children anywhere near a priest and thus reduced the opportunity for any molester.

    The attitude in Rome offers little hope for the future, with people like Monsignor Ricca, James Martin, S.J., Timothy Radcliffe and Archbishop Paglia being admitted to the inner circles of influence.

  18. It would appear that if the beginning of the red line (predicted reports with no change in abuse) started at the center of the peak, rather than at the end, the predicted values would match match very closely the actual reports. If you modeled the distribution of abuse reports as a gaussian curve, which would be very nature given the appearance of the graph, the peak reports would be around 1977. I think you need to justify more carefully your 'peak' time and the number of reports at peak time. A gaussian distribution would be one way to do that. Otherwise I think there is a heck of a lot of subjectivity, which casts doubt on the conclusion.

  19. Great work Mr. O'Keefe! It's been frustrating to me how lacking in analysis there has been of the report. The one thing I didn't see in your data that has been on my mind is whether the magnitudes match up between the John Jay report and the grand jury report. By way of example, if we assumed equal distributions between equal sized populations, does the ~775 reports across the country in 1980 statistically line up with the ~20 reports in these dioceses? Or said another way, in 1980, were about 2.5% (20/775) of the priests in the US in the dioceses covered by this grand jury report?

    The reason I find that data interesting is it would help validate the comprehensiveness of the John Jay report. If the statistics line up in this way, we should feel pretty good about the 2002 report. If on the other hand, only 1% of priests were in these dioceses, suggesting their should have only been 8-10 reports a year in 1980 based on the magnitudes suggested by John Jay, then it would suggest that the John Jay report is missing a bunch of data.

    Perhaps it is just because a bunch new data has come out since 2002, so the John Jay report did the best it could with what was available at the time, but nevertheless, it would suggest it is time for an updated report.

    1. While writing this, I did consider some other ways of fitting the Penn. Report data into the national data... but everything I came up with seemed to be too much work for not much payoff.

      After showing that the Penn. Report describes the same crisis as the JJ report, I was content with what I'd proven.

  20. Thank you for this work. If the report gives an ordination date, I wonder if we could get the seminary from which they graduated. It would be interesting to see what patterns would emerge if we knew the seminary rector and responsible bishop at the time of ordination. It would certainly allow us to lay blame directly (though most would now be dead). But also, it might help to see who was at the helm when abuse claims began decreasing. Those rectors and bishops might have valuable insight. What steps did they take? Were there programs or strategies to undo the poisonous culture? Etc.

    1. Those are some of the questions which come to mind. But I'm content to let others take it from here.

      Whoever the bad rectors were... my money is on the fellas being deceased already.

  21. You asked why the parents didn't report these incidents to civil authorities. It does seem odd, but if you think about what reporting the incidents to police would mean you can start to understand the parents not wanting to put their children through it: having to describe it over and over again, possibly having to bring a case to court and what that would mean, you could only keep things private for a time, things would likely leak out. Parents might just take a settlement in order to allow the child to move on in whatever way they can, and believe the bishop when they were told the matter would be 'handled.'

    1. Another observation I have from reading portions of the Penn. report. Cops appear at time to serve as a go between between the church and the parents. Smooth things over. I would love to talk to a cop from that era as to what they were thinking. Maybe they told the parent it would be best not to file a complaint otherwise it would be in the papers and their child would have to appear in court. Also, I'd love to know what legal advice they were getting back then. The archdiocese appears to have had many helpers.

  22. This is a good analysis, but as someone who has written on this issue extensively, if I could take note of a couple things:

    1. "The evaluation determines the priest is just fine - (they always did)."

    This is not exactly true. Yes, that is the impression that the media has given, but it was not always the case that a center always said that a "priest is just fine."

    Take the case in the PA report of Fr. Rev. Joseph Mueller: In 1986, a man went to the Diocese of Pittsburgh to claim that Mueller abused him years earlier as a teenager. Then-Bishop Donald Wuerl immediately removed him from ministry and shipped him off to St. Luke's treatment facility. St. Luke's advised Wuerl that Mueller "not work with children or adolescents." A diocesan memo also said that Mueller was "unassignable." So what did Wuerl do? He stripped Mueller of his faculties, and the dude never worked as a priest again.

    And the truth is that therapy was largely successful. The problem is that when you have a rate of anything less than 100% success, children and teenagers are hurt.

    2. "After all, it's true that victims often delay in reporting until long after the events in question."

    This is not totally false, but it is not 1974 anymore. Children nowadays are educated at a young age in both secular *and Catholic* schools about what abuse is and that one should tell a trusted adult. (I have been *required* to show such a video in my CCD class!)

    The idea that there are numerous young children walking around today that have suffered recent abuse by a priest is absurd.

    Otherwise, a good report.

    David F. Pierre, Jr.


    1. 1. Regarding your first point, my parenthetical comment there was not an impression based on media reports. It was an impression based on reading over 200 case files. And while I can't deny there were cases where the priest was given warnings - and thus my parenthetical statement wasn't 100% accurate - it was the majority of the time.

      2. I agree with you that I think kids are more likely to come forward quickly today. However, the text in red was a real objection I got, and its one I wanted to answer with real data.

  23. Well done, except you are obviously denying reality. It's like watching a steamroller going by and behind it a flattened turtle, why, how that turtle got flattened I have no idea! I saw the steamroller coming, and I know the steamroller weighs a great deal more than the turtle, but I just refuse to accept the steamroller did indeed flatten the turtle, and "I need more empirical evidence".
    Good God man, why are you protecting them? This crisis is a HOMOSEXUAL PREDATOR crisis, and there is so much evidence to confirm that, it is a wonder, and a bit of a horror, to see anyone deny the obvious facts. While people like you are denying and diddling, the lives of boys and men are being laid to waste. Our church has been taken over by homosexuals, and this has led to two major effects, boys and young men, our seminarians as well, have been raped and sodomized into oblivion, their lives ruined, and since these men are typically the dissidents, the church has gone over to apostasy.
    How anyone can look at their own pie chart showing 80% of the victims were male and conclude anything else, is astounding.
    Oh, and you left out one inconvenient analysis, the PA grand jury showed 60% of the male victims were teenagers. That shoots your "pedophilia" cover all to heck. People use the word "pedophilia" to cover for homosexuals molesting boys. For whatever reason, they do not want to take on the homosexuals and say the truth, and as long as that fear prevails over protecting boys and young men, we are going to see this repeated and repeated and repeated.
    Great job on the math, but you wimpled out in the explanation.

    1. The purpose of this post was to share some of the data I gathered while reading the reports in the Pennsylvania Report. I didn't want to share my interpretations and theories about that data, because everyone has been doing that. Nor do I have any intention of protecting or accusing anyone. Just the data.

      I didn't collect the data on the age of the victims as I read because too often the matter was ambiguous. Overall the ages seemed to be between 12-16.

      Either way, I hope you can place your hope in the Holy Spirit that we'll be led out of this madness someday.

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  25. A number is a concept that arises from the result to have things that are an aggregate or a generalization of this concept.