Caution on the numbers

Caution on the numbers

As we get closer to the date of the official relsease of the John Jay Criminal College report on the full breadth and depth of the Scandal over the past 50 years, we are seeing more and more news reports leaking the results of the survey, such as this one from CNN. I would caution as you read these news reports and those after the report is actually released to keep in mind that most will giving some numbers that may be misleading. For example, the CNN report says:

The survey, to be released February 27, found that children made more than 11,000 allegations of sexual abuse by priests. The 4,450 accused priests represent about 4 percent of the 110,000 priests who served during the 52 years covered by the study.

It’s not until you get several paragraphs further down that you read:

The report said that 6,700 of the 11,000 allegations were investigated and substantiated, and another 1,000 were unsubstantiated. The remaining 3,300 were not investigated because the priests involved had died by the time the allegation was made.

So only 6,700 allegations were substantiated. How many of the 4,450 priests had unsubstantiated claims against them? We need to keep this in perspective.

I’m not trying to minimize the impact of the Scandal, but in order to properly deal with it, to bring about true reform, we need to deal with the Truth, not trumped up numbers designed to inflame outrage.

By the way, I will bet we don’t get a breakdown according to how abusers many of the worst abusers (the 147 who accounted for 3,000 victims) went exclusively for female victims and how many went exclusively for underage female victims. (My guess on the latter is zero.)

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli