The clergy sex abuse crisis is over. That was the message delivered by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., then-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the February 28, 2004, press conference announcing the publication of two milestone reports: the John Jay Report (The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States: A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and the National Review Board Report (A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States). The John Jay Report told us the ugly statistics: a minimum of 10,667 child victims and 4392 priest perpetrators [it’s important to note that these statistics were supplied by the bishops—you trust the bishops, don’t you?—not an independent agent].
“I assure you that known offenders are not in ministry,” Bishop Gregory said. And, with practiced deliberation and emphasis, he added, “The terrible history recorded here today is history.” Thus the bishops’ media spokesman tried to bury the issue of Catholic priests’ sexual abuse of children once and for all. But we all have learned that the issue cannot be buried with a bishop’s sound bite.
More than 4 years after Gregory’s smoke-and-mirrors public relations performance, here are five stories carried on the home page of today’s (9.2.2008) SNAP website that prove the clergy sex abuse crisis is not history.