“Huge predominance in the media” of coverage of clerical sexual abuse had “distorted” public's understanding of abuse
The effects of such a focus on popular impressions of the clergy was clearly shown by a 2011 poll conducted by Amarach Research on behalf of Dublin’s Iona Institute, a socially conservative Christian think tank, which found that 42% of surveyed people believed that more than a fifth of priests were guilty of sexual abuse, with 17% believing that more than half were guilty. Fewer than a third of those responding estimated that the number of clergy guilty of abuse was at most 5%, a figure in line with the findings of 2004’s John Jay report which found that four percent of American priests had had one or more allegations of child abuse made against them between 1950 and 2002.
Citing the 2011 research, Breda O’Brien, a patron of the pro-marriage Iona Institute, told Aleteia:
“Ms Logan’s comments are very welcome, given that a few years ago research conducted by the Iona Institute showed that there was a grossly distorted picture of the level of sexual abuse by clerics. The ombudsman is right to remind us that the people who are most likely to be damaged by this distorted picture are survivors of abuse. It’s not that we should focus less on clerical abuse, but should have a zero tolerance approach to all abuse, which cannot happen if we focus on one group of perpetrators to the virtual exclusion of others.”
Greg Daly covers the U.K. and Ireland for Aleteia.
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