On Thursday, March 6, 2008, prominent Cleveland businessman Sam Miller gave a speech defending Catholicism from media bias at the City Club of Cleveland (Ohio). The full text of the speech was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin. Several Catholic blogs, including this one, posted the speech taking the media to task on its bias against the Catholic Church in under-reporting the “societal sin” of pedophilia. I for one am thankful for Mr. Miller’s defense and support. However, it has been brought to my attention that Mr. Miller’s numbers concerning pedophilia conviction rates for Protestant Ministers may be in error.
Jay Brown wrote me saying:
“I’m afraid that I can’t believe this particular statistic in quotes below:
“… 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.”
So we are to believe that 1 in 10 protestant ministers have been convicted of pedophlia? What!? There is no possible way this number is correct by even an order of magnitude. Please explain.”
Here’s the full paragraph of Sam’s in question:
“Now let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% of laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.“
In my quick google on the numbers it appears that Mr. Miller either has been misquoted in print or he is confused concerning Phillip Jenkins conclusion within his book “Pedophiles and Priests”. Without access to the book myself, I was still able to locate a review of the book by William A. Donohue [Catholic League, A Review Essay on Phillip Jenkins “Pedophiles and Priests” fromCatalyst, May 1996] that may help in disclosing the source of this apparent discrepancy.
Here’s two relevant Paragraphs from the review,
Were it not for the way the problem of clergy sexual abuse has been socially defined, the public would know that the problem is hardly confined to the Catholic community. Indeed, as Jenkins has written, “In reality, Catholic clergy are not necessarily represented in the sexual abuse phenomenon at a rate higher than or even equal to their numbers in the clerical profession as a whole.” The biggest difference between the Catholic and Protestant clergy in relation to this problem is due mostly to reporting procedures: there is no counterpart among Protestants to the highly centralized data keeping done by the Catholic Church, hence it is often difficult to make comparisons between the clergy of the two religions.
Notwithstanding the difficulties that such data comparisons hold, the available information on clergy sexual misconduct shows that the problem is bigger among Protestant clergy. For example, the most cited survey of sexual problems among the Protestant clergy shows that 10 percent have been involved in sexual misconduct and “about two or three percent” are “pedophiles.” With regard to the “pedophile” problem, the figure for the Catholic clergy, drawn from the most authoritative studies, ranges between .2 percent to 1.7 percent. Yet we hear precious little about these comparative statistics.
Be it either an case of Mr Miller having been misquoted in print or by his own confusion or error, the charge that 10% of Protestant Ministers having been convicted of pedophilia is most serious, especially, concerning the nature of this sad subject and crime. A charge that needs substantiation and/or clarification for the sake of truth and honor. If I were an Protestant Minister I would expect nothing less…
Anyone out there have the expertise or further knowledge to help clarify the facts?
Hat Tip to Jay Brown – Hope this helps.