The report on "Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950 - 2010" was recently released. Basically, the report concluded that, although situational factors and opportunity to abuse played a significant role in the onset and continuation of abuse, there was no single cause or predictor of sexual abuse by priests.
The report confirmed our experience that most cases of abuse occurred between 1960 and 1970 and that most cases of abuse that are reported now occurred decades ago. The way bishops initially responded to allegations was to "rehabilitate" the abuser-priest. Although by the mid-1990s, there was a comprehensive plan in place to deal with survivors of the abuse, implementation by individual dioceses was inconsistent. The success of more-consistent efforts taken by the Catholic Church since the mid-1990s, expecially in the area of clerical formation, requiring background checks and training of everyone working or volunteering with chidlren, and providing training to the children, can be seen in the rapid decline in allegations. A complete copy of the study, conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is available. Click here to read a copy of the report.