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Karen Terry, the lead researcher, called the clergy sexual abuse crisis historic, arguing most of it took place within a defined period of social and moral upheaval.
“The increased frequency of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s is consistent with patterns of increased deviance in society at that time,” she says.
Among the deviance cited in the report: crime, drug abuse, sexual liberation and divorce. When asked, Terry could not establish similar sexual abuse patterns by other groups, such as teachers or boyscout leaders, during the same period.
Becky Ianni, is a local survivor of clergy sexual abuse.
“I really felt I was being re-victimized by some of the things that they said...For example, them saying that it was because of what was happening in society, loose morals. For me the church should be above that,” Ianni says.
Bishop Blasé Cupich chairs the bishops committee charged with protecting children.
“The study shows a sharp decrease in the incidence of abuse by clergy as the church began to adopt safe environment measures,” Cupich says.
David Lorenz, an abuse survivor, who now lives in Bowie, dismisses that claim. He says bishops need to do a lot more.
“We need to know who these abusers are. The Washington archdiocese refuses to publish the names, there are somewhere between ten to twenty archdioceses around the country that do publish the names,” he says.
Lorenz argues this would allow more victims to come forward.Clergy Sexual Abuse Report