Jeff Mirus versus the evidence on Clergy Abuse

Dr. Mirus asks: Are those who experience same-sex attraction prone to abuse? And then he proclaims that he will ignore the evidence from experts in child sexual abuse and empirical studies:

“I am sure there are statistics available somewhere on this question, but I am not going to consult them, because I would have no compelling reason to trust them. This sort of information is very difficult to compile from carefully controlled interviews or polls.”

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a field of study. Moreover, persons who actually work with abused children have relevant knowledge from experience. Both sources indicate that the most common type of abuser, even among clergy, is a heterosexual who acts contrary to his natural inclination and attraction toward women in abusing boys. This is well known to everyone who has worked with sexually abused kids and teens. And there is also good research on this subject. But Jeff Mirus, Ph.D. thinks that research by experts with Ph.D.s — like Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., can’t be trusted. Sure it can. Some researcher spend many decades studying this problem.

Yes, most of the abuse victims were male (81%), and the abusers were clergy, so they were also male. But what everyone who works with abused kids knows is that this doesn’t make the abuser gay. The typical abuser of boys has a heterosexual orientation. He acts contrary to nature in abusing boys because child abuse is unnatural. It is not a result of following an attraction to a particular gender. The abuser treats the victim like an object, and objects do not have gender. The abuser seeks abusive sex, not a relationship with a person to whom he is attracted.

Jenny, Carole, Thomas A. Roesler, and Kimberly L. Poyer. “Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?.” Pediatrics 94.1 (1994): 41-44.

The above article found that no more than 3.1% of abusers are gay. The general range of abusers who have a homosexual orientation is about 1 to 3%.

See this post: Homosexuality is not the cause of the Church’s abuse crisis discussing an interview with Thomas G. Plante by Catholic Baltimore.

Jeff Mirus assumes that if the abuse is male to male, the abuser must be gay. That is a false assumption. And the reason that the Pope and Bishops do not blame the abuse crisis on gay priests is very likely that they have consulted experts who told them just what Plante says. Most men who abuse boys are straight.

You can shout about this all you want to on the internet, but Church leaders are not going to ignore the evidence presented by experts to listen to bloggers who revel in their own deliberately chosen ignorance: “I am sure there are statistics available somewhere on this question, but I am not going to consult them!!!”

Yeah, why would you? You’ve decided what you want your narrative to be, and the truth might ruin it.

More reading:

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
* My books of theology
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