Priests behaving badly: What do we know about priest sex offenders

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Taylor & Francis


Child sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic priests was headline news for most of 2002. During this period of remarkable public and media scrutiny, about 325 American Catholic priests (including several bishops) experienced credible accusations of child sexual abuse. What do we really know about these priests who behave so badly? Are the cases that dominate press attention typical of priest sex offenders? Curiously, although we know a good deal about these men, little of this information makes it into the press resulting in a too often highly distorted picture of priest sex offenders.