It's not just priests who abuse youngsters. Clergy of all faiths are guilty of sexual misconduct with children and adults.
BY: Anne A. Simpkinson
While the media focuses on pedophile priests, what's being lost is the sad reality that sexual abuse of both children and adults is a serious problem among clergy of all faiths.
A quick survey of research on sexual misconduct reveals:
But beyond these few studies, the field is sorely lacking in research that would precisely measure the extent of the abuse or compare the number of abusers across denominations or religions. For this reason, many researchers and professionals in the field try to steer clear of citing statistics.
According to Roman Paur, executive director of the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute in Collegeville, Minnesota, statistics regarding clergy sexual misconduct are "fundamentally guesses"; there is no hard research to back up the numbers, and traditions that might have such statistics are reluctant to disclose such information because it would draw too much attention to the problem within their denomination.
Gary Schoener, a psychologist and executive director of the Walk-In Center in Minneapolis, says that illegal acts, rule violations, and shameful actions are not easily studied. They are by their very nature hidden. One could do a population survey, but these are extremely expensive, he says. No researchers or agencies are clamoring to do such a study.