Sex abuse cover-up scandals have happened in various organisations, Dr Pravin Thevathasan

The author of the CTS report, The Catholic Church and the sex abuse crisis Dr Pravin Thevathasan, has been following the responses to the launch of his report on the blog, and wished to post the following on the subject of the cover-up of sex abuse, which – judging from your feedback – is one of the most upsetting aspects of this whole tragedy.

“Having read a number of comments on the abuse crisis, it is increasingly clear that those who have studied this matter seriously accept that only a small number of Catholic priests have been guilty of this crime. What concerns them most is the institutional cover-up.

The cover-up is indeed reprehensible and has been condemned as such by Pope Benedict.

However, is the Catholic Church alone guilty of this? According to an article in The Guardian (29 April 2010): ‘The Boy Scouts of America has been accused of covering up decades of child abuse in order to protect their reputation of what is now a billion dollar organization.’

Phil Lawler writes at that ‘Schools, police departments, families, media outlets, non-profit associations not to mention other religious denominations (have been) all guilty of cover-up.’ Ought all these institutions ‘examine the past, apologize, and take steps to guarantee that similar offenses will bring prompt redress in the future?’

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins writes: ‘All of the three boarding schools I attended employed teachers whose affection for small boys overstepped the bounds of propriety.’ Dawkins does not suggest that they were forced out and handed over to the police for any criminal behaviour.
Other vulnerable groups have been subjected to a variety of types of abuse. People with learning disabilities were abused in institutions for decades, leading to the Ely Hospital inquiry (1968-9), the Longcare inquiry (1998) and the recent Cornwall inquiry.

Cover-up scandals have taken place in a variety of different institutions and they all require to be condemned.”

Dr Pravin Thevathasan

The report is available from CTS priced £2.50

Of related interest:

Norms Concerning the Most Serious Crimes – The Norms of Canon Law dealing with crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy have been published here in a comprehensive and updated form, in a document.
Safeguarding with Confidence – The Cumberlege Commission believes that much progress has been made since Lord Nolan reported, and that the Church is now a safer place; however, it states that there remains room for improvement, and this report makes a number of recommendations
Priesthood Today – Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue takes the opportunity of this ‘Year for Priests’ to re-examine the role of the priesthood today.

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