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The Massachusetts Department of Social Services has reported that in the year 2000 alone, there were 62,506 cases of child abuse and neglect reported, a sad statistic that is routinely ignored when th
8/5/2003 9:05:00 AM
By Karl Maurer -Catholic Citizens News

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The Massachusetts Department of Social Services has reported that in the year 2000 alone, there were 62,506 cases of child abuse and neglect reported, a sad statistic that is routinely ignored when the secualar media is "reporting" on the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, says Catholic activist Bob Bland.

"The Boston Globe has played right into the hands of the Massacusetts attorney general's outrageous agenda to bash the Catholic Church by using the preposterous and inflammatory headline, "Abuse scandal far deeper than disclosed..." (July 24, 2003) but fails to mention in such headline that the time period cited is 60 years or that the Catholic Church had nothing to do with 99.999% of child abuse reports in the state of Massachusetts during such time period," said Bland in a recent interview.

Qualifying his protest as being related solely to the fairness of the reporting of the abuse crisis, Bland said, "Even one incident of child abuse is too many but let's pause and put the statistics in perspective."

According to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services web site, there were a staggering 62,506 reports of child abuse and neglect in that state in 2000.

Bland suggests that extending that out over 60 years would result in several million instances of abuse, a staggering number for a relatively small state like Massachusetts.

"To say that Catholic (clerics) are responsible for 1,000 of such reports is the statistical equivalent of saying that Catholics are not responsible for 99.999% of such reports," noted Bland.

"Why are critics of the Catholic Church so intent on aggrandizing and inflating the minute percentage of child abuse cases that are actually caused by members of the Church but steadfastly ignoring the root causes of the 99.999% of child abuse cases which have nothing to do with the Catholic Church?" asked Bland.

The recent crisis in the Catholic Church has provoked a rising national debate about child sexual abuse, and brought to light cases of such abuse in other denominations as well as in public schools, where such abuse has been handled without anywhere near the amount adverse publicity surrounding the Catholic scandals.

The National Review Board, a lay panel formed by the US Catholic Bishops last summer after the Dallas bishops' conference has commissioned John Jay University in New York to prepare a statistical summary of the instances of abuse. This undertaking is unprecedented for any religious or educational body that deals with children.

In spite of the inflammatory headlines and stilted reporting at the Boston Globe, it appears that the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize that child abuse is hardly restricted to errant Catholic clerics, but is statisticly much more likely to effect them in their own families, nieghborhoods or public schools. The numbers tell that story, but the Boston Globe won't.

For information about the Massachusetts statistics, see http://www.state.ma.us/dss/Statistics/ST_abuseandneglect.htm

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