WASHINGTON -- A sweeping new report on the clergy sex abuse scandal compares the Roman Catholic Church to police departments, with similar hierarchies, moral authority and isolated working environments.
And because the church, like the police, has "historically 'policed itself,"' as the report says, some lay Catholics and victims' advocates say even a stack of damning reports will not change a church that has been historically resistant to reform.
A recent grand jury report that found dozens of accused priests still in active ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, critics say, gives them little evidence for hope.
The study by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, released Wednesday, portrays the abuse scandal as largely confined to the past. More than 90 percent of nearly 10,700 allegations against Catholic priests occurred before 1990, according to the report.
Researchers said the abuse of minors correlated to a jump in deviant behavior in society at large, such as premarital sex, experimental drug use and crime.