Catholic watchdog panel launches major study of causes underlying U.S. sex abuse scandals

Posted: Friday, November 05, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) The National Review Board, a lay panel that monitors the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops' efforts against clergy sexual abuse, announced the start of a comprehensive, long-term study of causes underlying the scandals that have plagued the church.

Research topics include why most victims were adolescent males; how psychological problems of abusers were treated; what made victims vulnerable; environments in society, church and seminaries; ways law enforcement agencies responded and why incidents declined after the 1970s.

Last February, the board issued a preliminary report on the causes and context of abuse and a statistical analysis of complaints from 10,667 underage victims since 1950.

The 13-member board's research subcommittee is led by Alice Hayes, former president of the University of San Diego, and Paul McHugh, former director of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University.

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