MYTH: A priest is more likely to sexually abuse children than other adults.
REALITY: This is false. This is a myth that has been heavily pushed by the mainstream media and Hollywood. Many people have been manipulated into believing this falsehood. According to a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, 64 percent of those asked believe Catholic priests frequently abuse children.
There is no evidence that priest abuse children at a higher rate than other adult. The available data shows that priests are less likely to abuse children than school teachers.
According to a study by The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors and a study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, about 4 percent of priests have been accused of sexually abusing children.
As for teachers, according to a U.S. Department of Education study, about 6 percent of public schoolteachers had credible claims of child sexual abuse.
In addition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) reports that somewhere between 3 to 5 percent of men meet the criteria for pedophilia.
In conclusion, there is no evidence that priests sexually abuse children more than any other group.
Plante, T. G. (2018, August 23). Separating facts about clergy abuse from fiction. Psychology Today. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201808/separating-facts-about-clergy-abuse-fiction
Wingert, P. (2010, April 19). Priests commit no more abuse than other males. Newsweek. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.newsweek.com/priests-commit-no-more-abuse-other-males-70625
Linacre Q. 2011 Aug; 78(3): 252–273.
Published online 2011 Aug 1. doi: 10.1179/002436311803888276
Goodstein, L. (2004, February 27). Two studies cite child sex abuse by 4% of priests. The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/27/us/two-studies-cite-child-sex-abuse-by-4-of-priests.html