One of the most common questions we are asked in child protection is how many minors does a child molester sexually abuse in their lifetime?
In the case of Norbertine Father Reverend Brendan Smyth O. Praem, we have a glimpse into the mind, methods and devastating results from a Priest who was allowed by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy to decimate children in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the United States.
“Mr. Aiken said that Smyth was convicted of 117 cases of indecent assault against 41 children in the North and South. There were 74 convictions against 20 children in the Republic and 43 convictions against 21 children in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland convictions were between 1964 and 1984 and the Southern convictions between 1967 and 1993.” http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/brendan-smyth-may-have-abused-more-than-200-children-1.2258487
If we extrapolate just the number of Irish survivors alone, 41, and apply that to the number of priest perpetrators from the Suffolk County Grand Jury Report on the Diocese of Rockville Centre New York, 58, we can deduce the number of minors sexually abused by Bishops, Priests and Deacons on Long Island was at least 2,378. http://www.natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives/022103/022103g.htm
In her 2003 book, Predators, Anna C. Salter, Ph.D., writes: “There are a lot of sexual offenses out there, and the people who commit them don’t get caught very often. When an offender is caught and has a thorough evaluation with a polygraph backup, he will reveal dozens, sometimes hundreds, of offenses for which he was never apprehended. In an unpublished study by psychologist Dr. Pamela Van Wyk, twenty-three offenders in her incarcerated treatment program entered the program admitting an average of three victims each. Faced with a polygraph and the necessity of passing it to stay in the treatment program, they revealed an average of 175 victims each.”
The thousands of survivors and their families who daily endure the repercussions of child sexual abuse by their Pastors, what Saint Pope John Paul the Great called a great scare upon the soul, need an avenue of redress. The Grand Jury Report points out the obvious, that the statute of limitations and the doctrine of ex post facto defend those responsible for these heinous crimes against our children.
The fact of child sexual abuse by Roman Clerics is one piece of the puzzle. The survivors from Rabbis, Ministers, Mullahs and Imamas is also a dark secret society would rather avoid.
The harm done to our children, now adults, is just now manifesting itself. The cost of these physical and mental health damages are falling upon the tax payer. The time is now to shift the cost back to those who made the conscious decisions to keep the perpetrators in a position of authority over children. The time for statute of limitations reform has come.