“Grand Jury Report Debunked“ by Bill Donahue

by Steve Ray on August 17, 2018

For the the sake of objectivity, I am posting this interesting critique of the recent Pennsylvania Report on sexual scandal in the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. I am not agreeing with everything in this article, nor am I unaware of Donahue’s association with Wuerl. I am simply posting this because I consider it important to realize there is more to the report than the Media wants us to know.

For example, the media is making it sound like there are at this current time there are 300 predator priests actively abusing 1000 victims in Pennsylvania. This is not true since the 300 are allegations, and some of them are pre-World War II including many predators who have long been dead or retired. That doesn’t make it any better, but it does help put the whole case in perspective.  The article was written by:

Bill Donohue, Ph.D.
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
August 16, 2018

“Unlike most commentators and reporters, I have read most of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The purpose of this statement is to debunk many of the myths, and indeed lies, that mar the report and/or interpretations of it.

Myth: Over 300 priests were found guilty of preying on youngsters in Pennsylvania.

Fact: No one was found guilty of anything. Yet that didn’t stop CBS from saying “300 ‘predator priests’ abused more than 1,000 children over a period of 70 years.” These are all accusations, most of which were never verified by either the grand jury or the dioceses.

The report, and CBS, are also wrong to say that all of the accused are priests. In fact, some were brothers, some were deacons, and some were seminarians. How many of the 300 were probably guilty? Maybe half. My reasoning? The 2004 report by the John Jay College for Criminal Justice found that 4 percent of priests nationwide had a credible accusation made against them between 1950-2002. That is the figure everyone quotes.

But the report also notes that roughly half that number were substantiated. If that is a reliable measure, the 300 figure drops to around 150. During the seven decades under investigation by the grand jury, there were over 5,000 priests serving in Pennsylvania (this includes two dioceses not covered in the report). Therefore, the percent of priests who had an accusation made against them is quite small, offering a much different picture than what the media afford.

And remember, most of these accusations were never substantiated. Importantly, in almost all cases, the accused named in the report was never afforded the right to rebut the charges. That is because the report was investigative, not evidentiary, though the report’s summary suggests that it is authoritative. It manifestly is not.

The report covers accusations extending back to World War II. Almost all the accused are either dead or have been thrown out of the priesthood. For example, in the Diocese of Harrisburg, 71 persons are named: 42 are dead and four are missing. Most of those who are still alive are no longer in ministry.

There are some cases that are so old that they are unbelievable. Consider the case of Father Joseph M. Ganter. Born in 1892, he was accused in 2008 by an 80-year-old man of abusing him in the 1930s. Obviously, nothing came of it. But the priest was accustomed to such charges.

In 1945, at the request of Father Ganter, a Justice of the Peace interviewed three teenage males who had made accusations against him. Not only did they give conflicting stories, the three admitted that they were never abused by Ganter. But don’t look to the media to highlight this case, or others like it.

Myth: The report was warranted because of the on-going crisis in the Catholic Church.

Fact: There is no on-going crisis—it’s a total myth. In fact, there is no institution, private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church. How do I know?
Over the past two years, .005 percent of the Catholic clergy have had a credible accusation made against him.

No one knows exactly what the figure is for other institutions, but if there were a grand jury investigation of the sexual abuse of minors in the public schools, people’s heads would explode—it would make the Catholic Church’s problems look like Little League. But no district attorney or attorney general has the guts to probe the public schools….”

For the whole article, click here.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill912 August 17, 2018 at 1:33 PM

Thanks for posting this, Steve. We need a little light shed on this grand jury report (there certainly has been enough heat). We need to stay cool and calm, and look at facts (ALL the facts). Too often, people allow their emotions to do their thinking for them; God gave us emotions to feel with; He gave us minds to think with.

Steve Ray here: Bravo Bill! I never trust a secular media or others who love to point fingers at the Church. Yes, the Situation Is Bad but We Need to Look at It Objectively and in a Historical Perspective and what the Report Actually Says. The News Media Is Going to Blow It up like a Big Helium Balloon.

sandi-Lansing August 17, 2018 at 5:28 PM

Even if 1 priest and 1 incident — unspeakable evil. I believe we have policies in place for child abuse by the priests, deacons, brothers, but nothing in place for bishops and cardinals for that, or for homosexual predatory behavior. I believe that in particular the homosexual hierarchy in the Catholic Church is real, abusive, corrosive and corrupting the Church. I believe God is allowing all of this to come to light to purify the church. It’s time to clean house and to become one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. The truth will set us free.

Tom Govern August 17, 2018 at 9:59 PM

No doubt there were and will be abuses by many institutions including the Catholic Church. Still, the Catholic Church is the major media target. We need to understand that and take the reporting seriously but know that the Church is held to a higher standard than other institutions.

Steve Wilson August 18, 2018 at 1:49 AM

Hi Steve,

I thought you might like to read this. I think Fr. Bill sets the right tone during these times.


Therese August 18, 2018 at 11:24 AM
sandi-Lansing August 19, 2018 at 9:19 AM

Just read Ezekiel 22:23-30. If that doesn’t speak to our time, I don’t know what does. We need to pray, pray, pray as the Angel told the little children at Fatima. We need to stand in the breach and offer intercession and reparation. May God have mercy.

Leslie August 19, 2018 at 4:12 PM

I am sickened and horrified by what has been going on.

I am also concerned about the bandwagon of publishing the names of all who have been accused. Not convicted, not even tried, just accused. That I consider to be an injustice. What of those who were accused who may have been, or were, innocent? How is it fair to hold them up to public scorn?

The Church isn't equipped or trained to investigate crimes. We keep hearing about "credible accusations." Credible to whom? How was it determined that something was "credible?"

Anybody who committed any of these crimes should be punished according to the law. Anybody who committed any of the heinous sins that were not civil crimes should be stripped of any church offices they had and sentenced to penitence, as should anyone who covered it up.

It infuriates me that many the very people who are gleefully pointing at the Church because some clergy have abused people are the exact same ones who want to pretend that homosexuality is normal, and who are doing their level best to strip children of their innocence at younger nd younger ages – just look at the movies, tv shows, and books that are being published. They are hypocrites.

STEVE RAY HERE: Leslie, I couldn’t agree with you more. Some of the 300 priests were only accused with no substantiation and some in the list were before WWII. The whole thing is horrible, those who actually did the crimes and/or covered them up are also horrible, but the way it is being presented and spun is horrible too.

sandi-Lansing August 22, 2018 at 1:07 PM

I just learned that Bill Donahue is a good friend of Cardinal Wuerl who helped him found the Catholic League. Seems natural that he would defend him by downplaying the Pennsylvania report. Just saying….

Gerard Briggs August 22, 2018 at 4:21 PM

This is coming from Bill Donahue from NYC. The City where Cardinal Dolan allowed a gay priest to shack up with his deviant male homo lover. Knowing this he still permitted this to go on. It wasn't until Michael Voris from Church Militant exposed this that Cardinal Dolan did something. Their IS a homosexual problem greater than the % in secular life in the Catholic Church. Don't let people like Bill sell you a bill of goods. I'm a practicing Roman Catholic and want the Church to be purged of every homo Clergy no matter what their rank.

STEVE RAY HERE: My point withe Donahue was that he was showing the abuse is something that has been ongoing. The Media makes it sound like 300 priests in PA are currently abusing 1000 young men. He is showing that some of it goes back to pre-WWII. I too wish every deviant wicked priest be flogged in the city square.

Bill912 August 22, 2018 at 4:25 PM

Bill Donohue of Catholic League wrote the above debunking of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and wrote another showing how Cardinal Wuerl has been scapegoated. You can read it at catholic league.org.

Bill912 August 22, 2018 at 4:28 PM

Also, Bill Donohue did not found the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; he became the president of it in the early 1990s.

Bill912 August 22, 2018 at 5:00 PM

sandi-Lansing: Perhaps, instead of “Just saying…”, you would care to try to refute anything Bill Donohue wrote?

Pete August 22, 2018 at 5:28 PM

In this Church Militant Michael Voris versus Catholic League Bill Donahue horse race my money goes to Michael Voris. Our bishops are extremely compromised. Drain the USCCB swamp.

sandi-Lansing August 23, 2018 at 2:07 PM

Bill 912 – I, like Pete choose to believe Michael Voris. I incorrectly stated Cardinal Wuerl helped found the Catholic League I apologize. I was wrong. It was in existence as you said, but it was a quite small operation until Cardinal Wuerl convinced Bill Donahue to take it over. Here is a quote from Bill Donahue on Church Militant on 12-5-2015:
"On the other hand, I have known Cdl. Wuerl for about 25 years, and I have nothing but respect for him. When I was a professor in Pittsburgh, it was Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl who got me involved in the Catholic League."
From Church Militant:
Did you catch that last line? It "was Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl who got me involved in the Catholic League." Translation: Donohue owes his nearly $500,000 salary at least in part to the corrupt cardinal of D.C., and Donohue is willing to sing for his salary by smearing any orthodox Catholic journalist who dares question Wuerl.

Steve Ray here: There is a whole lot of assumptions going on here in my estimation. When people get angry they tend to start pointing fingers very vociferously. I have no doubt the cardinal is guilty and to be removed in disgrace. But there are a lot of good things he did as well. Even in our anger we have to keep our perspective and balance. At the same time, the sooner he is removed in disgrace the better I like it! And all the other bishops and Cardinals in the same situation should be taken into the town Square and flogged.

sandi-Lansing August 23, 2018 at 3:52 PM

Amen, Steve. This can’t be a witch hunt. If facts point to guilt, however, that person needs to be removed.
Good to remember, though, that even the devil can be disguised as an angel of light.

Walter August 28, 2018 at 5:49 PM

Wow. Just wow. A thorough investigation finds more objective proof that the Catholic Church was systematically abusing children and you people find a way to discredit the claims and cast aside the hundreds of victims. I guess the kids are irrelevant because the Catholic Church has a purpose that’s larger than any alter boy, right? Catholics have been running around insisting everyone bend to their way of life all the while the Church was protecting and covering up sexual abuse to protect its image and its clear nothing has changed. You people are monsters. Bill Donahue is a complete scumbag at a minimum and a sexual abuse enabler at the most. The way he’s covering up for these pedophiles he may be one himself.

STEVE RAY HERE: I am not agreeing with or disagreeding with his report. I was sharing it along with other news items. The report is being presented a 300 priests right NOW abusing 1000 kids. This is not true and he was bringing balance to the report. Sorry if you don’t like me posting it. The abusers are monsters and now it looks like it goes all the way to the top. Read everything I post and then comment, not just on one report I pass along.

Bill912 August 28, 2018 at 7:20 PM

Walter: Would you care to try to refute ANYTHING Bill Donohue wrote? Or is name-calling the BEST you can do?

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