question in most people’s minds is how such inexplicable and copious numbers of abuse could go unnoticed, unreported, unacknowledged and with no accountability for so long. The question posed within this essay however, is why? Why has there been such wide spread and proliferate sexual abuse of children within the Roman Catholic Church.
Gauthe, who was a priest based in Louisiana was shifted from parish to parish by church elders and authorities once they became aware of his abusive activities. In an attempt to maintain equilibrium within the Church and keep control of the situation themselves the Church gave Gauthe opportunity to continue his sexual abuse against minors. Due to the media and public outcry however, he was brought to trial and removed from his position in 1983; in 1985 he was sentenced to jail for twenty years but was released after ten; whereupon he was later arrested again for further accounts of molesting young boys (Gavrielides & Coker, 2005; Werth, 2003; Dale & Alpert, 2007). The Gauthe case however proved to be the first wave in a tumultuous ocean of abuse, molestation and cover-up in the Catholic Church.
In 2002 the Boston Globe (January 6) declared that the “Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years” (Carroll, 2002; Isely, Isely, Freiburger & McMackin, 2008). The story revealed how Law, the archbishop of Boston and his forerunners had turned a blind eye to sexual abuse and had permitted their priests to abuse children without retribution (Carroll, 2002), and that priests like Father Geoghan, who had purportedly raped or molested 130 children had been protected by the Church (Carroll, 2002). Such revelations instigated a plethora of victims coming forward to report abuse, and the media using words such as ‘crisis’ and ‘scandal’ in relation to the Church (Plante, 2004), incited public outcry and demand for answers and retribution. The outcome was the realization that nobody was in reality, aware of the enormity of the crisis,