Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004, the John Jay Report was commissioned and informed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB ) under the new Archbishop of Washington D.C. Wilton Gregory. The report relied on voluntary information provided by Dioceses — the very Dioceses responsible for the systematic cover-up the study sought to explain away. In the end, they found a total of 4,392 priests sexually assaulted minors across the nation from 1950 to 2002.
During their data collection, John Jay College never visited the Secret Archives of any Diocese. Instead, Cardinals and Bishops voluntarily sent in data to the College, who destroyed it after the report was complete. The bishops did not include themselves in the study (only Deacons and Priests), despite over two dozen bishops being accused. Upon its release, John Jay’s findings garnered legitimate skepticism from academics and survivors alike. New evidence proves us skeptics were right. The investigation surrounding the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released last summer was one of the first times law enforcement raided the Secret Archives without warning, cornering the church into a “you’ll share them, or we’ll share them for you” situation. This catalyzed the Church to finally let Dioceses share their lists of known perpetrators from the Secret Archives.
Dioceses across the nation have now published names of 4,397 clerics from 122 Dioceses who sexually assaulted minors, with 75 Dioceses left to report. These numbers directly contradict the figures the Dioceses provided in 2004 by John Jay College. According to the new lists, the ratio of perpetrators to Dioceses is about 25 known perpetrators for every Diocese. Only one U.S. Diocese thus far has the temerity to declare zero clerical offenders in it’s history.
If the remaining 75 Dioceses and hundreds of Religious Orders ever share their information, it would far exceed the numbers reported by John Jay College. We aren’t talking about new perpetrators that sprouted up since 2004 either; most of the recently named offenders were active during the time frame that the John Jay Report evaluated. This new data proves that not only was the John Jay Report problematic — it was plain wrong.
After the Pope’s directive at the end of February’s Vatican summit to stop releasing all Dioceses’ lists of known perpetrators to the public, it’s unclear whether we will ever see the remaining lists. Whether we see them or not, the numbers already provided demonstrate that the bishops underreported their records of known perpetrators in 2004 by 100% to suppress any scandal.
Now, more than ever, John Jay College needs to right this wrong in underreporting. It is time for the John Jay College to recall their 2004 report and recognize the Bishops used John Jay to cover up the chronic criminal conduct of clerics in the United States.