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Medical News and Perspectives
August 3, 2005

Researchers Seek Roots of Pedophilia

JAMA. 2005;294(5):546-547. doi:10.1001/jama.294.5.546

Atlanta—Sexual abuse of children by some of its clergy has roiled the US Roman Catholic Church, with more than 1000 new allegations of such abuse recorded in 2004. According to a tally released in June by the Associated Press and American Catholic bishops, the church has paid out more than $1 billion to settle abuse claims in the past 50 years, with about $378 million of that since 2002, when a scandal erupted in Boston.

But the problem is by no means confined to the Catholic Church. Offenders—nearly all males—may choose careers that put them in proximity to children and in a position of power, with no supervision, said Igor Galynker, MD, PhD, speaking at a symposium on childhood sexual abuse at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) here in May. Clergy of other denominations, scout leaders, elementary school teachers, athletic coaches, camp counselors, day care workers, and even physicians have been convicted for sexually abusing children aged 13 years or younger.

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