Dec. 1, 2003 Updated Jan. 25, 2006
Father John Geoghan
Father John Geoghan sexually molested young boys for over three decades with the full knowledge of the Archdiocese of Boston. By the time Cardinal Bernard Law got around to having him defrocked in 1993, Geoghan had become the poster boy for the priest-pedophilia scandal that racked every Catholic diocese in the United States.
by Denise Noe
The perception that child molesting was a rare crime perpetrated by a small number of raincoat-clad misfits crumbled in the 1970s and '80s when studies disclosed the astonishing prevalence of this crime and the outward ''normalcy'' of its perpetrators.
''One out of three girls and one out of seven boys will be sexually abused by the time they reach 18,'' Ellen Bass and Laura Davis reported in their book, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Feminists were at the forefront of publicizing the prevalence and damage caused by these crimes. In both incest and non-family child molesting, the perpetrators were almost always men, the victims about 90 percent female. Feminist writers such as Florence Rush and Judith Hermann believed these statistics reflected an imbalance of power between the sexes. They thought the traditional family, with its ideology of male headship, led many men to treat children as property.