Child Abuse in Different Denominations


Hey everyone. As we all know, the Church has faced many scandals regarding the sexual abuse of minors in the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and various other countries around the world. This has led me to wonder: Does the Eastern Orthodox or Protestant churches suffer from these same scandals?

At first, I thought that the reason the Catholic church is associated with these horrible acts isn’t the fact that they happened, but that they were covered up by those in the higher echelons of the church. Further, due to the Church’s massive presence throughout the world and the Church’s huge size, it was easy to make this massive organization the target of all the criticism. However, I have not heard about any major scandals occurring in the Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist, Coptic, or any other church.

Please let me know what you all think, and if I am wrong, please correct me!


I hope this answers your questions. The media seldom reports on what happens in other churches. They are fixated on Catholics.



I used to work in an Episcopal Diocese and kept a database of disciplined clergy. There were sex offender priests and priests who had affairs and priests who were guilty of fraud. The morality wasn’t higher and the behavior wasn’t better. The difference was that the priests were fired when they did things that were illegal. No bishop cover up.

But the church didn’t have the commitment to or investment in priests that Catholics do. Episcopal priests generally pay their way through seminary, have little diocesan community during formation and move from Diocese to diocese with every new assignment. There just wasn’t a priestly brotherhood, more of a shared interest and lifestyle


There is abuse in every church and also in secular society, they just seem to pick on the Catholic church when it arises.


What difference does it make? What’s dragging the RCC down at the minute is the laity scapegoating whole groups people and finger pointing at other groups, combined with almost complete inactivity from the Vatican and upper hierarchy. The church needs to get its own house in order before it can start telling anyone how to live their life.


Perhaps the popular Virtus trainingcan lend itself to predator clergy red flags.


I’m not Catholic, but I assure you that i have heard stories my entire adult life about sexual misconduct involving ministry of many faiths and denominations. The media doesn’t just pick on Catholics. Understandably it might feel that way when one’s own group is under fire. We tend to pay more attention to what is being said about us rather than what has been said about others.

Also Catholicism is a huge, worldwide organization. The bigger the organization, the more coverage and wider coverage a story gets. You may be familiar with the current Ms America but are less likely to hear about Ms. Insert name of small town here.

I promise you when some big name Protestant minister gets caught with his pants down, I hear the same “the media is paying more attention to our story because they hate us”.

This past week I’ve seen more references to some actress who sexually harrassed a young actor than I have about the priest scandal.

If we all address our own issues the world will be a safer place. Where there are people, there will be misbehaviour. No one I have spoken to has claimed this is a uniquely Catholic problem.


The OP asks a valid question.

I think it makes a huge difference whether this problem is unique to the Catholic Church or if other denominations have similar problems. If this problem is unique to the Catholic Church, there’s some major implications there.


I think all denominations experience incidents where the clergy are unfaithful. You see instances where a pastor has an affair, sometimes with parishioners, and in some cases sexual abuse or contact with minors. I think the big difference right now is the fact that in many cases the abuse was known and covered up. While the initial sin is a scandal, the bigger issue has been the poor response afterward.

In my experience one of the differences is that same sex abuse rates are much higher in the Catholic Church. I want to say the recent report out of Pennsylvania had something better than 67% of the victims were post-pubescent males. While all forms of abuse are tragic, that statistic is disturbing given what we confess with regard to the order of creation.


Sadly I wouldn’t doubt these statistics given the Catholic church will never shun or excommunicate based on these practices.



I still disagree, while it may be somewhat academically interesting to speculate about the fact remains that it happened. What needs to be done now if the RCC is serious about moving forward are the following;

  1. Publicly apologise for the harm done to the victims and offer whatever support may be necessary to them.
  2. Publicly and loudly excommunicate the guilty parties.
  3. The Churches upper hierarchy (Francis) MUST launch a root and branch investigation into the sexual abuse scandal globally and make the findings available to the public,while turning those accused over to appropriate authorities to deal with.
  4. The laity have to stop trying to minimise the scandal, scapegoat the gay community, and stop pointing at other groups, be they religious or secular.
  5. Highlight what progress has been made to reduce the risk to children and young people, and to show what further steps will be taken. These policies should be constantly revised to ensure best practice is always followed.
  6. Priests should be considered as mandatory reporters, including during confession.

If the RCC took all these steps I’d personally look at the church in a more positive light than I do currently.



This and the other Safe Environment programs have been very effective. Notice the dates on the current US scandals, they virtually all predate 2002.


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