Penn State University professor of history and religious studies Philip Jenkins writes in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the concept of the ‘pedophile priest’ is a ‘myth’:
As a description of a social problem, the term is wildly misleading. Crucially, Catholic priests and other clergy have nothing like a monopoly on sexual misconduct with minors.
He says that while news media have portrayed child abuse cases within the Catholic church as a crisis of celibacy, in research conducted over 20 years, he has found no evidence that Catholic clergy or other celibate denominations are more likely to be involved in child abuse:
Literally every denomination and faith tradition has its share of abuse cases, and some of the worst involve non-Catholics. Every mainline Protestant denomination has had scandals aplenty, as have Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas – and the list goes on. One Canadian Anglican (Episcopal) diocese is currently on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of massive lawsuits caused by decades of systematic abuse, yet the Anglican church does not demand celibacy of its clergy.