In recent days, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins has used the emerging scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) to promote a falsehood about gay men -- that they are more likely than straight men to sexually abuse children, based on the claim that homosexuals are overrepresented in child sex abuse cases. In fact, a 1995 study released by the American Psychological Association found that "gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to perpetrate child sexual abuse"; the argument that homosexuals are overrepresented in such cases is based on what John Hopkins University psychiatrist Frederick Berlin has described as the "flawed assumption" that men who abuse young boys are also attracted to grown men.
On October 2, Perkins issued a statement on what he claimed was "the real issue" in the Foley scandal -- the purported "link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse"; the statement was uncritically reported by the San Francisco Chronicle in an October 3 report on the scandal. Similarly, on the October 3 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews failed to challenge the claim by Perkins that "there's clear research that shows that homosexual men are more likely to abuse children than straight men." Perkins's claim appears to be based on an article on the Family Research Council's website by Timothy J. Dailey, a senior research fellow at the FRC's Center for Marriage and Family Studies, which asserts that there is a "disturbing connection" between homosexuality and pedophilia because "homosexual pedophiles commit about one-third of the total number of child sex offenses" whereas homosexuals make up only "1 to 3 percent of the population."