Paul R. McHugh, distinguished psychiatric epidemiologist and professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, spoke Monday night at Ohio University's Walter Hall on his experiences with the President's Council on Bioethics and the Roman Catholic Church's National Review Board in a speech entitled, "A Tale of Two Councils."
McHugh serves on Bush's President's Council on Bioethics with 16 other specialists, whose job it is to discuss the ethics and promote national discussion on stem cell research and human cloning, more appropriately, somatic cell nuclear transplantation. Unofficially established in August 2001, the project was put on hold due to Sept. 11 until November. The council has published a number of books on the issue such as "Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics," "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness" and "Being Human," an anthology collection.
After the Catholic bishop scandals in April 2002, McHugh was invited to join a prestigious board of researchers to investigate sexual abuse of children within Catholic dioceses. The group did a complete survey throughout the country of all reported sexual encounters from the 1950s to the present, finding that most encounters involved post-pubescent males. The reason for this finding is still being speculated. The most cases, McHugh said, were reported to have taken place during the early 1960s to the late 1980s, in what the New York Times called an epidemic.
The lecture, part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program, was open to all. Sponsors of the event were Lambda of Ohio Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the departments of Biological Sciences and psychology, the Honors Tutorial College and the College of Health and Human Services.