Understanding Sexually Abusive Clergy as a Unique Offender Subgroup: Risk-based Comparisons Across the Course of Offending


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The current study compares offending trends of sexually abusive clergy (n = 1,428) to general sex offenders (n = 2,842) on risk measure items coded across the course of offending. Results suggest significant differences on most risk-relevant variables. Clergy were particularly more likely to have male victims, V = .62, 95% CI [.58, .65], and less likely to be married, V = .59, 95% CI [.56, .63], or use force, V = .76, 95% CI [.73, .79]. The magnitude of differences remained when matched on offense factors (e.g., male child acquaintance victims). Findings suggest sexually abusive clergy are a unique subgroup differing from general sex offenders on factors associated with recidivism.

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