Church Abuse Research & Education Services


The Complex Reasons Sexual Assaults Go Unreported

The heated national debate about sexual misconduct has cast a spotlight on victims’ reluctance to report assault. The issue has been at the center of some of the most high-profile cases in the #MeToo era. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a Harrisburg, Pa., nonprofit, reviewed studies by the U.S. Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, … Read More

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#turvallinenseurakunta-koulutus tähtää väärinkäytösten ehkäisemiseen seurakunnissa

Suomessakin nosteessa ollut #metoo -kampanja herätti vastuunkantajat seurakuntien lisäkoulutustarpeeseen. Suomen teologisella opistolla Tampereella järjestetään 30.–31.8. #turvallinenseurakunta-täydennyskoulutus.

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#metoo campaign highlights the need for churches to receive additional training

Suomen teologinen opisto (Finnish theological institute) on 30-31.8 will organize a #turvallinenseurakunta symposium (#safechurch), the goal of which is to prepare and offer tools for building safe churches. Abuse victims keep it their secret often throughout their lives that they have experienced sexual trauma. The Christian framework may add to the victim’s burden, misconstrue the victim’s perceptions of what happened … Read More

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The Hope of Survivors

Denomination: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Does the organization have a clergy sexual abuse policy in place? If yes, where can this policy be found (provide URL, mailing address if a copy must be requested, etc.)? The ELCA does have a policy for clergy sexual abuse but each one of our synods creates their own policy. One would need … Read More

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SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Footnotes 1. More than 6,000 priests and 100,000 victims The U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 6,115 priests in 1950-2011, or 5.6% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active since 1950. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm) Experts at the Vatican summit in February, 2012 state that there are more than 100,000 victims in the USA alone. (http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/vatican-abuse-summit-22-billion-and-100000-victims-us-alone) 2. Admission from bishops that … Read More

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The NCAA must end their silence on sexual violence in college sports

As conferences take steps to combat sexual violence in college sports, the NCAA’s silence is an effective abdication of their responsibility to protect women on campus.

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Callisto: Tech to combat sexual assault [Callisto]

The Problem As we’ve seen from #MeToo, sexual harassment and assault are far too common and often never reported. Many sexual perpetrators are repeat offenders, but it is hard for victims to learn whether or not they’re the only one. Knowing that you’re not alone tends to change a lot – the way you frame your experience, your motivation to … Read More

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RAINN State Law Sex Crime Report Generator [RAINN]

From the legal definition of rape to the statute of limitation for a particular sex crime, where you live makes a difference. Here’s a guide to the laws in your state.

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U.N. Case Law Database on Sexual Assault [UN]

850. The Appeals Chamber notes that the definition and elements of sexual assault have been discussed, in various degrees of detail, by several trial chambers.[1] Trial chambers have held that sexual assault is broader than rape and encompasses “all serious abuses of a sexual nature inflicted upon the physical and moral integrity of a person by means of coercion, threat … Read More

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How Common is Sexual Assault in the United States? The Answer Depends On Who You Ask [Center for Data Innovation]

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Defense, Education and Justice oversee at least 10 different efforts to collect data about sexual violence—producing widely varying statistics that, on the surface, appear to measure the same thing. As a result, policymakers and the public simply do not have reliable, … Read More

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For #MeToo movement, a mixed reception in nations outside US [ABC News]

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Framing the sex abuse crisis in light of ecclesiology and church reform by Massimo Faggioli

Every major crisis in church history has redefined some aspects of the relationship between the center and the periphery It is still too soon to know how Pope Francis will be remembered for his handling of the Catholic Church’s crisis of clergy sex abuse of minors. His pontificate is currently embroiled in what continues to be the phenomenon’s most difficult … Read More

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What is clergy sexual abuse and how does it happen? by Stephanie Dickrell

The recent arrest of the Rev. Anthony Oelrich, a Catholic priest who has worked in the Diocese of St. Cloud since 1992, has the community asking a lot of questions. What happened? How did it happen? Who’s at risk? Oelrich is facing a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with … Read More

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Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations: A Descriptive Analysis of Offense and Offender Characteristics by Denney, A.S.; Kerley, K.R.; Gross, N.G.

Abstract: Utilizing data from 326 cases of alleged child sexual abuse that occurred at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations, this study examines demographic and contextual characteristics of alleged child sexual abuse that took place within the most prevalent religious environment in the United States. Research questions are addressed in this study. First, what type of child sexual … Read More

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Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime. Boys are also at risk, although a global estimate is unavailable [UNICEF]

Sexual violence is one of the most unsettling of children’s rights violations. As such, it is the subject of dedicated international legal instruments aimed at protecting children against its multiple forms. Acts of sexual violence, which often occur together and with other forms of violence, can range from direct physical contact to unwanted exposure to sexual language and images. ‘Sexual … Read More

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The impacts of child sexual abuse: A rapid evidence assessment

The aim of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA or ‘the Inquiry’) is to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales, and to make meaningful recommendations for change, to help ensure that children now and in the future are better protected from … Read More

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Evaluation of a Database for Tracking Cases of Child Sexual Abuse [Taylor & Francis Online]

Abstract Administrative databases are used by criminal justice professionals to guide specialist responses to crimes of child sexual abuse. Assumptions might be made that the database will be accurate, contemporaneous, complete, and meaningful; however, this may not be the case. The main aim of the current study was to critically evaluate a database used by practitioners for tracking cases of … Read More

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

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, … Read More

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[List] Clergy Sexual Misconduct Resources

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Catholic church doesn't understand toll of child sexual abuse, says US priest

Father Thomas Doyle tells royal commission the church does not want to understand just how profound the impact of abuse is on survivors One of the first American priests to have broken ranks on child abuse said the Catholic church still fails to comprehend the depth of spiritual damage done to victims. Father Thomas Doyle, then a canonical lawyer at … Read More

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The psychological impact of clergy-perpetrated child abuse

Clergy-perpetrated child abuse can have a dramatic effect on children’s faith, family relationships and how they view the world. Christian churches in Australia and around the world have faced a raft of allegations of clergy-perpetrated child sexual abuse as well as accusations of inadequate efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. Encouraged by an increased focus on the issue as well … Read More

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The Secrecy of Abuse

This stratified ecclesial society with its protection of the superior authority of the clergy can easily prevent Catholics from ever achieving a mature degree of participation in the church. In short, Catholic adults are expected to be docile and obedient and to accept as true all utterances of the priests, bishops, and popes. Though St. Paul urged Christians in Corinth … Read More

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Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace [U.S. E.E.O.C.]

Report of Co-Chairs Chai R. Feldblum & Victoria A. Lipnic June 2016 Contents PREFACE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY PART ONE: INTRODUCTION PART TWO: WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE A. REAL PEOPLE/REAL LIVES B. THE PREVALENCE OF HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE C. EMPLOYEE RESPONSES TO HARASSMENT D. THE BUSINESS CASE FOR STOPPING AND PREVENTING HARASSMENT E. RISK FACTORS FOR HARASSMENT … Read More

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CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN FAITH-BASED INSTITUTIONS: Gender, spiritual trauma and treatment frameworks by Deborah Sauvage and Patrick O’Leary

This chapter examines the literature relating to the characteristics, effects and treatment frameworks of child sexual abuse in faith-based institutions. Three major themes were identified: (1) the over-representation of male victims, (2) the multifaceted dimensions of spiritual trauma and (3) the need to adopt a complex trauma approach. Each theme will be discussed in turn, followed by evidence-informed recommendations for … Read More

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Girls abused by clergy members, and others, are focus of new team

Woman’s suit against Lutheran youth pastor is first in an effort to get more to step forward. A national team of lawyers has joined forces to focus on a group of children who are underrepresented in clergy abuse cases — namely, girls. The group announced its first legal action Monday, a suit by a Minnesota woman who charges that she … Read More

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A LIFESPAN APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE ON SELF-IDENTITY FOR MALE SURVIVORS by S.D. Easton , D. Leone-Sheehan , & P. O'Leary

Background/purpose: Being sexually abused by a member of the clergy can dramatically undermine the health trajectory of a survivor across the lifespan. Using life course perspective and theories of identity development, this study addressed the following research question: What are the perceived negative effects of clergy sexual abuse on the self-identity of adult survivors? Methods: This secondary analysis was based … Read More

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SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH – GUIDANCE ON THE PASTORAL CARE FOR SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE BOTH PAST AND PRESENT

This guidance is for those at all levels of church life who might be involved in or responsible for pastoral ministry and the provision of care, whether within or from the local church, diocese or at national level. This includes those providing ministry and pastoral care in schools, hospitals, prisons and further education. Some of those who read these guidelines … Read More

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Sexual Abuse by Church Leaders and Healing for Victims by Carolyn H. Heggen

Abstract: Sexual abuse by a church leader is an egregious violation of professional ethics and a serious misuse of the power of the pastor/teacher role. The resultant trauma for victims affects all aspects of their lives. Churches and their institutions have not consistently responded in appropriate ways to reports of abuse and have too often, by their denial or lack … Read More

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Clergy Sexual Abuse by Robert P. Allred

A Dissertation Presented to the College of Psychology of Nova Southeastern University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Abstract: Sexual abuse perpetrated by trusted members of the clergy presents unique challenges to clinicians and yet the current literature on the effects of clergy sexual abuse is sparse. The vast majority of current research … Read More

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Special Report: Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013 [U.S. DoJ]

This report uses the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to compare the rape and sexual assault victimization of female college students and nonstudents. For the period 1995–2013— „ The rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for nonstudents (7.6 per 1,000) than for students (6.1 per 1,000). „ For both college students and nonstudents, the o ender … Read More

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Risk assessment of sexually abusive clergy: Utility of sex offender risk instruments with a unique offender subgroup by Anthony Perillo

Sex offender risk instruments provide empirically based outlooks on recidivism risk and often serve as a critical part of sex offender management. If applied to unrepresented offender groups, these instruments may offer inaccurate pictures of risk and hinder efforts to reduce sexual violence. With little research available on sexually abusive clergy prior to the abuse scandal of the early 2000s, … Read More

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Clergy Sexual Abuse: Definition, Prevalence, Intervention by David C. Wang, Th.M., Ph.D.

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Understanding Clergy Sexual ‘Abuse’ as Torture

On Monday and Tuesday, a United Nations committee in Geneva asked the Vatican very tough questions about its track record on preventing and punishing acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The Committee Against Torture and international human rights law have long understood rape and sexual violence as forms of torture because, as one international tribunal observed, rape … Read More

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Knowing the unknowns of clerical sexual misconduct by Stephen de Weger

Is there an agony in the garden of Catholicism which has yet to be faced — the ‘dark figure’* of clerical sexual misconduct involving adults? From initial readings as part of my research into this issue, two aspects have become quickly apparent: that it is a ‘known unknown’ within Catholic life, and that it is a very complex issue.

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Jane Doe Shares Video Describing Alleged Clergy Abuse from WCCO

She said the abuse lead her to consider suicide. “It has just destroyed me,” she said. Law enforcement documents said the archdiocese panel that investigated Keating was told that Keating told another priest he had a “passionate encounter” with another 14-year-old girl in Italy. The panel, led by then-archbishop Harry Flynn, found that there was not enough evidence to remove … Read More

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Guide from Church of England – Responding Well to those who have been sexually abused

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Soul Murder: The Spiritual Sequelae of Clergy Sexual Abuse With Focus on Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Judaism by Mary Gail Frawley-O”Dea, Ph.D.

Paper presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (2011). Panel Discussion: Clergy Sexual Abuse— Advances in Prevention, Recovery, and Treatment of Survivors and Perpetrators, Washington, D.C., August 6. I was not allowed to scream in church I wanted to scream when you put your hands on me I wanted to scream when I could feel your … Read More

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Findings from Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE: A case study of New Hampshire's pediatric SANE database [Journal of Forensic Nursing]

Abstract The purpose of this article is to provide child sexual abuse data gathered by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) in New Hampshire at the time of the medical/forensic examination. This study provides demographic, victim and assault characteristics from 696 child sexual abuse patients between 1997 and 2007. The study is a collaborative project between the SANE Advisory Board, a … Read More

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The Impact of Child Sexual Abuse by Richard Boyd

Western society is undergoing an epidemic of reported childhood sexual abuse. Various authors attribute this to several causes, including the lifting of the stigma and shame of sexual abuse as a topic of conversation, better policies and law enforcement measures for victims, press interest in the topic, evolving childhood developmental psychology models that recognize and accept the severity of the … Read More

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How Clergy Sexual Misconduct Happens: A Qualitative Study of First-Hand Accounts by Diana R. Garland & Christen Argueta

This article reports a study based on phone interviews with 46 persons who as adults had experienced a sexual encounter or relationship with a religious leader. Fifteen others were also interviewed who had experienced the effects of those sexual encounters (husbands, friends and other staff members in the congregation), as well as two offending leaders. Subjects for this study were … Read More

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Six Myths About Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

There are a lot more myths than facts bantered around about clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Here are six important points that you should know if you are interested in this topic. 1. Catholic clergy aren’t more likely to abuse children than other clergy or men in general. According to the best available data (which is pretty good, … Read More

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[Book] Understanding the Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse: Betrayal and Recovery

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[Book] Understanding the Impact of Clergy Sexual Abuse

The sexual exploitation of a child by one who has been recognized as a representative of God is a sinister assault on that person’s psychosocial and spiritual well-being. Many survivors of such abuse present with a range of symptoms consistent with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as well as common co-occurring problems, including substance abuse, affective lability, and relational conflicts. Yet there … Read More

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A Theoretical Foundation for Understanding Clergy-Perpetrated Sexual Abuse

ABSTRACT Incorporating elements from broadband theories of psychological adaptation to extreme adversity, including Summit’s (1983) Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome, Finkelhor and Browne’s (1986) Traumagenic Dynamics Model of sexual abuse, and Pyszczynski and colleagues’ (1997) Terror Management Theory, this paper proposes a unified theoretical model of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse for future research. The model conceptualizes clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse as the … Read More

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[Journal] Social Work & Christianity: When Wolves Wear Shepherds' Clothing: Helping Women Survive Clergy Sexual Abuse by Diana Garland

This article examines the problem of clergy sexual abuse with adult women. Victims and their families often seek help from Christian professionals outside the church, rendering Christian social workers and other Chris- tian mental health professionals likely service providers in a major crisis looming before congregations and religious organizations. This article reviews resources for helping women, their families, and congregations … Read More

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Why Adult Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse Are Not To Blame By Mark Scheffers

If your pastor sexually abused you after you had become an adult you may ask, “How can it be that I’m not partly to blame? I was an adult after all. Didn’t I keep it a secret?” Maybe you were married and you lament, “I broke my marriage vows.” The evidence seems conclusive: The pastor can’t be the only one … Read More

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Lutheran Church Abuse Victims Receive $69 Million Settlement

In what may be the largest per capita clergy abuse settlement ever, nine victims will receive $36.8 million from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Northern Texas/Northern Louisiana Synod and two former officials. The civil case follows the conviction of Gerald P. Thomas, former pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marshall, Texas, for sex crimes against children. An additional … Read More

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Protestant Ministers Convicted of Sex Abuse – Lutheran

Unidentified clergyman in Norway defends himself by accusing boys of pestering him to provide pornography to them and pulling their pants down for him. Criminal defendants in Norway are not identified by name. (Nordlys, April 30, 2003) Clergyman says boredom led him to child porn Athens, GA. Ralph Tulk, 63, was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of child … Read More

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The Sexual Abuse Crisis: What Have We Learned and What Issues Do We Still Have to Face? by Carolyn Moore Newberger, Ed.D.

I come to this conference as a psychologist and as a person raised in the Jewish tradition. I was first introduced to the reality of child sexual abuse in the Church in a very unusual way. It was during the early 1970’s when I was an intern in Clinical Child psychology in Boston. I had a close colleague who told … Read More

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Some fault church on sex abuse by priests

Despite continuing disclosures about sexual misconduct by its priests, the latest on Thursday, the Catholic Church is not responding to the problem as aggressively or as uniformly as other religious denominations, according to a number of specialists in religion and in sexual abuse. While the problem of sexual abuse among clergy appears to cut across all religious denominations, critics say … Read More

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