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 identified using networks of professionals, websites, and media stories about the project. The resulting nonrandom sample of 63 subjects includes congregants from Jewish and a diversity of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and nondenominational congregations located across the United States. The software package Atlas-Ti was used to code the interview transcripts and then to identify five common themes that describe the social characteristics of the contexts in which clergy sexual misconduct (CSM) occurs. Based on these characteristics, implications are drawn for social work practice with congregations.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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, coming from a comprehensive report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2004, as well as several other studies), 4 percent of Catholic priests in the U.S. sexually victimized minors during the past half century. No evidence has been published at this time which states this number is higher than clergy from other religious traditions. The 4 percent figure appears lower than school teachers during the same time frame, and certainly less than offenders in the general population of men. Research states that over 20 percent of American women and about 15 percent of American men were sexually violated by an adult when they were children. Sexual victimization is tragically fairly common in the general population, but luckily these numbers have been dropping in recent years.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

[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 are additional themes, particularly the impact of the abuse and institutional betrayal on the family, profound alteration in individual spirituality, and changes in individual and family religious practices, which differentiate this abuse from other traumas.

Understanding the profound and multidimensional effects of clergy perpetrated sexual abuse and the betrayal of trust by religious leaders on individuals, families and communities requires the collective wisdom of many voices. This book brings together the perspectives of survivors, practitioners and scholars to examine this unique form of interpersonal violence from theoretical, clinical and spiritual perspectives with consideration given to future research needs.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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 convergence of interactive processes between the clergy-perpetrator, the parishioner-survivor, and the religious community.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

[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 survive the abuse of power and the betrayal of sacred trust embodied in clergy sexual abuse.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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 who did wrong. But that conclusion ignores the circumstances. Just as a driver is not prosecuted for running a red light to get his pregnant wife to the hospital, your behavior must be considered against the background of how you were being abused. There are at least six reasons why you are not to blame for what happened to you.

1. You had a right to expect your abuser would honor his professional contract.
Your pastor seemed like a friend. Like good friends, good pastors show interest, care, support, and encouragement for their parishioners. But every pastor is more than a friend to his congregation members and community. After all, your pastor was paid to relate to you in a caring way. He (1) was under a professional contract to provide attention and support to you and other members of the congregation. Whether his contract was written or not, your pastor was employed by the church with the understanding that he would use his skills and training to benefit members of the church community. When your pastor initiated sexual contact with you he broke that contract. You were not responsible for knowing what kind of behavior was or was not called for in his contract. It was his contract not yours. Taking advantage of you sexually (even if you approached him sexually) was never part of that contract. You had a right to expect he would honor the boundaries inherent in his professional contract


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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 $32 million out-of-court settlement was reached before the trial ended. Total awards amounted to nearly $69 million awarded to 14 victims.

Individual awards ranged from $50,000 to $9.8 million depending on medical needs and the amount of abuse suffered. The settlements involve Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Ohio, a Michigan candidacy committee that ordained Thomas, Good Shepherd Church, the Northern Texas/Northern Louisiana Synod, and Bishop Mark Herbener of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod and his assistant Earl Eliason. According to the ELCA, the 5 million-member denomination will pay $8 million of the total settlement.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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 molestation for allegedly inappropriately touching five children at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church over several years. He was superintendent of the Sunday school program when some of the alleged molestations took place and was treasurer of the church until last month, according to police and the church. Dickerson and many other residents of this Northeast Georgia city — most of whom were willing to share their thoughts about the case but not be quoted — said they worry about the church, but aren’t yet convinced of the allegations. “This is America, and you are innocent until proven guilty,” Dickerson said. (MSNBC.com, Jan. 11, 2003)


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment

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 me in the coffee room one day that he had been a priest, and had left the priesthood. I knew he was a devout Catholic, and asked, “Michael, why did you leave the priesthood?” He replied, “Well, I was assigned to a large city institution that took in boys from the streets, and I discovered that these boys were being taken in and being molested by the members of the clergy and by the director of this institution. I couldn’t reconcile that with my values and beliefs as a Catholic and as a priest. I had to go. I couldn’t deal with it. I had to leave.” And so, there’s another fallout from these issues, which is the good men you have lost who otherwise would have been fine priests, as my friend Michael became a wonderful social worker in the lay world.


Read More...

bryceplattResources, sisuCARELeave a Comment