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Religions 2018, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010027

Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations: A Descriptive Analysis of Offense and Offender Characteristics

1
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL 32514, USA
2
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Crime: Theory, Research, and Practice)
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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 abuse most commonly occurs at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations? Second, where do such offenses physically take place? Third, who are the offenders and what role(s) do they assume in the congregations? We find that the overwhelming majority of offenses were contact offenses that occurred on church premises or at the offender’s home, and that most offenders were white male pastors or youth ministers who were approximately 40 years in age. We conclude with policy implications and recommendations for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: child sexual abuse; clergy; evangelical; religion; protestant; sexual abuse child sexual abuse; clergy; evangelical; religion; protestant; sexual abuse
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Denney, A.S.; Kerley, K.R.; Gross, N.G. Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations: A Descriptive Analysis of Offense and Offender Characteristics. Religions 2018, 9, 27.

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