Date of Award

3-2015

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Criminal Justice: M.S.

Department

Criminal Justice

College

School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Lindsey Vigesaa

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Clifford

Third Advisor

Lee LaDue

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Child Abuse, Catholic Church, Priest, Institution, Sexual Abuse, Children

Abstract

In May 2013, Minnesota passed the "Child Victims Act" which allowed victims of child sexual abuse a three-year window to report their abuse, regardless of when the abuse occurred ("Minnesota Child Victims Act," 2015). Since this legislation was enacted, hundreds of childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse have come forward within the state of Minnesota. Furthermore, numerous lawsuits have occurred, which have required dioceses across the state to release the names and personnel files of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse. This exploratory study focuses on disclosures by examining five personnel files of credibly accused priests. The research questions guiding this study include: 1) What variables are available for examination within each priest file? 2) What are the characteristics of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse? 3) What policy implications do these findings have for the Catholic Church, offenders and victims? Based on the analysis of these five personnel files, 166 variables were identified including the priest’s personal history, parish and assignment history at the time of the sexual abuse allegation, sexual abuse allegation(s), treatment history and community and church response. The findings from the univariate analysis of these variables provide suggestions for future studies and policies centered on youth school systems, seminary schools, child sexual abuse reporting procedures, investigation strategies and treatment programs.

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