Term of Award

Fall 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Committee Chair

Kristina Thompson

Committee Member 1

Chad Posick

Committee Member 2

Finbarr Curtis


Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a serious public health problem in the United States, with estimates suggesting that approximately 8% of males and 20% of females experience some form of sexual violence before adulthood (Pereda et al., 2009). Adult acquaintance victim-offender relationships account for 83% of all cases (Ullman, 2001). And while the acquaintance of victim- offender relationships is facilitated by a range of social institutions, perhaps none have received as much media attention as those occurring in the context of the Catholic Church (Formicola, 2014). Although child sexual assault is recognized as a serious punishable charge in all 50 states and the federal government, it is perhaps one of the hardest to prosecute (Parkinson, 2018) and evidence suggests that instances occurring in the context of large organizations such as the Catholic church that may have features that further detract from formal prosecution in the criminal justice system. Examining cases in this context is central to understanding the continued neglect of these crime victims.

Research Data and Supplementary Material