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Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children

NCJ Number
A L Gaylor
Date Published
92 pages
After using newspaper clippings to document the widespread sexual abuse of children by clergy, this book discusses why the clerical profession and the church are conducive to child sexual abuse and the protection of perpetrators, examines church coverups of such abuse by clergy, and suggests prevention strategies for parents and educators.
The clerical profession and the church are attractive to pedophiles because they are provided easy access to children in the course of their work. The authoritative and moral aura attributed to clergy by their congregations engenders trust in the wisdom and morality of their behaviors. Their child victims are thus vulnerable to and available for seduction or intimidation from the clergy. Even when evidence of a particular clergyman's abusive behavior is exposed, people are either reluctant to believe the evidence or prone to rationalize or minimize the abusive behavior. There is evidence that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has protected priests from prosecution for child sexual abuse and has moved such priests from parish to parish rather than remove them from the priesthood. The appendix instructs parents in how to teach their children to resist the advances of child molesters. The detection and reporting of child sexual abuse are also discussed. 17 annotated resources.


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