Clergy Sexual Misconduct Baylor University
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Where can I find help?
If you believe you have experienced clergy sexual misconduct, we encourage you to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. Links to reputable national resources can be found here.

Clergy Sexual Misconduct

The Prevalence of Clergy Sexual Advances towards Adults in Their Congregations.
Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion(48)4, 817-824.

This research study involved two companion projects: (1) a national random survey to determine the prevalence of clergy sexual misconduct (CSM) with adults; and (2) a qualitative study of three groups of women and men: (a) those who self-identified as survivors who had been the objects of CSM, (b) family or friends of survivors, and (c) offenders who had themselves committed CSM. The goal of both projects was to define the scope and nature of CSM, so that effective prevention strategies can be proposed for the protection of religious leaders and congregants.

How clergy sexual misconduct happens: A qualitative study of first-hand accounts.
Social Work and Christianity

Call it what it is: Abuse of power
Diana Garland, dean of Baylor School of Social Work and co-author of this study, says clergy sexual misconduct with adults is "not an affair" nor is it consensual. Read more.

Key Findings from the Executive Summary:

Of those surveyed:

  • More than 3% of women who had attended a congregation in the past month reported that they had been the object of CSM at some time in their adult lives;

  • 92% of these sexual advances had been made in secret, not in open dating relationships; and

  • 67% of the offenders were married to someone else at the time of the advance.

  • In the average American congregation of 400 persons, with women representing, on average, 60% of the congregation, there are, on average of 7 women who have experienced clergy sexual misconduct.

  • Of the entire sample, 8% report having known about CSM occurring in a congregation they have attended. Therefore, in the average American congregation of 400 congregants, there are, on average, 32 persons who have experienced CSM in their community of faith.

Resources for your use:
We have prepared several documents to help you learn more about clergy sexual misconduct with adults, prevention strategies, a sample code of ethics for your congregation, and much more.