Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Jeanette Fregulia

Second Advisor

Edward Glowienka

Third Advisor

Kelly Parsley

Abstract

For the last five decades, child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy has been a moral, pastoral, and institutional stain on the Church in the United States. From 1950 to present, over 15,000 formal reports of abuse have been made, implicating over 6,000 priests.1 Moreover, the subsequent financial costs to Dioceses have been substantial, with payouts totaling more than $3 billion dollars and at least 20 dioceses declaring bankruptcy.2 Yet, the foremost consequences of such abuse culminate in a range of sequelae for abuse survivors, whose faith, trust, identity, and self-regard have been gravely wounded. Though the child sexual abuse crisis is still ongoing given the long-term effects of childhood trauma and the several legal breeches made by the institutional Church, a vast majority of accusations consist of historical cases of abuse that largely occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s. My thesis seeks to explore the patterns within clerical culture during the child sexual abuse crisis in the US. Of particular interest to my research is the extent to which cases of abuse constituted ephebophilic abuse and to examine if ephebophilia represents a type of homosexuality.

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