Clerical Conduct Related to the Perpetuation of Child Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses: A Developing Framework
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Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis reiterated that clericalism played a major role in the global Catholic sexual abuse crisis. Research has not been able to back this claim due to lack of data on cultural and structural elements that have contributed to the various crises. The present study aims to fill this gap in research by examining narratives regarding clerical sexual abuse and seeks to explore themes contributing to a framework of abuse. Qualitative data analysis was conducted by examining the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report of Pennsylvania, focusing on correspondence between various actors regarding 12 priests in Pennsylvania and their involvement in child sexual abuse. Using grounded theory with elements of narrative analysis, the study seeks to explore themes of belief, behavior and emotion of clergy between 1930-2016. The results provide insight into the nature of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the perpetuation of child sexual abuse.