Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Justice Administration

Committee Chair

Tewksbury, Richard

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Andreescu, Viviana

Committee Member

Hayden, Theresa

Committee Member

Schroder, Ryan


Sex crimes--Religious aspects--Christianity; Church and social problems; Sex crimes--Social aspects


The focus of this study is two-fold. First, using data obtained via content analyses of published news articles, this study examines sexual offenses that have occurred at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian churches in the US. Drawing upon 326 identified cases spanning from 1999 until 2014, this study aims to explore common offense, offender, and victim characteristics of sex offenses that occur at these locations. Moreover, this study aims to create a typology of offenders and victims at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian churches. Second, using the data from the content analyses and social disorganization measures from Census tracts of the individual church where an offense(s) occurred, this study examines which social disorganization characteristics contribute to a greater/lesser likelihood of certain offense characteristics (i.e., alleged offender was a Pastor or other role, alleged offender was Youth Minister or other role, offenses occurred on church grounds or off, victim was male or female, and if there was only one reported victim or multiple in a case) being present. This study provides valuable information to scholars and practitioners on a rarely examined topic.