Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice, PhD

Committee Chair

Tewksbury, Richard

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Andreescu, Viviana

Committee Member

Andreescu, Viviana

Committee Member

Swartz, Kristin

Committee Member

Schroeder, Ryan

Author's Keywords

The Boy Scouts of America; Same-sex child molestation; Fishing Techniques; Angling, Spearfishing, and Handpicking; Qualitative Analysis of Behavioral Sequences; Collective Guardianship


Previous studies of child molestation have largely used a sample of either incarcerated or convicted sex offenders. Previous studies have also failed to provide substantial analyses regarding how physical contacts between child victims and adult perpetrators were initiated and terminated at the crime scene; few studies have focused on “what exactly happened” while physical touching was taking place through an analysis of behavioral sequences of both child victims and adult offenders. Although previous literature on interpersonal child abuse used child victims of sexual abuse as their data source, those studies focused on effective victim treatment plans to deal with victims’ post-trauma as a result of sexual abuse. Also, detailed instructions on when and how to resist unwanted sexual advances have not been delivered to children, especially who participate in youth-oriented institutions as extra curricular activities. Few have examined the dynamics of child molestation in terms of physical and verbal interactions between the two parties that were related by child victims. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to fill this void by analyzing previously kept confidential files within the Boy Scouts of America (1960 through 1990). This dissertation examined victim narratives to identify how scoutmaster perpetrators carried out their sexual advances against young boys under their supervision, and how boy victims responded to unwanted sexual advances made by persons of authority within the BSA. Detailed descriptions of physical contact stage in the course of same-sex child molestation were experienced, recalled, and related by boy victims themselves. The analytical framework of the Routine Activity Theories was implemented to the qualitative analysis of victim narratives. In same-sex child molestation, scoutmasters and boy members were found to play three roles—motivated offender, suitable target, and capable guardians, to initiate and terminate physical contacts. Victim narratives exhibited behavioral sequences between boy victims and scoutmaster perpetrators while physical touching was ongoing. Scoutmaster perpetrators’ initiation patterns were captured and analyzed by using a fishing metaphor—angling, spearfishing, and handpicking methods. Significant resisting actions of boy victims at each initiation case were also examined and analyzed for practical and effective preventions of child molestation within youth-centric institutions.