On April 8, 2015, Journal of Interpersonal Violence published via OnlineFirst a manuscript written by Kendra and I.
The article is titled: “Techniques of Neutralization and Persistent Sexual Abuse by Clergy: A Content Analysis of Priest Personnel Files from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.” The abstract of the manuscript reads as follows:
The sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church has received considerable attention by the media in recent years and growing attention from empirical researchers. Despite this growth, there is a lack of theoretical research that uses neutralization techniques to examine clergy offending. Using Sykes’ and Matza’s theory, this study examines the techniques of neutralization used by accused priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Priests’ personnel files, which were made publicly available by the Archbishop of Milwaukee in July 2013, were analyzed retrospectively through a qualitative content analysis of all direct statements and correspondences from the accused. The findings indicate that many priests denied responsibility or injury in an effort to justify their sexually abusive behaviors, but that no discernible patterns of technique use emerged. The need for continued research using recently released personnel files from other dioceses also is discussed.
Special thanks to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire for providing funding through the Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant program and to Preston for his research assistance.