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Summer 2016 Update

The CARC has spent that past four months finalizing manuscripts and starting new research projects. It is our intent to provide more frequent updates and posts to this site in the future. Given the slew of news on clergy abuse throughout the country lately, it is incumbent on us to use our platform more often.

That said, we have several updates:

  1. Last week, the Journal of Sexual Aggression accepted our manuscript, “Neutralisation and Sexual Abuse: A Study of Monks from One Benedictine Abbey,” for publication. The manuscript, co-authored by Jason Spraitz, Kendra Bowen, and Shavonne Arthurs, details the neutralization techniques used by monks and others affiliated with St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and discusses the concealment of allegations from civil authorities and the general public. Once published, we’ll link to the abstract and provide a copy on our ResearchGate pages, if allowable.

    A couple notes about the process that resulted in the publication of this manuscript:

    First, the editorial staff at the Journal of Sexual Aggression was a great group to work with during the review process, which included two “revise and resubmit” decisions. Despite this, the review process took less than three months and we received comments from two reviewers each time; when the reviewers’ comments conflicted with each other, the outstanding managing editor provided sound guidance and advice. Compared to some other review experiences, working with JSA was a breath of fresh air.

    Second, Kendra and I want to publicly thank Shavonne for her work on this project. Currently, Shavonne is a doctoral candidate and instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A faculty member recommended her to us and she did a splendid job as our research assistant and co-author.

  2. In equally exciting news, we have completed a research project that we first reported on last September. Jason and Louisa examined the files of 16 priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. Data suggested the presence of widespread sexual grooming that was similar to grooming behaviors used by non-clergy offenders. But, there was another grooming tactic used that was unique to clergy offenders. Louisa created a poster and presented it at the annual Celebration of Research and Creative Activity extravaganza at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Then, with the help of Kendra, the three of us co-authored a manuscript about this project that is currently under publication consideration; because of this, we are purposefully providing limited information about the manuscript.
  3. On March 6, 2016, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a Letter to the Editor that Jason wrote. The letter was in response to the investigation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Altoona-Johnstown and expressed the need for more transparency and accountability when allegations of sexual abuse are made.
  4. In February, we reported that we applied for an SREU grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. The reviewers were favorable towards our proposal and ORSP awarded $6,300 to Jason and two students. They are examining sexual grooming tactics and techniques of neutralization used by 18 credibly accused monks from St. John’s Abbey. The ongoing research is an offshoot of the research that was just accepted for publication in JSA in which files for 5 monks were analyzed. The two student research assistants have started coding the files.
  5. In an effort to explore more ways to disseminate this research publicly, Jason will participate in a summer writing residency focused on podcasting. The residency is through the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild.
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