Oct 13, 2019

The grooming of children for sexual abuse in religious settings: Unique characteristics and select case studies

Susan Raine(a) and Stephen A. Kent
Aggression and Violent Behavior
Volume 48, September–October 2019, Pages 180-189


"This article examines the sexual grooming of children and their caregivers in a wide variety of religious settings. We argue that unique aspects of religion facilitate institutional and interpersonal grooming in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings. Drawing from Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, and Seventh-day Adventism) and various sects (the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints, a Hindu ashram, and the Devadasis), we show how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity. A number of uniquely religious characteristics facilitate this cultivation, which includes: theodicies of legitimation; power, patriarchy, obedience, protection, and reverence towards authority figures; victims' fears about spiritual punishments; and scriptural uses to justify adult-child sex."

Full Article is available until December 1, 2019.

Susan Raine
Department of Sociology, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5J4S2
Corresponding author.

Stephen A. Kent
Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G2H4
The authors express gratitude to the University of Alberta Library for access to the Stephen A. Kent Collection on Alternative Religions.

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