Saturday, June 14, 2008


I was recently interviewed by Diana Garland, a researcher at Baylor University in Texas. She is conducting a research study, funded by the Ford Foundation, to gather information on clergy sexual abuse. The purpose of this study is to understand how this happens, find ways to prevent this, and to research what changes must be made in the law to effectively deal with offenders. I encourage any victim of clergy sexual abuse, especially those who have been abused within the last 2 years, to please send an email to Diana Garland. Your participation in this study is completely confidential - no one will know that you have discussed your case.

This is the contact email for the clergy sexual abuse research study:


Please step forward and let your voice be heard! This is totally confidential and such an important study - the first of it's kind. Please help Baylor University get a large sampling of victim/survivor stories so their study is effective. Studies like this are necessary so this tragic problem is better understood and it is a way to bring about changes in the law. Clergy sexual abuse should be a felony, punished with prison sentences and registration as a sex offender upon parole. This is the one concrete way to deter would-be abusers. Ask yourself this question - would your abuser have done this if he knew it was a felony that carried prison time and regitration as a sex offender upon parole? My "rabbi" abuser is a profound coward. If he had been facing a felony charge he would never have abused me. Help change the law. The first step is this research study. Let your voice be heard!

I've been a part time college student for the past few years, working on my Paralegal degree. I recently graduated with honors and I am now a Paralegal. I recently wrote a research paper titled, "Clergy Sexual Abuse: The Silent Epidemic". I am using this paper and other resources to lobby the California Legislature to amend the existing law that makes it a felony for mental health practitioners to have sex or engage in sexualized behavior with their patients, to include clergy who perform pastoral counseling as unlicensed mental health practitioners. This would mandate clergy pastoral counselors to follow the same professional ethics and code of behavior as licensed mental health practitioners. If this amendment becomes law, any clergy who provide pastoral counseling and then seduce their counselees would be guilty of a felony - the same as a mental health practitioner who seduces a patient. I will keep you updated as to the outcome of my quest to make clergy sexual abuse against the law in California. It's about time - isn't it?