Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Criminal Justice

Advisor

Karen Terry

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice

Keywords

Boy Scouts of America; child sexual abuse; mandatory reporting; organizational response

Abstract

Child sexual abuse has always been a highly publicized and controversial topic due to the vulnerability of children. However, there have been several recent child sexual abuse (CSA) scandals garnering even more attention and concern. With the exposure of the Catholic Church abuse scandal in 2002, public attention became focused on the Archdiocese's poor and prolonged response. However, this crisis was not the sole case of widespread sexual violence and institutional failure. In October of 2012, Boy Scouts of America files from 1959 to 1991 containing reports of child sexual abuse were released. These reports feature detailed information about the abuse incident, the offender, and the Boy Scouts' response to the allegations of abuse. While there appears to be some research on organizational child sexual abuse, these studies focus primarily on prevention of abuse, and not on organizational responses to abuse. This dissertation addressed the factors of the abuse and the organization that influenced the Boy Scouts of America's response. Data for this study comes from roughly 2379 publically released files of sexual abuse reports from the Boy Scouts of America. These reports, dating from 1959 until 1991, feature detailed information about the abuse incident, the offender, and the Boy Scouts' response to the allegations of abuse. Multivariate analysis, survival analysis and intervention analysis was conducted on the 2379 cases as well as qualitative content analysis. In addition, in-depth case studies were conducted of a few select cases to gain a deeper understanding of how the BSA responded to abuse.

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