1st Edition

Sexual Abuse Within the Church
Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 12, 2021
ISBN 9780367513061
November 12, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
126 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This book takes a holistic approach by providing insight into the behavior and nature of sex offenders within the church. The text covers various types of sex offenders as well as their criminal propensities and methods of acquiring victims. Warning signs associated with sex crimes within the church are explained as well as security measures and prevention strategies that church leaders and criminal justice professionals can utilize to minimize risk to congregants. Discussion questions and case study scenarios are provided to allow the reader to examine relevant issues and explore a range of potential solutions and interventions. 

This comprehensive book is intended for criminal justice academicians who teach courses on sex crimes and sex offenders, criminal justice agents (police and investigators), seminary professors and students, and clergy members. It can also assist security teams, church board members, leaders, and teachers in developing intervention and prevention strategies. 

Table of Contents

  1. A Christian Perspective: Historical and Modern Contexts
  2. Sex Crimes and Sex Offenders in the United States
  3. In the Name of the Father: Sex Crimes in the Church
  4. Case Study: "A Deacon Disaster"

  5. Predators Among Us: Church Leaders and Parishioners
  6. Case Study: "A Changed Life?"

  7. The Victim’s Lament: Warning Signs and Consequences
  8. Case Study: "Stolen Youth"

  9. An Essential Priority: Maintaining Church Security
  10. Protect this House: Leadership Prevention Strategies
  11. Case Study: "Repeat Offender?"

  12. What Will the Neighbors Think: The Church’s Response to Sex Crimes
  13. Case Study: "Prominent Deviance"

  14. All God’s Children: A Known Sex Offender in the Church
  15. Case Study: "A Second Chance?"

  16. The Scales of Justice: legal issues for the Church
  17. CHURCHTOO: A Way Forward

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Chris Rush Burkey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University where her primary research focus is sex crimes and sexual offenders. She has worked with several state and local agencies regarding various criminal justice matters such as program evaluation, forensic training, and investigative policies and regulations. She is the author of Forensic Investigation of Sex Crimes and Sexual Offenders.

Michael Braswell taught "Ethics and Social Justice" for the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University. He is a former prison psychologist and marriage and family therapist.

John T. Whitehead is Professor Emeritus and former Chair in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University. He is co-author of Juvenile Justice: An Introduction and Ethics in Criminal Justice: In Search of the Truth.


"As a person who has studied sexual abuse and worked tirelessly to end it for the past 36 years, this book speaks to me on many levels. Most importantly, it is not simply an academic enterprise. Rather, it is an important tool in the ongoing struggle to eradicate much pain and suffering. What is to be done about sexual abuse within the church and faith traditions? Reading this book and sharing it with colleagues, friends, and family members are two essential elements of a much-needed multi-pronged effort to curb atrocities like those described by Chris Rush, Michael Braswell, and John Whitehead. Their offering will definitely help make a difference."

Walter DeKeseredy, PhD, Author of Woman Abuse in Rural Places

"This is a powerful and timely book that focuses on a generally hidden problem in religious orders and churches. The victimization of children and young members of the church by predator parishioners and clergy alike is addressed in a preventative approach with case studies and historical accounts. The book can be used as a supplemental reading resource for criminal investigation, forensic nursing, and similar programs in academic and training settings. It is a must-read for those in church administration and leadership roles. The authors are to be commended for bringing a much-needed resource into view."

Larry S. Miller, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology, East Tennessee State University. Co-author, Criminal Investigation: A Method for Reconstructing the Past, 8th Ed

"Rush, Braswell and Whitehead address a timely topic which has traditionally been under-researched, under-reported and difficult to discuss in religious settings. The authors provide a systematic review of sex crimes, characteristics of sexual predators, warning signs and ways victims can become vulnerable, as well as how churches can implement prevention and intervention strategies. 'Sexual Abuse Within the Church' is a must-read for those who are involved in any level of church ministry or leadership."

Darrell Ross, PhD, Author of Civil Liability in Criminal Justice