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More Sexual Abuse and Predatory Practices Coming to Light

Two news items hit the papers last week, both revealing sexual abuse numbers. The first comes from the Justice Department. They reported that sexual abuse complaints at the hands of federal prison workers more than doubled (increasing 130%) in the past eight years. Female prison workers had a disproportionately higher percentage of accusations against them. Roughly half of the claims of prison staff sex abuse were made against guards, while nearly 9 percent were made against food service workers in the prisons. A 2007 government study of all the nation's prisons found that more than 60,000 inmates are sexually abused every year. The study also said that more prisoners reported abuse by staff than by other prisoners: 2.9 percent to about 2 percent, respectively. Read the complete report here.

The other item focused on church-goers. Baylor University researchers conducted a study and found that one in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader. The study also found that more than two-thirds of the offenders were married to someone else at the time of the advance. These findings are gaining traction in government too. According to the article:
Clergy sexual misconduct is illegal in Minnesota and Texas. Texas law, for example, defines clergy sexual behavior as sexual assault if the religious leader "causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser.

Perhaps most shocking about the study was that nearly one in 10 respondents--male and female--reported having known about clergy sexual misconduct occurring in a congregation they had attended.

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