Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 7 1

Proposing a Behavioral Taxonomy of Priest Sexual Grooming


Sexual grooming is generally thought of as the way that would-be abusers build trust and camaraderie with their victims in order to lower the victims’ inhibitions and eventually take advantage of the situation. Minimal levels of empiricism have focused on the sexual grooming patterns of abusive Catholic priests in the United States. In order to help close this gap, we conducted a retrospective content analysis of publicly available documents of credibly accused priests from one diocese in Illinois. Findings suggest that accused priests from this diocese used any of eight grooming techniques in order to abuse their victims; one of these tactics is specific to priest offenders. Using that knowledge, we propose and discuss a behavioral taxonomy of priest sexual grooming as well as the direction that future research should take in assessing this potential taxonomy.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Pages:30 to 43
Section: Articles
2 citation(s) in Scopus
1 citation(s) in Web of Science


Total Abstract Views: 1010  Total PDF Downloads: 2133

Author Biography

Texas Christian University
United States United States

Kendra N. Bowen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Texas Christian University. Her research interests include clergy sexual abuse, sex offender registration and notification laws, offender reentry, and decision-making in violent situations.