One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says. The study, by Baylor University researchers, found that the problem is so pervasive that it almost certainly involves a wide range of denominations, religious traditions and leaders. "It certainly is prevalent, and clearly the problem is more than simply a few charismatic leaders preying on vulnerable followers," said Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work, who co-authored the study.
It found that more than two-thirds of the offenders were married to someone else at the time of the advance.
I think incidents of "clergy sexual misconduct" are higher than this study found. According to the study's executive summary, that 3% figure only accounts for "women who had attended a congregation in the past month." Three percent of churchgoing women reported that they had been hit on or had had sexual relationships with religious leaders. The study doesn't seem to account for women might have been hit on or had sexual relationships with religious leaders and then stopped going to church.
Another fun fact: while two-thirds of the offenders were married to someone else when they lunged at the lucky 3%, nearly all of the passes—92%—were "made in secret." So even single pastors and priests—men who, if they're not Catholic, might have been able to date these women—were trying to score a little parishioner pussy on the down low.
And if you're looking for a reason to keep your kids out of church: the authors of the study list six reasons why people are vulnerable to sexual predators in church settings. Number six...
Trust in the sanctuary: Congregations are considered sanctuaries—safe places—where normal attentiveness to self-protection is not considered necessary.