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An exploration of the existence of clergy child sexual abuse dark networks within the Victorian Catholic Church

Author: Sally Muytjens

Publication: Queensland University of Technology

Date: 2019

Abstract Literature, inquiries and media reports show that the occurrence of Catholic clergy child sexual abuse is a global phenomenon and an established fact (Webber and Babwin 2014; Doyle 2006; Cahill and Wilkinson 2017, 95). Catholic clergy child sexual abuse networks have been acknowledged informally through media reports on Catholic clergy as “paedophile networks” (Smith 2013; Carney 2012; Gavrielides 2013), though stringently denied by the Catholic Church. It has been acknowledged in the literature that child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy involves a network of supervisors who have transferred clergy perpetrators of child sexual abuse from parish to parish, often ending up in the same parish (Smith 2013; Carney 2012; Gavrielides 2013). There is some evidence that this has resulted in clusters of clergy perpetrators of child sexual abuse in parishes (Neil 2015; Deery and Morris-Marr 2015). This thesis will analyse data from the RCICA (2014-2017), VPI (2012-2013) and Broken Rites Australia website to explore the existence of an illicit or dark network of clergy perpetrators of child sexual abuse in the Victorian Catholic Church. Social network analysis is used to create a network map and identify ties between clergy perpetrators of child sexual abuse and examine how these ties were used to facilitate child sexual abuse and effectively operate as a dark network (Raab and Milward 2003, 419; Chen 2012, 102).

For more information visit: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/132822/2/Sally_Muytjens_Thesis.pdf

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