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Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice

Jennifer M. Balboni
Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice
ISBN: 978-1-935049-37-1
2011/180 pages/LC: 2011000743
A FirstForumPress Book
"Does an excellent job at introducing the reader to the issues surrounding clergy sexual abuse litigation and provides a glimpse of the journey the survivors must take in order to be heard.... Balboni's theories, analyses and conclusions [are] ... brilliantly conveyed by using empirical data."—Sindee Kerker, Social Science Journal

"Worth reading by those with even a cursory interest in child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.... Balboni demonstrates the benefits of empirical research conducted with survivors not only in understanding the key issues of this persistently topical subject, but also in promoting the voices of survivors and their advocates."—Jodi Death, British Journal of Criminology

"Clear and insightful.... This is a story that needed to be told, and Balboni has told it well."—Dan Okada, Sacramento State University


Why did victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse wait so long to come forward, and what did their recourse to the courts finally achieve?

Jennifer Balboni explores the experiences of clergy sex abuse survivors who sought justice through the court system, highlighting the promise and shortfalls of civil litigation in providing justice. Balboni draws on cases across the country such as the landmark 2002 lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Church to show how legal procedures that focused on financial settlements overlooked the survivors' overarching desire to see the Church publicly acknowledge its wrongdoing. Her analysis underscores the gap between public and legal perceptions of justice and gives fresh insight into the complex ways that civil litigation can transform the lives of crime victims.


Jennifer M. Balboni is assistant professor of criminal justice at Curry College.


  • Introduction.
  • Clergy Sexual Abuse: Historical and Theoretical Context.
  • Introducing the Survivors.
  • The Road to Litigation.
  • Establishing Truth.
  • Anger, Disillusionment, and Hope.
  • Attorney-Client Relationship.
  • The End Game: The Good, the Bad, the Really Ugly.
  • Conclusions.