Source: (2012) Journal of Church and State. 55(4):617–639.

This essay focuses on clergy child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. This is not to suggest that abuse by members of other religions and denominations has not also been a reality.2 The sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church surfaced first, and hence it has been attracting researchers, policy makers, politicians, and the public's attention since 1985. The Louisiana case of Gilbert Gauthe—a parish priest who repeatedly molested young boys—was one of the first that came to light. Beginning in the 1960s, Gauthe was transferred from parish to parish until he was finally convicted and removed from priesthood. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison in 1987. After ten years, he was released, only to be imprisoned again. A financial settlement of more than $18 million was finally reached. (excerpt)