Added: February 22, 2014 – Last updated: May 6, 2017


Author: Eleanor Jones

Title: “In God We Trust”

Subtitle: A Legal History of the Emergence, Development and Influence of the Sexual Abuse Scandal within America’s Catholic Clergy

Thesis: B.A. Thesis, University of Sydney

Advisors: Stephen Robertson and Kirsten McKenzie

Year: 2011

Pages: 127pp.

OCLC Number: 777332374 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | American History: U.S. History | Prosecution: Laws / 20th-Century Legislation, 21st-Century Legislation; Types: Clergy Sexual Abuse


Link: Sydney eScholarship Repository: Digital Repository of the University of Sydney (Free Access)


Abstract: »The position of the Catholic Church within American civic culture has been irreparably altered by the emergence of widespread allegations of sexual abuse by Church officials between 1960 and 2005. This thesis examines the role of the law in the development of this scandal: how the legal position of the Church contributed to its creation, how civil litigation produced its exposure and how the secular legal system answered its demand for legal reform. In doing so, it will argue that, contrary to traditional legal assumptions, private lawsuits were the defining influence on the public crisis that confronted the Church. The allegations of abuse and their expression through this litigation debunked the regulatory autonomy of the Church and thereby caused a powerful rupture in the historical relationship of Church and State.« (Source: Thesis)


  Acknowledgements (p. 1)
  Abstract (p. 2)
  A Note on Sources (p. 3)
  Introduction (p. 5)
  Part I – Before the Scandal (p. 17)
  Chapter One – The Respected Church (p. 18)
    The Role of Church Authority in the Secular Legal System (p. 21)
    The Exercise of Legal Authority by the Church (p. 28)
  Chapter Two: The Ill Priest (p. 38)
    The Model of Treatment (p. 39)
    The Theology of Treatment (p. 46)
    The Motivation of Treatment (p. 51)
  Part II – The Scandal (p. 57)
  Chapter Three: The Empowered Victim (p. 58)
    The Development of Civil Remedies for Sexual Crimes (p. 61)
    The Watershed: Gastal v Hannan (1984) (p. 65)
    Civil Litigation as a Legal Choice (p. 69)
    Private Lawsuits with Public Significance? (p. 73)
  Chapter Four: The Vindictive State (p. 83)
    Statute of Limitations (p. 90)
    Grand Jury Investigations (p. 94)
  Conclusion (p. 102)
  Bibliography (p. 105)
    Primary Sources (p. 105)
      Contemporary Published Sources (p. 105)
      Contemporary Unpublished Sources (p. 107)
      Legislation (p. 108)
      Sources of Canon Law (p. 108)
      Cases & Attendant Proceedings (p. 109)
      Grand Jury Reports (p. 112)
      Newspaper Articles (p. 113)
    Secondary Sources (p. 116)
      Published Secondary Sources (p. 116)
      Unpublished Secondary Sources (p. 127)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | History of the United States (1945–64), History of the United States (1964–80), History of the United States (1980–91), History of the United States (1991–2008) | Catholic Church sexual abuse cases: Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States | Sex and the law: Child sexual abuse