Uncollaring the criminal: Understanding criminal careers of criminal clerics

Alex R. Piquero, Nicole Leeper Piquero, Karen J. Terry, Tasha Youstin, Matt Nobles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Much of the extant work on criminal careers has been conducted on longitudinal samples of children and adolescents in the general population or on samples of officially processed offenders. The researchers herein examined key criminal career dimensions among a large sample of clerics who had allegations of sexual abuse levied against them between the years 1950 and 2002. Results indicate that although some of the clerics' criminal career parameters evince similar patterns to those from other offender samples, there are important differences with respect to onset, career duration, and recidivism. In addition, previously abused clerics as well as clerics who exhibited an early onset of abuse were more likely to accumulate police investigations, whereas married clerics were more likely than nonmarried clerics to evince a higher number of police investigations. Implications and future research directions are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-599
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Church scandal
  • Clerics
  • Criminal careers
  • Recidivism

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