The Prevalence of Clergy Sexual Advances Toward Adults in Their Congregations


Correspondence should be addressed to Diana Garland, School of Social Work, Baylor University, Waco, TX 79798-7320. E-mail:


We use the 2008 General Social Survey to estimate the prevalence of clergy sexual advances toward adults in their congregations. Overall, 3.1 percent of women who attend religious services at least monthly reported being the object of a sexual advance by a clergyperson or religious leader in their own congregation since turning 18; 2.2 percent of regularly attending women reported a sexual advance from a married leader that did not lead to an openly acknowledged relationship. We examine differences in the prevalence of this experience by education, region, religious tradition, marital status, age, and race.