skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 199840 Find in a Library
Title: Authority as Coercion: When Authority Figures Abuse Their Positions to Perpetrate Child Sexual Abuse
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:2002  Pages:27-51
Author(s): Karen Weiss
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 25
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper explores the issues and laws surrounding child sexual abuse by a person in a position of authority over the child.
Abstract: Not all States have statutes that specifically address child sexual abuse by a person in a position of authority. In fact, only 35 of the 50 States have such statutes. This impacts the prosecution of sexual abusers because in many of these cases, the perpetrator uses no overt form of force, but rather relies on their position of authority to coerce their victim to engage in sexual acts. In order to probe issues surrounding such abuse by persons of authority, the author breaks the article into five sections. In the first section, the author examines the stereotypes that surround sexual assault and sexual abuse. Also discussed in this section is how the sexual abuse of children by a person in a position of authority is different than other types of abuse, sexual or otherwise. The second section contains a comprehensive overview of the current state of position of authority statutes in all 50 States. In particular, the constitutionality of position of authority statutes is examined, as is the choice of wording in each statute. In the third section, the author explores specific cases in which position of authority statutes have been used. Under examination is the way in which State courts have interpreted the language in these statutes. The fourth section examines the rules of admissibility of evidence in position of authority cases; the author notes the wide latitude of admissibility that is often afforded in these cases. Finally, in the fifth section, the author offers a review of the article as well as specific recommendations for future legislation regarding position of authority crimes. These recommendations include allowing into court evidence of other bad acts committed by the perpetrator as the author believes a string of inappropriate behavior will help judges and juries assess cases of child sexual abuse by people who are in positions of authority. Notes, appendix
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Attitudes toward authority; Laws and Statutes; Legislation; Sex offenders; Sexually abused adolescents
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.