New Project to Document Sexual Abuse in Religious Communities

Eckerd College’s Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Langenberg is part of an interdisciplinary group of scholars who will collaborate on a study of religion and sexual abuse. The project, based at the University of California, Riverside, will examine sexual abuse across multiple religious traditions and communities, producing research and publications that analyze religion and sexual abuse beyond their traditional, scholarly subfields.


With the help of a $550,000 grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, Eckerd College Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Langenberg, Ph.D., and a cohort of scholars will spend the next five years delving into the issues surrounding the alarming phenomenon of sexual abuse in religious communities.

The Religion and Sexual Abuse Project is one of 31 new grantees selected by the Luce Foundation, which awarded just over $14 million in support of five program areas designed to enrich “public discourse by supporting innovative scholarship, leadership development and collaboration across geographic, disciplinary and ideological boundaries,” according to the Foundation.

“This award recognizes the important work that Dr. Langenberg and her colleagues are doing,” said Eckerd’s Director of Grant Development Anna Ruth. “This project would be difficult to complete without this dedicated funding.”

The official proposal offered to take multiple avenues to engage the public “through conferences, public events, publications and a dedicated website, to facilitate new perspectives that will enrich public understandings of these issues beyond sensationalized media reports. This work will potentially benefit the religious communities in which such abuse has occurred.”

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