Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Douglas V. Davidson

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Crawford

Third Advisor

Dr. Herbert Smith

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Henry


The purpose of this study was to examine Child Sexual Abuse case files, to determine which "maternal role": (a) protector, (b) co-victim, (c) co-perpetrator/conspirator, or (d) perpetrator was the most common in court cases studied in this research. The researcher also sought to find: (1) The most dominant maternal role in reference to percentage; (2) The effect, if any, of certain "role types"; (3) And the consequences and/or effects of selected variables (e.g. age, race, and gender) had in family court decisions and adjudications.

The target population consisted of forty-one cases of Child Sexual Abuse cases, adjudicated by the Family & Children Courts of Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo, Michigan. The case files examined were those for whom "Guilty & No Contest Plea" adjudications for 1999, 2000, and 2001 were researched. "Content Analysis of Secondary Data" is the research method most compatible with the raw data contained in this essentially exploratory study. This research procedure required reviewing data from the forty-one case files. Information gathered from those files pertained to child victims of sexual abuse, the relationship and support of the mother, and the outcome of the case. These cases provide the data to determine the "maternal roles" consisting of (a) Protector; (b) Co-victim; (c) Co-Perpetrator/Co-Conspirator; (d) Perpetrator. The major data-gathering instrument utilized was the "Data Code Sheet". The "maternal roles" and additional information gathered from the files focused on twenty-seven descriptive variables pertaining to the preliminary and post events involved in Child Sexual Abuse court cases.

The major findings of this analysis were: (1) The most dominant "maternal role" in forty-one (41) child sexual abuse cases were Co-perpetrator/Co-conspirator (75.5%/29). (2) Black females (85.7%/6) exceeded White females (66.7%/4) in the Co-perpetrator/Co-conspirator "maternal role" in child sexual abuse, and also in No Contest Plea adjudications (85.7% Black females; 6/13). (3) The maternal role of "Protector" was the lowest percentage in this study (male 8.3%/2 vs. female 0%). (4) White Males (91.7%/22) dominated the perpetrator's role in Child Sexual Abuse, and also Guilty Adjudications. (See tables 35, 38, 42, 43, 44, and 45).

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access