Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2020

Department 1

Public Policy


The discovery of sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic Church priests resulted in extensive state policy suggestions, such as statute of limitations reform. To best understand the processes and factors that influenced the creation of such policies, Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, Multiple Streams Theory, and Diffusion Theory are applied in this paper. Punctuated Equilibrium Theory demonstrates how several large-scale public exposés of abuse generated enough attention to result in policy change. Multiple Streams Theory shows how awareness of sexual abuse within the Catholic church, continuous debate over proposed policies, and the opportunity for change can result in the passage of reform. Lastly, Diffusion Theory explains the patterns with which awareness of abuse spread amongst state governments and resulted in policy change. Overall, these theories provide pertinent information on policy creation, especially regarding an issue as controversial as statute of limitations reform.


Written for PP 305: Advanced Public Policy Analysis.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License