Understanding Sexual Perpetration Against Children

This study explores in an adolescent sample hypotheses about child sexual abuse
perpetration drawn from contemporary theories that implicate insecure attachment
and adolescent social development. Specifically, three 13- to 18-year-old adolescent
male samples (sex offenders with child victims, sex offenders with peer/adult victims,
and nonsex delinquent youth) were compared in a cross-sectional design. Participants
completed a computer-administered self-report questionnaire and a semistructured
attachment style interview. Attachment style was coded by two independent raters
blind to study hypotheses and group membership. The results indicated an indirect
effect for attachment style. Attachment anxiety affected involvement with peers
and interpersonal adequacy. Feelings of interpersonal inadequacy, combined with
oversexualization and positive attitudes toward others distinguished sex offenders with
child victims from nonsex delinquents and from sex offenders with peer/adult victims.
These data provide a preliminary model of sexual abuse perpetration consistent with
contemporary theories. Attachment anxiety with a lack of misanthropic attitudes
toward others appears to lead to isolation from peers and feelings of interpersonal
inadequacy.

UnderstandingPerps

No Rest for the Wicked

The civil commitment of ―sexually dangerous persons‖ is not a new concept. States first began doing so in the mid-20th century, based then on ―sexual psychopathy.‖ Since that time, concepts of ―sexually dangerous predators‖ have evolved and the laws have evolved with them. It was not until 2006, however, that Congress created federal laws to mirror those of the States. The Adam Walsh Act, named after the son of television host John Walsh, was created to ―protect children‖ and ―make communities safer.‖ The Supreme Court in United States v. Comstock held the Act constitutional under the Necessary and Proper Clause. While Congress had good intentions behind the Act, Comstock‘s ruling created a veritable ―blank check‖ for Congress and paved the way for exorbitant costs to the States, in a time when fiscal pressures make simply implementing the law nearly impossible. This Note explores the rationale behind Comstock and the Adam Walsh Act, highlights the damaging implications behind the decision and the good intentions of Congress, and makes recommendations for the future of both the case and the Act itself.

No Rest for Wicked