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Descriptive Study of Rapists and Child Molesters: Developmental, Clinical, and Criminal Characteristics

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1987
18 pages
Descriptive data culled from clinical files were gathered on a sample of 184 men incarcerated in a correctional/mental health facility designed for the treatment of dangerous sexual offenders.
The purpose of the study was to discriminate characteristics between rapists and child molesters, specifically focusing on developmental and adult behaviors and symptoms. The variables and scales considered fell into five general categories, referred to as family, child/juvenile, adult/incompetence, criminal, and clinical symptoms. Three general conclusions were reached. First, victim age emerged as an important discriminator, producing rapist/child molester groups of offenders who differed on several dimensions of their adult adaptation. These groups showed sufficient overlap, however, even on the most discriminating variables, to suggest that there are some sex offender types for whom victim age is inconsequential. Finally, although the victim age bifurcation accounted for considerable variance on certain dimensions, it was inadequate as a solitary discriminator, as demonstrated by large differences in developmental histories, adult adaptations, and criminal histories among offenders within the rapist and child molester subgroups. 6 tables, 2 notes, and 33 references

Date Published: January 1, 1987