Does Clinton's Behavior Match Sexual Pathology?

By Hieronimus, Zoh M. | Insight on the News, February 23, 1998 | Go to article overview

Does Clinton's Behavior Match Sexual Pathology?


Hieronimus, Zoh M., Insight on the News


Is Bill Clinton a sexual predator? As peculiar as this question might seem at first, after examining the criteria law-enforcement experts use to profile sexual predators and their motivations, the suggestion becomes germane to current issues, including those involving national security.

When law-enforcement investigators attempt to solve cases involving serial rapes or other sexual-predatory crimes -- which can include activities such as fondling, groping, sodomy and oral sex -- they often use profiling, a forensic tool to deduce specific offender traits. The FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, or NCVAC, has determined the characteristics five types of rapists, all of which are discussed in a Crime Classification Manual, edited by John E. Douglas, Ann Burgess, Allen Burgess and Robert Ressler, as well as The Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation, edited by Robert R. Hazelwood. The types are: power reassurance, power assertive, anger retaliatory, anger excitation and opportunistic.

Brent E. Turvey, a forensic scientist and criminal profiler who teaches at the University of New Haven in Sacramento, Calif., has published a scholarly report (June 1996) based partly upon the Crime Classification Manual (see chart) entitled "Behavior Evidence: Understanding Motives and Developing Suspects in Unsolved Serial Rapes Through Behavioral Profiling Techniques."

The chart on the opposing page profiles one type of serial rapist or predator, one who exploits others for power reassurance. The profile, as a tool for understanding a sexual offender's motivation can be used to give insight into the fantasies of serial predators who kiss, fondle, sodomize or demand oral sex from their victims without raping them.

The taped assertions of Monica Lewinksy simply add the latest chapter in a growing body of testimony from Arkansas state troopers, former members of security details, self-identified ex-lovers of Bill Clinton (Gennifer Flowers, Sally Perdue, Connie Hamsky), as well as self-identified victims (Paula Corbin Jones, Kathleen Willey) among others. All have detailed behavior ascribed to the president's sexual habits. If the allegations are true, his actions have remarkable correspondence to the FBI crime profile of a power-reassurance predator, according to Turvey.

The core fantasy motivating this rapist is that the victim will enjoy and eroticize the rape (or sexual encounter), and subsequently fall in love with the rapist. He may recontact the victim for another meeting since, from his point of view, the sexual encounter was more of a date than a rape. All of this stems from the rapist's own fears of personal inadequacy, hence the term commonly applied to this rapist (sexual predator) is "inadequate personality." Turvey told Insight: "If the allegations are true, then his behavior is also consistent with a power-assertive type. By that I mean he may use his power to coerce his victims. He may be very control-oriented. That would be to cover up feelings of inadequacy."

The rape or sexual exploitation -- whether intercourse, oral sex or simple fondling -- relieves the offender's self-doubts. The more insecure he is, the more likely to need repeated encounters with numerous victims.

Assuming the allegations about Clinton's numerous sexual escapades dating back to his Little Rock days are true, what does this tell us about the role Hillary Rodham Clinton has been playing? Turvey said, "Classically, an intelligent and ambitious wife, by her knowledge and efforts to disguise the behavior from the public, exhibits her own desire for power. Anything that occurs that would be damaging to him would also be damaging to her, so she would ravenously defend him. It's textbook stuff, the classic case."

"If you can establish he is guilty," said Turvey of these sexual crimes, "of engaging in coercive behavior he feels he's entitled to, he'll use language that obfuscates the issue and rationalizes his behavior to himself. …

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