Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?

Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?

Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?

Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?


This examination of our nation's sex crime laws and the social attitudes behind them argues that many citizens are being pursued as sex offenders for nonviolent and oftentimes consensual sexual behaviors.

• Case studies showing the effects of over-criminalizing nonviolent sexual behaviors

• Two contributors- one a professor of criminology, the other a sexologist focusing on sexual behavior

• A chronology of important dates in the history of prosecuting sex crimes in the United States

• A bibliography of sources for further reading on all aspects of sexual behavior, and the legal and social response to sex offenders


Sex offenders are one of the most despised groups of people in American society—along with terrorists and perpetrators of genocide. But what do we really know about sex offenders? Is the information we possess based on fact or fiction? Unlike media accounts, we cannot identify sex offenders by the way they look, how they dress, or their IQ. If we cannot easily pick sex offenders out of a crowd, how do we know who they are, how dangerous they may be, and how to protect ourselves from these “predators”?

This book is written from two varied perspectives: that of a sexologist and that of a criminologist. The sexologist (and parent) has worked with persons who have offended sexually for more than 10 years and has found these individuals to be average people: sales representatives, engineers, tradespeople, truck drivers, office workers, and professionals. Their backgrounds and intelligence are as diverse as their professions. As a clinician, she strives to be positive in her approach; knowing that sex offenders are people who make mistakes like everyone else, but their mistakes are sexual ones that have ramifications for other individuals. Consequently, their therapy involves redirecting socially inappropriate sexual behavior to a positive and consensual outlet without the use of shame or threats of prison and loss of family. On the other hand, as a parent, if someone were to hurt her child, she would seek vengeance; she would want to see them suffer as they made her child suffer. Needless to say, this is a difficult balancing act.

The other author of this book is a professor and studies sex offenders from an academic and theoretical perspective. She does not work with persons who have offended sexually in a clinical sense but examines the backgrounds of those who have been charged and convicted in the larger social context of the criminal justice system. Hers is a different perspective simply because a face has not been . . .

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