Why are there NO Journalist doing investigative reporting about Child Porn to keep in check the Child Abuse Industry. Melissa Hamilton: Federal Child Pornography Prosecutions

Melissa Hamilton: Federal Child Pornography Prosecutions

Why are there NO Journalist doing investigative reporting about Child Porn to keep in check the Child Abuse Industry’s Law Enforcement arm as they create Gothic Melodramas, monster stories of child-molesting playing them out on TV news and in newsprint every day. The following is why !!!!
‘I Was Doing Academic Research’ Not an Adequate Defense for Child Porn Possession

James Kent was a professor of public administration at Marist College in New York. Back in 1999, he contemplated writing a book about the legislation of child pornography, and how to differentiate between what is and is not child porn for the purposes of criminal prosecution.
To do his research, Kent surfed various sites — including “School Backyard” (Editor’s note: Yuck!) — and downloaded lots of images. He sent a note in July 1999 to a potential collaborator on the book, “Sooner or later someone at this college is going to wonder why I keep looking at porno sites. . . Jim.”
In fact, it took a few years for someone at the college to wonder about it. It came to the college’s attention in 2007 during a virus scan. When it did, it led to felony child pornography charges for Kent and a prison sentence…
About a year after his research began, Kent decided to abandon the book project. He wrote another note to his collaborator in June 2000, “I still don’t think there’s anything in this project. . . So here I am (and I suppose you are, too) with a bunch of disks full of photos, at least some of which are probably illegal. Do you want them or should I wipe them or should I send them to somebody else?”
Kent decided eventually to delete the images. His final message to his collaborator in July 2000 was:
Well, this last batch pretty much tears it. While, as somebody’s father, I’m pretty appalled by this stuff, I also don’t want to get arrested for having it. So let’s do this – if this is a legitimate research project, let’s write it up and tell the deans (and preferably also the cops) what we’re doing and why. Otherwise, let’s drop it in the most pronto possible fashion.
I don’t even think I can mail the disk to you, or anyone else, without committing a separate crime. So I’ll probably just go ahead and wipe them. You have the URL’s if you want to pursue it.
See you sooner or later, no doubt. Kent.
Apparently they decided to drop it without alerting the deans or the cops. But seven years later, while running a virus scan, a college IT guy came across a “work” folder on Kent’s computer with images of scantily clad underage girls. The college decided to turn Kent’s hard drive over to the police.
The work folder had been deleted but remained in the computer’s unallocated space — where folders you delete from your recycling bin wind up, according to a court opinion. Further investigation yielded thousands of child porn images stored in Mozilla and Internet Explorer cached files. While surfing the pint-sized XXX sites, Kent had inadvertently been collecting and storing these images thanks to his browser’s desire to load web pages more quickly.
Kent was found guilty of 130 child porn felonies last year, and sentenced to one to three years in prison. (That seems lenient in comparison to Corey Beantree who I wrote about on Tuesday, who was sentenced to 10 years in Alabama after the Geek Squad found a child porn video on his laptop.)
Those messages sent to his collaborator were not used in Kent’s defense. Instead, they were used by the prosecution to prove that Kent knew what he was doing when he downloaded the images.
“There is no safe harbor for researching child porn,” says cyberlaw professor Eric Goldman. “This is why I call child porn ‘toxic’–there is no easy way to legally cure even a single download of child porn.”
Like TheDataDoc, the courts have little sympathy for those with child porn on their computers, though there are some judges like Jack Weinstein of Brooklyn who think that harsh child porn possession penalties are examples of the “unnecessary cruelty of the law.” (See this New York Times piece for more on that.)
An appeal, objecting to the search of Kent’s computer as unconstitutional, was rejected this week; the Supreme Court of the State of New York decided that his computer was college property, so the college had the right to hand it over to police. Kent is currently in prison, and has lost his job at Marist College.
I spoke to one of Kent’s attorneys, Nathan Dershowitz, who expressed frustration over his client being prosecuted for images that had been deleted and that he could not access, and others that he had not consciously downloaded. “I wonder what’s on your computer that you can’t get to?” asked Dershowitz.
Now might be a good time to clear your cookies and browser cache. Just in case.

In the Name of the Children: Stealing Our Freedom One Amendment at a Time

In the Name of the Children: Stealing Our Freedom One Amendment at a Time
Written by: Mike Privacy

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The above words are ones that all Americans should know by heart. They are the body and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, from the Bill of Rights. These are the fundamental protections that we were all given more than 200 years ago by a group of extraordinary men from an extraordinary time, men who were able to rise above their own limitations and the partisan disputes of the day to craft a set of supplementary principles that made the original Constitution even stronger in its protection of our liberties. One of the primary reasons why the founding fathers found it necessary to add these additional guarantees was their fear that demagogic politicians might try to twist and manipulate any gaps or ambiguities in the Constitution to serve their own self-serving nefarious purposes.
Unfortunately, the founding fathers, in all of their wisdom, clearly underestimated the cleverness of the demagogues. Just this summer, a law emerged from committee in the House of Representatives that, if passed, will basically turn the Fourth Amendment into a quaint catch phrase with no relevance to life in a post-Constitutional twenty-first-century America.
Spinning the Spider Web
In a modern context, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects certainly applies to online activities. The Internet is recognized by everyone as a private world where people have the right to protect their personal information, communications, and choices of reading material from prying eyes. This is the reason why there are passwords and anonymous usernames wherever we go, because it is a given that people do not want others to know what they have been doing when they are navigating through the virtual world from the privacy of their own computer in the sanctity of their own home.
But Congress, using the excuse that police departments and federal law investigative agencies need more access to the records of people’s Internet activity in order to effectively fight crime, is now trying to pass a new law that would force Internet providers to collect and preserve the personal information and web browsing history of every single man, woman, and child who uses the Internet for a period of one full year. The type of information that IPs would be required to save would include:
Phone numbers
Credit card numbers
Bank account numbers
Temporary IP addresses
The point of preserving all of this information would be so that law enforcement agencies could have access to it at any time of their choosing. Ostensibly, a person would have to be under investigation for a crime before such a demand could be legally made with respect to their personal Internet records. But it would take little more than a simple declaration from a law enforcement agency stating that someone was indeed under investigation to legitimize the seizing of personal information from an IP. Police departments and the FBI actually would not have to prove to anyone that a particular individual really was connected to something illegal. They only have to claim that this is the case, and the entire online history from the past year of the person they are allegedly investigating would automatically be made available for their scrutiny and perusal.
In an astonishing bit of chutzpah, the House sponsors of the bill have labeled it the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” It cannot be strongly enough emphasized, however, that this law is not aimed at individuals who are suspected of purchasing child pornography or of being involved somehow in that industry. Local, federal, and state officials would be able to seize all information retaining to the web activities of anyone identified as a person of interest in any criminal investigation, regardless of the crime involved. In fact, based on how broadly the law has been written and conceptualized, it appears that even attorneys litigating civil disputes involving “crimes” such as divorce or insurance fraud may be able to get access to this information.
Helping the Police?
Some might claim that searches and seizures of Internet records are not unreasonable when a person is suspected of criminal involvement. But there are already two laws on the books that help police investigating wrongdoers digitally: the Electronic Communication Transactional Act of 1996 and the Protect Our Children Act of 2008. The former requires IP’s to retain Internet records for up to ninety days when requested to do so by the authorities, while the latter makes it obligatory for Internet providers themselves to report any information they have that would suggest that one of their customers may have been visiting a site connected to child pornography.
With this new law, everyone will be subject to an invasion of his or her privacy based on the speculation that maybe someday all of us will commit some kind of crime. No one can guarantee that this information will be kept private when it is being preserved, nor can it be guaranteed that law enforcement agencies will always act responsibly when requesting access. Many critics of government and society have been subjected to police harassment in the past, and a law that is as broadly conceived as this one will make this kind of action much easier to get away with.
Protecting Our Children from State Despotism
The Fourth Amendment was added to the Bill of Rights because the founders wanted to make sure that the privacy of citizens could be protected from authorities who might be willing to sanction a trampling of people’s rights if they believed they were serving some “greater good.” Those who are behind the Protecting Children from Internet Pornography Act should be ashamed of themselves for hiding behind such an incendiary name that is clearly designed to manipulate emotions and intimidate civil libertarians who oppose this bill. But most importantly, their attempt to trash the spirit and the intent of the Fourth Amendment should be rejected and rejected forcefully. If this law is passed, it would give the government permission to violate our rights of privacy indirectly by allowing them to use Internet providers as unwilling proxies in their cynical and unconstitutional attempt to turn the United States into a society where Big Brother is always watching.
©2011 Off the Grid News

USB device viruses could evade all known Security; Reuters

USB device viruses could evade all known Security

USB devices such as keyboards, thumb-drives and mice can be used to hack into personal computers in a potential new class of attacks that evade all known security protections, a top computer researcher revealed on Thursday.

Karsten Nohl, chief scientist with Berlin’s SR Labs, noted that hackers could load malicious software onto tiny, low-cost computer chips that control functions of USB devices but which have no built-in shields against tampering with their code.
“You cannot tell where the virus came from. It is almost like a magic trick,” said Nohl, whose research firm is known for uncovering major flaws in mobile phone technology.
Jeffrey Coolidge | Photodisc | Getty Images
The finding shows that bugs in software used to run tiny electronics components that are invisible to the average computer user can be extremely dangerous when hackers figure out how to exploit them. Security researchers have increasingly turned their attention to uncovering such flaws.
Nohl said his firm has performed attacks by writing malicious code onto USB control chips used in thumb drives and smartphones. Once the USB device is attached to a computer, the malicious software can log keystrokes, spy on communications and destroy data, he said.
Computers do not detect the infections when tainted devices are inserted because anti-virus programs are only designed to scan for software written onto memory and do not scan the “firmware” that controls the functioning of those devices, he said.
Nohl and Jakob Lell, a security researcher at SR Labs, will describe their attack method at next week’s Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, in a presentation titled: “Bad USB—On Accessories that Turn Evil.”
Thousands of security professionals gather at the annual conference to hear about the latest hacking techniques, including ones that threaten the security of business computers, consumer electronics and critical infrastructure.
Nohl said he would not be surprised if intelligence agencies, like the National Security Agency, have already figured out how to launch attacks using this technique.
Last year, he presented research at Black Hat on breakthrough methods for remotely attacking SIM cards on mobile phones. In December, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrated that the U.S. spy agency was using a similar technique for surveillance, which it called “Monkey Calendar.”
An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment.
SR Labs tested the technique by infecting controller chips made by major Taiwanese manufacturer, Phison Electronics, and placing them in USB memory drives and smartphones running GoogleAndroid operating system.
Alex Chiu, an attorney with Phison, told Reuters via email that Nohl had contacted the company about his research in May.
“Mr. Nohl did not offer detailed analysis together with work product to prove his finding,” Chiu said. “Phison does not have ground to comment (on) his allegation.”
Chiu said that “from Phison’s reasonable knowledge and belief, it is hardly possible to rewrite Phison’s controller firmware without accessing our confidential information.”
Similar chips are made by Silicon Motion Technology and Alcor Micro. Nohl said his firm did not test devices with chips from those manufacturers.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. Officials with Silicon Motion and Alcor Micro could not immediately be reached.
Nohl believed hackers would have a “high chance” of corrupting other kinds of controller chips besides those made by Phison, because their manufacturers are not required to secure software. He said those chips, once infected, could be used to infect mice, keyboards and other devices that connect via USB.
“The sky is the limit. You can do anything at all,” he said.
In his tests, Nohl said he was able to gain remote access to a computer by having the USB instruct the computer to download a malicious program with instructions that the PC believed were coming from a keyboard. He was also able to change what are known as DNS network settings on a computer, essentially instructing the machine to route Internet traffic through malicious servers.
Once a computer is infected, it could be programmed to infect all USB devices that are subsequently attached to it, which would then corrupt machines that they contact.
“Now all of your USB devices are infected. It becomes self-propagating and extremely persistent,” Nohl said. “You can never remove it.”
Christof Paar, a professor of electrical engineering at Germany’s University of Bochum who reviewed the findings, said he believed the new research would prompt others to take a closer look at USB technology, and potentially lead to the discovery of more bugs. He urged manufacturers to improve protection of their chips to thwart attacks.
“The manufacturer should make it much harder to change the software that runs on a USB stick,” Paar said.
—By Reuters

First, They Came for the Sex Offenders

First, They Came for the Sex Offenders
Judith Levine is the author of four books, including Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Women From Sex, which won the LA Times Book Prize. She also writes a biweekly column called “Poli Psy,” about emotions in politics, for the Vermont alternative newspaper Seven Days. She lives in Brooklyn and northeastern Vermont.

Roger N. Lancaster, Sex Panic and the Punitive State (University of California Press, 2011), 328 pages, $24.95, paperback.
In California Governor Jerry Brown signs a law prohibiting registered sex offenders from offering their homes as polling places. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Assemblyman (and former LAPD officer) Stephen Knight, says the legislation is necessary to protect high-school volunteers and children accompanying their parents on Election Day.
In Vermont a $13.8 million network of twenty-eight communications towers and eight “public safety answering points” is under construction to aid first responders in case of a terrorist attack. Homeland Security, which is funding the project, has granted Vermont—population: 620,000; state crime ranking: forty-nine—more than $90 million since 2001.
In New York a maverick group of psychologists and urban designers are agitating to bring back the old monkey bars and asphalt surfaces of playgrounds, which were abolished because of perceived risks of accidents and lasting psychological trauma. Sixty pages of federal playground regulations now advise, among other precautions, against children wearing drawstring sweatshirts and “mittens connected by strings through the arms.” Write the psychologists: “Paradoxically, our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.”
How are these items—collected at random during one week in 2011—related?
The answers can be found in Roger N. Lancaster’s Sex Panic and the Punitive State, a riveting history and virtuosic analysis of the way America’s thirty-year panic about child sexual abuse has fueled an ever-increasing appetite to “protect, punish, and preempt” crime and has served as the model for the creation of “something resembling a police state” in the United States.
Lancaster, a professor of anthropology and cultural studies at George Mason University, says that in the process the criminal justice ethos has been transformed. Today, “the protection of innocence trumps the presumption of innocence,” the victim’s “rights” to comfort and “closure” elbow out the constitutional rights of the accused or convicted, and a lust for punishment has supplanted a faith in rehabilitation.
Our civil and private institutions have become arms of the police and the vice squad. Public schools have students arrested for what used to be considered childish pranks. Public-housing authorities conduct unwarranted searches and evict entire families for the legal infractions of one member. Employee background checks, drug testing of food stamp recipients, voter ID requirements—such practices enact what Lancaster calls the “preemptive paranoid approach” to governance. Even art institutions, once redoubts of calm in a phobic world, now routinely warn audiences that an exhibition may be “inappropriate” for children.
Communities that tolerated a measure of deviance in the spirit of democracy and individual freedom now bond in the solidarity of paranoia and vengeance. The nation girds itself against alien invaders on its borders and at its airports.
And over it all, superimposed on the Stars and Stripes since 9/11, floats the image of America—not just its children—as vulnerable, victimized, and innocent.
“Social Death”
The American carceral state imprisons an unprecedented number of its citizens: with 5 percent of the world’s people, the United States now has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, leading all other nations in both percentage and raw numbers. On the other side of the bars, one in four-to-five American workers is engaged in private security or other “guard labor.” This “penal Keynsianism,” comments Lancaster, “solves two economic problems: it creates jobs while guarding the unemployed.”
Sex offenders constitute a relatively small proportion of people under the thumb of the criminal justice system. But the harshness of their punishment and the disregard of their rights lie outside the Pale even in an extraordinarily harsh system. And in a nation famous for second chances, sex offenders are uniquely bereft of the opportunity to discharge their debt to society, repent of their transgressions, and start anew.
Inmates convicted of offenses such as consensual sex with a minor (statutory rape) or possession of child pornography (which can be pictures of teenagers under eighteen) may serve terms longer than those who have assaulted or even killed a child. At the end of their sentences, sex offenders may be locked up in psychiatric civil commitment, based on psychologists’ inconsistent and unscientific predictions of future offense, with no certain date of release.
There are currently more than 705,000 people on sex offender registries in the United States, with more added weekly. These registrants include everyone from sadistic rapists to people who have urinated twice on a tree; the information on the registries makes it hard to distinguish one from the other. Almost ritually, every session both Republican and Democratic legislators enact tougher sentences and more diabolical restrictions on the residency, work, and freedom of movement of former offenders. For obvious political reasons, repeal is never on the agenda.
Violation of these stringent terms is practically inevitable, and a large number, perhaps the majority, of sex offenders who end up back in prison do so for minor infractions like failing to report the purchase of a car. Whereas parole and probation once aimed to smooth the transition from inmate to civilian, these policies do the opposite: they commonly result in homelessness and joblessness, political disenfranchisement, exclusion from higher education and military service, and even from houses of worship.
Former sex offenders and their families live under constant harassment and threat of vigilante violence; some have been murdered. Lancaster notes that during Hurricane Katrina, when certain New Orleanians were helped to evacuate and even the poorest were at least warehoused, only sex offenders were left to fend for themselves. “The classification of sex offenders as unfit for rescue” along with the special laws driving them from the community “reenact the logic of ‘social death,’” he says. Social death is the term Orlando Patterson used to describe slavery.
Civil libertarians have challenged these policies as double jeopardy, preventive detention, and a violation of the centuries-old principle of habeas corpus. But the courts have consistently upheld them as administrative, not punitive, measures—therefore constitutional. The federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, appears to consider no punishment of a sex offender excessively cruel or unusual.
A decade’s worth of research has found that such restrictions enhance public safely not a whit. But, as Lancaster shows, “preventive governance” is not a rational response to actual crime, which has been declining for decades. In fact, contrary to police claims and public perception—stoked by such shows as Law & Order SVU and To Catch a Predator—sex offenders have extraordinarily low rates of recidivism for sexual offenses. Advocates of the registries attribute the low rates, and drops in crime generally, to increased incarceration and post-prison surveillance. Opponents claim that the restrictions are so stressful that registrants are more likely to offend again. Recent research challenges both camps: a careful analysis of several data sets by Amanda Y. Agan at the University of Chicago finds that sex offender registration neither increases nor decreases the likelihood of reoffense. The article is subtitled “Fear Without Function?”

But data have no effect. Indeed, the model of sex offender registries has only spread to other areas of the law. Several states have proposed or set up public registries of people convicted of DWI and domestic violence, and, in Florida, of all released prisoners—all to minimize “risk.”

In an era where parents are afraid to let their children play outside—or fortify them with helmets and cell phones whenever they do—“risk assessment” is a growing discipline, which looks like science. It is in fact symbolic: the actuarial encoding of hyperbolic public apprehension, ever on the uptrend. Phil Taylor, a former Texas-certified sex offender therapist, told me that “sex offender ‘management’ is done like business management”: the state calculates its potential profits (including political ones) and losses and structures its policing bureaucracies accordingly. Never mind that what shows up in the debit column are the civil and human rights of people once called U.S. citizens.
The White Molester
Among this country’s unprecedented legions of inmates and parolees, people of color are vastly disproportionate. For example, the percentage of young African-American men in prison is higher than it was in the Jim Crow South, when prisoners were leased out as slave labor.
Yet sex offenders are white—not only on the prison rolls but also in the public imagination. Why is this so and how did it come to be? It is a puzzle that critics of the penal state have not solved—and rarely approach. The facts are simply too hard to square with the usually correct view that the carceral state is the latest iteration of a systemic repression of black and brown people.
So this is probably the most valuable and original contribution of Sex Panic: Lancaster’s treatment of the “racing” and “queering” of the sex offender and its effect on what now masquerades as civic solidarity.
Since the start of U.S. history, the myth of the black (and Native American) rapist of white women has justified slavery, lynching, and the hyper-policing of communities of color; Lancaster glosses this well-known portion of the brutal story. But it is the emotions and ideologies, and resultant laws and practices, from the mid-twentieth century to the present that he maps with particular subtlety, moving from lynch laws—used against black men accused of raping white women—to “sexual psychopath” laws, which “de-raced” (or, rather, “re-raced,” as white) the molester.
From the Depression to the McCarthy Era, the image of the child-molester had morphed from an unemployed man plagued by feelings of impaired masculinity to a homosexual, naturally hungry for young flesh, his deviance portrayed as both congenital and contagious. The child molester of the 1950s has been supplanted by the “pedophile,” a word that is now used indiscriminately for people who sexually desire prepubescent children and those (like the entire advertising industry, you might say, and by extension, the rest of us) who find teenagers sexy. Although the child molester is no longer explicitly described as homosexual, homosexuality makes a suspect person even more suspect. In fact, the Static-99, widely used to assess risk of sex-crime reoffense, lists “any male victims” as a risk factor. Still, as homosexuality is normalized, today’s “pedophile” is thrust, by gay rights and straight sexual freedom groups alike, even further to the margins of queerness. Lancaster calls it the “offloading of queerness.”
What happened to the bestial black male whose image shadowed white America’s nightmares? The 1960s law-and-order mania resurrected him for a time, and he appeared again in the 1980s, embodied with particular viciousness in the five black teenagers convicted—falsely, it turned out—of raping the Central Park jogger in 1989. Interestingly the term predator—coined in that decade to describe a species of remorseless black teenage criminals—migrated to the discourse of sexual terror, as the figure of the inscrutable, naturally evil black rapist shifted sideways to make room for the incurably sick, assumedly white, child-desiring queer.
Of course racism is not vanquished; whiteness is doing its work. “Shall we say, then, that in a society committed both to a war on crime (with its mass incarceration of black men) and to ridding itself of racism (through formal adherence to a regime of civil rights) the feared figure of the white pedophile is necessary?” Lancaster writes. “Perhaps part of the psychic work he performs is to absolve the guilty conscience of racism at a time when so many other fears are focused on the black gangbanger and brown border menace.”
The child molester is real; he does harm, Lancaster concedes. But so monstrous is he in America’s imagination that he must be understood as symbolic—and, by now, central to the nation’s understanding of its moral self. As the crime scene moves from the inner city to the suburb, from the “pathological” female-headed black family of the 1965 Moynihan Report to the white, heterosexual, middle-class family and from the purview of the welfare office and the juvenile detention center to the privatized surveillance of the PTA and the neighborhood watch, “overt references to the racial origins of [national] norms can be progressively erased,” Lancaster writes.
“Whiteness and straightness may not even be the right words anymore for the type of rectitude that is staged in moral panic.” To secure a place in the idealized American moral community—even in the radically dehumanized precincts of the supermax prison—all you need to do is bash a pervert.
Politics and Perversion
This moral panic has been going on for nearly a century, interrupted by one brief decade. It is protean: in the last three decades alone, it has metamorphosed from outsized estimates of incest to belief in covens of Satanic abusers to the government’s claim of a massive global traffic in child porn—which can be neither substantiated nor refuted, since the public and the press are prohibited from viewing the images.
And, while false accusations of garden-variety child abuse continue unabated, the popular suspicion of adult malevolence toward children has spilled beyond sex. A young mother whose breast milk is insufficient is charged for the death of her starved baby. A father whose children are consumed in a fire is executed for their arson-murder.
Meanwhile, as Lancaster shows, the stain of “sex crime” is spreading into every discourse of danger. In some states, drunk drivers have been renamed “abusive” drivers. On the arm of a prisoner in Abu Ghraib, the world “RAPEIST” [sic] was scrawled in magic marker. The federal government’s tentacles of surveillance—Homeland Security and Immigrations & Customs Enforcement, or ICE—reach equally toward “terrorists,” illegal “aliens,” and men who masturbate to images of 15-year-old boys. “Victims of Human Trafficking”—largely defined as coerced prostitution, though forced domestic and industrial labor are far more common—are welcomed at the borders while economic refugees and political torture survivors are turned away.
It is not only the repressive right that got us to this juncture. The left and feminism have done their part, too. Lancaster points out that the left’s “fixation on injury” is balanced in more expansive times by a politics of liberation. But these are not expansive times. Even social service and economic justice advocates who understand the systemic causes of people’s troubles are nonetheless hunkered down defending the statutory protection of favored constituencies defined by harm. Mainstream feminists, obsessed with sexual victimhood, have formed tight alliances with moral conservatives and the paternalistic and racist forces of law and order (anti-porn, anti-prostitution feminists can be thanked for those distortions in the granting of refugee status).
Given the feeling of scarcity all around, perhaps it is not surprising that progressives have not critiqued the industry of support for crime victims—“a distorted little welfare state in the middle of savage capitalism”—while social services are slashed for everyone else.
Why should progressives have sympathy for these devils? Some sex offenders have committed heinous crimes. But so have the people on death row on whose behalf The Nation editorializes and the Quakers vigil. Even the guilty deserve justice.
Roger Lancaster was moved to write Sex Panic when his friend, a gay teacher, was entangled in a false accusation of sexual abuse. One item of evidence: he invited Lancaster, who is also gay, along on a school trip. I sometimes think the panic will end only when every American knows someone whose life has been destroyed by it.
Perhaps this book will hasten that day. With reasoned urgency and stirring intelligence Sex Panic makes palpable the injury this hysteria is inflicting, not only on people accused of sex crimes, but on democracy and freedom themselves.
1.  Amanda Y. Agan, “Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function?”Journal of Law and Economics 54:1 (2011): 207–39.

Music industry spokesman loves child porn

Music industry spokesman loves child porn
by Cory Doctorow
A music-industry speaker at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Stockholm waxed enthusiastic about child porn, because it serves as the perfect excuse for network censorship, and once you’ve got a child-porn filter, you can censor anything: “Child pornography is great,” the speaker at the podium declared enthusiastically. “It is great because politicians understand child pornography. By playing that card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once they have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites”.

The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title “Sweden — A Safe Haven for Pirates?”. The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti-Piracy Group, a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others…
“One day we will have a giant filter that we develop in close cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians that filtering works. Child porn is an issue they understand,” Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.

IFPI’s child porn strategy

IFPI’s child porn strategy
 by Christian Engström 

IFPI’s lawyer Johan Schlüter (portrait by Mads Rye)

“Child pornography is great,” the speaker at the podium Declared enthusiastically. “It is great Because politicians understand child pornography. That by playing card, we can get them to act, and start blocking sites. And once They have done that, we can get them to start blocking file sharing sites “.
The venue was a seminar organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm on May 27, 2007, under the title “Sweden – A Safe Haven for Pirates?”. The speaker was Johan Schlüter from the Danish Anti- Piracy Group , a lobby organization for the music and film industry associations, like IFPI and others.
I was there together with two other pirates, Pirate Party leaderRick Falkvinge , and veteran Internet activist Oscar Swartz . Oscar wrote a column about the seminar in Computer Sweden just after it had happened. Rick blogged about itlater, and so did I . (All links in English.)
“One day we will have a giant filter That we developement in Close Cooperation with IFPI and MPA. We Continuously monitor the child porn on the net, to show the politicians That filtering works. Child porn is an issue They understand, “Johan Schlüter said with a grin, his whole being radiating pride and enthusiasm from the podium.
And seen from the perspective of the IFPI and the Rest of the copyright lobby, he of course had every reason to feel proud and enthusiastic bothering, after the success he had had with this strategy in Denmark.
Today, the file sharing site The Pirate Bay is blocked by all major Internet service providers in Denmark. The strategy explained by Mr. Schlüter worked like clockwork.
Start with child porn, Which everybody AGREES ice revolting, and find some politicians who want to Appear like They are doing something. Never mind That the blocking As such is ridiculously easy to circumvent in less than 10 seconds. The purpose at this stage is only to get the politicians and the general public to accept the principle That censorship in the form of “filters” is okay. Once That principle has been Established, it is easy to Extend it to other areas, Such as illegal filesharing. And once censorship of the Internet has been accepted in principle, They can start looking at ways to make it more Technically Difficult to circumvent.
In Sweden , the copyright lobby tried exactly the same tactic a couple of months after the seminar where Johan Schlüter had been speaking. In July 2007, the Swedish police was planning to add The Pirate Bay To The English list of alleged child pornography sites, thats are blocked by most major Swedish ISPs.
The police made ​​no attempt whatsoever at contacting anybody from The Pirate Bay, Which They of course Should have done if They had actually found any links to illegal pictures of sexual child abuse. The plan was to just censor the site, and at the sametime create a guilt-by-association link between file sharing and child porn.
In the Swedish case, the plan backfired When The updated censorship list leaked before it was put into effect. After an uproar in the bloggosphere, the Swedish police Eventually was forced to back down from the claim That They had found illegal child abuse pictures, or had any other legal basis for censoring the file sharing site. Unlike in Denmark, The Pirate Bay is not censored in Sweden today.
But The copyright lobby never gives up. If They are unable to get What they want on the national level, They Will try through the EU, and vice versa.
The big film and record companies want censorship of the Net, and They are perfectly willing to cynically use child porn as an excuse to get it. They all needed was a politician who was prepared to do Their bidding, without spending too much effort on checking facts, or reflecting on the wisdom of Introducing censorship on the net.
Unfortunately They found one in the newly appointed Swedish EU commissioner Cecilia Malmström. In March 2010 she presented an EU directive to Introduce filtering of the Net, exactly along the lines That to Johan Schlüter was advocating in his speech at the seminar in in 2007.
I surmise That commissioner Malmstrom’s motives are honorable, and That she genuinely believes she is doing something good that will preventable sexual child abuse. But sweeping a problem under the carpet, or hiding it behind filters, can never be the proper solution. If there actually are sites Distributing pictures of sexual child abuse openly on the net, the sites Should be shut down and the people behind them Should be put in prison (after a proper trial). But Cecilia Malmström ‘s Internet censorship directive will have no effect at all on sexual child abuse in the world. All She will have Achieved if she is successful with this directive, I will pray to legitimize the principle of Internet censorship in Europe, just like the copyright lobby wanted her to.
It would be very sad if she Succeeds.

Child Sexual Abuse: The Sources of Anxiety Making and the Negative Effects

Child Sexual Abuse: The Sources of Anxiety Making and the Negative Effects
Arnold Veraa, PhD*
ABSTRACT: Christian moral belief about child sexuality and feminist theory and practice are considered as the primary causes for the anxiety about, and exaggeration of, child sexual abuse. The negative effects of this anxiety making are discussed in relation to research and literature, the negative influences this has had on professional performance, and the subsequent deleterious consequences upon institutions, families and children. It is proposed that the manufactured moral alarm about child sexual abuse has done more harm than good.

“Child sexual abuse” seems an elusive term and its specifying characteristics may vary in relation to personal values and moral preferences held. Most would agree that the term includes some sexual activity by an adult with a minor
As a societal issue, the child sexual abuse problem went virtually unrecognized until the mid seventies. Then feminists in particular began querying sexual abuse accounts and commenced publishing articles and books about the topic. Somewhat later the satanic sexual abuse fiascos surfaced in the United States and these were successfully transported to other western countries including Australia and New Zealand.
Following conferences and workshops, feminists and professionals soon spread the word. Eventually, the child sexual abuse message was embraced by all manner of agencies, some university schools, and relevant government departments. The popular press assisted in making child sexual abuse the scourge of society, imminent and almost inevitable, and with predicted severe short- and long-term effects in all cases.
To date, criticism about the child sexual abuse progression, and its undesirable side effects, has been sporadic and uncoordinated. Such critical comment has also been easily ignored or dismissed on the grounds that critics favor adult/child sexual interactions or are “in denial”.
This paper reviews the likely historical causes of this exaggeration of child sexual abuse with emphasis on the fundamentalist Christian and feminist contributions. The negative consequences of this emphasis on child sexual abuse are discussed in relation to the literature and research, its effects upon professional performance, and the undesirable consequences this has had upon the community.
Christian Anxiety Making
The emphasis on child sexual abuse in our society seems related to the Christian suppression of sexuality. This repression became particularly evident during the sexual liberation of the sixties. Comfort (1963) went as far as to say that this was the major negative achievement of Christendom; no pornographer has ever exploited sexuality so thoroughly, he added.
Much moral energy seemed indeed directed towards resisting the seduction of the flesh with abstinence, virginity, or celibacy being lauded. The enjoyments of sex appeared tolerated but heavily regulated. Non-compliance was viewed as a sin. This irrational obsession with sexuality resulted in deep seated feelings of anxiety and guilt many people still experience today (Runkel, 1998; Haroian, 2000; Levine, 2002; Haught, 2004; Paul, 2005).
It appears that this discomfort about sexuality is transferred to children by parents who perceive it their duty to discourage and suppress their children’s sexuality. An idealized notion develops where children are seen as pure, innocent and vulnerable but above all as non-sexual (Finkelhor, 1983; Fortune, 1983; Straus, 1994; Paris, 1997; Krivacska, 1993). Children thus learn that sex is indecent and immoral and is not to be talked about (hence, perpetrators need not instill this notion, only take advantage of it).
Freud (1905; 1908) seemed the first to challenge this idealized child sexual innocence. As his thesis essentially implied that infants and children desired and experienced sexual pleasure this, at the time and to this day, drew much criticism (see Jones, 1964; Masson, 1984). The other important historical work supporting the existence of child sexuality was that by Kinsey et al (1948; 1953). This work also attracted great interest but equal condemnation from a Christian society that felt its moral beliefs about sexuality, and child sexuality, threatened.
Much research since then has strongly supported the notion that children are sexual beings. It has been shown that children, without prompting by adults, think sexually, may engage in a wide range of sexual activities, and enjoy them despite sanctions imposed by adults. (Langfelt, 1981; Martinson, 1981; Goldman and Goldman, 1982; 1988; Haugaard and Tilly, 1988; Okami, 1992; Paris, 1997; Sandfort, 2001; Bancroft, 2003; Denov, 2003).
It has also been long known that adult/child sexual activities in other cultures, such as routine stimulation of infant’s and children’s genitals and actively instructing them as to the pleasure of sex, has produced positive rather than negative effects on children. (Ford and Beach, 1951; Yates, 1978; Herlihy, 1993; Barr, 1996; Paris, 1997). Also see Kincaid, (1998). The distaste of child sexuality in our culture seems therefore induced and not intrinsic; culturally or religiously relative, in other words.
Thus, the belief promoted by Christian fundamentalists, and sympathizers, that children are inherently ultra fragile sexual innocents derives little support.
What does receive support are the capacities customarily attributed to perpetrators namely the inclinations to deceive, mislead and manipulate yet immature human beings. Paradoxically, it was the fundamentalist Christians themselves, and their professional sympathizers, that were some of the most determined abusers of “childhood sexual innocence”.
For historical elucidation we refer to the satanic sexual abuse cases which were to have a lasting effect upon the way child sexual abuse was to be dealt with, and promoted, in subsequent decades.
The McMartin Preschool fiasco (California, 1983), is the most illustrative and infamous of these. This charade was originally influenced, and later supported, by the authors of “Michelle Remembers” (Smith and Pazder, 1980; Smith being a “victim” of satanic abuse and Pazder a Catholic psychiatrist).
The event was strongly supported by local practicing Catholics of the American Martyrs Church (Eberle and Eberle, 1986; 1993; Kennedy, 2004). Social workers from the Children’s Institute International repeatedly interviewed the infants who recounted most extraordinary happenings.
The infants revealed that their teachers had made them participate in the mutilation and killing of animals and infants and been made to drink their blood. They also confessed to having been sexually abused in hot air balloons. As well, the infants revealed that they had been made to travel through sewers and underground tunnels to places where they were sexually molested. (Nathan and Snedeker, 1995).
Summit, the psychiatrist author of the well known article “The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome” (1983), despite all evidence to the contrary, continued to maintain that the underground tunnels were real (1994a; 1994b).
Such revelations by children were extracted by professionals intent on proving that satanic sexual abuse of children existed. Highly questionable interviewing methods were employed to cajole and persuade infants into answers social workers wanted to hear.
No less than 360 infants in the McMartin saga were deemed to have been sexually abused by teachers of which 120 had been confirmed by a doctor. No teacher was ever convicted. (Coleman, 1986; Green, 1986; Benedek and Schetky, 1987; Wakefield and Underwager, 1988; 1989; Coleman and Clancy, 1990; Nathan, 1990; 1991; Putnam, 1991; Victor, 1991; 1993; Nathan and Snedeker, 1995; Gardner, 1996; Robinson, 2005).
Despite a serious lack of evidence of satanic sexual ritual abuse (Lanning, 1989; 1991; Bottoms and Davis, 1997), Christian evangelical fundamentalists and sympathizing professionals managed to export this satanic sexual abuse culture to Europe and to Australia and New Zealand. (See Jenkins, 1992; Gedney, 1995; La Fontaine, 1998; Cohen, 2002. For references relevant to Australia and New Zealand see Guilliatt, 1996; Hood, 2001; Hill, 1998; 2005).
A Christian ethic that expands so much effort in attempting to keep its children sexually innocent is bound to react defensively when genuine research reports that adult/child sexual interactions are not necessarily traumatic events and do not automatically result in short or long term psychopathology. In fact, that the negative results reported by fundamentalist Christians and sympathizers are often iatrogenic in nature.
An example of this is the response by the American religious right to the work of Rind and Tromovitch (1997) and Rind et al (1998). These were meta-analytic reviews of other researcher’s studies demonstrating that adult/child sexual interactions do not necessarily have ill effects despite of the perceived immorality. A Christian moral outrage ensued culminating in a congressional resolution condemning Rind et al and accusing them of trying to normalise sexual interactions between children and adults, trivializing the effects, and promoting pedophilia.
Many social scientists perceived this as a moral attack on the integrity of social science (for example see Rind et al 2000a; 2000b; 2001; Oellerich, 2000; Levine, 2002; Bullough, 2005).
Of interest is that many researchers had come to similar conclusions much earlier; for instance see Bender and Blau (1937), Kinsey et al (1948; 1953), Weiss et al (1955), Luckianowicz (1972), Maisch (1973), Meiselman (1978), Finkelhor (1979a), Constantine (1981), Fromuth (1983), Brown and Finkelhor (1986), Kilpatrick, (1992).
The erroneous religious conception that perceived immoral behavior inevitably results in harm led to the usage of the term “moral panic” to denote the exaggeration of child sexual abuse by moralists.
Sociologists see such moral responses as emanating from underlying sources of anxiety and stress which cause exaggerated perceptions of a particular immorality being widespread and being a menace to society in general (Goode, 1990; Eberle and Eberle, 1993; Goode and Ben-Yehuda, 1994; Cohen, 1980; 2002; Ungar, 2001). When a moral panic relates to children it will tend to strike a chord even with people who are not particularly religious.
The suppression of sexuality by Christians continues even though it is known that it causes sexual dysfunction among adults and actually contributes to the commission of child sexual abuse.
Significant correlations have long been found to exist with regards to Christian fundamentalism and child sexual abuse (Gebhard et al, 1965; Justice and Justice, 1979; Frude, 1982). More recently, Holderread Heggen (1993) reports that, after alcohol/drug addiction, the second best predictor for child sexual abuse appears to be that the parents belong to a conservative Christian religious group with traditional role beliefs and rigid sexual attitudes. (A variable that seems often ignored by other studies).
The present Christian preoccupation with child sexual abuse appears a continuation of its negative obsession with sexuality rather than a genuine concern about child protection per se. It seems this sexual moral Christian ethic which has caused us to focus on the sexuality in the abuse of children rather than on the more frequently occurring neglect and physical and emotional abuses.
However, while on their own such moral panics as satanic sexual abuse might have been largely ignored and attributed to religious fanatics and misguided fringe professionals, momentum was maintained and the topic broadened by a new unlikely ally – feminism.
Feminist Anxiety Making
Feminism became an unlikely ally with Christian sexual morality in that it seemed not to have previously championed Christian values such as those to do with marriage, the family, and children. Rather, feminism had been critical of the churches by promoting equality of men and women and denouncing the dominance of men, if not their oppression of women.
The feminist concern about child sexual abuse began in the mid seventies when there was some public hysteria about missing children and somewhat later the satanic sexual abuse scare.
Feminists had already been fighting basic inequalities between men and women, domestic violence and society’s tendency to trivialize rape. They were thus particularly receptive when reports filtered through that another vulnerable group, children, were being sexually victimized and whose stories were also being disbelieved and discredited.
Whatever criticism may be directed presently at the way feminist thought influenced perceptions of child sexual abuse, it must be acknowledged that feminist efforts contributed vitally in having the social problem recognized. This after a long history of culturally ingrained obfuscation, concealment and outright denial of many men’s sexual molestation of girl children. Consequently, the feminist values expressed resonated with many professionals and particularly with women.
The early feminist analysis about child sexual abuse was directly based on its knowledge of patriarchy and rape. This by the early authors such as Brownmiller (1975), Herman and Hirschman (1977), Rush (1980), and Herman (1981) and was continued in later publications by Herman (1983), Bass and Thorton (1983), Russell (1983; 1986), and Dworkin (1986). (Dworkin, 2002, is also of interest).
We found Rush (1980) proclaiming that the problems children faced in families were essentially the same as those created by rapists (chickens facing hungry foxes) and that the sexual abuse in families embodied the typical coercive characteristics of rape and the “desecration of children” (Herman, 1981; Bass and Thorton 1983). Children, it was argued, were by definition incapable of desiring sex or having the capacity to voluntarily cooperate in sexual interactions with adults. They could only be victims.
Yet, to equate child sexual abuse with the violent act of rape and aggressive abuse of male power made little sense as much earlier research clearly indicated that such adult/child sexual activities were not typically characteristic of brute force, violence or penetration of orifices.
Earlier theorizing as well seemed dismissed as was Freud’s initial thesis (1905; 1908) about adult/child sexual interactions within families being reasonably common and likely leading to neuroses (that is, he believed his women patients). As Freud’s theorizing about the Oedipus complex developed however he came to believe that such experiences could be fantasies.
Along with authors such as Peters (1976) and Masson (1984) it was this the feminists seized on with enthusiasm. It was indeed true that psychoanalytically oriented therapists had followed Freud’s later thesis to the letter and mindlessly dismissed women’s memories of childhood sexual victimization. Feminists were also right in condemning family therapy methods based on such theorizing that, ostensibly, blamed the victim and the mother and in doing so appeared to exonerate the father/perpetrator in the interest of family preservation.
However, while the notions of patriarchy, male power and consent, which had been useful in explaining rape, evoked powerful sentiments among many when applied to children, they turned out to be unhelpful. To this day the rationalized and intellectualized terms of “power” and “consent” are the “in” words to explain child sexual abuse by lay persons and professionals alike. Yet both, while emotionally appealing, seem not helpful constructs in themselves.
Misuse of power by adults over children may be said to occur in many adult/child interactions notably in seemingly accepted disciplinary procedures, in forcing children to attend a school they do not want to, or in the indoctrination of a religion. Thus, “power” seems not a unique analytical construct in the explanation of child sexual abuse.
Feminists, in their zeal to fit comment about child sexual abuse around conceptions of patriarchy, rape, and power, have also neglected other abuses of children, particularly neglect. Such abuses may be perpetrated by women (rather negating the gender-based causality theory), including some sexual abuse (Finkelhor et al, 1988; Sommer, 1997; deYoung, 1997; 1999; Denov, 2003). For genital mutilation of infant females by women see Hicks, 1996; Greer, 1999; Baumeister and Twenge, 2002. Also see Sommers, 1994.
Directly transferred from conceptualizations about rape to child sexual abuse also was the concept of “consent”. However, enlightened feminists became more acceptable of the more subtle thesis on consent as presented by Finkelhor (1979b) which relied on “informed consent”. This suggested that children are not likely to be aware of the biological and social meanings of sexuality and its consequences. As well, that children are not in a position to refuse because of their dependence on adults as authority figures.
For feminists, and sympathizing professionals, this supported the belief that even if a child had seemed to consent it could still be considered abuse and the child could therefore always be considered a victim. It seemed a significant development in the feminist explanation of child sexual abuse akin to the Christian absolutism about childhood sexual innocence. The term ‘no excuses’ was soon adopted.
Indeed, the proposition was accepted with such enthusiasm by feminists and sympathizers that they also applied the “power” and “consent” paradigm to the sexual activities children engaged in amongst themselves (despite Finkelhor’s caution that it should not be interpreted in this way). They are now referred to as children’s “problem sexual behaviors” (see the heading “Child Protection or Promoting Morality” below).
Constantine’s contemporary work (1981; 1983) about child consent was unwelcome and ignored by feminists. He saw consent to exist as it was perceived by the child or adolescent – if the minor perceived that he/she had the freedom to participate voluntarily, and could have refused if wanted to, consent was said to have been in place. That is, consent was not related to a given level of knowledge or awareness of possible consequences.
Constantine found that “conventional moral negatives” were a likely cause in undesirable outcomes in adult/child sexual relations because of absorbed negative beliefs regarding sexuality while positive outcomes were due to auspicious feelings and an absence of guilt or shame about sexuality.
As with the discussion on power above, we might again ask why the feminist emphasis on consent deserves such prominence in child sexual abuse situations (as opposed to rape considerations). Parents/adults, as a rule, do not ask children for permission when requiring them to engage in most activities. They certainly do not ask for their agreement when they physically and emotionally abuse or neglect them yet feminists, and similarly thinking professionals, do not discuss “consent” in relation to these abuses.
It is also apparent that the present feminist position about child sexual abuse is still much influenced by the feminist gurus of old and their strong anti-sexual messages. In fact, these feminist views seem curiously in line with Christian repressive sexual dogma in that they appear attracted to the sexual component of child sexual abuse rather than to child protection concerns as such.
This anti-sex persuasion is clearly evident in the feminist-initiated and professionally supported prevention programs for children designed to “empower” them. It is also evident in efforts to brand children, as young as four, as “offenders” or “perpetrators” when engaging in sexual activities amongst themselves (for instance, see Johnson, 1988; 1989; 1998). The feminist notions of power and consent were used as justifications for this invasion of the sexual privacy of children and the practice continues today under the name of “problem sexual behaviors”.
For authors detailing the feminist anti-sexual inclination in relation to child sexual abuse see Wakefield and Underwager (1988); Okami (1990); Money (1991a; 1991b); Krivacska (1993); Underwager and Wakefield (1993); Hood (2001); and Angelides, (2004). For a more general perspective about how some feminists might moralistically suppress sexuality among adolescent girls see Bay-Cheng and Lewis (2006).
Like the fundamentalist Christians and their professional sympathizers, feminists and their supporters also found devious ways in inventing “victims” and “perpetrators” in efforts to exaggerate the child sexual abuse phenomenon.
The book “Courage to Heal” (Bass and Davis, 1988; also see Bass and Thorton, 1983), widely promoted and used by sexual assault centres and sympathizing professionals, strongly advocated the retrieval of “repressed memories” even when there was no current awareness of past sexual abuse.
Such dangerous encouragement and confabulation, and creation of false memories, has caused widespread damage to so called “victims” and “survivors” as well as to innocently convicted “perpetrators” and their families. For detailed discussion of these effects see Nathan (1990); Underwager and Wakefield (1993); Loftus (1998; 1999); Cox and Gee (2005).
The dissemination of the feminist ideology about child sexual abuse was much assisted by the wide distribution of “indicators” (LaFontaine, 1998; deYoung, 1999). These were originally adopted from the works of Sgroi (1982) and Cohen (1985), and later from Gould (1986), Klein (1990) and Hudson (1990; 1991) in relation to the satanic sexual abuse of children.
Such lists of indicators, however, became so broad and meaningless as to just resemble general signs of distress in children. Even sexual precociousness in children was routinely identified as resulting from sexual abuse. (Of note is that much the same “indicators” were used to detect masturbation in children only decades before).
Despite that, such indicator lists were spread by feminists and professionals, without appropriate cautions or mention of their limitations. This irresponsible use of “indicators” continues today (even by state child protective services, as we shall see later).
The feminist understanding of child sexual abuse seems guided by ideology and personal convictions and, as we shall see, by thoroughly misleading research. The feminist perspective, like religion, appears also to have been significantly influenced by its anti-sex determination.
Combined, the Christian and feminist beliefs and ideologies exerted a powerful influence on the way the issue of child sexual abuse would be pursued. We now examine the negative consequences particularly the ways in which the search for “victims” and “perpetrators” was maintained.
The Negative Effects of Christian and Feminist Anxiety Making.
Literature and Research:
Professional literature and research efforts have reflected the fundamentalist Christian and feminist beliefs and ideologies. A profound desire to expose the phenomenon of child sexual abuse became evident in the eighties and publications began to outweigh articles and books about the other childhood abuses.
Child sexual abuse enquiry seemed to become dominated not by sober objective analysis but by a desire to locate morally inappropriate behaviour or that which did not comply with Christian or feminist ideological norms. (Kilpatrick, 1987; 1992; Li, 1990; Okami, 1990; Okami and Goldberg, 1992; Bullough and Bullough, 1996; Jenkins, 1998; Pratt, 2005).
This led to much misleading research typifying a distinct blurring between socio-political advocacy and social science.
Erroneous conclusions seemed often based on the manipulation and broadening of definitions of child sexual abuse. These appeared designed to inflate prevalence, exaggerate its negative effects, and underscore its perceived seriousness (O’Hagan, 1989; Jenkins, 1992; Cooper, 1993; Browne and Lynch, 1995; Haugaard, 2000). We do not see such manipulation occurring in research to do with physical or emotional abuse or neglect of children.
Positive or neutral responses to adult/child sexual interactions in research seem often to have been deliberately ignored or re-interpreted as negative. This to suit preconceived notions of Christian sexual morality or feminist perceptions (Besherov, 1985a; 1985b; Schetky, 1986; Okami, 1990; 1991; 1992; Hindmarch, 1991).
Particular methodological issues that prevailed refer to biased selection of samples, failure to employ control groups, lack of differentiation between children and adolescents, and the reluctance to consider cultural or confounding variables when reporting on negative effects. (Wyatt and Peters, 1986; Finkelhor et al, 1988; Friedrich, 1990; 1993; Haugaard, 2000; Haugaard and Emery, 1989; Higgens and McCabe, 1994; Jumper, 1995; deYoung,1999; Goldman and Padayachi, 2000; Denov, 2003).
The selective acceptance of quite dubious prevalence findings and the erroneous assumption that prevalence equates with harm led to misleading judgments. As did unacceptable generalizations of clinical studies that reported expected traumatic effects but conveniently ignored iatrogenic consequences.
Such mistaken interpretations have led many authors to the conclusion that we are experiencing an “epidemic” or “disease” of child sexual abuse of serious “public health” proportions. (For instance, see Herman, 1983; Freyd, 1996; 2003; Freyd et al, 2005; Mercy, 1999; McMahon and Pruett, 1999; Purvis and Joyce, 2005; Cromer, 2006).
The research by feminists themselves has been particularly methodologically deficient. For detailed critical comment about research conducted by feminists see Christensen, (1990); Nathan, (1990); Okami, (1990); Hindmarch, (1991); Sommer and Fekete, (1995); and Sommer, (1997). For such biased research in Australia, see the work of Eastwood and Patton (2002) and Taylor (2002; 2004) which seems unreservedly supported by some feminist lawyers such as Scutt (2005).
Such distorted research findings have often been used to ensure that the topic remains on the social and political agenda and convince politicians and bureaucrats to create favorable policies and increase funding (Dubowitz, 1994; Jenkins, 1992; 1998; Kenny, 1999; deYoung, 1999; Partington, 2002).
This manipulation of research findings about child sexual abuse occurred despite the category occupying no more than 10 to 15 percent of notifications to statutory child protective services. (This is not a measure of prevalence, nor an estimation of which child abuse is more or less ‘under-reported’. See the heading “Statutory Child Protective Services” below).
As well, this emphasis on child sexual abuse continued regardless of evidence that there was no increase in its occurrence and that a decline of it was more evident (Mullen et al, 1988; Jenkins, 1992; Dunne et al, 2003). Moreover, research in the United States has reported a drop of more than 30 percent in child sexual abuse notifications (Finkelhor, 1990; Jones and Finkelhor, 2001; Finkelhor and Jones, 2004).
Clinical Malpractice:
Clinical practice was much influenced by the professional literature and also by the conferences led by (international) “experts”.
Conservative Christian views about child sexuality and feminist perceptions of child sexual abuse were well represented here (de Young, 1999). Such gatherings were quite powerful in spreading the child sexual abuse message and in influencing the way professionals, and quasi professionals, would deal with child sexual abuse and further disseminate such understandings (Hicks, 1991; Hindmarch, 1991).
For pertinent accounts concerning Australia and New Zealand see Goodyear-Smith, 1994; 1996a; Guilliat, 1996; Hill, 1998; 2005.
Consequent practices often reflected ready diagnoses of child sexual abuse without reference to confounding social circumstances or cultural factors (Nash et al, 1993; Pope and Hudson, 1995; Polusny and Follette, 1995; Higgens and McCabe, 1994; 2000; Higgens, 2004).
Professionals were found relying on an astonishingly unrealistic array of “indicators” (Berliner and Conte, 1993; Legrand et al, 2006), and we saw them adhering to negatively geared terminology. Assault and rape became accepted terms rather than abuse or molestation which more accurately reflected child sexual abuse (Okami, 1990; Levine, 1998).
We witnessed the ready labeling of children without regard to the negative immediate and long term consequences (Gelles, 1982; Browne and Finkelhor, 1986; Bromfield et al, 1988; Briggs et al, 1994). And we saw professionals and quasi professionals blatantly involved in the creation or distortion of “recovered memories” both with children and with adults so unnecessarily causing distress and re-traumatization (Herr, 1986; James, 1986; Doris, 1991; Goodyear-Smith, 1996a; Newgent et al, 2002).
A number of authors have detailed the negative effects of such interventions (Coleman, 1986; Sibicky and Dovidio, 1986; Benedek and Schetky, 1987; Wakefield and Underwager, 1988; Wexler, 1991; Underwager and Wakefield, 1998; Camille, 1996).
That the effects alleged were often iatrogenic in nature (that is, actually caused by intervening professionals or feminist amateurs rather than being the result of events under consideration), has been consistently and conveniently ignored as have been the basic civil liberty rights of children and their families.
Many have identified such practices as abuse by professionals, therapists, or semi-professionals (Wakefield and Underwager, 1989; Richardson, 1990; Nathan, 1991; Nathan and Snedeker, 1995; Kilpatrick, 1992; Gardner, 1996; Loftus, 1993; 1998; 1999; Loftus and Katcham, 1994; Kenny, 1999; Oellerich, 2001).
Child Protection or Promoting Morality:
Although child sexual abuse had now fallen under the umbrella of child protection, strong fundamentalist Christian and feminist influences continued to be evident. This particularly in programs that aimed to educate children about how to protect themselves against sexual advances by adults. But also in the programs that sought to “treat” children, and their families, when displaying “problematic sexual behaviours”.
Programs engaging children to protect themselves proliferated in the late eighties and nineties and were essentially based on the feminist concept of “empowerment”. They later gained ready acceptance in many schools under “safety” or “health” curricula. Some concerns were expressed about unqualified people with strong fundamentalist Christian or feminist ideals being given unconditional access to children on their own terms (Goodyear-Smith, 1994; 1996a; 1996b; King, 1997).
Now, there appears, in fact, to be little evidence that such indoctrination actually enables children to protect themselves better (Krivacska, 1992; Heiman et al, 1998; Woolley and Gabriels, 1999).
As could be expected given our earlier considerations, the programs have been criticized for being basically anti-sexual in nature and as likely to disempower rather than empower children about their sexuality. This as well as inhibit their abilities to interact positively with adults (Money, 1991a; 1991b; Krivacska, 1990; 1991a; 1991b; 1991c; Underwager and Wakefield, 1993; 1994; Angelides, 2004).
This basic anti-sex Christian and feminist stance, the notions of sin and atonement, also became evident in the labelling of sexually precocious children.
That is, those who engaged in sexual activities with other children, as young as four, were designated as exhibiting “age inappropriate behavior”, “children who molest” or whose behavior was criminalized by calling them “perpetrators” or “offenders” (For example, see Cantwell, 1988; Johnson, 1988; 1989; 1998; Johnson and Berry, 1989).
Today, the term “problem sexual behaviors” seems favored (Staiger, 2005; Staiger et al, 2005). But the underlying professional desire to make children and adolescents conform to conservative and uninformed notions of child sexuality appear the same (Wakefield and Underwager, 1988; Underwager and Wakefield, 1993; Okami, 1990; Rind et al, 1998).
Once considered normative and harmless, more overt child sexual behaviors are now being pathologized. One is reminded of the Ford and Beach (1951) research of many cultures illustrating that such child sexual activities are common. They are not necessarily taught by adults, and have, like many other activities engaged in by children amongst themselves, few demonstrated ill effects. Until, that is, they are deemed to be harmful by morally preoccupied professionals (Okami, 1992; Kilpatrick, 1992; Levine 1998; 2002).
The impression that professional activities may be engaged in to promote Christian and feminist moralities, rather than child protection values per se, are confirmed by Carstens (2001). This author’s findings suggest that a diagnosis of aberrant child sexual behavior is closely linked to professionals holding conservative attitudes and their agency setting. This in turn seems to suggest that these professionals may merely follow the Christian and feminist need to identify “victims” and “perpetrators” in the defence of perceived immorality.
The popular dramatic portrayal of child “problematic sexual behaviors” may be queried in relation to whether such efforts are based on a genuine interest in the protection and sexual welfare of children. It could be argued that the motivating source resides in promoting the moral conservative ideation of child sexuality.
It rather seems that Gochros’ reminder in 1982 about children and adolescents being the most sexually oppressed by professionals remains with us.
Statutory Child Protective Services:
The Christian and feminist influence has also taken its toll on public services.
Concerning child protective services, they are sometimes criticized for both causing and maintaining the current hysteria about child sexual abuse; or, conversely, for not doing enough about the problem. These services also readily attract attention simply because of the sheer volume of difficult cases they have to contend with.
The broad negative perception of child protective services concerning child sexual abuse seems largely derived from the highly publicized earlier cases of sexual satanic and ritual abuse. These cases indeed signified overzealous intervention and pronounced unprofessionalism in the name of child protection.
For examples, see Wexler (1991), deYoung (1999) and Levine (2002) for the United States and Canada. For the United Kingdom see O’Hagan (1989), Victor (1991), LaFontain (1994; 1998). For Australia and New Zealand see Goodyear-Smith (1994), Hood (2001), Scott (1995a; 1995b), Scott and Swain (2002) and Hill (2005).
However, today, a distinction might be made between the practice of child protective workers on the ground and the bureaucrats who tend to guide the public’s perception of child sexual abuse.
Child protective workers, and their immediate supervisors, tend to have a good practical appreciation of the sexual risks to a child with an ability to assess this in the wider context of the family and the community.
Their superiors, however, the ones that make the decisions in the high profile cases, seem more guided by theoretical and political considerations. This with a keen eye to control damage, avoid criticism, and sidestep concerns from Christian and feminist lobby groups. Ideals become prominent and the immediate protection of children may receive secondary consideration.
This distinction may be illustrated by an example of a statutory child protective service – here the child protective services arm of the Department of Human Services, Victoria (Australia). Of all the notifications this department received regarding child abuse in 2004/2005 only 10% concerned child sexual abuse (it is not known how many of these were re-notifications).
Of these only 14% were substantiated by child protective workers in the field. Further, the substantiation rate for child sexual abuse in 2003/2004 is lower than that for physical and emotional abuse and neglect, thus contradicting the perception that child protective workers go out of their way to diagnose child sexual abuse. Such figures, in fact, are more likely a reflection of the child sexual abuse panic and the public’s tendency to submit fallacious reports.
A quite different picture from the practical experiences of child protective workers emerges when one peruses this departments’ corporate response. Despite the low comparative notifications of child sexual abuse, departmental publications about this topic far outweigh those having to do with physical and emotional abuse and neglect which make up approximately 90% of all notifications and about which most child protective work in this department revolves.
As well, outdated perceptions and references about child sexual abuse are quoted in these departmental publications. Nonsensical “indicators” (headaches, abdominal pains, personality changes, difficulty with peers) are repeated time after time in documents that are supposed to enlighten its own protective workers, other professionals, parents, and students. (See “Department Human Services” in References).
This unrealistic emphasis on child sexual abuse by bureaucrats is clearly out of tune with the reality of child protective problems, as is its willingness in funding agencies claiming to tackle child sexual abuse. This has frequently been called “the neglect of the neglect” (Dubowitz, 1994; Jenkins, 1992; 1998; Scott and Swain, 2002; Smith and Fong, 2004).
It is an example of how bureaucrats of the state may perpetuate the Christian and feminist alarm about child sexual abuse under the guise of child protection (For elucidation see Wexler,1991; Howitt, 1992; Freckelton, 2001; Pratt, 2005).
While the more independent professionally thinking child protective worker in the field may not have been unduly influenced by the fundamentalist Christian and feminist mantra of moral justice and want for retribution, the simplistic nature of this contention appears to have appealed more to police with their emphasis on apprehending miscreants and bringing them to justice.
Influenced by the fundamentalist Christians, feminists, and professional protagonists, police began “discovering” child sexual abuse cases in unprecedented numbers.
As a consequence of police overzealousness and preconceived assumptions of guilt, hundreds of people in western countries were charged with child sexual offenses. The most obvious of these have been the charges laid in relation to satanic and ritual sexual abuse cases, only quite few of which ever resulted in convictions. (Lanning, 1989; 1991; Hicks, 1991; LaFontaine, 1994; Guilliatt, 1996; Wood and Garven, 2000; Freckleton, 2001; Stuckle, 2004; Pratt, 2005).
An example of corporate zeal in the police force may be found in the United Kingdom practice of “trawling” (practiced to a lesser degree in other countries) (Webster, 1998; Pratt, 2005). This so called proactive police approach involves “fishing” for other “victims” of an accused who may have been involved in previous decades. Subsequently, this police practice was deemed unnecessarily invasive and over-enthusiastic by a Home Affairs Select Committee (2002).
Fuelled by the moral panic, and pretensions about child protection and prevention, the police interest in child sexual abuse remains strong and has now also turned to child pornography on the Internet.
Police appear eager to be seen as “doing something” about the community’s unease about child pornography on the Internet. But, as in its earlier overreaction in dealing with child sexual abuse, its response to present community moral sentiment seems again exaggerated and misplaced. We might note that the same police enthusiasm is not employed in pursuing perpetrators of other child abuses.
Instead of an all-out effort to apprehend the commercial producers of child pornography, attention and much resources seem devoted to finding the “users” of this material.
Earlier discussion about widening definitions to inflate the prevalence of child sexual abuse may be recalled. In essence, much the same seems to be happening now: offensive sexual behavior towards children is being broadened to include people who have not actually touched children.
However, given the moral mandate police have been given by the community, they appear to feel entitled and at ease with using detection methods normally engaged in with more serious criminal offenders.
This may involve entrapping and encouraging people (“users”) to offend by police posing as children on the Internet. The rationale is that otherwise adults would gain easy access to children on the Internet and subsequently sexually abuse them. Given the effort expended, relatively few convictions seem obtained and this moral vigilance, short of satisfying the Christian and feminist lobby, may not justify the resources spend on it.
Police contribute to the child sexual abuse panic by seeking publicity, and trying to gain credit, for “Internet scams” exposed. For professionals, such as child protective workers, similar attention seeking and self congratulatory efforts would be condemned on ethical grounds.
It is, in any case, disingenuous and alarmist for police to claim that children are at serious risk by predators on the Internet, though a small proportion of vulnerable adolescents may be (Wolak et al, 2008). Such misguided efforts at prevention seem not to serve an already anxious community.
Effectively, these police methods take us back to the “danger stranger” scare campaigns of decades ago and conveniently diverts attention from where most child sexual abuse actually occurs, namely in the home.
Legal Practitioners, Judiciary:
Christian dogma about sexuality has for centuries dictated and maintained legislation about sexual morality in western societies and disproportionate penalties for transgressors have been the rule. The perception that sex is wholly different and worse (Levine, 1998) is deeply embedded in law.
This emphasis on sexuality, however, appears not to have engendered an operational sense of gender equity. Feminists in particular have highlighted the patriarchal nature of the legal system and its tendency to discriminate against females. The same kind of gender favoritism and lack of scrutiny may be found in established religions when males are under sexual suspicion (Bottoms et al , 1996; Naffine, 1996; Rosetti, 1996; Altobelli, 2003).
But the relentless emphasis by the Christian fundamentalists and feminists about child sexual abuse came to even significantly influence the most traditional and staunchest of all: the judiciary. With public hysteria mounting, justices responded to the claim that child sexual abuse victims were not heard by instituting changes in procedures to accommodate children giving evidence.
Justices began encouraging informality, the giving of evidence behind screens or on video by children, and the ready acceptance of “expert” evidence by professionals. That this evidence could be tainted by the iatrogenic factor, namely that effects could have been induced by these “experts” themselves, often remained unexplored.
Other accommodating justices began allowing evidence based on doubtful recovered memories without adequate corroborative evidence being presented . (Guilliatt, 1996; Paris, 1997; Jenkins, 1998; Freckelton, 2001; Stuckle, 2004; Cox and Gee, 2005; Pratt, 2005).
Critics point to the unfair biases these procedures have created towards the accused where a presumption of guilt by the state appears evident. It is argued that a person so accused has to prove his/her innocence rather than being treated as innocent until proven guilty.
In support of their stance critics refer to miscarriages of justice (wrong convictions and sentences being overturned on appeal) which they claim have led to an erosion of confidence in the judicial system. (Goodyear-Smith, 1994; LaFontaine, 1994; Guilliatt, 1996; Isaac, 1997; Paris, 1997; Vidmar, 1997; Levine, 1998; Freckelton, 2001; Hood, 2001; Rabinowitz, 1990; 2004; Cox and Gee, 2005; Pratt, 2005).
Many concerns have also been raised about the reliability of children as witnesses and the ease with which their evidence can be manipulated (Perry and Wrightsman, 1991; Goodman and Bottoms, 1993; Ceci and Buck, 1993; 1995; Myers et al, 1996).
Feminist-oriented literature, however, continues to contend that the legal system is still much dependent on gender discrimination and patriarchy. It is said that the changes in procedures have only achieved limited gains for child victims. The criminal justice system, it is argued, continues as the legally sanctioned context for the sexual abuse of children and the exculpation of perpetrators from full responsibility. (Kennedy, 1992; Eastwood and Patton, 2002; Taylor, 2002; 2004).
However, as we have outlined earlier, Christian fundamentalists and feminists are known to have fabricated child sexual abuse situations which caused severe trauma to children and families as well as, of course, to innocently convicted people. The strong presumption of guilt these advocates assume whenever an accused person appears in court must therefore be treated with some caution.
The legal profession has been influenced by the fundamentalist Christian and feminist belief and ideology about child sexual abuse as much as any other. Whether it has over-accommodated in the pursuit of justice for the “victim” at the expense of justice for the “perpetrator” remains open for debate.
Professionals as Casualties:
The exaggeration of child sexual abuse led eventually to a professional culture so apprehensive that it sought means to protect itself against a tidal wave of unfounded suspicion and accusation.
This resulted from pervasive propaganda advocating that child sexual abuse was likely to happen to any child and was destined to occur with people in some authority. This on the slenderest of evidence and employing outrageous generalisations.
The relentless search for victims and perpetrators had again missed its target and managed to alienate the very people it could have relied on to help: the professionals. Now they became the casualties.
While all professionals working with children seem to have been affected, as well as volunteers engaged with children, the most vulnerable and maligned of all professions have been the teachers – at kindergarten, primary and secondary school levels. All teachers are now actively encouraged by their school hierarchy, and their unions, not to touch students, not to be alone with them, and to generally keep them at arms length.
Rather than this being about protection of children, such policies have been driven by teachers wanting to protect themselves from vexatious allegations by children. But these were, it must be recognized, a logical progression from the misleading Christian and feminist information they were fed in their “safety” or “protection” classes.
From these classes students quickly learned the value of sexuality as a bargaining tool, its use in gaining attention, and to settle all manner of personal grievances. (Yates and Musty, 1988; Beck, 1992; Ball, 1990; 1994; Goodyear-Smith, 1996a; 1996b; Wallace, 1995; Dean, 1999; de Young, 1999; Piper and Smith, 2003; Sachs and Mellor, 2003; Tulloch and Lupton, 2003; Appleton, 2005).
Teacher apprehension is heightened by the demeaning and inflexible “zero tolerance” policy of education departments. This has led to the dismissal of competent teachers on frivolous grounds.
Similarly, mandatory reporting laws, which some teachers just ignore or have led others to report situations which did not warrant it, have led to unnecessary trauma to children and families.
A persistent concern about the exaggeration of child sexual abuse has been the effect this has had on the recruitment of teachers, particularly on prospective male primary teachers. There seems to be a genuine concern that men avoid the profession, at least partly, because they fear that they may be unjustly accused of sexually interfering with children. (Jones, 2001; 2004; Slamet, 2004).
Professionals remain casualties of the Christian and feminist persuasion because they allowed themselves to be so easily influenced by moralistic and ideological hyperbole. The trust between professionals and children has been eroded and the distancing is likely to be perceived by children as a rejection of them. A decidedly negative outcome of the child sexual abuse exaggeration.
However, it might be noted that, not unexpectedly, others have capitalized on the child sexual abuse hysteria. Of interest, for example, is that these no-touch policies have created a commercial demand for infants and children to be touched, massaged, or hugged professionally. What once was considered desirable spontaneous and sensitive behavior on the part of teachers and other professionals has now become technical, artificial, and commercialized. (Jones, 2001; 2004).
The Media:
Christian fundamentalists and feminists, and a variety of adhering professionals and quasi professionals, influenced the media so convincingly that reports about children being at risk of sexual abuse soon became commonplace. The result was that the community did not just become “aware” but highly anxious, if not paranoid, about the sexual calamities that could befall children.
However, the media also appears to have contributed significantly to the creation and maintenance of the child sexual abuse moral panic in its own right. Basic journalistic principles such as balance and objectivity, and fairness and skepticism, seem often to have been sacrificed.
Frequently obvious too was the media’s need to satisfy its own and the public’s voyeuristic and surreptitious interest in sexual matters to do with children.
There is little doubt that such consistent efforts have manipulated public anxiety and have orchestrated public opinion negatively. They have also promoted the vengeance frenzy as advocated by Christians and feminists and other promoters of the child sexual abuse panic (Victor, 1991; Edwards and Soetenhorst, 1994; Elvic, 1994; Gardner, 1996; Levy, 1999).
However, the media also came under attack when it attempted to avoid sensationalism, moralistic accusation, and negative terminology, typically found in pro-child sexual abuse writing, and sought to report on child/adolescent/adult sexual relations objectively.
Such rational media reports were soon relegated by child sexual abuse advocates as minimizing abusiveness, making child/adolescent/adult sexual relations appear consensual, and favoring perpetrators over vulnerable child victims – the traditional technique of seeking to silence critics and accuse them of denying child sexual abuse. (For instance, see the writings of Franklin and Horwarth, 1996; Goddard, 1996; Veldhuis and Freyd, 1999; Goddard and Saunders, 2000; Collings, 2002; Collings and Bodill, 2003).
(In professional parlance such criticism became known as the “backlash”. For example, in addition to the above, see Summit, 1994a; Gedney, 1995).
A number of print journalists and social commentators have indeed reported critically and insightfully about the exaggeration of child sexual abuse including the current Internet scare. (For example, see Arndt, 1993; 2002; Gawenda and Gurvich, 1995; Appleton, 2005; Berg, 2007; Castles, 2007; Duffy, 2007; Chen, 2008).
However, while once the media seemed content with being advocates for the Christian and feminist cause, and eager to promote the views of child sexual abuse advocates, today a more rationally reflective and professionally responsible approach appears evident particularly in the printing press. Reporting objectively and analytically about exaggerated claims to do with prevalence and negative effects of child sexual abuse remains a challenge.
Negative Effects on the Community:
It was inevitable that the community itself, particularly parents and children, would become the most significant casualty of the child sexual abuse exaggeration.
We might, first, acknowledge that the child sexual abuse scare was much assisted by other societal changes. Due to political, religious, and social changes, communities experienced anxiety as dependable systems became more unstable and impermanent. Particularly the valued institution of the family had become vulnerable. Many authors described this as the “age of anxiety” (Lasch, 2000; Ungar, 2001; Garland, 2001; 2002; Tulloch and Lupton, 2003; Furedi, 2001; 2004; Pratt, 2005).
Amongst this erosion of certainty and security, children were soon perceived as the most endangered, vulnerable, and likely subjects to come to harm. Thus, to a community that was already on edge, the fundamentalist Christian and feminist message that children were at immediate moral danger of being sexually abused was sown in fertile ground. But, as we have outlined, this advantage was exploited.
The practical negative effects of the child sexual abuse emphasis became obvious in present day family interactions. We now find parents frustrated and humiliated by their children telling them that, for example, “you can’t touch me there” in routine bathing or dressing procedures. We find parents genuinely afraid of expressing physical affection, “hugging for too long”, in case their infant or child tells at school and that this may be misinterpreted.
As well, we find parents unnecessarily anxious about the possibility that their children may be sexually abused by relatives, by caregivers, by teachers, or just by anyone while playing outdoors or while walking to school. We notice that parents are unduly suspicious of people inadvertently taking photos of their children or are in any other way trying to interact with them, however innocently, and in the safe presence of others.
This parental and community discomfort has not gone unnoticed by other adults. Many now tend to exercise caution in the presence of children and withhold affection which may influence even the most routine of physical pleasantries usually exchanged with children. Many adults, like teachers, now tend to play it safe and prefer not to be alone with a child, let alone touch one in circumstances that could too easily be misconstrued. (Thomas, 1993; Freely, 1995; Burgess, 1997).
In attempts to “protect” children from “predators”, advocates seem also to have managed to convolute and suppress child sexuality as well as inhibit enjoyable physical activities between adults and children. In the course of this moral and ideological process, children’s sexual privacy has been excessively invaded by these modern moralists.
The creation of anxiety about child sexuality, and unfounded allegations by Christians, feminists and professional sympathizers, that it is in great moral danger, has generated a culture of fear and an overprotection of children never seen before. This has harmed the sexual development of children, not enhanced it.
Christian belief about child sexuality and feminist ideations have more in common than is generally thought. Together they have negatively influenced the perception of child sexual abuse.
With the active collaboration of professionals and lay persons, undue alarm was created about the sexual morality of children being in great danger. This led to the exaggeration of child sexual abuse at the expense of other more frequently occurring, and also under-reported, other abuses of children.
It seemed to be the sexual moral nature of the abuse that attracted these protagonists, rather than a genuine concern about child protection. This surreptitious moral concern spilled over into other areas of child sexuality (such as “problematic sexual behaviors” and “child sexualization”).
As outlined, the moral and ideological thrust of the child sexual abuse exaggeration has come at considerable cost, particularly to families and children. It is only balanced and rational research, and sober and objective professional analysis, that may turn the tide in the decades to come.
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* Arnold Veraa is a former social worker and psychologist in child protective services, Melbourne. 

Hysteria Over Sexting Reaches Peak Absurdity

Hysteria Over Sexting Reaches Peak Absurdity
A judge in Virginia granted a warrant for police to take a picture of a 17-year-old’s erect penis—an extreme adult reaction to teenage sexuality.
Conor Friedersdorf

A 17-year-old boy is forced by adults to submit to an injection that makes his penis erect. The adults command him to strip and photograph his genitals against his will. I am not describing the twisted crime of a registered sex offender. Incredibly, that was the scenario that prosecutors in Prince William County hoped to arrange or persuaded a judge that they hoped to arrange, according to reports in the Washington Post and at an NBC News affiliate. The boy was already forced to let law enforcement photograph his flaccid penis, the articles add.

What alleged crime ostensibly justifies this most intrusive and traumatizing investigation? The teen’s lawyer, Jessica Harbeson Foster, spoke to the newspaper: “Foster said the case began when the teen’s 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, who in turn sent her the video in question. The girl has not been charged, and her mother filed a complaint about the boy’s video.”
The crime of which he stands accused?
“Two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life,” the Post reports. 
After these press reports began appearing, law enforcement issued a carefully worded statement that doesn’t actually contradict the attorney’s version of events. “It is not the policy of the Manassas City Police or the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case,” the statement asserts. “Beyond that, neither the Police Department nor the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office discusses evidentiary matters prior to court hearings.”
This would seem to leave open a couple of possibilities: that while it is not policy to induce erections in cases like this, there have been efforts make an exception in this case (everyone agrees that no such procedure has happened yet); or alternatively, authorities never actually intended to photograph the boy’s erect penis, but threatened him with the scenario to coerce him into pleading guilty to avoid it. 
The Associated Press cleared up some of the confusion today:
On Thursday, Manassas Police Lt. Brian Larkin said the Police Department will not proceed with the plan to take the pictures and will let a search warrant authorizing the photos to expire… The teen’s aunt, who serves as his legal guardian, said she had not heard of the police department’s reversal until contacted by an Associated Press reporter Thursday afternoon. She said she would be ecstatic if police follow through on their statement that they will no longer pursue the photos. 
So a judge evidently signed off on a warrant to photograph the induced erection of a teenage boy! If ever there were a reason short of fabricating evidence to mount a recall campaign against a judge and a district attorney’s office this would be it.
The earlier police statement said this of the crime in question: 
On January 23, 2014 Manassas City Police was contacted by a parent of a 15 YOA female juvenile who was sent pornographic videos by a 17 YOA male suspect after repeatedly being told to stop. 
Ambiguous is whether the 15-year-old or the parent told the 17-year-old to stop and what language was used. All of these facts would be useful to know, and it could be that the teen is guilty of harassing his girlfriend with sexual photographs.
But to charge a boy with distributing child pornography for sending images of his own penis to a girlfriend who herself reportedly sent naked pictures to him is absurd. It equates exhibitionism with one of the most unspeakable crimes in existence: adults raping or molesting children, recording the encounters, and distributing them. The utility and justness of sex offender registries declines rather quickly when kids engaged in sexting are listed alongside perpetrators of the latter crime.
Virtually no parent wants their 15-year-old daughter getting sexually explicit videos sent to her under any circumstances, and least of all if she asks her boyfriend to stop sending them, as could have happened in this case. One could hardly complain if the mother took her daughter’s phone, blocked the boy from calling, and contacted his parents, and it’s even possible to imagine more extreme circumstances in which a restraining order could be justified. But distributing child pornography? Those laws were not written with sexting in mind.
Emily Bazelon has a characteristically lucid take:
Maybe there is more to this story, and it will turn out that what this boy did is creepier than it now appears. But the question of consent should be key here. States are all over the map on how to handle teen sexting. What they should do is distinguish between consensual sexting, and (especially) sending out an image of someone who would not want that picture or video to circulate, or to someone who does not wish to receive it. As I’ve written before, “It’s not that the first kind of sexting is a good idea—it’s that kids shouldn’t get caught up in the criminal justice system for it, whereas nonconsensual sexting is a different story.”
If prosecutors want to take the position that great harm is done when a child’s penis is photographed, even by the child himself, their investigation already seem likely to have caused more trauma than the original crime. It’s good that they’ve been pressured into backing off their bizarre plan. But they should still be held accountable.

HomeLand Security, Operation Flicker Leaked Document; proves set up

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has for two years involved in stuffing child pornography images and moving-images inside of average files shared by servers sanctioned by the FBI. The methods of stuffing varies from each agent or officer but are approved as long as the suspect cannot detect that the file contains child pornography until the file has been downloaded. Child pornography has successfully been stuffed into adult pornography films, music files using ID3 tags, software programs, keygens and cracks, and other material that has been illicitly traded over P2P file sharing networks. This method has been successful to plant evidence leading to prosecution of individual who may or may not have anything to do with child pornographers and copyright infringement. The method has been approved for official procedures under the guise that it must be kept as classified information. This is very handy for abusive governments who want to entrap people for any reason.


Operation Flicker ICE – Special Training Notice 2013
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a training notice for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) –OF Modernization program. This training notice represents the program’s domestic operations for law enforcement to be effective against the sexual exploitation of children which includes child pornography. Description and Background: Past methods used to combat and fight child pornography distribution and possession were not very effective as many have resorted to clever and sophisticated methods to avoid detection by internet monitoring systems set up online with help of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As of 2011 to 2013, new methods have been adopted for the current law enforcement system supporting the screening of peer-to-peer file sharing networks and other internet protocols for detecting child pornography distribution and downloading. Programmatically, ICE Operation Flicker is limited in detecting and aiding in catching child pornographers as they continue finding sophisticated methods to avoid detection from law enforcement. So this short special training notice has given notice of instructing new methods, tactics, and strategies in order to train ICE and federal law enforcement to catch potential child pornographers whom have been caught engaging in sex tourism and exploitation of children. These methods involve both P2P file sharing systems and using computer Trojans which can be distributed on both encrypted and non-encrypted networks. These methods ensure that law enforcement has the proper tools that can can finally catch child molesters and child exploiters whom have avoided child porn detection schemes by undercover agents and officers. Risks and Issues: The use of these methods may create constitutional and legal issues which may drive radical civil liberties organizations to attempt to fight these new methods upon discovery of them, which is the reason why this document remains classified, however the benefits of fighting sex tourism and child exploitation make these new methods acceptable in the modern age of telecommunications. The few risks in addition to the above are identified below:  If ICE and FBI are not coordinated in their attempts using these new methods to deter and catch potential child pornographers, there may be data consistency issues between the agencies and data leaks from potential whistleblowers. Child pornography files may have to be shared from CPS servers in order to execute these new methods which will help criminal investigators determine if whom they are investigating could engage in distribution and transmission of child pornography images and moving images. The new methods of using Trojans and P2P file sharing systems to engage potential child pornographers to download files from undercover agents will prove more of a success since tools now exist to block and blacklist government IP Addresses which further deters our agents from being able to detect those engaging in distribution and transmission.

Trojan Strategy: The Trojans shall be developed by our IT technicians and programming teams coordinated between the FBI Cyber Crime division and ICE. The purpose of these programs is to infect anyone whom is added to our suspected child-pornographer lists then use them to download child pornography then distriute them with other users on P2P file sharing networks to be able to flag the IP Address then sent it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The Trojans will use the following procedures to engage in the catching of suspects.  ICE will work closely with the FBI to develop Trojans that specifically can patch into all standard P2P protocols icnluding ed2k, gnutella, Kad, Bittorrent, and any other similar protocols concerning the distribution and trading of files. The Trojans used will be mainly Windows based and will be difficult to end the task and remove using a task manager or any conventional methods of process termination. The Trojans will store the child pornography in folders of which the average user is not aware of or has no expertise of. The files shared will be files which were already flagged by the NCMEC for this method to be effective. P2P file sharing strategy: ICE’s new method to catch child predators using P2P file sharing software is by sharing files which will not be found under the suspects radar. Sharing files using terms such as PTHC, PTSC, R@ygold, hussyfan, 12yo, 11yo, etc. and other terms has proven more difficult as pedophiles have become aware of the sting operations using these keywords. This method has been adopted and has been used for already two years and has so far had success with gaining approval after submitting key documents of these procedures. The procedure will be using the new methods which include stuffing child pornography images and moving-images inside of average files which will be shared by servers sanctioned by the FBI. The methods of stuffing will vary from each agent or officer but are approved as long as the suspect cannot detect that the file contains child pornography until the file has been downloaded. Child pornography has successfully been stuffed into adult pornography films, music files using ID3 tags, software programs, keygens and cracks, and other material that has been illicitly traded over P2P file sharing networks. This method has been successful at deterring both child pornographers and copyright infringement and has been approved for official procedures under the guise that it be kept as classified information. Stuffing has prevented child pornographers from being able to avoid our detection systems and have been used to finally net difficult child pornography distributors and downloaders. 

Score: 4

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The 300 Million dollars/yr. for five year bill Congress passed attached to the Bank Bail Out Bill of 2008

Beside the 300 Million dollars/yr. for five year bill Congress passed attached to the Bank BailOut Bill of 2008 it is GRANTS as espoused by researcher 1min. 40sec. into this video. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has, ironically, found that exploiting children turns a profit. It has been doing so since its creation in 1984 under Ronald Reagan in this quasi-governmental scheme. It enjoys huge amounts of funding from the Department of Justice(DOJ) and a level of privacy other non-profits don’t have. NCMEC 2011 Tax return states they received over 40 Million dollars and paid out in salaries 32 Million leaving only 5 Million. Out of that 5 Million dollars 3 MIllion was spent on fundraising. With a CASH COW of this magnitude wouldn’t you want to keep it alive and thriving? How would you do it? A child porn Witch Hunt. This is how child porn is a BILLION dollar a yr. business funded with TAX dollars we DO NOT have so in essence the real child abuse comes latter when your children’s, children have to pay for it. 
NCMEC exaggerates its figures, saying that over 2,000 children go missing every day, almost 800,000 every year; However more than 95% of those cases are runaways and the other 4 to 5% are abducted by family members denied joint custody. Stranger abductions account for less than 1%. In the 24 years NCMEC been around their figures amount to, “19.2 MILLION missing children”. NCMEC should be applauded for the recovery of 121,000 children but, when compared to over 19 million quoted as missing, their recovery rate appears alarmingly low and too put these numbers into perspective the current population of the entire state of New York is 19.4 million. If we are to believe the NCMEC’s claims about the number of missing children that would be tantamount to the entire population of the state of New York missing, gone, vanished! If we compare these numbers to the Vietnam War where a total of approximately 2,594,000 (or 2.6 Million) U.S. troops were sent to served in Vietnam. Most everyone either knows a Vietnam veteran or knows someone who knows a Vietnam veteran. Can the same be said for a missing child? I know many Vietnam vets but NO missing children. How can that be? The DOJ knows damned well that 90% of underage hookers are not “lured” in any meaningful way, and that they do it because it’s the best and most dependable way to support themselves on the street. 
NCMEC 2011 Tax Return can be found here.

The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse: Truth Versus Political Correctness

The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse: Truth Versus Political Correctness
Hollida Wakefield

ABSTRACT: Research over many years establishes the negative effects of child sexual abuse are not as pervasive, severe, and long-lasting as generally assumed. But rather than being seen by victims’ advocates as good news, such research results are met with resistance, anger, and personal attacks. This controversy reached its height in 1999 when the media, conservative organizations, and the United States Congress condemned a 1998 meta-analysis in the Psychological Bulletin by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman. The American Psychological Association’s response to the furor was to distance itself from the article and its authors. This episode demonstrates the difficulty of doing and reporting research where conclusions contradict strongly held beliefs.


Probably no crime outrages society as much as does child sexual abuse. Child molesters are hated and despised. Most people, even other criminals, hate and despise child molesters and feel they should be locked up for life. These beliefs are widespread, not supported by facts, and result in increasingly harsh penal sanctions (Quinn, Forsyth, & Mullen-Quinn, 2004).
Many professionals, as well as the public, believe victims of child sexual abuse suffer grievous harm. They claim sexual contact between an adult and a child causes depression, anxiety, eating disorders, relationship problems, personality disorders, dissociation, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They believe these sequelae are common, if not inevitable.
The universal hatred of child molesters, the moral outrage child sexual abuse engenders, and the belief victims are always damaged makes it extremely difficult for researchers to report conclusions that differ from these beliefs or even study adult-child sexual contact. Those who do are likely to be vilified. Bullough and Bullough (1996) observe “It is the ever-present danger of being accused of pedophilia which makes the research so dangerous and debilitating that few individuals are able to risk it” (p. 66).
Some Examples
When Alfred Kinsey published “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” he was called a pervert, a menace and a Communist (Carey, 2004). People criticized him for using data from acknowledged pedophiles and even accused him of being a pedophile himself (Bullough, 2000). His retrospective data tended to show many people who had experienced childhood sex with adults were not seriously harmed by it, another statement that got him in trouble (Bullough, 1998). John Bancroft (2004), a Senior Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute, notes there has been a long-running campaign to discredit and demonize Kinsey, using him as a scapegoat for many of society’s current problems.
In 1998 Vern Bullough, a highly-respected sexologist and distinguished professor emeritus at the State University at Buffalo, spoke at a world conference on pornography at the Center for Sex Research at California State University in Northridge. His presentation resulted in a storm of controversy and ultimately a state legislative investigation that charged the conference with encouraging pedophilia. A witness before the legislative committee accused Dr. Bullough of being a self-confessed pedophile. This had happened before to Dr. Bullough (Bullough & Bullough, 1996). Bullough (2000) believes such accusations arise from a deliberate policy to arouse public opinion against sex research. He postulates that childhood is pictured as one where terrible dangers lurk everywhere and guilty parents respond hysterically to the most frightful of all hot-button issues, child sexual abuse. He believes any research even suggesting child sexual abuse isn’t inevitably traumatic is too threatening to tolerate.
Theo Sandfort is a sex researcher in the Netherlands who has written extensively about man-boy relationships in the Netherlands (Sandfort, 1983, 1984). He was able, with the permission of the adult partners, to contact 25 boys. At that time, the climate in the Netherlands was very different than it was in the United States regarding adult-child sex. For example, in 7 out of 25 cases Sandfort studied, the boy’s parents were aware of the relationship and accepted it. Police generally didn’t prosecute when the boy was at least 12 years old. Sandfort’s research was harshly criticized and one seldom encounters it in the literature on the effects of child sexual abuse. Bauserman (1991) comments on the severe and unfair critiques of Sandfort’s research, and concludes the moral condemnation of such relationships means critics are unable to evaluate his research objectively: “It seems that the taboo against juvenile sexuality and particularly against adult-juvenile sex is still so strong that research which fails to support the prevailing ideology must be attacked and discredited, regardless of its actual validity”(p. 311).
The Rind et al. Affair
In 1998, Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch, and Robert Bauserman published a meta-analysis of the effects of child sexual abuse using college samples in the Psychological Bulletin. Contradicting the popular view that child sexual abuse inevitably causes severe and long-lasting psychological damage, the authors reported that the relationship between a self-reported history of child sexual abuse and psychopathology was quite weak. They concluded subjects who had been sexually abused were nearly as well-adjusted as those who were not. Their results were similar to earlier studies using community samples (Bauserman & Rind, 1997; Rind & Tromovitch, 1997). In the article, they reported even more provocative findings-that 11% of female and 37% of male respondents retrospectively indicated their short-term reactions to the sexual contact had been positive.
The authors were careful to emphasize that lack of harm doesn’t mean the adult-child sexual contact is morally permissible: “If it is true that wrongfulness in sexual matters does not imply harmfulness … then it is also true that lack of harmfulness does not imply lack of wrongfulness … [T]he findings of the current review do not imply that moral or legal definitions of or view on behaviors currently classified as CSA should be abandoned or even altered” (p. 47).
There was no response to the article for several months. Then, what has been called the “political storm of the century for the field of psychology” (Garrison & Kobor, 2002) began.1 The article came to the attention of several conservative groups, including radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger, whose “Dr. Laura” radio show attracts millions of listeners. Dr. Laura criticized the article and its authors as well as the APA (American Psychological Association) for publishing it. She called it “junk science at its worst” and claimed the point of the article was to normalize pedophilia. She even implied that two of the authors traveled over the world to promote adult-child sex (Lilienfeld, 2002b, p. 178).
Schlessinger then urged Congress to take formal action against the APA. Raymond D. Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of the APA, initially defended the article and the peer review process (Garrison & Kobor, 2002). But Schlessinger, Congress, and others kept up the pressure. It became clear Congress was going to condemn not only the article but the APA. So On June 9, 1999 Dr. Fowler backtracked in a letter to House Majority Whip, Tom DeLay. He now wrote “Clearly, the article included opinions of the authors that are inconsistent with APA’s stated and deeply held positions on child welfare and protection issues.” He went on to explain that the APA was seeking an independent expert evaluation of the scientific quality of the article. This was the first time in the APA’s 107-year history that it had taken such an action (Lilienfeld, 2002b).
Fowler’s capitulation didn’t save the APA and Rind and his colleagues from condemnation by Congress. On July 12th, 1999, the United States House of Representatives voted 355 to 0, with 13 members abstaining, to condemn the article’s conclusions. Eighteen days later the United States Senate unanimously passed the resolution. It states, in part:
Whereas the Psychological Bulletin has recently published a severely flawed study … which suggests that sexual relationships between adults and children are less harmful than believed and might be positive for “willing” children … Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring) that Congress condemns and denounces all suggestions in the article “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples” [PDF File] that indicate that sexual relationships between adults and “willing” children are less harmful than believed … [and condemns] any suggestion that sexual relations between children and adults — regardless of the child’s frame of mind — are anything but abusive, destructive, exploitive, reprehensible, and punishable by law. (106 Congress, 1st Session, H. Con. Res. 107) …
This resolution ignores the fact Rind and his colleagues were not the first or only researchers to report not all victims of child sexual abuse suffer serious and lasting psychological damage. Other researchers also report many respondents showed few or no symptoms and found the relationship between adult-child sexual contact and later physical or psychological problems to be highly complex (e.g., Berliner & Conte, 1993; Beitchman, et al, 1991, 1992; Dolezal, & Carballo-Dieguez, 2002; Finkelhor, 1990; Friedrich, Whiteside, & Talley, 2004; Levitt & Pinnell, 1995; Parker & Parker, 1991; Pope & Hudson, 1992; Runtz, 2002; Stander, Olson, & Merrill, 2002).
Aftermath of the Rind Affair
Following his promise to Congress, Ray Fowler asked the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to evaluate the scientific merit of the Rind et al. article. On October 4, 1999, Irving Lerch, the Chair of the AAAS Committee of Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, wrote to Richard McCarty, the Executive Director for Science at the APA, explaining why the AAAS turned down this request:
We see no reason to second-guess the process of peer review used by the APA journal in its decision to publish the article in question … we saw no clear evidence of improper application of methodology or other questionable practices on the part of the article’s authors … we believe that disputes over methods in science are best resolved, not through the intervention of AAAS or any other “independent” organization, but rather through the process of intellectual discourse among scientists in a professional field.
The AAAS committee also expressed its concerns over the course of the debate:
The committee also wishes to express its grave concerns with the politicization of the debate over the article’s methods and findings … we found it deeply disconcerting that so many of the comments made by those in the political arena and in the media indicate a lack of understanding of the analysis presented by the authors or misrepresented the article’s findings.
Many psychologists were outraged over the APA’s behavior in this matter and expressed their anger and dismay in letters to Ray Fowler and in postings to professional list serves. Despite this, a second controversy arose in 2001 over the rejection of a previously accepted article by Scott Lilienfeld describing the imbroglio and the APA’s part in it (Lilienfeld, 2002a). Dr. Lilienfeld’s article was eventually published. This controversy, along with the original fiasco, is described in a special issue of theAmerican Psychologist published in March, 2002.
The March 2002 special issue of the American Psychologist includes an article by U. S. Representative Brian N. Baird from Washington, a Ph.D. psychologist. Rep. Baird was one of the 13 representatives who abstained from voting because he believed it wasn’t the proper rule of Congress to intrude in the scientific process. He received significant political fallout for this in the form of glossy mailers sent to his constituents accusing him of condoning child sexual abuse. He is critical of the American Psychological Association: “Inexplicably and incongruously, given that a fundamental principle of scientific freedom was under attack, the APA appears to have bent over backwards to appease those who assaulted the organization” (Baird, 2002, p. 190). It is also clear, when the APA capitulated to Dr. Laura and the United States Congress, it passed up an invaluable opportunity to educate the public about the nature of science and research (Lilienfeld, 2002b; Sher & Eisenberg, 2002; Tavris, 1999).
The criticism of the APA’s behavior in no way means open debate and criticism of the Rind et al. article should be discouraged as long as the disagreement is honest and is based on legitimate scientific grounds. Lilienfeld (2002b) notes that “science progresses most effectively when researchers’ claims are subjected to searching and incisive scrutiny” (p. 184). But it isn’t legitimate to imply the authors of the article have a pro-pedophile agenda.
One factor in the condemnation of Rind et al. article is that their findings directly contradicted the popular beliefs about effects of sexual abuse. One would think this would be heralded as great news for victims and their parents — a victim would no longer have to think of herself as damaged for life. But, in terms of social psychology and decision theory, what happened isn’t surprising. There is a long history of research demonstrating information which contradicts strongly held beliefs is ignored and demeaned, or results in attacks on the source of the information. This is true even in the face of information that clearly refutes the beliefs (e.g., Dawes, 1988; Festinger, 1997, Festinger, Riecken, & Schachter, 1956; Lilienfeld, 2002b). In addition, people are overconfident about their beliefs and convictions (Smith & Dumont, 1997). Along with this, people tend to equate the harmfulness of an act with its moral wrongfulness. Even though Rind et al. explicitly differentiated between these concepts, people think of child molesters as monsters who violate society’s moral, legal and ethical codes. How could such terrible behavior not also be damaging?
In situations such as this, the important role of the scientist is to correct errors in logical reasoning, contradict strongly held beliefs, and to question commonly accepted truths. (e.g., Baird, 2002; Lilienfeld, 2002b). But in order for this to happen, scientists’ rights to explore controversial research questions and draw potentially unpopular conclusions must be defended (e.g., Baird, 2002; Hatfield et al. 1999; Lilienfeld, 2002b). Sternberg (2002) observes:
In the case of an article that is high in quality but that defies the crowd and, especially, that defies public sensibilities, should it be published? Absolutely. Academic freedom requires it, and scientists’ integrity, as scientists, depends on it (p. 195)
Unfortunately, the reaction to the Rind et al. article makes it more difficult for researchers to tackle this topic and for journal editors to publish such articles.
Scientists must be sensitive to the implications of their work for the larger society and must counter its misuse (e.g., Garrison & Kobor, 2002; Lerch, 1999, Lilienfeld, 2002b). The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) had cited the Rind et al. (1998) article on their web site with the implication that it supported their goals. This wasn’t helped by the suggestion in the article that the more neutral terms “adult-child sex” and “adult-adolescent sex” be used rather than “child sexual abuse” to describe willing encounters between adults and minors that the young person experienced as positive, a suggestion that arose out of the the peer review editorial process (Rind et al. 1999, 2000). But I believe Rind et al. (1998) were sensitive to the implications of their work. They wrote a careful and thoughtful article. I don’t see how anyone reading it could conclude they favor of normalizing adult-child sexual contact.
In a story in the New York Times, Benedict Carey (2004) gives several examples of research projects involving sexual behavior that were canceled or are at risk. The title of his article is “Long after Kinsey, only the brave study sex.” He concludes that American’s ambivalence regarding sexuality means sex researchers “operate in a kind of scientific underground, fearing suppression or public censure” (p. 1).
In fall, 2004, I flew from Denver to Minneapolis after working on a case. Shortly before the plane left, a man dressed in hunting clothing sat next to me. He was talkative and friendly and told me he had been elk hunting. He asked me what I did. I told him I was a forensic psychologist and had been consulting on a case involving child sexual abuse allegations.
“I know what I’d do,” he said,” “I’d take that guy outside and shoot him. None of them should be given a second chance.”
This is the typical reaction I get when I tell people I review child interviews in sexual abuse cases or evaluate sex offenders. It doesn’t matter whether the person is male or female, young or old, conservative or liberal. I have heard such sentiments from all manner of people. It may, by now, simply be impossible to do the type of research that will help solve important social problems dealing with sexual behavior.
If such research is somehow conducted, it will be difficult to report results if they contradict popularly held beliefs.
Bancroft, J. (2004). Alfred C. Kinsey and the Politics of Sex Research, Annual Review of Sex Research, 15, 1-39.
Bauserman, R. (1991). Objectivity and ideology: Criticism of Theo Sandfort’s research on man-boy sexual relations. Journal of Homosexuality, 20(1/2), 297-312.
Bauserman, R., & Rind, B. (1997). Psychological correlates of male child and adolescent sexual experiences with adults: A review of the nonclinical literature. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26(2), 105-141.
Beitchman, J. H., Zucker, K. J., Hood, J. E., daCosta, G. A., Akman, D., & Cassavia, E. (1992). A review of the long-term effects of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 16(1), 101-118.
Beitchman, J. H., Zucker, K. J., Hood, J. E., daCosta, G. A., & Akman, D. (1991). A review of the short-term effects of child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 15(4),537-556.
Berliner, L., & Conte, J. R. (1993). Sexual abuse evaluations: Conceptual and empirical obstacles. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17(1), 111-125.
Bullough, V. L. (1998). Alfred Kinsey and the Kinsey Report: Historical overview and lasting contributions. The Journal of Sex Research, 35(2), 127-131.
Bullough, V. (2000). The Pedophilia Smear. The Position, 7/17/00.
Bullough, V., & Bullough, B. (1996). Problems of research into adult/child interaction. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 8(2), 65-71.
Carey, B. (2004, November 9). Long after Kinsey, Only the Brave Study Sex. New York Times, Science Times, pp. 1, 7.
Dawes, R. M. (1988). Rational Choice in an Uncertain World (). New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Dolezal, C., & Carballo-Dieguez, A. (2002). Childhood sexual experiences and the perception of abuse among Latino men who have sex with men. The Journal of Sex Research, 39(3),165-173.
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Friedrich, W. N., Whiteside, S. P., & Talley, N. J. (2004). Noncoercive sexual contact with similarly aged individuals: What is the impact? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(9), 1075-1084.
Garrison, E. G., & Kobor, P. C. (2002). Weathering a political storm: A contextual perspective on a psychological research controversy. American Psychologist,
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Levitt, E. E., & Pinnell, C. M. (1995). Some additional light on the childhood sexual abuse- psychopathology axis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 43(2), 145-162.
Lerch, I. (1999, Oct. 4). Letter to Richard McCarty. Published inPsychological Science Agenda, November/December, 12(6), 1999, pp. 2-3.
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2002a). A funny thing happened on the way to my American Psychologist publication. American Psychologist, 57(3), 225-227.
Lilienfeld, S. O. (2002b). When worlds collide: Social science, politics, and the Rind et al. (1998) child sexual abuse meta-analysis. American Psychologist, 57(3), 176-188.
Parker, S., & Parker, H. (1991). Female victims of child sexual abuse: Adult adjustment. Journal of Family Violence, 6(2), 183-197.
Pope, H. G., & Hudson, J. I. (1992). Is childhood sexual abuse a risk factor for bulimia nervosa? American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(4),455-463.
Quinn, J. F., Forsyth, C. J., & Mullen-Quinn, C. (2004). Societal reaction to sex offenders: A review of the myths surrounding their crimes and treatment amenability. Deviant Behavior, 25(3),215-232.
Rind, B., & Tromovitch, P. (1997). A meta-analytic review of findings from national samples on psychological correlates of child sexual abuse. The Journal of Sex Research, 34(3), 237-255.
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Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., Bauserman, R. (1999, November 6). The clash of media, politics, and sexual science: An examination of the controversy surrounding the Psychological Bulletin meta-analysis on the assumed properties of child sexual abuse. Talk presented at the 1999 Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, St. Louis, Missouri.
Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., Bauserman, R. (2000). Condemnation of a scientific article: A chronology and refutation of the attacks and a discussion of threats to the integrity of science. Sexuality and Culture, 4(2), 1-62.
Runtz, M. G., (2002). Health concerns of university women with a history of child physical and sexual maltreatment. Child Maltreatment, 7(3),241-253.
Sandfort, T. (1983). Pedophile relationships in the Netherlands: Alternative lifestyle for children? Alternative Lifestyles, 5(3), 164-183.
Sandfort, T. G. M. (1984). Sex in pedophiliac relationships: An empirical investigation among a nonrepresentative group of boys.The Journal of Sex Research, 20(2),123-142.
Sher, K. J., & Eisenberg, N. (2002). Publication of Rind et al. (1998): The editors’ perspective. American Psychologist, 57(3),206-219.
Smith, D., & Dumont, F. (1997). Eliminating overconfidence in psychodiagnosis: Strategies for training and practice. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 4(4), 335-345.
Stander, V. A., Olson, C. B., Merrill, L. L. (2002). Self-definition as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse among Navy recruits.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(2), 369-377.
Sternberg, R. J. (2002). Everything you need to know to understand the current controversies you learned from psychological research: A comment on the Rind and Lilienfeld controversies. American Psychologist, 57(3), 193-197.
Tavris, C. (1999, July 19). The politics of sex abuse. Los Angeles Times.
1 For detailed accounts of this controversy from different perspectives see Lilienfeld (2002), Garrison and Kobor (2002), andRind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (1999, 2000). [Back]
* Institute for Psychological Therapies, 5263 130th Street East., Northfield, Minnesota 55057. Electronic mail address isunder006@tc.umn.edu. This material was first presented at theAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, February 18, 2005, Washington, DC at the Symposium, “The Political Framing of Empirical Results in Psychology”