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System for the Classification of Child Molesters: Reliability and Application

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1989) Pages: 3-23
Date Published
22 pages
A child molester typology is presented to fulfill the need for an operational, reliable, and valid system for addressing the diversity of these offenders.
Of about 1,500 men evaluated at the Massachusetts Treatment Center as of 1981, 454 had been committed. Of these 454 offenders, 177 child molesters met the criteria for study inclusion. A child molester was defined as someone whose sexual offenses were against victims under 16 years of age. A sexual offense was defined as any sexually motivated assault involving physical contact with the victim. About 33 percent of the subjects had a juvenile penal record, and close to 90 percent of the subjects had an adult penal record prior to evaluation at the treatment center. The child molester typology encompassed two decision sequences. Axis I involved dichotomous decisions on two independent, crossed constructs (fixation and social competence). Axis II required a hierarchical series of decisions beginning with the amount of contact with children. Data revealed that the typology has reasonable reliability. Criteria for applying the typology are presented, as well as interrater reliability coefficients for assigning a sample of committed offenders to the proposed types (interpersonal, narcissistic, exploitative but nonsadistic, muted sadistic, nonsadistic but aggressive, and sadistic). 35 references, 1 figure, 1 table. (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1989