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Offending Patterns for Serial Sex Offenders Identified via the DNA Testing of Previously Unsubmitted Sexual Assault kits journal of Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 52 Dated: September 2017 Pages: 68-78
Rachel Lovell; Misty Luminais; David J. Flannery; Laura Overman; Duoduo Huang; Tiffany Walker; Dan R. Clark
Date Published
September 2017
11 pages
Data for this study were derived from serial sex offenders linked via DNA testing of unsubmitted sexual assault kits, which provides a more objective examination of offending patterns.
Much of what is known about serial sex offenders is based on multiple sexual assaults linked via conviction, self-report, or offenders who primarily target strangers. The current study used descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and sexual assault narratives to explore offending patterns for serial compared with non-serial sex offenders; and crossover offending patterns were examined by relationship, age, and gender for serial sex offenders. Crossover offending patterns were examined for three groups of serial sex offenders: those who assaulted only strangers, both strangers and non-strangers, and only non-strangers. Findings show significant crossover offending by relationship and age. Just over one-quarter of offenders sexually assaulted both strangers and non-strangers. Serial sex offenders often varied their offending pattern across offenses. The offender-victim relationship was particularly salient when assessing offending patterns. Offending patterns were not a consistently reliable link across assaults. Many of these sexual assaults had not been linked prior to DNA testing, thereby illustrating the power of the DNA testing of SAKs for identifying and linking serial sex offenders, particularly when testing is followed by a thorough investigation. (publisher abstract modified)