A statistical analysis of the difference between juvenile child molesters and juvenile rapists
Worthley, David Bruce
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Within the past twenty years, juvenile sexual assault has become a major focus on several levels, including appropriate treatment variables, indicators of recidivism, and appropriate legal response to adolescents with a history of deviant sexual acting out. There are several variables that warrant research in the process of clarifying the differences between adolescent child molesters and adolescent rapists, in an effort to determine recidivism and criminal characteristics of each subtype. Level of coercion, victim selection, age of victim, level of offense, familiar history, self-esteem disorders and age of offender are variables that are summarized in this study. The researcher employed a cross sectional correlational design in order to determine whether juvenile rapists and juvenile child molesters differed on several variables, and to explore relationships and differences among several factors. Several different tests of significance were used for testing the hypothesis and research questions in this study, including t-tests, and Pearson Chi-Square correlations. The subjects in this study consist of 120 male, juvenile sex offenders (aged 13-19), all adjudicated delinquent and in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Of the 120 subjects, 48 of the juveniles (40%) offended against victims classified as "child victims", or victims who were at least 5 years younger than the offending juvenile, and 72 of the juveniles (60%) offended against peer aged victims. Results of the study indicate the following: there is no significant age difference between adolescent child molesters and adolescent rapists; adolescent rapist and adolescent child molesters have similar abuse histories; adolescent child molesters tend to use less violent methods of coercion than adolescent rapists, adolescent child molesters are more likely than adolescent rapists to choose males as victims; adolescent child mo esters and adolescent rapists both choose to victimize acquaintances at an usually high rate; adolescent child molesters and adolescent rapists commit the same type of sexual offenses at an equal rate. Discussed also in this study is a review of current laws and statutes regarding juvenile sex offenders.
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