Chair: Patrick Lussier
Sexual Offending: A Criminological Perspective
Author: Pascalle Spaan, University Rotterdam
Arjan Blokland, NSCR; Martine Blom, WODC; Luc Robert, NICC; Eirc Maes, NICC; Rembert De Blander, NICC
Title: Differentiating Sex Offenders: a Latent Class Analysis of the Criminal Careers of Sex and Non-Sex Offenders
Researchers in the field of sexual offending increasingly begin to realize that for many men committing sexual offenses, their sex crimes are part of a larger criminal career that also consists of non-sexual offenses. Besides ignoring cross-over between different types of sexual offenses, this approach loses sight of the broader repertoire of criminal behaviour these sexual offenses may be part of. In this study we use latent class analysis to distinguish different types of sexual offenders based on their history of both sexual and non-sexual offenses. The latent classes identified are then contrasted with sex offender typologies commonly applied in the research literature and – with regard to patterns in non-sexual offending - with latent classes found in a comparison group of non-sexual offenders. To test the robustness of our findings we compare data from nationally representative conviction cohorts from the Netherlands and Belgium. Results show that there is only limited overlap between these latent classes and sex offender typologies based on the index offense, and that sex offenders resemble non-sex offenders in their criminal career patterns to a substantial degree. These results question the common practice of typifying sex offenders by a single offense, and challenge theories of sexual offending to incorporate different patterns of non-sex offending across men convicted of sexual crimes.
Keywords: sex offending; criminal career; crime specialization; typology
Author: Eric Beauregard, Simon Fraser University
Title: Aren’t They All Psychopaths? Examining Personality Disorders in Sexual Murderers
Given the constellation of personality features characterized by deficits in guilt, shame, remorse, and empathy and pervasive, multifaceted self-regulation problems, psychopathy has emerged as a theoretical framework with which to understand sexual homicide. However, few prior studies have examined the other personality disorders nor utilized control groups of offenders. Drawing on data from 616 adult male sex offenders including 85 that were sexual homicide offenders (SHOs), the current study examined the personality profile of the SHOs, by comparing them with a group of violent nonhomicidal sex offenders (VNHSOs) and a group of nonhomicidal sex offenders (NHSOs) on clinical diagnostics of personality disorders and various crime characteristics. The personality profile of SHOs is comprised primarily of Schizoid and Borderline Personality Disorders, and these offenders were significantly likely to select a victim, use a weapon, and use drugs and alcohol before their offenses, but less likely to force their victim to engage in sexual acts or humiliate them. The comorbidity of Schizoid, Borderline, and Antisocial Personality Disorder features presents unique personality dysfunction that facilitates the lethal sexual violence of SHOs relative to their non-homicidal sexual offender peers.
Keywords: sexual aggression; sexual homicide; personality disorder
Author: Evan McCuish, Simon Fraser University
Title: Juvenile Offenders and Pathways to Adult Sex Offending
Most research on the criminal careers of adult sex offenders examines patterns of offending following involvement in a sexual offense. Much less is known about the pathway between adolescent criminal careers and adult sex offending. Initial research examined the degree of continuity between sexual offending across both adolescence and adulthood, with findings suggesting that prior sexual offending contributed very little explanations of adult sex offending. The current study used data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offenders to examine the criminal careers of adolescent offenders involved in adult sex offending. Criminal career parameters of this group were contrasted against those involved in nonsexual offending and those involved in juvenile sex offending to evaluate the perspective that adult sex offenders would be those involved in a pattern of frequent general antisocial behavior that exposed them to opportunities for involvement in a sex offense. The current study includes a highly specific sample of individuals involved in serious crimes in adolescence and thus future research is needed using other samples, especially samples that include individuals that began their criminal career with a sex offense in adulthood.
Keywords: juvenile offending; adult sex offending; continuity of offending; longitudinal study
Author: Patrick Lussier, Université Laval
Nadine Deslauriers-Varin, Université Laval
Title: Entry Into Sexual Recidivism: Revisiting the Specific Propensity Underlying Sexual Recidivism
Individuals who have been convicted for a sex crime are considered a distinct and unique group of offenders as evidenced by the criminal justice system efforts to develop and implement methods to assess, predict, and manage their risk of sexual recidivism. Such assumptions are based on an aggregate, variable-oriented perspective that portrays all individuals convicted of a sex crime as potential life-course persistent sex offenders with implications on their penal trajectory, their community re-entry experience and reintegration possibilities. Therefore, the current scientific literature is not informative about factors that may differentiate and predict a first from a second or third sexual reoffense, nor is it informative about how risk factors possibly interact with each other beyond what are considered specific risk factors of sexual recidivism. Using data from a random sample of 756 individuals convicted for a sex crime and building on a life course approach to the issue of offending, the current study aims to bridge this gap by examining the benefits of statistical models that recognizes the heterogeneity among this group for risk assessment and risk prediction purposes. The current study findings provide some empirical support for the use of decision tree and classification algorithms in combination with traditional models to describe, understand and predict the criminal career unfolding of individuals involved in sex crimes.
Keywords: risk; sexual recidivism; risk assessment; criminal career