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Adverse childhood experiences, paraphilias, and serious criminal violence among federal sex offenders

Alan Drury (United States Probation Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
Tim Heinrichs (Department of United States Probation, United States Probation Southern District of Iowa, Davenport, Iowa, USA)
Michael Elbert (United States Probation Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
Katherine Tahja (United States Probation Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, USA)
Matt DeLisi (Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Daniel Caropreso (United States Probation Southern District of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

2116

Abstract

Purpose

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a broad conceptual framework in the social sciences that have only recently been studied within criminology. The purpose of this paper is to utilize this framework by applying it to one of the most potentially dangerous forensic populations.

Design/methodology/approach

Archival data from 225 federal sex offenders was used to perform descriptive, correlational, and negative binomial regression models.

Findings

There was substantial evidence of ACEs including father abandonment/neglect (36 percent), physical abuse (nearly 28 percent), verbal/emotional abuse (more than 24 percent), and sexual abuse (approximately 27 percent). The mean age of sexual victimization was 7.6 years with the youngest age of victimization occurring at the age of 3. Offenders averaged nearly five paraphilias, the most common were pedophilia (57 percent), pornography addiction (43 percent), paraphilia not otherwise specified (35 percent), exhibitionism (26 percent), and voyeurism (21 percent). The offenders averaged 4.7 paraphilias and the range was substantial (0 to 19). Negative binomial regression models indicated that sexual sadism was positively and pornography addiction was negatively associated with serious criminal violence. Offenders with early age of arrest onset and more total arrest charges were more likely to perpetrate kidnaping, rape, and murder.

Originality/value

ACEs are common in the life history of federal sex offenders, but have differential associations with the most serious forms of crime.

Keywords

Citation

Drury, A., Heinrichs, T., Elbert, M., Tahja, K., DeLisi, M. and Caropreso, D. (2017), "Adverse childhood experiences, paraphilias, and serious criminal violence among federal sex offenders", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 105-119. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-11-2016-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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