Top 10 myths about sex offenders

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Top 10 myths about sex offenders

The social stigma that attaches when someone has only been charged with a sex crime makes it almost impossible to receive a fair trial. The skilled criminal attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm specialize in California sex crime defense and know the most effective ways to dispel the myths that pervade our society, to ensure that their clients receive fair consideration from skeptical judges and jurors.

The following are the top 10 myths that our society readily believes regarding sex offenders.

1. All child molesters are pedophiles.
Fact: Child molesters do so for a variety of reasons, often unrelated to sexual desires. Their victims may be incidental and their primary sexual orientation may even be towards adults. They may molest a child to meet an unmet emotional need.

2. All pedophiles are child molesters.
Fact: Pedophiles have a strong sexual desire towards children but many are content fantasizing in private. Many rely on pornographic materials to fulfill their fantasies in the safety and comfort of their own home, never actually molesting a child.

3. Child pornography collectors molest children.
Fact: Some child molesters use child pornography – not all child porn collectors molest children. Research reveals that many child molesters aren’t stimulated by child porn and (if they collect pornographic materials at all) actually collect adult porn. There is no evidence to suggest that sex offenders use pornography with any more frequency than non-offenders.

4. All convicted child molesters re-offend.
Fact: A convicted child molester may have molested a child because of poor self-esteem, due to a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. Many molest due to a specific circumstance and not based on an ongoing need.

5. The more serious the initial offense, the more likely the person will re-offend.
Fact: This is perhaps one of the most commonly exploited myths – and easy to dismiss with research and reports. Recidivism (relapse) rates for sex offenders are lower than for the general criminal population and rape (one of the most severe sex crimes) has an extremely low relapse rate.

6. All convicted rapists re-offend.
Fact: This, too, is a largely publicized, political fear-tactic that has no bearing on reality. Convicted rapists have one of the lowest recidivism rates among criminals, and the only group that is lower is convicted murderers.

7. Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers.
Fact: Regardless of whether the victim is an adult or a child, the fact is that most sexual assaults are committed by an individual known to the victim or to the victim’s family. 9 out of 10 rape or sexual assault acts involve a single offender who had a prior relationship with the victim as an acquaintance, intimate partner or family member.

8. Indecent exposers are rapists waiting to happen.
Fact: This is a huge leap. Indecent exposers (also known as flashers) reportedly engage in such behavior to feel validated. Many believe that they are performing a harmless act and that flashing is a victimless crime.

9. Punishment is the best deterrent.
Fact: Certain types of rehabilitation have a much better deterrent effect on recidivism than punishment. The fact is that longer prison sentences have a higher recidivism rate than shorter sentences – those more than 2 years increased the rate and those less than 6 months had no effect on the rate. Research supports that cognitive-behavioral therapy is the best treatment for adult offenders (focusing on the social influences, values and habits that contribute to these crimes, teaching techniques to cope) and that systematic therapy is the best treatment for adolescent offenders (focusing on the needs of family and other social systems that influence these offenders, including peers and school).

10. Treatment for sex offenders doesn’t work.
Offenders who successfully complete treatment programs re-offend less often and less seriously than those who receive no therapy – period. Research continually reveals that sex offenders can be successfully treated.

To learn more, contact the outstanding sex crime defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Firm for a free consultation.