Expert Questions Study Showing Child Porn Not a Risk Factor for Future Sex Offenses

A new study by the Swiss Department of Justice and Psychiatric/Psychological Service purports to show that for people without a prior conviction for a hands-on sex offense, the viewing of internet child pornography does not seem to represent a risk factor for committing such an offense.

Dr. Judith Reisman, however, the president of the Institute for Media Education and one of the foremost experts on the effects of pornography and its relationship to violent crime, has questioned the results of the Swiss study. Resiman told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that a defense of the use of child pornography as non-causal to subsequent sex abuse of children was “ludicrous.”

The study, published by the online peer-reviewed journal BMC Psychiatry, was conducted by researchers from the Swiss Department of Justice and the University of Constance, Germany, led by Dr. Frank Urbaniok.

The study population consisted of 231 men, who were subsequently charged with consumption of illegal pornographic material after being detected by a special operation against Internet child pornography, conducted by the Swiss police in 2002. Criminal history, as well as recidivism, was assessed using the criminal records from 2008.

Urbaniok and colleagues were able to corroborate that the offenders were well educated and that most consumed other types of illegal pornography as well, such as pornography depicting sexual acts with animals, excrement, or involving brutality.

The report states that the 2008 criminal records of the men charged indicated only 1% of the offenders had gone on to commit a hands-on sex offense in the following six years.

The researchers concluded that “Consuming child pornography alone is not a risk factor for committing hands-on sex offenses – at least not for those subjects who had never committed a hands-on sex offense. The majority of the investigated consumers had no previous convictions for hands-on sex offenses. For those offenders, the prognosis for hands-on sex offenses, as well as for recidivism with child pornography, is favorable.”

In her criticisms of the study’s findings, however, Dr. Judith Reisman referred to a study, conducted by psychologists of the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, of sex offenders at Butner prison in North Carolina that found an overwhelming correlation between use of child pornography and sexual abuse of children.

“The Butner study, as it turns out, found that criminal sex offenders tend to hide the extent of their crimes,” she observed. “Although 40 of 155 men (26 percent) arrested ‘just’ for child pornography admitted to being child molesters, later 132 of these men (85 percent) confessed to sexually abusing children. In fact the 132 molesters admitted to 1,777 young victims.”

Publication of the Butner study was suppressed but it was later leaked to the New York Times.

“People will do anything to avoid dealing with the harsh truth surrounding their abusive conduct,” Dr. Reisman observed. “Since pornography is now recognized as a natural drug addiction similar to that of gambling, cocaine and other addictions, obviously consumption of pornography progresses for many users into more deviance to get that ‘dopamine spritz’ that high that keeps the addict seeking more of the same endogenous drug hit, the high that lets him – or her – feel something.”

A 2004 Canadian study of 724 sex offenders validated the US Butner report. In “Jail Programs had Little Effect on Whether Freed Inmates Re-offended,” roughly 22 percent of 724 treated and untreated sex offenders had been reconvicted of sex crimes within 12 years. Dr. Reisman observed that “these data reflect only those predators caught for another sex crime within 12 years of release. Even this high rate of recidivism wildly understates re-offenses, since child molesters are commonly undetected despite assaulting scores of children for years.”

Dr. Reisman explained that “All pornography renders the frequent user impotent¬†¬† reliant on changing images to bring about what was once a natural capacity for human arousal. All pornography is hypofrontal, shutting off cognition and careening directly from eye to the autonomic nervous system, along the spinal cord and terminating at the reproductive organs, as powerful an aphrodisiac as one can consume.

“All of the data from neuroscience now confirm the neuroplasticity of the brain and the addictive properties of all pornography, that is, all ‘erototoxins’. Pornography is the toxic form of eros.”

Dr. Reisman pointed out that the data naturally points to a link between consuming child pornography and committing sexual offenses against children, since people will seek to experience that which they are interested in.

“A Nobel Prize winner was arrested for child sexual abuse, while reports come in daily naming psychiatrists, mayors, governors, legislators, teachers, prosecutors, judges, doctors, ACLU lawyers, therapists, psychologists, priests, rabbis, etc., found with child pornography and convicted of child sexual abuse. People who subscribe to gourmet magazines will commonly try to eat gourmet foods. People who subscribe to golf magazines, commonly try to play golf. Garden magazine readers commonly try to work in their gardens. Child pornography users will commonly try to abuse children.”

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