Though many MAPs have not committed sexual offenses (Hall et al., 1995; Okami & Goldberg, 1992; Bailey, Bernard, & Hsu, 2016), it is critical not to overlook those who have, particularly because the latter have been the primary population from which researchers draw their samples. Compared to MAPs who have not offended, some studies suggest that those who have may have trouble with executive functioning (Massau et al., 2017), may have more pathological symptoms (Bailey, Bernhard, & Hsu, 2016), may harbor more legitimizing beliefs about sexual contact with children or have been sexually active children themselves (Fagan, Wise, Schmidt, & Berlin, 2002; Spriggs, Cohen, Valencia, Zimri, & Galynker, 2018; Cohen, Ndukwe, Yaseen, & Galynker, 2018), and are older on average (Bailey, Bernhard, & Hsu, 2016; ). Some researchers have also found various physiological or neurological differences in those who have offended such as less white matter (Cantor et al., 2008), lower IQ (Blanchard et al., 2007; Cantor et al., 2003), non-right-handedness (Blanchard et al., 2007; Cantor et al., 2003), history of head injury (Blanchard et al., 2003), and shorter stature (Taylor, Myers, Robbins, and Barnard, 1993; Cantor et al., 2007). Bailey, Bernhard, & Hsu (2016) hypothesize that those who have offend “are distinguished by stable traits, such that [non-offenders] are unlikely to [offend].”

While a distinction between MAPs who have and who have not offended is indeed crucial to an understanding of minor attraction, it is important not to dehumanize those who have offended in a population already heavily entrenched in stigma. MAPs who have been publicly outed due to an offense are 183 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population (Walter & Pridmore, 2012). Many attend mandatory therapy sessions as part of their treatment. However, such individuals often feel even more misunderstood and judged by their therapists than MAPs who seek treatment voluntarily (B4U-ACT-Act, 2011). This is reflected on the other side of the equation: One survey indicated that, while the amount of therapists who work with sex offenders is generally on the rise, the vast majority are unwilling to work with pedophiles or those who have committed CSA (Bach & Demuth, 2018). Furthermore, there is a persistent stereotype that those who have offended are prone to recidivism, despite evidence suggesting that they are as or less likely to do so than non-sex offenders (Moulden, Firestone, Kingston, & Bradford, 2009; Lave, 2011).

Though traditional models of sex offender treatment have focused on prevention, some models of offender rehabilitation have begun to offer the same considerations of well-being and happiness to the client (Willis & Ward, 2011; Leaming & Willis, 2016). Overall, it is possible for those who have offended to live within the law and lead fulfilling, healthy lives.

References

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