Correlates of Admitted Sexual Interest in Children Among Individuals Convicted of Child Pornography Offenses

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Abstract

Recent research on a risk assessment tool for child pornography offending suggests that admission of sexual interest in children is a risk factor for any sexual recidivism. Admission is easily vulnerable to lying, however, or to refusals to respond when asked about sexual interests. This may become a particular issue when individuals are concerned about the potential impact of admission of sexual interest on sentencing and other risk-related decisions. In this study, we identified the following behavioral correlates (coded yes/no) of admission of sexual interest in children in the risk tool development sample of 286 men convicted of child pornography offenses: (a) never married (54% of sample), (b) child pornography content included child sexual abuse videos (64%), (c) child pornography content included sex stories involving children (31%), (d) evidence of interest in child pornography spanned 2 or more years (55%), (e) volunteered in a role with high access to children (7%), and (f) engaged in online sexual communication with a minor or officer posing as a minor (10%). When summed, the average score on this Correlates of Admission of Sexual Interest in Children (CASIC) measure was 2.21 (SD = 1.22, range 0–6) out of a possible 6, and the CASIC score was significantly associated with admission of sexual interest in children, area under the curve (AUC) = .71, 95% CI [.65, .77]. The CASIC had a stronger relationship with admission in a small cross-validation sample of 60 child pornography offenders, AUC = .81, 95% CI [.68, .95]. CASIC scores may substitute for admission of sexual interest in risk assessment involving those with child pornography offenses.

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