FAQs


1. Isn't it true that sex offenders are the most likely of all criminals to reoffend?
No. Those who commit property crimes and drug offenses are far more likely to reoffend. Murderers and sex offenders are the least likely of all major criminal categories to reoffend. The rate of offense for sex offenders has been studied by the U.S. federal government and at the www.csom.org website you can read all about it. A study reported in the New York Times on November 16, 2003 that was conducted by the Justice Department of 9,691 men (sex offenders) who were released in 1994 found 43 percent were arrested for any type of crime within three years compared with 68 percent for all other former inmates. The national study (also available on the Center for Sex Offender Management website, www.csom.org) found that criminals who are not sex offenders were rearrested for a sex crime at a rate of 1.3 percent. Nationally, sex offenders were arrested for another sex crime after their release at a rate of 5.3 percent. This means a non-0ffending rate of 94.7 percent.

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2. But those are only the ones we know about, aren't there a lot more?
All we can work with is what we know. Even if the numbers are not reflective of every criminal act they tell us far more than not doing such studies. In favor of trying to work with the information from the study note that we are working with a far more rigorous standard than that used to originally label the individual as a sex offender—that required a conviction, the study only required an arrest. This is an objective standard and easily measured and we can look at the numbers over time and see if we are reducing recidivism or not.

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3. But aren't sex offenders impossible to rehabilitate? Can they really ever change? Aren't they all child molesters?
The term "sex offenders" is vague and covers a diversity of sex crimes. These include child molestation, rape, open and gross lewdness, indecent exposure, statutory sexual seduction and a host of others. The term often does not include solicitation or pimping—which, from a community health point of view are the Typhoid Marys of sexual criminality because of their exploitation of women and the young, their relationship to drug abuse and alcoholism and their enhanced vectors for sexually transmitted disease. Sex crime victims include people of all ages, both genders and all sexual orientations. Sex offenders most often would never reoffend even without getting treatment; with treatment their risk of reoffending is substantially reduced. This site is strongly in favor of treatment as opposed to incarceration for most offenders. Often with sex offenders, there is no illness to cure; sex crimes are crimes of secrecy and when the secret is out the criminality generally ends with it.

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4. Aren't all child molesters pedophiles? And for that matter, aren't all pedophiles child molesters?
This is simply not true and those who say otherwise are misinformed. Child molestation is a criminal act and pedophilia is a diagnosis of a mental disorder. A pedophile is defined as having had, for at least a period of six months, a pattern of sexual arousal to thoughts of children—but he may or may not act out on those thoughts. A person who molests one child may not have sexual thoughts about children in general. For example, such a person may not be interested in watching films featuring children swimming or like the idea of lurking near a playground or school to watch children in general. Also pedophilia is a learned behavior, there is no gene for pedophilia or any other clinically significant deviant sexual behavior.

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5. Why would a man who is not a pedophile molest a 14-year-old?
First of all, a pedophile by definition is someone with an interest in prepubescent children, that is, children who are below the age of the onset of puberty. The existence of a 14-year-old victim would not by itself indicate pedophilia. In our experience a common example of a man who is not a pedophile might molest his child or stepchild because he is trapped in a miserable relationship that is unfulfilling, feels trapped and without options for either an affair with an adult or getting a divorce because of his beliefs. Such a person, regardless of their income level, is often unfulfilled by their work and generally, no matter how many social contacts, is friendless. Boxed into a corner without the coping skills to take care of his needs appropriately such people often act out, sometimes with drug abuse or alcohol abuse, sometimes by becoming a workaholic, sometimes by molesting a child in the home.

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6. But once someone molests a child can they ever be normal again?
In most cases, absolutely. The vast majority of child molester convictions are of men who are not pedophiles and who simply need to improve their relationship, get out of it and, in either case, get some treatment for their intimacy deficits.

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7. But can pedophiles ever be cured?
The short answer—it depends. Pedophiles can and should be organized into a number of smaller groups. Therapists recognize the difference between those pedophiles who are exclusively aroused to children (and have no interest in adults) and those who are interested sexually in both. This latter group has proven amenable to treatment and can do very well through a holistic treatment program that addresses a wide variety of life issues. Those pedophiles who are exclusively interested in children would be much harder to treat in the same way that someone interested only in adults would have a hard time with treatment designed to help them overcome their interest in adults. But treatment is only more challenging in such situations. Everyone is different and every case has its own nuanced differences.

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8. What is the most difficult sex crime to treat?
Because every case is different and everyone is different this is impossible to answer adequately. Certainly pedophiles who are only interested in children and who have male victims are a very difficult group to treat. But so are those who have an arousal to indecent exposure since the opportunity to reoffend is as everywhere all the time. Someone who has a personality disorder and is without remorse for any pain they've done others is an extremely poor candidate for treatment. In fact, for such a person treatment is a poor option and counterproductive. These are often the offenders who need to remain incarcerated permanently.

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9. Shouldn't all sex offenders be incarcerated permanently?
Punishment is satisfying. Being "tough on crime" pleases some part of ourselves and pandering to the community's fear and desire for punishment—to somehow get control of all that rampant behavior—is how many people communicate on the issue of sexual criminality. But, much like the ineffective "war on drugs" which has cost billions of dollars, many thousands of lives and untold social suffering, the war on sexual criminality has been motivated by this same "tough on crime" mentality. If only incarcerating would stop sexual criminality—it will never do so. The vast majority of sexual offenders who are apprehended in the next ten years will come, not from the ranks of formerly convicted offenders, but from mostly young men who've never been convicted of a serious crime before. Locking up sex offenders, forever or a somewhat less onerous duration of time will only take care of the past, allowing us to vent our spleen, but doing nothing for victims. Politically, all of our lawmaking has essentially been an elaborate dance involving closing a barn door—after the horses have already gotten out.

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10. What is the answer to the sex offender problem?
The answer is by being smart about crime. We can now predict who is at higher risk for committing sex crimes while they are still young. We know the risk factors. We can see the marriages and families where risk is much higher than in the general community. Why isn't our community doing something to prevent sex crimes; if we really cared about victims that is exactly what we would do. All of our dollars are spent on reactive strategies, while no one in leadership is discussing community based proactive strategies using education and treatment. Every sex offender in prison or jail costs us about $30,000 each year. Taking that money and using it intelligently is the answer to reducing sexual criminality dramatically.

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11. Could any approach eliminate sexual criminality altogether?
No more than we likely can eliminate a less dramatic problem like illiteracy. There are many contributing factors to sexual criminality in any country. Often, ignorance of normal human sexual development, the parental impairment resulting from alcoholism or drug addiction, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), personality disorders and a host of other problems contribute, in turn, to the problem of sexual criminality. Consider the fact, for example, that AD/HD is found at a rate of 5% in the general population—while in prisons AD/HD is found at a rate ranging from 50% to 75%. Clearly we using the penal system as our warehouse for many people suffering from mental disorders.

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12. Don't you care about the victims?
In our victim-oriented culture we seem blinded to the fact that if you help one victim you've helped one—but if you help one sex offender or better yet, a potential sex offender—you've helped prevent others from ever becoming victims. Remember that over a third of sex offenders have been sexually victimized themselves…and they were never given any help. Justice indicates that we owe them a belated effort to make a difference.

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13. How we help?
Our entire course is designed to help you have success— for the rest of your life—in your friendships, your career and in matters of love.

It is a program based upon respect for you, your gender and your sexuality.

We will help you manage your sexuality rather than be managed by it.

We will encourage you to embrace normal human sexuality with all its diversity.

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