The Evaluation

I received a copy of the evaluation from my lawyer today. In addition to the therapist’s psychological assessment, the report delves into the research behind pedophilia and child pornography offenders.

The evaluation consisted of an interview and several standardized tests which were administered over the course of three sessions.

According to the Shipley Institute of Living Scale which measures intellectual ability and impairment, my IQ is average.

The Paulhus Deception Scale (PDS) measures the degree of accuracy and sincerity in the responses a subject gives. My scores were “consistent with subjects who are aware of their shortcomings but want to appear publicly acceptable.” The report says this is a healthy tendency.

The Abel-Becker Sexual Interest Cardsort for Men (SIS) evaluates sexual interest in a number of types of deviant and unusual sexual thoughts. In this test, I was presented with different scenarios and asked to rate how sexually stimulating or repulsive I found each to be. For example, one statement read, “I’m lying back naked on the bed with my daughter sitting on top of me. I’m stroking her naked body with my hands and pushing my fingers into her cunt.”

According to my SIS profile, I am a normal homosexual male with no unusual patterns of behavior.

The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) and Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-3) are both used for determining psychological disorders. According to these assessments, I have a “pronounced Anxiety Disorder with depressed mood.”

Subjects with similar MCMI-3 responses tend to be passive and dependent, withdrawn and distrustful of others. They seek solitude and prefer to work alone, avoiding conflict at all costs. Beyond his relationship with his domestic partner of one year and his parents, [the patient] seems isolated.

The Global Assessment Functioning (GAF) scale subjectively rates how well a person is dealing with various problems. The therapist gave me a score of 70 out of 100: I show mild symptoms of depression and have some difficulty functioning socially; however, I’m functioning generally well and have some meaningful interpersonal relationships.

GAF scores are also used by the Veterans Benefits Administration to determine the amount of disability compensation veterans receive.

More interesting than the therapist’s psychological assessment is the research portion of his report which summarizes that “viewing CP, alone, is insufficient for a diagnosis of Pedophilia” and “men who find sexual images of children interesting/arousing are not particularly unusual, nor does such interest predict abusive behavior.”

A common misconception is that viewing CP indicates a sexual pathology. However, viewing CP, alone, is insufficient for a diagnosis of Pedophilia. Briere & Runtz (1989) surveyed a sample of college-aged males and found that 21% reported sexual interest in children. That finding is consistent with a study by Hall, Hirschman, and Oliver that found that 25% of a normal sample of males from the community reported pedophilic interest or showed an arousal to children, on a physiological test, at least equal to their arousal to adult stimuli.

In a previous posting, I explained how the sentencing guidelines for possession of child pornography are structured. The prison sentence is calculated via a points system. The Base Offense Level for receipt of child pornography is 22, and points are added based on certain offense characteristics. For example, if any of the images or videos depicts minors under the age of 12, two points are added to the Total Offense Level. Four points are added if the material contains “bondage or other sadistic acts.”

According to the sentencing guidelines, my Total Offense Level adds up to 37 points, or 21.8 years—more than the statutorily authorized maximum of 20 years. Regarding the guidelines, my therapist wrote:

In my reading of the Presentence Report, I was unable to detect any correspondence between the scoring scheme and salient empirical literature. The scoring seems arbitrary and redundant. It is hard to see how anyone using peer-to-peer technology could get any score less than 33.

The reasoning behind such guidelines, according to the law, is that the more graphically disturbing the material is, the more devious the crime and more of a threat the defendant poses to society. The research, however, provides no evidence of this.

A 2007 study (Webb, Craissati, & Keen) comparing Internet child pornography offenders with men convicted of molesting children found that the former ‘were significantly less likely to fail in the community than child molesters in terms of all types of recidivism.’ Two percent of the molester sample committed another contact sex offense, during the 18-month follow-up period, while the CP offenders committed none. Of the molesters, 17% violated the terms of their probation whereas none of the CP sample did so.

Therefore, the “research has not supported early expectations that type of CP, quantities, and the CP-adult mix would be predictive of future contact offenses.”

Studies suggest that the “probability of escalation to a contact offense for a man without prior felonies, guilty of possession only, is low—roughly .5% per year.” The rate of a new arrest for using child pornography is roughly 2% per year.

The report concludes that the “assumptions that have guided policy and management regarding these cases have not been supported by empirical findings.” My therapist also wrote that I am “unlikely to access illegal pornography or commit other sexual crimes in the future.”

He appears to be a CP-only offender—otherwise law-abiding, with stable personal relationships and good work habits. I believe that [he] can be safely supervised in the community as soon as possible.

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