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Sexual Villainy: A Sex Offender Profile.

An extensive research completed by Vanissa W. Chan (formerly by the alias Delano V. Garvey), September 1997 - May 1998.
Abstract Ten percent of all crimes request that the defendant receive a forensic evaluation in order to determine Competency to Stand Trial (CST). Ten percent of those defendants are sex offenders. In the past fifteen years, 63 sex offenders have been requested for a forensic evaluation in the New River Valley (NRV). That means that in the past fifteen years, there have been 630 active sex offenders in the NRV. This research attempted to draw a general profile of the NRV sex offender by extracting information found in the forensic files, with hope that a portrayal of the average offender would make the community aware of the hidden sexual deviancy. The research resulted in the cataloguing of 63 sex offenders. There were 20 discrete categories in all which focused on the offenders' traits, history and status. It was concluded that a profile can be drawn from evaluating forensic files. Introduction Sex crimes, such as rape and other sexual assaults, are serious offenses that leave victims in a state of both physical and psychological damage. Unfortunately, on a national level sexual assault is ascending in the hierarchy of criminal acts. According to the February 1997 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau Statistics , "The number of prisoners sentenced for violent sexual assault other than rape increased by an average of nearly 15%--faster than any other category of violent crime and faster than all other categories except drug trafficking" (Greenfeld, 1997, p.4). The problems that arise with sex crimes are profound, and the solutions for prevention and deterrence are few. Researchers continue to search for methods to halt these perpetrators, but for the most part, statistics show that probabilities for rehabilitation are small. Even worse, the community at large is lacking in awareness and knowledge of these crimes. The NRV is such a community. Though the NRV is not the hotbed of sex crimes, sexual predators do exist in the area. In order to place the

NRV community on a more cautionary level, this research has been conducted to create a general profile of the NRV sex offender with the study of forensic reports and demographics. With the recent discussion of Virginia's version of Megan's Law, the community has been exposed to part of the lack-of-awareness problem. Roanoke Valley counselor Dr. Isaac Van Patten, who works directly with convicted sex offenders, brought forth the "stranger-danger" myth in which the community is fooled to believe that sex offenders tend to be strangers as opposed to trustworthy peers, thus easily identified. This, he stated is a very dangerous myth since studies show that approximately "80 percent of sex offenders are people who are known and trusted by their victims---parents, relatives, family friends and other positions of confidence" (Hudson, 1998, p.A1). This myth is hardly a small matter as it gives the community a false sense of security, keeping people from being cautious when they should be more alert. This research attempts to ascertain Van Patten's words pertaining to the NRV area, providing accurate numbers and an effective behavioral analysis. The hypothesis for this research is that a profile of the average sex offender can be generated from analyzing forensic evaluations and a series of characteristics (i.e. gender) and classifications (i.e. marital status). There is a high possibility that the general sex offender is a single, middle-aged, Caucasian male, who endured sexual abuse as a child. The offender possibly has an inconsistent vocational history, a high school education, no substance abuse history, a problematic mental health, no record of military history, a conflictual legal history and resides with a close relative. The offender is probably a repeat sex offender who appears to be a non-stranger to his victim. His victim is perhaps a female of 18 years or younger. More than likely, the offender was not under the influence of any drug during the time of the offense. The offense is possibly sexual assault. From the forensic evaluation, the offender is most likely declared sane and determined competent to stand trial (CST). With a general profile of the NRV sex offender, this research may be found useful in terms of educating the community to be more aware of its surroundings. It may also create an understanding between the local authorities and the community residents, allowing cooperation to form a more efficient legal system. Lastly and most importantly, it may encourage the research in this field to thrive in order to seek out better solutions for the problem. Design of Study At the New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS), a Forensic Evaluation Service is available. These evaluations (Appendix B), conducted by a Forensic Evaluation Team made up of forensic psychologists and evaluators, determine whether or not the defendant is Competent to Stand Trial (CST). The team may also make suggestions as to how the defendant should be treated

by analyzing the defendant's Mental State at the time of the alleged Offense (MSO). These evaluations present an overview of the defendant's profile including histories such as background, vocational, marital, legal, mental health and several other items. Most importantly, these evaluations open a door to confidential material not found in court cases or police files. Access to these files had to be approved by the forensic team. After their consent, an office was provided as well as keys to the forensic filing cabinets. From there, all alleged sex offenders (63 in all) were pulled from the cabinets and set aside for future cataloguing and evaluation. Inside every forensic file was the complete background information on the case and the offender. Through forensic evaluations, newspaper articles, court orders, police reports, and psychiatric documentation found in the files, each alleged sex offender was catalogued in a tabular form in these 20 discrete categories: Sex, Race, Age, declaration of Sexual Abuse, Education, Employment (vocational history), Marital Status, Military (history), Residence, Drug History, Mental Health (psychological history), Drug Influence (during the time of the offense), Victim-Relation (the victim's relationship with offender), Victim-Type (the victim's age classification), Victim-Gender (the victim's sex), Sanity (the sanity of the offender determined by the Forensic Evaluation Team), Competency (the determination of CST by the Team), Repeat Sex Offenders (which offenders show a tendency of sex offending), Previous Charges (legal history), and Charges (the charges faced). Notes were taken throughout the recording processing subsisting of thoughts and discussions. Related literature was studied before, during, and after the data collecting. After the tabulation was complete, the raw data was used to form statistics. The raw data is classified as qualitative data (individually distinct categories with non-standard scales and random intervals) with a nominal level of measurement. The mode method (which determines the most common value) was used for all categories, and the median method was used to determine the average age of the general sex offender. An averaging technique was used to form statistics for each category. The entire process took approximately 4 months. Results In the first category, the offender's Sex, male was the most common sex offender gender. 61 out of 63 offenders were male which averaged out to be 96.8%. Caucasian was the mode for the Race category. The number was 56 out of 63 with the average of 88.9%. 40 of the sex offenders were above the age of 26 years. The average of that was 63.5%. The median age of the sex offenders was 33.7 years of age. In the Employment category, 42 sex offenders either had an inconsistency with holding jobs or had no employment history whatsoever. This category averaged out to be 66.7%. Being single was the most common marital status. 30 sex offenders were single with a

percentage of 47.6%. 40 sex offenders resided with a relative. The average percent was 63.5%, ascending over all other resident options. For Education, special education appeared to be mode. All 20 of these sex offenders did not exceed beyond a high school degree. However, the special education count did not surpass the number of those offenders who attended a secondary education (the categories Elementary and Highschool combined) which sums up to 37 offenders. The average of the Elementary and Highschool categories combined was 58.7% (compared to 31.8%, Special Education). Hardly any sex offenders entered military services as 56 offenders denied any participation. The average was 88.9%. 55 sex offenders denied any history of sexual abuse. The average was 87.3%. A number of 34 offenders with an average of 54%, had no history of substance abuse. For Mental Health, 37 sex offenders denied any past psychological problems. The average was 58.7%. Pertaining to the time of the alleged offense, 49 of the sex offenders denied being influenced by any drug. The average was 77.8%. With a majority average of 88.9%, 56 of the victims knew their offender. 49 of the victims were of 18 years or under. The average of that was 77.8%. Most victims were female. The number was 47 out of 64 victims (sex offender #41 had two victims at one time), with an average of 73.4%. 62 sex offenders were declared sane, and 60 of them were determined CST. The averages were 98.4% and 95.2% respectively. 53 of the sex offenders were first-time offenders. The average was 84.1%. 36 of the offenders, which averages out to be 57.1%, had previous charges. The most common charge was sexual battery, with the number of 24 and an average of 38.1%. Discussion The purpose of this research was to create a general profile of the NRV sex offender by using discrete categories in order to provide some idea of what people should be cautious of. With exceptions, the hypothesis was correct. The general sex offender in the NRV area appears to be a middle-aged, single, Caucasian male, who resides with a relative. He is either unemployed or has an inconsistent vocational history, with no military participation, no history of substance abuse, but does have a legal history. He was not under the influence of any drug during the time of the alleged offense and is declared both sane and CST. His victim is a female peer at the age of 18 or under. However, different from the hypothesis is that the general offender does not have a history of sexual abuse nor a problematic mental health. Also, instead of narrowing down the education to just highschool, the offender appeared to have a secondary education, elementary and highschool combined. The general offender is also not a repeat sex offender, but a first-time sex offender. Rather than sexual assault, the charge against the offender is sexual battery.

From the determined demographics, general profile and forensic evaluations, a comparison of other statistics as well as a behavioral analysis of the NRV sex offender can be extracted. The 96.8% male average found in the Sex category concurs with the 98.8% male average of sex offenders incarcerated in state prisons according to the BJS, National Corrections Reporting Program (Greenfeld, 1997, p.23). The African American population is small in the NRV area, thus explaining the 88.9% Caucasian average in the Race category. However, on a larger basis, the white percentage (73.9%) still surpasses the black percentage (22.8%) for offenders charged with sexual assault other than rape in the state prison population (Greenfeld, 1997, p.23). Further research will have to be conducted focusing primarily on the ethnicity of sex offenders to question the significance. The median age of 33.7 years also coincides with the National Crime Victimization Survey which determined a percentage of 40.9% of sex offenders were 30 or older (Greenfeld, 1997, p.7). Oddly enough, sex offenders tend to be older in age than in any other category of violent crime according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports arrest data (Greenfeld, 1997, p.2; Simon, 1996, p.74). Again, further research will have to be conducted to seek more understanding. A behavioral analysis can be expounded from the categories pertaining to the histories of the sex offenders. The NRV sex offender matches the disorganized criminal personality type. With reference to a workshop presented by John Douglas, Ed.D, the disorganized criminal personality type is described as having a "poor self-image, inadequacies, and physical ailments or disabilities" (Douglas, 1997, p.7). This personality type is known to be anti-social, sexually incompetent, with a poor work history, an inability to achieve interpersonal relationships and to attain goals (Douglas, 1997, p.8). Looking closer at the Education category, only 9.5% of the offenders attended college. The rest had failed to thrive academically going only as far as elementary or high school and then dropping out. Several of them excused their status by stating that they did not get along with students or teachers. The inconsistency manifested in the vocational history suggests that the offenders could not maintain good terms with their employers and co-workers, and also suggests that the offenders lack responsibility. Their non-participation from military services is another sign of inadequacy, as several of them had mentioned applying only to be rejected for mental or physical disabilities. More evidence referring to the disorganized personality type is presented with the 63.5% of offenders residing with relatives. Their failure to achieve outside relationships has kept them dependent on people who automatically accept them. The large single percentage in the marital status category along with behavioral evidence found in the reports suggests that several of the offenders were continuously fearful of relationships and commitment. Even for the offenders who were married, only 38.1% managed to stay with their spouse. From analyzing the evaluations,

it is suffice to say that the majority of the offenders were sexually deprived due to constant rejections from people. The nearly 100% sane and CST average, the low rate of sexual abuse, and the 77.8% of the offenders not under the influence of any drug, is an implication that the majority of the offenders were in their right minds during the time of the offense. For the offenders who did have a history of substance abuse and a problematic mental health, most were alcoholics or drug addicts that had to be clinically treated. This behavior depicts more irresponsibility and also a lack of self-control. Thus, after evaluating the statistics and reports it was found that the profile was able to depict some abnormal behaviors of the general NRV sex offender. "...Victims are not chosen because they are attractive and asking for it, but because they are accessible and vulnerable.." (Stephenson, 1995, p.208). Unfortunately, the latter quote supports the results of this research. However, there is much to learn from the victim profile as it affirms that the "stranger-danger" myth Van Patten spoke of is very well a dangerous fabrication. The offenders do not tend to be dark figures lurking among the shadows. More likely, they are people of importance to the victim's life such as a father, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, or a neighbor. Also, what must be pointed out is that the most common charge happens to be sexual battery, a rather non-violent and broad charge that covers fondling, molestation, and other immoral lewd acts (Greenfeld, 1995, p.21). The general NRV sex offender is not an aggressive and violent person who lashes out at his victims; instead, he is a sneaky and manipulative predator who extracts sexual gratification out of young people who trust him. Solutions to deter the problem of sexual predators include attempts at rehabilitation, longer jail terms, and the spreading of Megan's Law. Rehabilitation facilities offer treatment programs for sex offenders emphasizing on empathy. By depicting the scene during the time of the offense, the offenders are forced to confront what their victims endured (Goleman, 1995, p.107). As a result, the offenders are supposed to dwell in guilt and sympathize with the victims. Unfortunately, the percentages of successfully rehabilitated sex offenders are low, and several argue that too much is at stake to test the numbers by releasing them (Douglas and Olshaker, 1997, p.362). Longer jail terms seems to be a more plausible approach; however, it lacks the focus that it needs to become more prevalent. According to New York attorney, Andrew Vachss, "You will do less prison time for raping a child than for raping an adult. And you are less likely to go to prison for incest than for shoplifting" (Hudson, 1998, p.A6). After the 1994 slaying of 7-year-old Megan Kanka by a convicted sex offender, Megan's Law passed in 1995 making it standard procedure to inform the community when a sex offender moves into the area. It is clear that Megan's Law is a definite necessity as it warns people of potentially dangerous individuals (Hudson, 1998, p.A6). However, there has been some controversy over the law dealing with the sex offenders' privacy rights. This

conflict has recently been resolved when the Supreme Court rejected a group of sex offenders' request for a hearing (Mauro, 1998, p.A1). Unfortunately, rehabilitation, jail terms, and Megan's Law are all deterrence techniques which means in order for them to be practiced, there first has to be a victim. What can be done to prevent people from becoming sexually deviant? The answer to that question lies in the plethora of studies focusing on what leads to sexual deviance. With just a glance of the general profile derived from this research, there is already a number of problems to be addressed: the lack of education, the poor work history, and the commonality of social inadequacy. Chief psychologist Carl Goldberg believes that malevolence (including sexual) is developed from continuous psychological entrapments beginning at a very young age. The psychological entrapments include miscommunications, discouragements, and betrayals by the young victim's confidants such as close friends and/or a parent. The continuous psychological suffering discourages the victim's motivation for attaining goals such as developing relationships. In the midst of frustration, the victim builds a need for control in his/her powerless life. As a result of power-deprivation, the victim becomes a perpetrator with a victim of his/her own. (Goldberg, 1996, p.90). Other theories of the development of sexual deviance include isolation, various abuses, and exposures to unnecessary sexual violence (i.e. pornography) (Allen, 1996, p.10). It is suggested that not one of these is wholly responsible for creating a sexual offender, but that all of them contribute their part. Most of the theories point to the occurrences during the offenders' childhood and adolescent periods, the most vulnerable and influential times of behavioral development (Goldberg, 1996, p.27). Thus, the focus of complete prevention is directed towards child bearing and raising. A much higher emphasis on family values, education and recreation should be the main focus. This would require community participation and perhaps government investigation as sexual deviancy could very well be a societal problem. Research focusing on the many diverse branches of the problem, such as the ethnic difference in sex offenders, the bizarre age distinction, and the relationship between the offender and the victim, should be conducted and continued. After achieving these studies, going proactive would be effective in educating the community of the problem, ultimately placing it on a higher level of awareness. Conclusion In an attempt to find out if the NRV sex offender could be profiled by gathering data from forensic files, this research concluded that such a task can be accomplished. However, though the average sex offender in the NRV area tends to be a middle-aged, non-stranger, Caucasian male, it cannot be assumed that all sex offenders fit that exact description. There are sexual predators of all kinds and no matter what this research determines by pointing out the typical sexual villain, the community

has to be cautious of these assailants at all times. What this research does bring to light, along with other studies and proposed theories, is the problem of sexual villainy. This problem, manifested from the studies conducted, may be a societal error. If that is so, there are several challenges that must be faced to reduce the number of offenders and victims. Unfortunately, researching this topic only leads to more unanswered questions. More research will have to be done to search for a better understanding, in hope to find better solutions. Acknowledgements Thanks to the following people for resources, insight, inspiration, and emotional support: Dr. Isaac Van Patten, Dr. Dennis Cropper, Dr. Ollendick, Dr. Phillip Ash, Lori Douglass, Amy J. Goldman, Julie Grady, Steve Hulburt, and Karen Rodden. Literature Cited Allen, L.M. "Assessing The Effects of Violent Erotica on Attitudes of Sexual Assault." Der Zeitgeist: The Student Journal of Psychology. (Jan. 1996): n. pag. Online. Internet. 1 Jan. 1998. Available: Douglas, John E. Crime Analysis and Criminal Profiling: From the Crime Scene to the Courtroom. Proc. of American College of Forensic Examiners. San Diego, 1997. Douglas, John E., and Mark Olshaker. Journey Into Darkness: Follow the FBI's Premier Investigative Profiler as He Penetrates the Minds and Motives of the Most Terrifying Serial Criminals. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Goldberg, Carl. Speaking With The Devil: Exploring Senseless Acts of Evil. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc., 1996. Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Bantam DoubleDay Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1995. Greenfeld, Lawrence A. "Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault." U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1997) Online. Internet. 12 Nov. 1997. Available: Hudson, Mike. "Megan's Law Deceptive Experts Say." The Roanoke Times 25 Jan 1998: A1+.

Mauro, Tony. "High Court Rejects Megan's Law Challenge." USA Today 24 Feb 1998: A1. Simon, Robert I. Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior. Washington: American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1996. Stephenson, June. Men Are Not Cost-Effective. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1995.