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An Exploratory Study of Internet-Initiated Sexual Offenses and the Chat Room Sex Offender: Has the Internet Enabled a New Typology of Sex Offender?

An Exploratory Study of Internet-Initiated Sexual Offenses and the Chat Room Sex Offender: Has... This exploratory study examined 51 participants convicted of an Internet-initiated sex offense in which they attempted to entice an adolescent into a sexual relationship using an Internet chat room. All participants were convicted of a sex offense and subject to an evaluation as a part of sentencing requirements in Colorado. Clinical and behavioral data were obtained from each subject’s offense-specific evaluation and chat room transcripts. The results of the study found that 90% of the participants were apprehended as a result of an Internet sex sting. The authors conclude that Internet chat room sex offenders constitute a separate group characterized by less severe criminogenic factors than other sex offenders (rapists, child molesters). It can be hypothesized that chat room sex offenders avoid relationships and spend a significant amount of time in online chat rooms as a primary social and sexual outlet, and engage in other sexually compulsive behaviors. Within this offender group, it was discovered that two subgroups exist: a contact-driven group motivated to engage in offline sexual behavior with an adolescent and a fantasy-driven group motivated to engage an adolescent in online cybersex without an express intent to meet offline. The chat room sex offender presents a significant clinical issue to treatment providers as a live victim does not exist. Thus, it is unclear if Internet sex stings prevent incidents of child sexual exploitation and may result in convictions of individuals who may never have abused a child. The data suggest a tentative sex offender typology, including subtypes, which need to be replicated in future studies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment SAGE

An Exploratory Study of Internet-Initiated Sexual Offenses and the Chat Room Sex Offender: Has the Internet Enabled a New Typology of Sex Offender?

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References (29)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2011
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
DOI
10.1177/1079063210384275
pmid
20947699
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This exploratory study examined 51 participants convicted of an Internet-initiated sex offense in which they attempted to entice an adolescent into a sexual relationship using an Internet chat room. All participants were convicted of a sex offense and subject to an evaluation as a part of sentencing requirements in Colorado. Clinical and behavioral data were obtained from each subject’s offense-specific evaluation and chat room transcripts. The results of the study found that 90% of the participants were apprehended as a result of an Internet sex sting. The authors conclude that Internet chat room sex offenders constitute a separate group characterized by less severe criminogenic factors than other sex offenders (rapists, child molesters). It can be hypothesized that chat room sex offenders avoid relationships and spend a significant amount of time in online chat rooms as a primary social and sexual outlet, and engage in other sexually compulsive behaviors. Within this offender group, it was discovered that two subgroups exist: a contact-driven group motivated to engage in offline sexual behavior with an adolescent and a fantasy-driven group motivated to engage an adolescent in online cybersex without an express intent to meet offline. The chat room sex offender presents a significant clinical issue to treatment providers as a live victim does not exist. Thus, it is unclear if Internet sex stings prevent incidents of child sexual exploitation and may result in convictions of individuals who may never have abused a child. The data suggest a tentative sex offender typology, including subtypes, which need to be replicated in future studies.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2011

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