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The Sexual Offenses

By Herbert A. Bloch and Gilbert Geis

Sexual offenses clearly point up many of the shortcomings of broad classifications of illegal behavior. The general category of "sexual offenses" includes some forms of behavior which are almost universally regarded as serious breaches of the social order, others which are but mild deviations from sanctioned behavior, and still others which, while outlawed, are engaged in by a large majority of the adult members of our society.

This is but one of the unique aspects of sexual offenses. Sexual behavior in our society and many other societies represents one of the most emotion-laden areas of living. Preconceptions and misconceptions concerning sex behavior abound. We are often simultaneously attracted and repelled by different aspects of sexual behavior. Deep and sensitive feelings about sexual behavior often serve to shunt aside dispassionate consideration of its dynamics. The result has been that much misinformation surrounds sexual offenses, misinformation which has led to distortions in dealing with sex offenders as public attitudes become translated into public policy.

In addition to emotional biases which handicap scientific consideration of sex offenses is the general difficulty of delineating clearly the bounds of these offenses and the specific character of acts which fall within such bounds. The difficulty of characterizing with precision those acts which are sexual offenses is not one confined only to criminologists. Warden Clinton Duffy relates the story of a San Quentin inmate who claimed that he was a sex offender. Duffy asked for details on the crime. "I gave a woman a black silk nightgown," the inmate said. "But that's not a sex offense," Duffy replied. "Yes, it was," the prisoner insisted. "After I gave it to her she ran out on me and went with some other guy. When I asked, for the nightgown back, she wouldn't give it to me." "But I still don't see -," the warden interposed. "Well, Warden," he said, "that's when I bumped her off."

Some psychiatrists have insisted that all human behavior can be traced to a sexual base, and by obvious extension, therefore, that all criminal behavior can be tied to sexual or libidinal sources. Thus, an automobile driver is said to exceed the speed limits because such behavior provides him with sexual satisfaction, and a murderer is claimed to dispatch his victim for reasons directly concerned with unresolved sexual conflicts. The denominator of such a position apparently is that all human action is meaningful in terms of some attempt to achieve emotional satisfaction. If all emotional satisfaction is by definition regarded as sexual in nature then it becomes reasonable to claim that all crimes are sexual crimes, but this position hardly sheds any real light on the distinctive nature of overtly sexual activities themselves.

Nonetheless, an approach to sex crimes which confines itself only to acts that are generally considered to fall into this category must admit that there are additional crimes which, while not usually considered sex crimes, obviously have deep-lying sexual implications. William Heirens, now confined to the Illinois State Penitentiary, never committed an act which might formally be considered a sex crime. Yet in the course of his activities Heirens took part in more than 300 burglaries and admitted receiving tremendous sexual satisfaction merely from entering strange residences. In addition, when interrupted in the course of burglary, he three times killed the females he encountered, and on each occasion spent considerable time afterwards carefully washing the bodies of his victims. It was Heirens, also, who left the strange message, written with lipstick in large letters on a living-room wall where he had just murdered a woman:
No one can reasonably dispute the lightly-camouflaged sexual meanings in many of Heirens' acts.

Sexual offenses can be broken down into a number of types. One major category includes acts in which there is violent behavior directed toward a sexual object, such as in rape. Another category embraces offenses in which at least the victim of the act is a minor. Such offenses are usually classified under the broad heading of pedophilia, and also include a type of criminal behavior known as statutory rape, which involves sexual intercourse by a male with a female who is under the legal age of consent, generally eighteen years in the United States. A third group includes offenses which are regarded as repugnant to the moral feelings of the community, acts such as several forms of sodomy, known more generally as "offenses against nature," some types of incest, as well as exhibitionism, and voyeurism (the last also known as "peeping-tom" behavior). Each of these categories admits of many variations in the characteristics of the participants, the dynamics of the activity, and the particular forms the behavior takes, and we shall consider each of them in more detail later in this chapter.

Sex and the individual

Within the limits of their physical characteristics, human beings are capable of any type of sexual activity. It remains to be shown with greater precision how cultural conditions blend with genetic, physiological, and morphological traits to induce an individual to participate in certain types of sexual activity and to provide him with adequate incentive to continue in such behavior.

Much philosophical and legal debate concerning sexual activity centers about acceptable definitions of the word normal. Our society outlaws many sexual activities on the ground that they constitute abnormal behavior. Acceptance of one or another definition of normality leads to diverse interpretations of the behavior being judged. Some persons maintain that sexual acts that result in reproduction constitute the only type of normal sexual behavior. By this criterion pre-marital petting and various post-marital sexual techniques are defined as abnormal. Other persons insist that normal and abnormal can best be defined by reference to theological writings and proscriptions. Considerable controversy, however, ensues concerning the extent to which theological doctrines should be translated into criminal codes solely on the basis of the theological doctrine, without additional social criteria to support the law. It is sometimes maintained that the enactment of theological concepts into law unjustly forces individuals who do not accept such concepts to refrain from activities which they might regard as moral and which have not been shown to injure the society except as an affront to particular religious groups. A contrary view maintains that, as a traditionally Christian nation, we have a duty to insist on at least minimum standards of Christian morality from all members of the society.

Our legal codes take no consistent stand on this problem. Some acts, such as homosexuality and some forms of sodomy, are outlawed primarily because they are offensive to theological precepts; in other cases, behavior which is condemned in the Judeo-Christian religions (masturbation, for example) is ignored by our laws. Adultery, too, a heinous religious sin, is not outlawed by a number of American states, and but a handful of jurisdictions have statutes punishing fornication, or sexual relations between unmarried persons, though this form of behavior has always been regarded as a serious breach of religious morality. This morality is, in fact, almost uniquely a characteristic of societies such as ours for, as Kluclchohn points out, not more than 5 per cent of the world's population condemns fornication and, in this respect, "our sexual code is even more of an ethnological curiosity than is cannibalism or the couvade."

A third position regarding the judgment of normality concentrates on comparisons between behavior in humans and behavior in infra-human species. The assumption implicit in this approach is that forms of sexual conduct found, for instance, among chimpanzees are "normal" forms of behavior which have only come to be labeled as "perverted" through social interpretations. Somewhat similar to this approach is that which examines behavior from a cross-cultural perspective. Proponents of this view maintain that if societies can be found in which all or most members engage in certain forms of sexual behavior then logic would be stretched unreasonably by defining such behavior as "abnormal" for the human species.

All of the foregoing points of view compete for acceptance in determinations of the form of sexual behavior which shall or shall not be legally tolerated. As noted, American society has reacted with various compromise approaches, rather inconsistent in nature. We have traditionally shown a tendency to reflect, though belatedly, variations in sexual mores by alterations in laws and even more by a failure to enforce statutory prohibitions against certain forms of sexual behavior once these forms are no longer offensive to the moral feelings of the community.

Forcible rape

Rape represents in our society the most serious of the sexual offenses and, in fact, judged by penalties prescribed, the most serious of all criminal offenses with the exception of murder. Conviction on a forcible rape charge carries the death penalty in three states � Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina � while fifteen other states punish rape with either death or life imprisonment. Several persons are usually executed each year in the United States for rape. It should be noted, however, that this penalty is almost always leveled only in cases of miscegenous rape, that is, rape offenses by Negro males against Caucasian females. Cross-cultural material shows that social sanctions against rape are virtually universal. "Sexual outlet through violence is approved only in a few societies," Kluckhohn notes, "and under exceptional circumstances." There are some societies in which rape is virtually unknown. The Arapesh, for instance, according to Margaret Mead, know nothing of rape "beyond the fact that it is the unpleasant custom of the Nugum people to the southeast of them." Arapesh people, Mead reports, do not have any conception of male nature which would make rape understandable to them.

Legally, rape is defined as sexual intercourse by a male with a woman other than his wife, by force and without consent. American law takes the often-reiterated viewpoint that "the slightest penetration" constitutes sexual intercourse within the meaning of rape. Consent cannot legally be given by women who are insane, mentally incompetent, or insensible at the time of the act because of intoxication, narcotic stupor, or similar indispositions. Some criticism has been leveled against these last restrictions because they fail to take account of varying culpability as, for instance, in cases in which the female willingly produces the state of intoxication through her own voluntary behavior. In common law, a male under the age of fourteen was considered legally incapable of committing rape, and this provision still applies in Britain, but many American jurisdictions no longer place a specific age limitation on the offender.

There is much incorrect information surrounding the extent of rape offenses, some of it apparently promulgated in attempts to frighten females into thinking of themselves as potential victims. Such scare literature has sometimes led to unintelligent treatment of individual sex offenders who are more disturbed than dangerous. While forcible rape, in its true form, must be considered a violent, explosive act, containing potentialities for serious individual and social harm, the number of such acts is generally widely overestimated. Sutherland, tabulating national reports of female murders in the years 1930, 1935, and 1940, found that there were 324 females killed in those years. Only 17 deaths were reported as involving rape or suspicion of rape. Nearly 60 per cent of the murders of females were committed by relatives or intimate associates, and in one of the three years surveyed, as many women were murdered by policemen as by so-called "sex fiends." Interpreting these findings, some persons have made the facetious observation that the American female is actually safer on a dark street than in her own kitchen.

Few attempts have been made to delineate clearly the various types of forcible rape offenses and the characteristics of the individuals involved in them. Rape may be the outgrowth, for instance, of a relationship between individuals who are well known to each other, the offense representing the culmination of an emotional entanglement rather than a totally unprovoked attack on a female by a stranger. In an attempt to take into account the analytical variation between this and other forms of rape, Guttmacher has divided rapists into three categories: (a) those in whom the assault is an explosive expression of pent-up sexual impulse, a type whom Guttmacher labels as the "true sex offender"; (b) sadistic rapists, those who want to injure the victim (Guttmacher believes that the acts of persons in this group are basically sexual in origin. Masculine sexual activity is aggressive and has within it socially modified sadistic elements, he notes, and in sadistic rapists these elements become exaggerated until they dominate the picture and culminate in a sexual attack); and (c) aggressive criminals. Guttmacher does not consider this group true sex offenders, but, rather, criminals who are out to "pillage and rob" and for whom rape is "apparently just . . . another act of plunder." Guttmacher would probably grant that there is considerable blurring among the three types. Certainly, it is evident that additional research is required to establish the validity of his categories and to document further the etiological portraits of individuals who might fit into each of them.

Most attempts to measure the extent of rape in our society have involved projections from figures reported by police forces throughout the nation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In I960, the F.B.I. received reports of nearly 7000 rape cases, and estimated the actual number to be near 20,000. It is not clear how many offenders included in the estimate of 20,000 were allowed to plead guilty to lesser offenses (a prevalent practice) and how many actually represent unreported cases. Haines has maintained that only one out of twenty rape cases is reported to the police, which would raise the number of offenses committed to about 140,000 yearly. However, we cannot rely too much either on the reported figures or on those arrived at by extrapolation. Many rape offenses which are reported do not represent real crimes but rather are charges leveled for purposes of blackmail or to save a reputation. In addition, it is well-known that reports to the police of alleged rape offenses tend to increase greatly after widespread newspaper publicity concerning any notorious sexual crime, though subsequent checking proves that many of these reports are totally unfounded. Also, it can never be determined accurately how many rape cases involve real resistance to the attack and in how many instances the resistance was merely token, and the criminal charge a second-thought. Sutherland has maintained that "forcible rape is practically impossible unless the female is practically unconscious," a viewpoint which has received general support both from anthropologists and medical authorities, though, on the other hand, acquiescence through fear tends to be disregarded in such statements. Ploscowe has called for a tightening of the laws on rape to demand more rigid proof of serious resistance, though he grants that courts and juries often temper the elements of possible injustice that are found in the statutes.

Analysis of the prior criminal records of rape offenders reveals that rapists show no significant history of previous, less violent sexual offenses � indecent exposure, for example. Among the thirty-six most serious sex offenders he encountered as chief medical officer for the Baltimore courts, Guttmacher found only one who had previously been involved in serious sex difficulty. These findings lead to one of the most significant conclusions concerning sex offenders in general: The sex offender does not progress from less serious to more serious offenses. "Progress is exceptional," Tappan has noted, while a Michigan study on sex offenders underlines the same point: "There is no evidence that sex offenders in general progress in any significant numbers . . . from sex misdemeanors to sex felonies." The explanation for lack of progression in offense lies in the fact that sex offenses are undertaken to satisfy particular desires, and to the extent that the offenses do in fact serve their purpose the actor will persist in the same pattern or a pattern closely related to it in terms of its basic dynamics.

In addition to research conclusions which show that rapists have not graduated from less serious offenses to this more serious one, other studies disclose that rapists are more likely to have prior criminal records for nonsexual offenses � in particular, for robbery and burglary � than for sex offenses. Also, among all sex offenders, rapists are the least likely to have any prior criminal records. Of 250 sex offenders studied at the Diagnostic Center in New Jersey, forcible rapists constituted 3.2 per cent of the offenders, but those with previous records constituted only 1.3 per cent of the total number of inmates with previous criminal records.

Youthful offenders are particularly prevalent among persons convicted of forcible rape. Hirning found that 80 per cent of all offenders sentenced for forcible rape in New York City during the 1930-1939 period were under the age of thirty-one, and none was past sixty. Only 6 per cent of the rapists studied by Guttmacher were past the age of thirty, and Frankel reported that forcible rape seemed to be committed most frequently by persons under the age of twenty-five years and to decrease gradually with advancing age. Frosch and Bromberg sum up the available research reports with the generalization that "offenses necessitating force involve younger offenders."

Partly because of their concentration among younger persons, the majority of rapists are unmarried. This item obviously relates in some cases to a concomitant lack of available sexual partners. Also entwined in this etiological context are the characteristics of the offender which have kept him from being married; these, in turn, may aid in explaining his rape offense. In his study of rapists in the Wisconsin prison population, for instance, Gillin found that many of them had physical disabilities. Gillin believed these handicaps constituted important factors in their failure to make morally and socially sanctioned sex adjustments.

In all categories of sexual violations, including forcible rape, the number of Caucasian offenders is disproportionately high. This phenomenon is generally interpreted as an outcome of the more stringent social prohibitions placed on sexual behavior in general among Caucasian groups, though there is some suspicion that the records may not accurately reflect the extent of the behavior among racial groups. Gutt-macher states categorically that "the Negro criminal is not primarily a sexual criminal" and also notes that "the native white American male is predominant among sex offenders," particularly in contrast to foreign-born males in the United States, who manifest a low rate of sexual offenses. Guttmacher has also noted a higher proportion of Catholics among sex offenders than of persons from other religious backgrounds, and he relates this finding tentatively to the "suppressive attitude of the Catholic church toward sexual expression."

Other correlations have also been drawn between such social items as economic conditions and the amount of rape. In one such singular attempt, Von Hentig advanced the theory that in essence rape represents a crime against property. He claims that rape offenses � as well as marriage rates � increase in periods of prosperity and he believes that the two phenomena are related to a single root cause, "an upsurge in sexuality in such periods," an upsurge which seeks satisfaction usually in a legal way, but sometimes in an unlawful manner.

Karpman has observed that rapists manifest a high number of cases of post-encephalitis brain damage. His implication is that encephalitis infections, infections which affect brain cells and, particularly among younger persons, can sometimes lead to personality disturbances, are directly related to subsequent rape offenses. This implied relationship between post-encephalitis and criminal behavior constitutes one of the more controversial areas in criminal theory, since it challenges the theoretical belief that all criminal behavior is the outcome of learning and associational processes.

The case for post-encephalitis as a causative factor relies upon a considerable number of histories of individuals who prior to the onset of the encephalitis syndrome were apparently extremely well-adjusted and law-abiding and then subsequent to the attack erupted into a wide range of uninhibited and criminal behaviors. Caryl Chessman, executed in California after a notorious delay, claimed to have suffered as a child from encephalitis. Levy has reported on one hundred delinquents, all post-encephalitis cases, whom he describes as "overactive, restless, with short attention and concentration spans, unpredictable, acting before thinking, destructive, and usually not showing any remorse and not learning by experience." Lewis, discussing arson, maintains that "encephalitis assumes the foremost place as a precipitating factor with the juvenile and post-adolescent incendiaries and their largest number are dangerous pyro-maniacs," while Abrahamsen insists that in a small number of cases, including among them persons who have acquired a disease such as encephalitis, the label "born criminal" is of validity.

Sutherland, on the other hand, maintains that while the case for encephalitis as a causal factor appears to be a strong one, the relationship between the disorder and crime is by no means as direct as it might at first seem to be. He offers three possible explanations for the association between encephalitis and juvenile crime, all of which involve social learning. First, there is the direct physiological explanation that the lesions in the central nervous system produce irritability and reduce efficiency and inhibitions, and consequently the child acts impulsively. These effects may then persist beyond the acute stage of the disease, Sutherland points out, because of habit formation. A second explanation is that the inferiority resulting from the disorder lowers the child's status, and social criticism and ostracism, such as that from teachers and parents, cause the child to do less well than previously, which "drives the child desperate." A third possible explanation offered by Sutherland is that the encephalitis patient who has subsequent behavior problems comes in general from a family with other difficulties, such as extreme poverty and mental illness. These explanations, standing as hypotheses, need considerable further investigation, as does the entire area of scientific problems relating to brain injury and criminal behavior.

Statutory rape

Sexual intercourse by a male with a female under a specified legal age constitutes the crime of statutory or consensual rape. It is irrelevant whether or not the male is actually aware of the girl's true age, and equally irrelevant that he might have been misled by the girl to believe that she was above the age of consent. There have been cases of males who were prosecuted for statutory rape for having engaged in sexual relations with a professional prostitute when the girl was under the age of consent. The age specified by law for consent varies throughout the United States, though it has now risen considerably above the ten- and twelve-year-old limits formerly part of the English common law. In the United States, the lowest age is fourteen, in Georgia, and the highest, twenty-one, in Tennessee. Most states use the age of eighteen, and it is noteworthy that in many jurisdictions the legal age of consent to sexual relations is well above the legal age at which a girl may be married. In fact, it is possible in most states for a man to be prosecuted for statutory rape if he engages in a sexual relationship with a consenting married female under the age of eighteen. The maximum penalties for statutory rape are exceeded only by those for murder, and equaled only by those for forcible rape and kidnaping. Unless the jury recommends mercy, the death sentence is mandatory in six states, and a death sentence is possible in an additional ten states.

Many persons do not understand the precise legal components of statutory rape, and offenders who are convicted of statutory rape often find that they are regarded with the same scorn that society turns upon more serious sex offenders. Yet, as Sherwin has noted, "statutory rape is not rape at all, there is no element of force or threat." Comparing the general public, criminology students, and prison inmates as to how serious they felt various crimes to be, Gilbert found wide discrepancies in their evaluations of statutory rape, discrepancies which he interpreted as follows:

. . . statutory rape is ranked fairly high in severity by the general public, sharing a rank order of 5.5 with armed robbery. The criminology students, however, drop it down to about midpoint in the criminality scale along with larceny, while equating actual rape with armed robbery. The wide difference . . . would be attributed by this writer to the thoughtless emotionalism of the public toward the rapist symbol, contrasted with the better-informed evaluation by the criminology students of an offense which constitutes rape in name only. The intermediate ranking by the convict group evidently reflects a tempering of their better-informed state by. the deprecatory attitude toward sex crimes revealed in their written comments. In numerous cases the prisoners specifically commented on the unfairness of punishing statutory rape so severely, when actual consent arid even seduction by the "victim" are often involved.

Statutory rape offenses dominate the category of rape acts coming to the attention of the police, though a very large proportion of such offenses undoubtedly remain unreported. In New York during 1930-1939, 82 per cent of the rape cases were of the statutory variety. Statutory rape also dominates the statistics in regard to all sex offenses. The Mayor's Committee investigating sex offenses in New York City in the 1940's found that 59 per cent of all such offenses in the court of general sessions and in the county courts were statutory rape. Dunham's study in Michigan in 1949 found a somewhat smaller percentage, with statutory rape constituting 30 per cent of all sex offenses. That prosecutions represent but a minute fraction of offenses can readily be seen by reference to the findings reported in the Kinsey study of American females' sexual behavior. Somewhat more than 10 per cent of Kinsey's sample reported having engaged in sexual intercourse at age seventeen or previously. If this finding has wider validity than the sample interviewed it would indicate the commission of statutory rape offenses involving at least four or five million American women, and probably as many males. Prosecutions, of course, account for only a small fraction of this total.

Considerable research evidence points up that persons convicted of statutory rape represent the least aberrant of all the sex offenders. Bowling reported no personality deviations whatsoever in cases where there was little age discrepancy between the participants, a finding corroborated by Ellis and Brancale, as well as by Bromberg.

The failure of criminal law to specify more clearly the social harm inherent in all of the types of behavior which it labels "statutory rape" and to separate trivial acts from meretricious behavior permeates consideration of this offense. Few persons would deny that the law has an obligation to protect young girls from exploitation, particularly if they lack the sophistication to be aware of the implications of their behavior. Laws which regulate working conditions for women illustrate a type of such protective legislation. It seems valid to maintain, however, that statutory rape laws as they now stand often work an injustice. Such laws seem to discriminate in particular against segments of the society with social and sexual mores that are not necessarily harmful but only different from those of the progenitors of laws defining the offense of statutory rape.


Voyeurism, or scoptophilia, is the act of window-peeping, generally for the purpose of viewing a female disrobing. Comparatively little systematic research has been conducted concerning sociological correlates of this form of behavior, though we have a rather elaborate psychiatric framework which attempts to interpret it. The psychiatric approach maintains that window-peeping represents the acting out of thwarted impulses to view female nudity and heterosexual activity, impulses strangled in the growing child and disallowed in the adult. Empirical support for this position is derived from studies which characterize voyeurs as products of restricted and inhibited home environments. This element alone, however, cannot account for the behavior, for as Honde points out, children are severely punished for any peeping activities in Japan, yet that country's police report hardly any adult voyeurist behavior.

Voyeuristic acts have a well-established history in both past and current folklore. There is the well-known tale of Peeping Tom, the curious tailor, who dared view Lady Godiva riding nude on a palfrey through Coventry, and was struck blind for his impunity. Contemporary cartoons in the United States constantly poke good-natured fun at the ogling of pretty girls by middle-aged men at bathing beaches, while the burlesque show with its strip tease represents an institutionalized form of voyeurism.

Elements in our social structure which lead to voyeurism seem rather clear. Both nudity and coital activities are regarded as highly private matters, though again, as testified to by changes in female dress styles, at least some of these restrictions are diminishing. On the other hand, a certain social attraction is inculcated in virtually all males toward participation in and viewing of sexually keyed behavior. As Kinsey has noted:

There are probably very few heterosexual males who would not take advantage of the opportunity to observe a nude female, or to observe heterosexual activity, particularly if it were possible to do so surreptitiously so they would not suffer the social disgrace that the discovery of their behavior might bring. To many males, the observation of a female who is undressing may be erotically more stimulating than observing her when she is fully nude, for the undressing suggests, in fantasy, what they may ultimately be able to observe. Consequently, we have the peeper who gets into difficulty with the law, the peep show which was formerly common in this country and which is still available in many other countries, and the more surreptitious and unpublicized peeping in which most males engage, at some time in their lives, from the windows of their homes, from hotel windows, and from wherever they find the opportunity to observe. Our data are insufficient for determining what percentage of the male population is ever involved, but Hamilton found some 65 per cent of the males in his study admitting that they had done some peeping. The percentages for the population as a whole are probably higher.

The element of surreptitiousness that is a characteristic feature of voyeurism cannot be overlooked in interpreting this behavior. In Samoa, for instance, where there are numerous opportunities to witness sexual behavior, youngsters nonetheless delight in embarrassing lovers seeking privacy near the village, a pastime which has parallels in our society. Part of the explanation of voyeurism, aside from its sexual implications, may lie in the curiosity of individuals to observe behavior which is not oriented to them since such opportunity is rarely afforded in our society. Party-line eavesdropping represents but one form of such activity. Theater-going and reading, especially reading fiction and biography, are more formal aspects of the same phenomenon.


Pedophilia � sexual behavior directed toward a child � often involves some form of sodomy, though pedophilic acts are prosecuted under a wide range of legal rubrics, such as child molesting, indecent assault, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, improper advances, lewd and lascivious behavior, carnal knowledge, statutory rape, and incest. The bewildering range of behavior subsumed under pedophilia has led to a confusing array of information about it. Karpman found that the ages of the victims of pedophiliac attacks were from five to seventeen. Forty-four of the cases he studied involved female victims, twelve involved boys, and the remaining three both boys and girls.

Pedophilic criminals can be broadly classified into two groups: one in which the aggressor is comparatively young, the other in which he is quite old, often senile. The first category of offenders usually represents a serious social threat. In the second category are found both dangerous individuals and others whose behavior represents at most a mild form of deviation. Kinsey calls particular attention to the fact that behavior by the latter group of elderly males � a group rapidly increasing with the expanded life expectancy in our country � is often misinterpreted by younger children. He says that "such fondling as parents and grandparents bestow upon small children" can be misunderstood by a child, particularly if the child has been made crushingly aware of the alleged dangers of child molesters.

Most pedophiliacs are considerably older than the average sex offender. A tabulation by the Los Angeles police found them to average forty-one years of age, a conclusion in close agreement to that of other research studies. Most of the offenders, Deutsch notes, are known to the children. Psychiatric writers believe that the sexual inadequacy of elderly men turns them "toward less discriminating sexual objects." Pedophilia in this context is seen as a return to infantilism, sometimes accompanied by an element of brain deterioration.

Reactions of children to pedophiliac approaches has been the subject of some penetrating research, and the findings have tended to oppose what might seem to be the more likely conclusions. Rasmussen studied fifty-four children who had sexual experiences with males between their ninth and thirteenth birthdays, and reported that after a lapse of twenty years forty-six of them were none the worse for the experience. Bender and Blau concluded, after studying eleven girls and five boys who had been involved in sex behavior with adults, that there was remarkably little evidence in the group of "fear, anxiety, guilt or psychic trauma." The authors comment, in fact, that these children had unusually attractive and charming personalities, and reiterate a conclusion often noted by other researchers � that the children likely played an active or even initiating part in their delinquency. Bender and Blau interpret the absence of negative effects on the children from a Freudian viewpoint, suggesting that "the association in the act of a grown-up, who to the child must still represent the omnipotent parent, probably condones the transgression."