A new government study of convicted Internet sex offenders says the proportion of men who download explicit sexual images of children and also molest them may may be startlingly high, says the New York Times. Some 85 percent of the offenders said they had committed acts of sexual abuse against minors, from inappropriate touching to rape.
A study of child pornographers was conducted at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, N.C. The study, which has not yet been published, is stirring a vehement debate among psychologists, law enforcement officers, and prison officials, who cannot agree on how the findings should be presented or interpreted. The research, by psychologists at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, is the first in-depth survey of online offenders' sexual behavior done by prison therapists who were actively performing treatment. Experts say they could have enormous implications for public safety and law enforcement. Traffic in online child pornography has exploded. The new study, some experts say, should be made public, to help identify men who claim to be “just looking at pictures” but could, in fact, be predators.