Aging and Sexual Offending: An Examination of Older Sexual Offenders

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Marshall, Liam E.
Aging , Sexual Offending
This thesis examined the effect of age on sexually offensive behaviour. Research has noted both an increase in the average age of incarcerated offenders and that a higher percentage of older offenders are incarcerated for sexual offences than are younger offenders. Older sexual offenders were initially compared with younger offenders on offender and offence characteristics and these analyses revealed that older sexual offenders had a higher incidence of male victims, a younger victim age, and more intra-familial victims. Phallometric assessments of all sexual offenders were then examined to see whether sexual deviance may account for the differences found between older and younger sexual offenders in victim age and gender. These analyses revealed that the oldest and youngest offenders were more deviant than middle-aged sexual offenders and that the sexual interests of older offenders were more commonly for females. Finally, all subjects were classified as either Historical (offending had ceased, without judicial intervention, at least 7 years prior to incarceration), First-time (incarcerated for a recent sexual offence and no history of sexual offending), or Recidivist sexual offenders (currently incarcerated for a sexual offence and have at least one prior sentencing date for any sexual offence): age accounted for 12% of the variance in categorisation. Fifty-five percent of the sexual offenders age 60 years or more were found to have committed and ceased their offending at least seven years prior to incarceration (i.e., were Historical offenders). The percentage of Recidivist offenders remained relatively consistent across age groups at about 20%. No difference was found in phallometrically assessed sexual deviance between the groups of older offenders.
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