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Adults' Guilt Judgments of Juvenile Sex Offenders Natalie R. Troxel ACJRC March 25, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Adults' Guilt Judgments of Juvenile Sex Offenders Natalie R. Troxel ACJRC March 25, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adults' Guilt Judgments of Juvenile Sex Offenders Natalie R. Troxel ACJRC March 25, 2010

2 Study Goal Perceptions of juvenile offenders Juvenile offenders are different Largely exploratory Sparse literature

3 What is a Sex Offense? Differs by state Differs by culture, era Include child sexual abuse, child pornography, rape, and statutory rape Must include intent Offenders must register QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

4 Who is a Sex Offender? Anyone who commits a sex offense All walks of life Usually male

5 Juvenile Sex Offense Rates 20% of sex offenses 20% of sex offenses 15% of forcible rapes (OJJDP, 2009) 15% of forcible rapes (OJJDP, 2009) Table courtesy of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Data from 2008.

6 Characteristics years old; male (CSOM, 2000) years old; male (CSOM, 2000) 80% have diagnosable mental health issue (CSOM, 2000) 80% have diagnosable mental health issue (CSOM, 2000) 20-80% have history of physical or sexual abuse (CSOM, 2000) 20-80% have history of physical or sexual abuse (CSOM, 2000) Low repeat offense (Alexander, 1999; Schram, Milloy, & Rowe, 1991; Worling & Curwen, 2000) Low repeat offense (Alexander, 1999; Schram, Milloy, & Rowe, 1991; Worling & Curwen, 2000) Non-violent (Miranda & Corcoran, 2000) Non-violent (Miranda & Corcoran, 2000) Experimentation (NCSBY, 2003) Experimentation (NCSBY, 2003) Impulsive & immature (NCSBY, 2003) Impulsive & immature (NCSBY, 2003) Photo courtesy of Walker, Walls, & Lancaster, PLC

7 Previous Research Extra-legal factors (Bushway & Piehl, 2001; Everett & Wojtkiewicz, 2002; Mustard, 2001) Juror bias (Carlson & Russo, 2001; Finkel, 1995; Goodman- Delahunty, Greene, & Hsiao, 1998; Kassin & Wrightsman, 1983) Child witness credibility (Bottoms & Goodman, 1994; Castelli, Goodman, & Ghetti, 2005; Goodman et al., 1987)

8 Previous Research Perceptions of violent juvenile offenders (Ghetti & Redlich, 2001) Type of crime and outcome of crime influence sentencing decisions and perceptions of competency Age of offenders influences competency and accountability Age of offenders does not influence sentencing outcomes

9 Design 3 (Age: 8, 13, 17) x 2 (Force: yes, no) 3 (Age: 8, 13, 17) x 2 (Force: yes, no) Six vignettes Six vignettes Age and Force are within subjects Age and Force are within subjects Vignette is counterbalanced across subjects Vignette is counterbalanced across subjects Read vignette  evaluate Read vignette  evaluate

10 Sample Vignette Steve, 7, was at a slumber party for a friend’s birthday. The friend’s older brother, Mike, 8, was also there. They were the only ones there who were not interested in the movie that was playing, so they got up to go play video games in the friend’s bedroom. The friend’s mom walked into the room to check on them and found that Steve was performing oral sex on Mike. Mike had apparently told Steve that if he did not perform oral sex, Mike would beat him up.

11 Hypotheses Older perpetrators will be judged as more guilty than younger perpetrators (Bergeron & Mckelvie, 2004; Steffensmeier, Ulmer, & Kramer, 1998) Female participants (Castell et al., 2005; Quas, Bottoms, Haegerich, & Nysse-Carris, 2002) and participants with abuse histories (Bottoms, 1993; Waterman & Foss-Goodman, 1984) will be more likely to vote guilty Perpetrators using force or coercion will be judged as more guilty than those not using force Use of force will matter more for younger offenders than older offenders (i.e., Force x Age interaction)

12 Consent Age, F(2, 217) = 21.04, p <.001 Force, F(1, 217) = , p <.001 Age x Force, F(2, 217) = 3.39, p <.05 1=Not at all consensual 6=Completely consensual

13 Immorality Age, F(2, 220) = 73.80, p <.001 Force, F(1, 220) = , p <.001 Age x Force, F(2, 220) = 10.36, p <.01 1=Not at all immoral 6=Completely immoral

14 Criminality Age, F(2, 220) = , p <.001 Force, F(2, 220) = 86.55, p <.001 Age x Force, F(2, 219) = 7.74, p =.001 1=Not at all criminal 6=Completely criminal

15 Guilt Age, F(2, 217) = , p <.001 Force, F(1, 217) = 72.65, p <.001 Age x Force, F(2, 217) = 5.01, p <.05 0=Not guilty 1=Guilty

16 Discussion Hypotheses supported Older perpetrators will be judged as more guilty than younger perpetrators Perpetrators using force or coercion will be judged as more guilty than those not using force Use of force will matter more for younger offenders than older offenders (i.e., Force x Age interaction) Hypotheses unsupported Female participants and participants with abuse histories will be more likely to vote guilty

17 Next Steps… More data analysis! Use Childhood Trauma Questionnaire sexual abuse subscale Community sample Professional sample Vary gender and victim’s age

18 Thanks Dr. Gail Goodman Dr. Kristin Lagattuta Dr. Joel Johnson Dr. Donna Shestowsky Research Assistants Research Assistants


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