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Title:Re-examining typologies of sexually violent offenders
Author(s):Perry, Leigh Ann
Director of Research:Allen, Nicole
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Allen, Nicole
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Berenbaum, Howard; Drasgow, Fritz; Heller, Wendy; Aber, Mark
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sexual Assault
Sexual Offender
Abstract:The current study assessed a classification of sexual offenders from combinations of crime scene evidence and case data. It sought to contribute a unique perspective to the sexual offender typology literature by utilizing data obtained from the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) database—a nationally populated violent crime database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Use of ViCAP data allowed for information to be obtained about sexual offenders who were not necessarily in mental health treatment programs and/or criminal custody, thereby enabling the examination of offenders that may not have been investigated in previous research. The present study also sought to expand upon previous typology literature by focusing on offender crime scene behaviors rather than offender motive since law enforcement often needs to begin their approach to a case investigation and offender identification and apprehension based on what is viewed at a crime scene. Data collected from the ViCAP database were analyzed to explore the heterogeneity of 4,476 sexually violent adult males who offended against adult females. The following domains were chosen as initial variables of interest: 1) use of potentially deadly force, 2) offender approach (i.e., blitz, con, and surprise), 3) use of restraints, 4) infliction of unusual assault/trauma, 5) type of sexual activity, 6) major trauma location, and 7) use of a weapon. After considering univariate entropy results for the initial variables, use of restraints, certain types of sexual activity, and use of a weapon were eliminated from the analyses based on low scores. Seven offender groups were identified through use of latent class analysis (LCA) on the remaining variables. Results indicated that offender approach is an important differentiating variable for offenders, particularly among those who did not exhibit sadistic offense behaviors. In addition, major trauma location was found to be important in differentiating between two groups of offenders who exhibited sadistic assault characteristics, with one sadistic group concentrating its trauma to sexual regions of the body while the other displayed high probabilities of trauma infliction on all areas of the body. The current study expands upon previous typology research by analyzing sexually violent offenders who were not necessarily in mental health treatment programs or criminal custody based on their crime scene behaviors separate from offender motivation. It provides a framework which future research can use to examine combinations of objective crime scene behaviors, self-reported offender motivations and fantasies, and offender psychopathology and personality in order to present a comprehensive approach that is useful to both law enforcement and mental health professionals.
Issue Date:2016-07-12
Rights Information:© 2016 Leigh Ann Perry
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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