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NCJ Number: 135842 Find in a Library
Title: Profiling Child Sexual Abusers: Legal Considerations
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1992)  Pages:38-53
Author(s): J M Peters; W D Murphy
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 16
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of judicial decisions regarding the use of expert testimony regarding the psychological evaluation of child sexual abusers concludes that evidence regarding the supposed psychological profile of a child molester does not belong in the courtroom.
Abstract: Behavioral scientists have been presented as expert witnesses in many child sexual abuse cases to testify that known child molesters perform differently on psychological tests than persons who do not molest children. Such testimony has been offered in a wide range of cases, ranging form family courts to criminal courts, both for and against the accused person. For a variety of reasons, appellate courts across the country have almost universally rejected this type of evidence. California has been the notable exception, with the cases of People v. Stoll and People v. Ruiz supporting the use of psychological profiles. However, Murphy and Peters have revised the scientific literature and found that it does not support the type of opinion rendered by the experts in these cases. Psychological profile testimony is irrelevant to the determination of guilt or innocence, invades the province of the jury, and poses the risk of unfair prejudice. Therefore, California should reconsider its use. 35 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Psychologists role in criminal justice; Sex offender profiles
Index Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Expert witnesses; Psychological evaluation
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