The boy spoke Spanish and had been diagnosed as being "multiple-handicapped and perceptually impaired," which means he could not read or spell simple words, and "had difficulty reasoning on an abstract level" (NJLJ 2001). The therapist testified that the boy admitted to "penetration" but apparently did not know the meaning of the word; he "equated rape with sex, and...he understood sex to mean the act of 'rubbing against someone.'"
Further, medical tests showed that the 8-year-old cousin had "an intact hymen" and showed no signs of sexual abuse (NJLJ 2001). Since the guilty plea had been entered, the court
ADHD and Sexual Aggression concluded, "without a proper factual basis," that plea "violates due process and is unconstitutional if the accused contemporaneously claims..." innocence (NJLJ, 2001). And after five years of dealing with this juvenile and the law, the court "vacated" the plea, which adjudicated delinquency. This case shows the difficulty that the legal institutions face when sexually-related crimes are alleged against very young children.
An article in the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice explains that because some sexually aggressive children (ages 6-17) also have "attention-deficit" and "hyperactivity" disorders, there may be a connection between the two problems (Fago, 2003). The article reports on a study based on a clinical sample of 72 children and adolescents who had exhibited "disruptive behaviors (Fago 2003) and problems with aggressive behavior." The word used in the article is "comorbidity" which means one medical condition "existing simultaneously with and usually independently of another medical condition."
The article explains that "it has become increasingly evident that to adequately evaluate and treat child psychopathology," the professionals in this field (of juvenile sexual aggression that becomes a violation of law) must have a working understanding of "clinical knowledge" (Fago 2003) that covers not just the narrow specialization of child psychology, but also "a spectrum of biological and neurodevelopmental factors" (Fago 2003). Those factors include the effects of "genetic, biological, and neurodevelopmental influences" on children, the types of "psychopathology commonly found in children and adolescents" and the "known developmental trajectories of child behavior and child psychopathology." What this is saying is, there may very well be a connection between adolescent boys who have disabilities like attention deficit disorder (ADHD), or hyperactivity that is out of control, may also have the potential to commit sex offenses (Fago 2003). Therefore, more studies are needed to verify that there is a relevant link between sexually aggressive behaviors in adolescents and if so, how can psychologists be brought up-to-date with the latest advances in their field to help them help the young people who need it when it comes to normal sexual and social relations with others.
Aylwin, A. Scott, Reddon, John R., & Burke, Andrew R. (2005). Sexual Fantasies of Adolescent
Male Sex Offenders in Residential Treatment: A Descriptive Study. Archives of Sexual
Behavior, 34(2), pp. 231-239.
Center for Sex Offender Management. (2000). Myths and Facts About Sex Offenders. Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 7 Dec. 2006 at http://www.csom.org/pubs/mythsfacts.html.
Fago, David P. (2003). Evaluation and treatment of neurodevelopmental deficits in sexually
Aggressive children and adolescents. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 34(3),
Hunter, John A., Figueredo, Aurelio Jose, Malamuth, Neil M., & Becker, Judith V. (2004).
Developmental Pathways in Youth Sexual Aggression and Delinquency: Risk Factors and Mediators. Journal of Family Violence, 19(4), pp. 233-240.
New Jersey Law Journal. (2001). State Digests: Criminal Practice - Juveniles - Sex Offenders.
Respondent Lon C. Taylor, Assistant Deputy Public Defender. 165 NJLJ 371 pp. 59-61.
Center for Sex Offender Management, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, "Myths and Facts About Sex Offenders," Retrieved Dec. 8, 2006, at http://www.csom.org/pubs/mythsfacts.html.
A. Scott Aylwin, John R. Reddon, & Andrew R. Burke, "Sexual Fantasies of Adolescent Male Sex Offenders in Residential Treatment: A Descriptive Study." Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 34 no. 2, April 2005.
John A. Hunter, Aurilio Jose Figueredo, Neil M. Malamuth, & Judith V. Becker, Development Pathways in Youth Sexual Aggression and Delinquency: Risk Factors and Mediators. Journal of Family Violence, vol. 19 no. 4, August 2004.
New Jersey Law Journal, State Digests, Criminal Practice - Juveniles - Sex Offenders, July…