Friday, November 28, 2008

This Sex Offender Expert Looks Deeper Than Most

Too many court-ordered sex-offender treatment programs across the nation are not only failing to help the offenders they treat, but also potential future victims. This is why I was so encouraged to discover the work of Dr. Jay Adams, a former California Department of Corrections staff psychologist, who has worked with sex offenders for more than 25 years. Dr. Adams believes much of the problem lies in the failure to recognize and treat the sex offender's own childhood abuse and trauma.

Being both a survivor of childhood incest and convicted sex offender (my transgressions involved adult women), I found Dr. Adams’ findings particularly relevant to my own experience in sex offender treatment. For two years (1999 – 2001) I participated in a relapse-prevention based treatment program in Colorado where my childhood victimization was dismissed as irrelevant to my treatment. This was incomprehensible to me. But only later did I fully understand that my therapists decided (privately) that my incest disclosure was a fabricated excuse to offend! No effort was made to determine if it was true or not.

Sharing this disturbing information with Dr. Adams, she kindly sent me two more articles describing her findings, and permission to quote them on MonsterMart. One of these MUST-READ articles, Victim Issues Key to Effective Sex Offender Treatment, is in the Trowbridge Foundation link on the sidebar.

Here are a few excerpts from Expanding Our Sex offender Treatment, Dr. Jay Adams Ph.D.

"...It is gratifying to see a rising current in the literature which is finally questioning the long-standing and widespread assumption that our sex offender clients are totally different from every other client population. This assumption has allowed us [the treatment community] to violate a number of our own ethical standards (Glasser, 2003) and to disregard many of the established principles of psychotherapy. One of the unfortunate consequences of the widespread acceptance of Relapse Prevention is that it has fostered a “cook book” approach to sex offender treatment, which may have attracted individuals to the field who lack the qualities necessary for effective clinical practice.”

“…Clinicians who treat sex offenders often experience strong counter-transference reactions when their clients present themselves as victims. This usually takes the form of blaming “the system” for treating them unfairly and/or blaming their victims for causing them to have sex. However inappropriate such blame may be, the feeling of being a victim is real and stems from early childhood experiences. Virtually all the sex offenders I have worked with in the past 25 years have had some history of sexual and/or physical abuse."

"...Validating a client’s feelings about his own abuse does not mean not requiring him to take responsibility for his victimization of others. Such validation does not constitute an “excuse.” It is in fact one of the most important things we can do to encourage him to take responsibility. It doesn’t make much sense to be continually telling our clients how much their behavior harmed their victims while at the same time implying that whatever happened to them in childhood is of no consequence."

GREAT NEWS for survivor/offenders who may have given up hope on this common treatment. Bad News for people who assume sex offenders CHOSE their afflictions, of which there still seem to be many. Many thanks to Dr. Adams! Look for more from her findings in upcoming MonsterMart posts.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Will these two bozos become registered sex offenders?

I know it's ridiculous to suggest that one or both of these drunkos should become registered sex offenders. But police and prosecutors these days are going way beyond reason and rationality in pursuit of "sex criminals." (See my Naked Pumpkin Runners post.)

Here's the report from THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Hawkeyes were stomping the Gophers on the Metrodome field last weekend, police said two Iowa fans were having a romp of a different kind in a restroom. Both events, police say, had their share of cheering fans.

A 38-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man turned to a handicapped stall for their tryst Saturday evening.

On the field, the Hawkeyes were on their way to 55-0 trouncing of the Gophers. In the restroom, a crowd of intoxicated fans gathered to cheer the off-the-field event.

Eventually, a security guard tipped off University of Minnesota police. Officers had to interrupt the couple to cite them for indecent conduct, a misdemeanor.

Police Chief Greg Hestness said the woman initially gave a false name to officers. She was released to her husband and the man was released to his girlfriend.

Both people in the stall were intoxicated.

Nowadays inappropriate sex in inappropriate places can be regarded as a clear indication of sexual "deviancy." Will this fact serve as a justification for sex offender registration in this case? No matter how absurd that may seem, the fact is they've been charged with misdemeanor crimes involving sex, a very scary situation to be in today. I sure hope they both retain capable, private lawyers.