February 14, 2012

Kids Who Commit Sex Crimes Low Risk to Re-Offend

2-14-2012 Nebraska:

OMAHA (KPTM) -- Experts say kids who commit sex crimes are at a low-risk to re-offend.

"Some are doing this for bullying purposes, some are doing it for entertainment, some are showing a broader pattern of anti-social, criminogenic behaviors...some truly misunderstand and think they have consent...but some do know what they are doing and why they are doing it," said Psychologist Theodore DeLaet.

DeLaet evaluates juveniles who have committed sex crimes. He said most of these kids do not re-offend.

In December 2011, two Omaha boys were found guilty of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother. Court records say the two boys, then 12 and 13, intimidated the children into performing sex acts on them and on each other. The boys recorded it on their cell phones. In both cases, a Douglas County Juvenile Court judge ordered the boys to under sex offender treatment and be placed on indefinite probation. The judge did not order the boys to register as sex offenders.

Unlike adult offenders, children who commit these offenses do not understand the consequences of their actions on their victims, DeLaet said.

"The large majority of the youth that I have worked with truly feel sorry for what they did and they are embarrassed about it...they very much want to get better, they often don't know how," he said.

Putting these kids behind bars isn't the answer, some say.

Criminal defense attorney Steve Lefler represented one of the boys in the sexual assault case. He said: "What the public should take away from this is those kids can be your neighbor and they won't be a threat because we have reacted as a society in a civilized fashion, let's give these kids what they need (counseling) so they won't re-offend."

When it comes to victims, among the juvenile population, 16 percent of males and 29 percent of females report they were sexually abused before they turned 18, according to the textbook "Juvenile Sex Offending."

Most of the offenders are boys. Juveniles as a population commit 17 percent of all sexual assaults in the U.S. and Britain. ..Source.. by Jonathan Athens

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