Understanding, Assessing, & Treating Sexual Offenders: Tools for the Therapist

By Matthew D. Rosenberg, MSW, CSW
Edited by Debra Pawluck, MSW, CSW

Motivational Factors Associated with Child Molestation

Critical review of the case of John, a 25 year old child molester convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct II

Brief case history
John is a 25 year old Caucasian male who has always resided with his biological parents. He is a socially awkward young man and is very self critical. He denies ever engaging in sexual intercourse thus far in his life, and states that he is sexually immature. He appears to have the countenance and mannerisms of a 15 year old boy.

John admits to fondling an 8 year old girl on one occasion. The victim was the daughter of a close friend of John. Upon reviewing the victim characteristics, I determined that she would be classified as a moderate to high risk victim. She is much closer with her father than her mother, but the father spends very little time with her. She is left alone much of the time, even though her father may be in the home with her. Her father is a habitual cannabis user, and cannabis appears to be a major focus of his life. The victim appeared to yearn for the attention of her father and other adult figures in her life. She has a 14 year old sister who is much closer to their mother.

Why John crossed the line, and how?

Two motivational clusters: Cluster One
Cluster one includes all of the interpsychic and interpersonal dynamics which set up the tone for dysfunctional behavior and possibly sexual offending.

It must be noted that many adults experience many of the same symptoms as in cluster one, and do not sexually offend against a child. It is therefore, cluster one coupled with cluster two that may have pushed John into his sexual deviance.

(Portion of essay, "Motivational Factors Associated with Child Molestation")(Copyrighted Material 1999)