Psychologist: Jail, Therapy Not Effective For Pedophiles
By DAYNA WORCHEL
A Dallas forensic psychologist told an audience at a Tyler conference Thursday that psychotherapy and jail aren't effective when it comes to treating pedophiles.
"Nothing changes recidivism rates in (male) pedophiles except chemical or physical castration," Dr. William Flynn said at the second annual East Texas Forensic Symposium, scheduled for a two-day period at the Green Acres Baptist Church.
More than 80 people are attending the conference which ends today. Most of those present were sexual assault nurse examiners, law enforcement personnel and others who work with victims of sexual crimes.
Flynn, who used to be a clinical psychologist who treated individuals, now tests and interviews accused sex offenders and testifies in court cases. He said most of these offenders want to be castrated. Texas is one of a handful of states in the U.S. that allows surgical castration as a treatment for pedophiles, Flynn said.
The forensic psychologist said that chemical and surgical castration reduce a repeated male sex offender's sexual fantasies about children, while leaving the attraction to adult females intact.
He used an example of someone who is addicted to drugs and injects the substance into their veins. "The drug doesn't just affect the part of their arm where they inject it, the drug affects the whole body and the brain," Flynn said.
The mechanism is the same with a pedophile who has his testosterone levels reduced through surgery or chemical means, he said. The desire to molest children is decreased when the testosterone levels are reduced, Flynn said.
He also told the audience that a juvenile who has a head injury before the age of 13 would be more likely to grow up to become a sex offender, while a head injury after that age did not affect whether or not one would commit such crimes.
"A bad brain," caused by child abuse, disease, a mother doing drugs or alcohol can also lead to someone sexually abusing children, Flynn said.
A Dallas criminal defense attorney who works with Flynn on many cases said that society has an aversion to those that try to commit crimes on children. Gary Krupkin said that a "mature and intelligent" judge and jury would want to know why an offender committed such a crime on a child and what the appropriate sentence is.
The reason for the child abuse behavior does not excuse the crime, Krupkin said. "I never carry a bias against victims or law enforcement -- I'm trying to get at the truth," he said.
Dr. Patrick Besant-Matthews discussed techniques for photographing sexual assault victims and people who are victims of violent crime. Former Smith County Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent also was scheduled to speak about documentation in the courtroom.
Today, Donna Wright, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth will speak about sexually transmitted diseases in children. Also today, Biker's Against Child Abuse, a non-profit organization that provides safety and support for children will make an appearance, and Stephanie Campbell, an experienced critical care nurse and expert in burn care will talk about intentional and non-intentional burns.