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Using the Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest to Infer Lack of Culpability in a Criminal Case  


Author:  James M. Peters.


Source: Volume 03, Number 04, June/July 2002 , pp.57-58(2)




Sex Offender Law Report

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Abstract: 

Using the Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest to Infer Lack of Culpability in a Criminal Case James M. Peters Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys representing men accused of child sexual abuse or exploitation sometimes try to introduce evidence in criminal trials showing that their clients do not respond on psychological tests the same as men known to have molested children. (See, e.g., Dennis Saccuzzo, “Still Crazy After All These Years: California’s Persistent Use of the MMPI as Character Evidence in Criminal Cases,” 33 U.S.E..L. Rev. 79 (1999); William Murphy and James Peters, “Profiling Child Sexual Abusers: Psychological Considerations,” 19 Crim. Just. & Behav. 24 (1992); and James Peters and William Murphy, “Profiling Child Sexual Abusers: Legal Considerations,” 19 Crim. Just. & Behav. 38 (1992).) Most courts that have considered such testimony have excluded it, (see Brian Holmgren, “Expert Testimony Profiling Sex Offenders—A Dead Issue Rears Its Head Again,” 12 (4) Update (National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse) (1999); J. Myers, Evidence in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, 3d edition (1997); American Prosecutor’s Research Institute, Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse, 2d ed., (1993)) but the issue has recently reappeared with a device called the Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest( (AASI).

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Affiliations:  1: Assistant United States Attorney.

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