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Arch Sex Behav. 1990 Dec;19(6):541-56.

Patterns of sexual arousal of accused child molesters involved in custody disputes.

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  • 1University of North Carolina, Department of Psychology, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223.


Penile plethysmography was used to examine sexual preferences of individuals accused of child molestation in the course of custody conflicts. Information regarding the alleged offenders, victims, and sex offense was gathered. In comparison to accused offenders who are not engaged in custody disputes, the subjects were more often accused of sexually abusing a younger child who was a biological relative. The source of accusations was usually the mother. Additionally, the custody-dispute subjects were less likely to have a prior criminal history. Penile tumescence data suggested that the subjects involved in custody disputes were less sexually aroused by children than those subjects who were not involved in custody conflicts. However, the results revealed that in both groups a substantial number of subjects responded equally or more to the child stimuli. In sum, the alleged offenders involved in custody disputes appeared less deviant on several measures.

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