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Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2003 Aug;47(4):366-82.

A study of the psychosexual characteristics of sex killers: can we identify them before it is too late?

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 5468 Dundas Street West, Suite 402, Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 6E3.


Thirty-three sex killers were compared to 80 sexual aggressives, 23 sadists, and 611 general sex offenders on sexual history and preferences, substance abuse crime, violence, mental illness, personality, neurological and endocrine abnormalities. Compared to other groups, sex killers started their criminal careers earlier, more often had been to reform school, were members of criminal gangs, set fires, and were cruel to animals. They tended so show more sadism, fetishism, and voyeurism. They more often collected pornography, but they did not use it in their offenses. They more often abused drugs and some suffered from drug induced psychoses. Their most common diagnosis was antisocial personality disorder, but only 15.2% met criteria for psychopathy. Sex killers showed most signs of neuropsychological impairment, grades failure, and learning disabilities. Results suggest that greater emphasis be placed on studying adolescent sex offenders and conduct disordered children which may help identify potential sex killers.

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