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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Two Myths: Sex Offenders Have a High Recidivism Rate AND Sex Crimes are So Under-Reported Any Attempt to Gather Accurate Recidivism Rates is Impossible


What’s the Real Rate of Sex-Crime Recidivism? May 28, 2016
One sentence in a 1986 mass-market magazine continues to sway court cases involving sex offenders.
By Steven Yoder

In the early 1980s, rehabilitation counselor Robert Longo could hardly have known that his work with convicted sex offenders would make him a minor celebrity. At the time, he was running a program at the Oregon State Hospital to treat and rehabilitate prisoners who had committed sex crimes. It was a new field, and Longo says they were using what at the time were considered innovative approaches: aversive conditioning, administration of Depo-Provera to reduce testosterone levels, and penile plethysmography to measure arousal. 

In 1985, documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky heard about Longo’s work and gave him a call. Oregon’s program was featured prominently in the resulting HBO special, Rapists: Can They Be Stopped? While the film was being shot, word got around about Longo’s methods, which were seen as a potential solution to ending rape. He started getting invitations to appear on Oprahhe was on five times in all, he remembersand now he was being quoted in the New York Times and national magazines.