The Iconic Child Molester: What We Believe and Why We Believe It
Tamara Rice Lave
University of Miami, School of Law
Survey research shows that Americans have a deep fear of child molestation. They are more concerned about child molest then terrorism, and they believe that child molesters can never be rehabilitated. Yet research contradicts these beliefs. This paper seeks to understand why perception of child molesters is so far off from reality. The hypothesis is that availability of stories in the media in conjunction with people's deep seated outrage about child molestation distorts people's perceptions. This hypothesis is tested by comparing the number of stories published from 2000-2005 with the incidence of different crimes. An analysis is also done of bias in reporting of sex crimes and sex offenders.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58working papers series
Date posted: April 15, 2008
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