Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation
From Prof. Herek's blog
The number of Americans who believe the myth that gay people are child molesters has declined substantially. In a 1970 national survey, more than 70% of respondents agreed with the assertions that "Homosexuals are dangerous as teachers or youth leaders because they try to get sexually involved with children" or that "Homosexuals try to play sexually with children if they cannot get an adult partner."1
Even though most Americans don't regard gay people as child molesters, confusion remains widespread in this area. To understand the facts, it is important to examine the results of scientific research. However, when we evaluate research on child molestation, our task is complicated by several problems.
A second problem is that the terminology used in this area is often confusing and can even be misleading. We can begin to address that problem by defining some basic terms.
The distinction between a victim's gender and a perpetrator's sexual orientation is important because many child molesters don't really have an adult sexual orientation. They have never developed the capacity for mature sexual relationships with other adults, either men or women. Instead, their sexual attractions focus on children – boys, girls, or children of both sexes.
Other researchers have taken different approaches, but have similarly failed to find a connection between homosexuality and child molestation. Dr. Carole Jenny and her colleagues reviewed 352 medical charts, representing all of the sexually abused children seen in the emergency room or child abuse clinic of a Denver children's hospital during a one-year period (from July 1, 1991 to June 30, 1992). The molester was a gay or lesbian adult in fewer than 1% of cases in which an adult molester could be identified – only 2 of the 269 cases (Jenny et al., 1994).
Reflecting the results of these and other studies, as well as clinical experience, the mainstream view among researchers and professionals who work in the area of child sexual abuse is that homosexual and bisexual men do not pose any special threat to children. For example, in one review of the scientific literature, noted authority Dr. A. Nicholas Groth wrote:
In scandals involving the Catholic church, the victims of sexual abuse were often adolescent boys rather than small children. Similarly, the 2006 congressional page scandal involved males who were at least 16 years old.