A sample of 20 adult sexual offenders were interviewed about the process whereby they selected, recruited, and maintained children in a sexual abuse situation. Offenders were selected if they were making "successful" progress in treatment in order that they might be less likely to distort their descriptions. Offenders were interviewed by their therapist in a community treatment program using a semistructured interview guide. Results suggest that this sample of offenders claim a special ability to identify vulnerable children, to use that vulnerability to sexually use a child, that sexual abuse is inherently coercive, even though many offender statements minimize the level of coercion and violence, and that offenders systematically desensitize children to touch. Implications for prevention of sexual abuse are highlighted. © 1989.
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