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Study sheds light on profiles of Korean child sex offenders

Study sheds light on profiles of Korean child sex offenders

Posted September. 26, 2012 06:25,   


What caused child sex offender Goh Jong-seok in Naju, South Jeolla Province, to develop sexual desire toward a 7-year-old girl? Why did child rapist Kim Jeom-deok in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, use an elementary school girl who liked him calling him "Uncle," to resolve his animal-like sexual urge?

Why did they prey on young girls? Not finding out the reasons could mean more crimes of a similar nature and a heightened sense of fear among the daughters of Korea.

The Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday released the results of an analysis of the education, personality and methods of those who committed sexual crimes against children over the past several years. The study found that many such offenders have low education levels, few interpersonal relations, and misguided sexual perceptions.

This finding also confirmed the results of a groundbreaking study on the “close surveillance of sexual offenders,” which was conducted by the medical behavioral science team at Yonsei University College of Medicine.

The research team studied 10 child sex offenders who committed brutal crimes by visiting Anyang Prison in Gyeonggi Province on 16 occasions from August to November in 2006. This was the first and only time for a Korean research team to enter a prison and scientifically study sex offenders.

According to the results of the study secured by Dong-A secured Tuesday, 10 of the offenders had dropped out or graduated from elementary school or left middle school. Their average education level was elementary school graduate. Six of them had an IQ between 90 and 109, one between 110 and 119, and three below 89, showing a level similar to the average IQ.

Ruling Saenuri Party Rep. Shin Ui-jin, who led the study, said, “Sex offenders don`t have an exceptionally low IQ, but most of them fail to finish formal schooling. This suggests that forcing out problematic students from schools early could bring about another kind of danger.”

The Yonsei study also found that the sense of depression and solitude among child sex offenders is four times stronger than that of ordinary people. Because they are isolated from others and feel lonely, they eventually develop a sense of isolation and loneliness to depression. They also have a weak sense of friendliness and affiliation toward people around them. Their sociability index was 16.7, about 60 percent lower than that of non-sex criminals (25).

As a result, they fail to find a rational and emotional method to resolve their plights, including discontent, and often get obsessed with their own unique methods to solve problems. They fail to suppress their sexual desire and commit crimes, only to get disappointed at them all the more in a vicious cycle. For this reason, their sense of self-dignity is about 30 percent lower to that of ordinary criminals. If they suffer from a waning sense of self-dignity, it gets more difficult for them to overcome their desire to recommit crimes.

Child sex offenders have seriously distorted perceptions about women and sexual relations. They did not know how to build ties with adult women, and instead develop distorted perceptions toward sex as they seek to satisfy their sexual urges by watching child pornography. Goh Jong-seok said, “When I often watched Japanese pornography, I frequently felt the urge to have sex with a young woman.” Kim Jeom-deok, a porn addict, also said, “Because A-reum (his victim), whom I gave a ride to school on my truck, was wearing a pink skirt, I wanted to have sex.”

Lee Yeong-joon, a professor at Yonsei University College of Medicine who participated in the study, said, “Child sex offenders create their own ‘islands,’ and continue to develop the desire to commit crime because they are isolated and neglected at home and school,” adding, “Unless this vicious cycle is prevented at school and home, it will be difficult to generate a practical effect no matter how stern a punishment is levied later on.”