A Johns Hopkins University center dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse hired a professor who said adult sexual attraction to minors is OK as long as it's not acted upon.
What are the details?
The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse announced Thursday that Allyn Walker will join the center as a postdoctoral fellow May 25, Fox News reported.
The cable network said the Moore Center confirmed the news in a statement that went on to note, "Walker is a leader in the field of perpetration prevention research, which is essential for developing a comprehensive public health approach to addressing child sexual abuse and effective prevention programs. ... Walker’s expertise and qualitative research methodology will enhance and advance the Center’s work."
What's the background?
Walke, while previously an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University, stated in an interview last November that "there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they're attracted to at all."
In the Prostasia interview, Walker added that "it's not who we're attracted to that's either OK or not OK. It's our behaviors and responding to that attraction that are either OK or not OK." Walker also went to great lengths to differentiate between pedophiles and minor-attracted people in what seemed to be an attempt to normalize adult attractions to people under the age of 18 as long as those attractions aren't carried out:
And I want to be extremely clear that child sexual abuse is never ever okay. But having an attraction to minors as long as it isn't acted on doesn't mean the person who has those attractions is doing something wrong. I think we have a tendency to want to categorize people with these attractions as evil or morally corrupt. But when we're talking about non-offending MAPS, these are people who have an attraction that they didn't ask for. And one that frequently they would give anything to change. But they find that they're unable to change those attractions. And most importantly, the people in my study did not act on them.
Here's the interview:
Prostasia Conversations: Allyn Walkeryoutu.be
Walker's bio in "Experiences of Trans Scholars in Criminology and Criminal Justice" indicates the professor is "queer" and "nonbinary trans."
What happened next?
Amid controversy over the interview, Walker was placed on administrative leave in mid-November. By the end of the month, news hit that Walker was resigning amid "multiple threats ... made against me and the campus community generally." The Associated Press reported that Walker would remain on leave before officially stepping down at the conclusion of the academic year in May.
Walker's research was "mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity," the prof added to the AP. But denunciations against Walker — who uses the pronoun “they" — were rolling in.
More from the AP:
An online petition calling for Walker’s removal received nearly 15,000 signatures. It referenced Walker’s use of the term, “minor attracted persons,” and said “(w)e want to be clear that this is pedophilia and should not be considered a sexual preference.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson also talked about Walker’s work with the headline “The Left’s Depraved New Low.”
A letter sent out last week by university President Brian Hemphill noted the controversy had triggered terrible memories and caused fresh pain to people who suffered abuse.
As for Walker's resignation, Hemphill told the outlet "we have concluded that this outcome is the best way to move forward."
'The way of the future'
As it turns out, the director of the Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse — soon to be Walker's new professional home — told the AP last fall that Walker “is not the first person to turn their attention to that type of work.”
“Several others in the field have been working with people with sexual attraction to children who are committed to not offending,” Elizabeth Letourneau added to the outlet. “And it’s the way of the future.”