Viriginia Professor resigns after facing backlash over comments about "adults attracted to children"

Photo: (Prostasia Conversations/Youtube)

A Virginia professor has agreed to resign following outrage and threats over their recent paper advocating that pedophiles be de-stigmatized to prevent child sexual assault.

Dr. Allyn Walker, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Virginia's Old Dominion University, claimed they received many threats and their study was "mischaracterized."

"That research was mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly based on my trans identity," Dr. Walker said in a statement.

"As a result, multiple threats were made against me and the campus community generally," they added.

Walker provoked outrage online and on-campus after claiming that being attracted to adolescents is not sinful and that de-stigmatizing the matter will allow individuals to get treatment. Potential sex offenders, they claim, can be deterred from committing crimes by acquiring coping techniques.

In June, they released "A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity," a book that features interviews with more than 40 adults who are sexually attracted to kids.

"I worry that my readers will somehow think that I am downplaying sexual abuse against children or that I am even trying to normalize it," he wrote in the preface of the book.

"Nothing could be further from the truth."

Walker was placed on administrative leave after their book and interviews sparked controversy, with the university claiming in a statement that the issue "disrupted the campus and community atmosphere and is interfering with the institution's goal of teaching and learning."

They were briefly provided with an armed escort while on campus in Norfolk before being put on administrative leave, university officials said.

An online petition calling for Walker’s removal was also launched by Kayla Foster, a senior studying criminal justice.

The petition received nearly 15,000 signatures. The petition took objection to Waker’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."

University President Brian Hemphill said in a statement that Walker’s statement would be “the best way to move forward.”

“The safety and security of individual monarchs and our collective campus are of the utmost importance,” Hemphill said in the statement.

“For ODU, these will always remain top priorities as we pursue our mission in a caring, inclusive, and supportive community, one that respects academic freedom and remains willing to discuss controversial ideas in an atmosphere free of intimidation or violence.”

Publish : 2021-11-25 14:33:00

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