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Confessions by Sex Offenders (From Investigative Interviewing: Rights, Research, Regulation, P 107-122, 2006, Tom Williamson, ed. -- See NCJ-214231)

NCJ Number
Michel St-Yves
Date Published
16 pages
This chapter presents a detailed portrait of sex offenders who confess or deny their crimes and suggests some interview/interrogation strategies that may encourage confessions.
The sex offender most likely to confess is a single White male whose victim was a minor, who used no or very little violence toward his victim, who expressed remorse about his crime, and who has an introverted personality. The rarity of confessions by sex offenders is linked to the personal consequences of admitting the crime (shame and humiliation) and the attitude of the investigator. Obtaining a confession requires an interrogation strategy and skills that can reduce these characteristic barriers to confessions by sex offenders. For sex offenders with an introverted personality profile, the loss of self-esteem, shame, and humiliation are the most pronounced inhibiting factors; for extroverted sex offenders, on the other hand, the personal consequences of a confession pertain to their public image and reputation. A sex offender is most likely to confess in the context of an empathetic interaction that encourages him to talk about his vulnerability, suffering, and powerlessness. Sex offenders who have confessed describe the conversation with the police investigator as being a humane experience characterized by empathy. Sex offenders who persisted in denying their crime, on the other hand, described the police interview as oppressive and confrontational. 2 notes and 53 references