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Sex Panic and the Punitive State$
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Roger Lancaster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520255654

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255654.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

To Catch a Predator

To Catch a Predator

New Monsters, Imagined Risks, and the Erosion of Legal Norms

(p.73) CHAPTER 3 To Catch a Predator
Sex Panic and the Punitive State

Roger N. Lancaster

University of California Press

There has been a renewed round of intense reportage on the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals which illustrates how proportion and measure are distorted in sex panics. These conflations constructed the menacing image of the “pedophile priest.” In some jurisdictions “high-risk” offenders were convicted of sex crimes involving the use of force against a child aged twelve or younger.” “Moderate risk” refers to people convicted of crimes that involved neither the use of force nor children younger than twelve. “Low-risk” offenders can include those convicted of offenses as minor as public urination, public masturbation, “mooning,” or prostitution. Rehabilitation is the normative goal of criminal justice. That which defines the current wave of sex panics is the desire to discover, publicize, and perpetually punish even minor infractions.

Keywords:   pedophile priest, catholic Church, sexual abuse, sex panic, predator, risks

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