Professor Who Said Sexual Attraction To Children Isn’t Always ‘Immoral’ Is Put On Leave
A university professor who claimed sexual attraction to children isn’t always ‘immoral’ has been placed on leave after the controversy ‘disrupted the campus’.
The comments made by Dr Allyn Walker, an assistant professor in sociology and criminal justice at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, came during an interview with child protection organisation Protasia Foundation as they discussed the book A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.
Walker, who uses the pronouns they/them, argued that having an attraction to underage children doesn’t mean the person is doing something wrong ‘as long as it isn’t acted on’.
Footage of Walker’s interview went viral after being shared by the Twitter account Libs of TikTok, and showed Walker using the phrase ‘minor-attracted person’, or MAP, arguing it carried less stigma than the term paedophile.
Per The Independent, they commented:
From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all.
In other words, it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either OK or not OK. It’s our behaviours in responding to that attraction that are either OK or not OK.
Following the interview, protesters descended on the university campus carrying signs reading ‘paedophilia is not a sexuality’ and chanting ‘protect our youth’. Demonstrators called for the professor to be fired, and though the university initially defended Walker’s comments as part of the ‘quest for knowledge’, they were ultimately placed on a leave of absence.
Brian O Hemphil, the president of Old Dominion University, released a statement to say the reactions to Walker’s research and book had led to concerns for the safety of the professor and the campus.
The statement read, in part:
Furthermore, the controversy over Dr Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment and is interfering with the institution’s mission of teaching and learning.
The actions we are taking today are motivated by our obligation to maintain a safe and conducive learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff.
Walker’s leave of absence came a few days after they released a statement in which they said they ’embarked on this research in hopes of gaining understanding of a group that, previously, has not been studied in order to identify ways to protect children’.
‘I want to be clear: child sexual abuse is an inexcusable crime. As an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, the goal of my research is to prevent crime,’ they said.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
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