Professor Who Said Sexual Attraction To Children Isn’t Always ‘Immoral’ Resigns
A university professor has resigned amid backlash over their claims that sexual attraction to children isn’t always ‘immoral’.
Dr. Allyn Walker, an assistant professor in sociology and criminal justice at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, recently spoke in support of removing the stigma around paedophilia in a bid to curb and prevent child sexual abuse.
The controversial comments came during an interview with child protection organisation Protasia Foundation about the book A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity. Walker, who uses they/them pronouns, uses language like ‘minor-attracted person’ instead of paedophile and said it wasn’t wrong ‘as long as it wasn’t acted on’.
‘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,’ Walker said.
Footage from the interview quickly circulated online, attracting widespread criticism and echoing the outrage on campus. While the university initially defended the comments in the ‘quest for knowledge’, the professor was placed on a leave of absence.
Walker has since resigned from their position, saying they’d received multiple threats and their work had been ‘mischaracterised’. It also comes after a petition calling for their resignation racked up more than 15,000 signatures, specifically taking umbrage with the use of ‘minor-attracted person’ as paedophilia ‘should not be considered a sexual preference’.
‘That research was mischaracterised by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity. As a result, multiple threats were made against me and the campus community generally,’ they said in a statement, as per The Independent.
‘I worry that my readers will somehow think that I am downplaying sexual abuse against children or that I am even trying to normalise it. Nothing could be further from the truth,’ the preface of Walker’s book reads.
University president Brian Hemphill said Walker’s decision would be ‘the best way to move forward… the safety and security of individual monarchs and our collective campus are of the utmost importance’.
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