Monday, 29 April 2013

As We Said, So Long Ago - Butner Debunked


THE BUTNER STUDY: A Report on the Fraudulent Execution of the Adam Walsh Act by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)


Title III of The Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act of 2006 established the Jimmy Ryce Civil Commitment Program for Dangerous Sex Offenders, now codified at 18 U.S.C. § 4247, 4248. Under this new program, the Attorney General (AG) or anyone authorized by the AG or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) may seek to civilly commit anyone in BOP custody by ―certifying him (or her) as ―sexually dangerous. Treatment for those ultimately committed is dispensed at only one location in the United States: the federal prison at Butner, North Carolina, and in only one program: the Commitment and Treatment Program for Sexually Dangerous Persons (CTP). The clinical director of the BOP‘s CTP Program at FCI Butner is not on trial here, but his enormous influence can and will permeate, whether directly or indirectly, every upcoming § 4248 hearing in the Eastern District of North Carolina. This document, gleaned from various sources, is a factual chronicle of Dr. Andres E. Hernandez‘ decade-long ―Butner Study from inception to its ultimate opprobrium by his peers and some federal courts.

Data, generated without rigorous methodology and/or without peer review, does not survive long in the realms of science, medicine, or law. Similarly, it should not carry any weight in psychiatry/psychology. However, The Butner Study has managed to insinuate itself into every nook and cranny of Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) commitment laws in the United States without such scrutiny. Calling it self-serving (i.e., for federal psychologists) is not descriptive enough. We must add ideological, agenda-driven, politically opportunistic, unethical, and, perhaps, even criminal. As you will read in the following pages, the legal decisions and peer reviews included herein call into question not only The Butner Study, but, more importantly, every single federal/BOP-generated forensic commitment evaluation done thus far as well as any and all programming and treatment under the BOP‘s Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP), its Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP), and CTP Program at FCI Butner."



Id. at 33. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ** 4:07-cr-00127 Plaintiff, * * v. ** MICHAEL PAUL JOHNSON, * SENTENCING MEMORANDUM * OPINION AND ORDER Defendant. * 

"The Court will not accept “science” conducted in secret. Second, the Court will not look past the shortcomings of this Study merely because the Study is unique or new. Indeed, the fact that the Study is revolutionary in nature gives this Court great pause for concern, especially since it produced the sensational result that somewhere between 85% and 98% of child pornography collectors have personally molested children.

In sum, the Court will not consider the results of the Butner Study unless and until either the Government or the researchers provide transparency for its methodology and a compelling explanation for its many apparent failings.

While the Court is loathe to simply agree with a mostly unchallenged expert, the Court can find no error in Rogers’ conclusion that the Butner Case Study “isn’t scientifically vetted, doesn’t meet scientific standards for research, and is based upon, frankly, an incoherent design for a study.”


APRIL 10, 2011

Is There a Link Between Child Pornography and Child Molestation?

"Is there any connection between possessing and/or viewing child porn and commission of an actual act of child molesting? For the past few years, prosecutors across the country have pointed to a flawed study conducted in a federal prison to answer “yes, there is.”

That study was conducted at the Federal Prison in Butner and came to be commonly known as The “Butner” Study. From 2002 to 2005, psychologists studied 155 inmates at that facility that had taken part in an 18 month treatment program. All 155 had been convicted of child pornography crimes, and were asked in their treatment if they had ever also molested children. The study suggested a “strong link” between the use of child porn and child sexual assault. It was originally published in the April Journal of Family Violence (Vol. 24, No. 3), and has been subsequently reported in several professional journals: Tori DeAngelis, Porn use and child abuse: The link may be greater than we think, a controversial study suggests, APA Monitor on Psychology, Volume 40, No. 11 December 2009; Michael L. Bourke and Andres E. Hernandez, The ‘Butner Study’ Redux: A Report of the Incidence of Hands-on Child Victimization by Child Pornography Offenders, Journal of Family Violence (Vol. 24, No. 3, April 2009)

However, momentum has been building to see the Butner study in its true colors, yet the latest example of junk science to be dragged into courtrooms by the prosecution. For starters, even the author of that study claims that it is being misused by prosecutors when they do so:

“Some individuals have misused the results of [BOP study] to fuel the argument that the majority of CP offenders are indeed contact sexual offenders and, therefore, dangerous predators. This simply is not supported by the scientific evidence.”

Andres E. Hernandez, Psychological and Behavioral Characteristics of Child Pornography Offenders in Treatment (April 5-7, 2009)."


Do you believe in monsters?


Published on Jul 30, 2014 

Melissa Hamilton: Federal Child Pornography Prosecutions


Studies on Federal Child Porn Offenders – Debunking the Myths



Public Safety, Individual Liberty, and Suspect Science: Future Dangerousness Assessments and Sex Offender Laws

Adjudicating Sex Crimes as Mental Disease


Melissa Hamilton 


 Bourke responds

No comments:

Post a Comment