Heterogeneity among Child Pornography Offenders

One of the most widely contested debates in the characterization of child pornography offenders is whether they constitute a distinct, separate type of sex offender. In other words, are child pornography offenders the same as other sex offenders (e.g., rapists and child sexual abusers)? Child pornographers can be separated into four categories (Krone, 2004; banning, 2001):

  • (1) Those who access child pornography to satisfy curiosity or impulse, without a particular sexual interest in children.
  • (2) Those who access child pornography to satisfy sexual fantasies involving children, but do not commit actual contact offenses.
  • (3) Those who utilize the Internet in order to execute contact sex crimes.
  • (4) Those who create and distribute child pornography solely for the purpose of financial gain.

table 5.2 Krone's Typology of Child Pornography Offending Behavior (2004)

INVOLVEMENT TYPE

FEATURES

NETWORKING LEVEL

NATURE OF ABUSE

Browser

Response to spam, accidental hit on suspect site—material knowingly saved

None

Indirect

Private Fantasy

Conscious creation of online text or digital images for private use

None

Indirect

Trawler

Actively seeking child pornography using openly available browsers

Low

Indirect

Non-Secure

Collector

Actively seeking material often through peer-to-peer networks

High

Indirect

Secure Collector

Actively seeking material but only through secure networks

High

Indirect

Groomer

Cultivating an online relationship with one or more children. Pornography may be used to facilitate abuse

Varies—online contact with individual children

Direct

Physical Abuser

Abusing a child who may have been introduced to the offender online. Pornography may be used to facilitate abuse

Varies—physical contact with individual children

Direct

Producer

Records own abuse or that of others (or induces children to submit images of themselves)

Varies—may depend on whether individual becomes distributor

Direct

Distributor

May distribute at any one of the above levels

Varies

Indirect

Source: (Krone, 2004)

In the following sections, we further explore heterogeneity in this population, focusing on these four categories. Though these categories do not constitute a typology, they incorporate categorizations from empirically-validated typologies. Krone's (2004) research of child pornography offenders in Australia yielded a typology comprised of nine different categories, with different degrees of child pornography utility, offending severity, and networking frequency. This typology is presented in Table 5.2. As we discuss the four groups of child pornography offenders below, reference is made to categories from this and other typologies.

 
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