Paedophilia research riles and titillates the academy

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An academic who studied paedophiles has described how she was castigated by hostile colleagues but encouraged by other academics who found her research "excitingly naughty". Sarah Goode, senior lecturer in health and community studies at the University of Winchester, concludes that there is no clear consensus among academics on the harmfulness of adult sexual contact with children. [...]

Colleagues also expressed "concerns" about the ethics of her research. She said that some of these doubts were "a covert expression of 'tabloidophobia' - a horror that the more aggressively anti-intellectual tabloid newspapers could come knocking and embarrass everyone". [...]

In 2004, Richard Yuill, a doctoral student at the University of Glasgow, was accused of "playing into the hands" of paedophiles because his thesis described positive sexual experiences between children and adults. Glasgow decided not to publish it. David Evans, social sciences lecturer in the same Glasgow department, whose research interests include all aspects of human sexuality, said that many aspects of his work "remain taboo in whole or part to social scientists". "There are as many positive retrospective accounts by adults of their same-sex pre-'age of consent' sexual experiences as negative," he said. "It is encumbent upon sociologists to report on, analyse and seek to explain these accounts. However, the 'panic' responses within and outside the discipline largely silence and trivialise this work."

source: Article 'Paedophilia research riles and titillates the academy' by Melanie Newman;; Times Higher Education; 10 September 2009