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Academics Speak Out for Old Dominion U. Prof Put on Leave After Defending Pedophiles

Academics Speak Out for Old Dominion U. Prof Put on Leave
After Defending Pedophiles 1

Professors from around the country are defending Old Dominion University professor Allyn Walker, who was put on leave after claiming that sexual attraction to children is not always immoral, and that he wants to destigmatize pedophiles by referring to them as “minor-attracted persons” (MAPs), instead.

In a bizarre twist, a petition created to reinstate Walker claimed that backlash over the professor is “based on nothing more than misinformation and stigma, all fueled by some individuals’ desire to virtue-signal their hatred of pedophilia rather than support evidence-backed child protection initiatives and research.”

“As a result, many members of the prevention community have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment at how the students and administrators at Old Dominion University handled the situation,” the petition stated.

The petition also quoted several other professors, who have also allegedly defended Walker’s comments about pedophilia:

Dr. Gilian Tenbergen, an assistant professor of psychology at Oswego University, writes “The willful ignorance of so many is just disturbing. No wonder so many of us are leaving Twitter and the field.”

Dr. Maggie Ingram, a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, writes “I stand with Allyn Walker. They are not promoting adult-child sex…. Attempting to silence researchers is unacceptable.”

Dr. Craig Harper, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, writes “The treatment of Allyn Walker on this platform [Twitter], on campus, and in the media, for doing nothing more than talking in relatively broad terms about a burgeoning research field, is nothing short of disgraceful.”

Dr. Skye Stephens, an associate professor of psychology at Saint Mary’s University, writes “V[ery] frustrated to see the media coverage of Allyn Walker and the response of ODU to place them on administrative leave. The crux of what Walker writes…is widely accepted in the field.”

Adding to Dr. Stephens’ post, Dr. Michael Seto, the Forensic Research Director at the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Mental Health Research, writes “I’m further dismayed that [Old Dominion University] chose to reward the public backlash instead of defending the academic freedom of one of their faculty.”

The petition went on to “call on the administration at Old Dominion University to stand with researchers and experts in the face of misinformation and hate.”

“Put academic freedom before profit and optics,” the petition demanded. “Reinstate Professor Allyn Walker to their position.”

Others also took to social media to shared their dismay over Walker being placed on leave.

Producer Luke Malone defended Walker by claiming that the professor’s call to “destigmatize” pedophilia is actually “about preventing child sexual abuse.”

“Reducing stigma around people with an unwanted attraction towards minors > encourages help-seeking behavior > reduces the likelihood of offending > prevents child sexual abuse. #AllynWalker’s work is about preventing child sexual abuse,” Malone wrote.

Another Twitter user defended Walker’s comments by also insisting that “attraction to children isn’t immoral,” adding, “we can’t help what/whom we’re attracted to.”

“Stop tormenting Old Dominion professor Allyn Walker for saying that attraction to children isn’t immoral. It’s not, because we can’t help what/whom we’re attracted to,” the Twitter user wrote. “Walker did not say that acting on that preference is okay. That’s what matters.”

“The treatment of @AllynWalkerPhD, on this platform, on campus, and in the media, for doing nothing more than talking in relatively broad terms about a burgeoning research field, is nothing short of disgraceful,” another wrote.

“I am a Clinical Psychology PhD Student who researches individuals with attraction to children,” another Twitter user proclaimed. “The work #AllynWalker does is important & it is disturbing to see the response from @ODU.”

“We shouldn’t shout down those who study difficult topics because it makes people uncomfortable,” she added.

One Twitter user appeared to try to justify pedophilia by claiming that not all of them engage in sexual abuse of children, adding that pedophiles “need a safe space to talk” in order to prevent them from molesting children.

“Attraction is not action. Pedophilia and child sexual abuse are not the same. True prevention of child sexual abuse means acknowledging that some people have attractions to children – including youth – and need a safe space to talk to prevent action,” the Twitter user wrote.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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