The saga involving a college professor who made headlines earlier this month after declaring that adu|t s*xual attraction to minors is OK as long as it’s not acted upon has taken another turn.
Dr. Allyn Walker — an assistant professor of sociology and cr!minal justice at Old Dominion University — is resigning amid “multiple thre*ts … made against me and the campus community generally,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The untenured professor was placed on administrative leave in mid-November in the wake of the controversy over “minor-attracted people.” Walker had stated in an interview that “there is no morality or imm0orality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all.”
Walker will remain on leave before officially stepping down at the conclusion of the academic year in May, the AP reported.
What’s the background?
Walker — whose bio in “Experiences of Trans Scholars in Cr!minology and Cr!minal Justice” indicates the professor is “queer” and “nonbinary trans” — also penned a recent book titled, “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.” The book’s abstract says, “Challenging widespread assumptions that persons who are preferentially attracted to minors — often referred to as ‘pedophiles’ — are necessarily also predators and s*x offenders, this book takes readers into the lives of non-offending minor-attracted persons (MAPs). There is little research into non-offending MAPs, a group whose experiences offer valuable insights into the prevention of child ab*se. Navigating guilt, sh*me, and fear, this universally maligned group demonstrates remarkable resilience and commitment to living without offending and to supporting and educating others.”
In the Prostasia interview, Walker said that “it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either OK or not OK. It’s our behaviors and responding to that attraction that are either OK or not OK.” The prof also went to great lengths to differentiate between ped0philes and minor-attracted people in what seemed to be an attempt to normalize adu|t attractions to people under the age of 18 as long as those attractions aren’t carried out:
And I want to be extremely clear that child s*xual abuse is never ever okay. But having an attraction to minors as long as it isn’t acted on doesn’t mean the person who has those attractions is doing something wrong. I think we have a tendency to want to categorize people with these attractions as ev!l or morally corrupt. But when we’re talking about non-offending MAPS, these are people who have an attraction that they didn’t ask for. And one that frequently they would give anything to change. But they find that they’re unable to change those attractions. And most importantly, the people in my study did not act on them.
… there’s a big difference between MAPs and child s*xual ab*sers. “Pedophilia” is a clinical term that indicates a s*xual attraction to people who have not gone through puberty. MAP refers to someone who has preferential attractions to minors, and that can include children who have gone through puberty or not. And child s*xual ab*sers are people who have committed a s*xual of*ense against a child. Many of these people are indeed MAPs. But first of all, there are many people who commit s*xual of*enses against a minor who are not attracted to children in general. We know that ab*sers commonly commit s*xual of*enses for reasons related to power control and access, not because of attraction. So many child s*xual ab*sers are not MAPs.
Here’s the full Prostasia interview with Walker:
What happened next?
After word began to spread about the professor’s research, Walker told the AP it was “mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity.”
Walker — who uses the pronoun “they” — soon after received threats that law enforcement told Old Dominion administrators to take seriously, university officials added to the outlet.
More from the AP:
An online petition calling for Walker’s removal received nearly 15,000 signatures. It referenced Walker’s use of the term, “minor attracted persons,” and said “(w)e want to be clear that this is ped0philia and should not be considered a s*xual preference.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson also talked about Walker’s work with the headline “The Left’s Depraved New Low.”
A letter sent out last week by university President Brian Hemphill noted the controversy had triggered terrible memories and caused fresh pa!n to people who suffered ab*use.
“Ideally, we would be able to debate even the most challenging issues without disruption or threats of v!olence, but that is not the world we live in today,” Hemphill wrote.
Walker was briefly provided with an ar~med escort while on campus in Norfolk before being put on administrative leave, university officials said. Hemphill had said his “foremost responsibility is for the safety of everyone associated with the campus.”
As for Walker’s resignation, Hemphill told the outlet “we have concluded that this outcome is the best way to move forward.”
Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child S*xual Ab*se at Johns Hopkins University, told the AP that Walker “is not the first person to turn their attention to that type of work.”
“Several others in the field have been working with people with s*xual attraction to children who are committed to not offending,” Letourneau added to the outlet. “And it’s the way of the future.”