Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



On average, US citizens have experienced approximately 400,000 sexual assaults per year, which results in enormous immediate and long-term consequences for individuals, as well as society in general.

In the U.S., the principal method of combatting this crime has been the creation of Sex Offender Registries used to notify the public of the identity and location of convicted sex offenders who may be living in proximity to their residence. In addition to the Registry, laws have been passed forbidding convicted sex offenders from residing within buffer zones around areas of high child concentration [schools/parks/etc.].

The efficacy and consequences of these laws are far from clear, as research has found problematic issues regarding Sex Offender Registries, including lack of theoretical justification, clustering of sex offenders into areas high in levels of Concentrated Disadvantage, as well as rates of non-compliance with Residency restriction laws that call into question the validity of these laws.

The current examination of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sex Offender Registry confirms prior research. An analysis of the Registry found several problematic issues, including disproportionate rates of minority representation on the Registry, troublesome rates of non-compliance for the entire Parish, overrepresentation of minorities in the “non-compliant” population, and patterns of residential clustering that show a distinct racialized process.

One of the most pressing unanswered questions regarding sexual assault is why would a person commit such a heinous act? One proposed answer for this questions has been SA:SA (Sexually Abused to Sexual Abuser) theory, which states that individuals who experience childhood sexual abuse have an increased risk of committing a sex crime later in life. Research on SA:SA theory has yielded some positive associations, but is limited due to the unique nature of the necessary data sets required for accurate analysis. This work analyzed a data set of matched individuals in order to test SA:SA theory in the most rigorous fashion. Findings of increased rates of sex crimes were present but failed to reach statistical significance in order to generalize to the larger population. Limitations of the research regarding SA:SA theory are discussed.



Committee Chair

Dr. Heather O'Connell