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Virginia Professor Claims Sexual Attraction To Kids Isn't Always 'Immoral'

Allyn Walker, who teaches sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University, is under scrutiny after asking that people use the less stigmatizing term “minor-attracted people” rather than "pedophiles."

By Gina Tron
Old Dominion University G

An assistant professor in Virginia is experiencing online scrutiny after asserting that they don’t think it’s always immoral for adults to be sexually attracted to minors.

Allyn Walker, who uses they/them pronouns, made the controversial comment during a Nov. 8 interview with the Prostasia Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that refers to itself as a “child protection organization that combines our zero tolerance of child sexual abuse with our commitment to human and civil rights and sex positivity.”

Walker, who teaches sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, stated that the term “minor-attracted people” is less stigmatizing than the phrase “pedophile” while discussing their book "A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity" during the discussion. (The book, published by the University of California Press in June, is qualitative research into the lives of "non-offending minor-attracted persons" who have a "commitment to living without offending." The publisher's description says it can "offer valuable insights into the prevention of child abuse.")

"A lot of people when they hear the term 'pedophile,'they automatically assume that it means a sex offender, and that isn’t true," they said in their talk. "And it leads to a lot of misconceptions about attractions towards minors."

The professor also drew a distinction between attraction and action — and said that attraction alone doesn’t make a person immoral.

"From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all," Walker explained. "In other words, it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either OK or not OK. It’s our behaviors in responding to that attraction that are either OK or not OK."

They clarified that child sex abuse is “never, ever OK.”

However, Walker also asserted that the thoughts alone aren’t necessarily wrong.

"We have a tendency to want to categorize people with these attractions as evil or morally corrupt," Walker said.

A Twitter account that appears to poke fun at liberal-minded people helped the professor’s comments go viral — which, in turn, prompted Walker and the university to put out a statement on Saturday.

"I want to be clear: child sexual abuse is an inexcusable crime," the statement read. "As an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, the goal of my research is to prevent crime."

Walker did not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.

The school reiterated that "following recent social media activity and direct outreach to the institution, it is important to share that Old Dominion, as a caring and inclusive community, does not endorse or promote crimes against children or any form of criminal activity."

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