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In July 1994 Jesse Timmendequas 35 confessed to strangling and raping seven year old Megan Kanka his neighbor in Hamilton Township New Jersey He had pleaded guilty twice before to sexually assaulting small children In 1981 a judge had labeled him a compulsive repetitive sexual offenderGlaberson A1 1996 The killing of Megan generated enormous public outrage New Jersey legislature responded by proposing Megans Law a series of statues aimed at protecting the community from sex offenders While these statutes are currently in constitutional limbo many states are wondering how to handle the ever increasing problem of child molestation It is hard to say with accuracy how many child molesters exist There are several reasons why reliable statistics are not available Consistent standards have not been used in most studies Barnard et al 3 The greatest problem is detecting and confirming that child molestation has occurredBarnard et al 4 Rough estimates in the United States range from 100000 to 500000 cases of child sexual abuse per yearBarnard et al 3 It is estimated that 30 of males and 35 of females have had experiences as victims of sexual deviates Capozzella 120 Again these are rough estimates Despite public outrage over child molesters many laypersons hold cognitive distortions about children and sex This is evident in a study conducted by Hayashino Wurtele and Klebe where laypersons in adult education classes were surveyed about their attitudes regarding children and sex At least a quarter of the laypersons group believed that a child who does not resist an adults sexual advances wants to have sex with the adult that a child flirting with an adult means she or he wants to have sex with the adult and that sexual intercourse between a child and an adult will prevent the child from having sexual hangups in the future Hayahino et al 114 Also 19 of the laypersons surveyed reported some likelihood of engaging in sexual contact with a child if
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