Cmett003 via Wikimedia Commons

Administrators have placed an assistant professor at Old Dominion University’s Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice on leave after they argued for replacing the term pedophile with “minor-attracted people.”

Dr. Allyn Walker argued for a new term, saying that not every adult who is attracted to children will molest children.

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The ODU administration under President Brian O. Hemphill initially offered a lukewarm statement indirectly defending Walker, as Norfolk’s 13News Now reports:

The statement from the university read: “An academic community plays a valuable role in the quest for knowledge. A vital part of this is being willing to consider scientific and other empirical data that may involve controversial issues and perspectives…”

The university added it does not endorse or promote crime.

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For their part, Walker said: “I want to be clear: child sexual abuse is morally wrong and an inexcusable crime. As an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, the goal of my research is to prevent crime. My work is informed by my past experience and advocacy as a social worker counseling victims. I embarked on this research in hopes of gaining understanding of a group that, previously, has not been studied in order to identify ways to protect children.”

In the Prostasia interview, Walker was discussing a book they authored called “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.”