Old Dominion University revealed it has placed a professor on leave after he attempted to normalize the phrase “minor-attracted persons.”
“Old Dominion University has placed Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave, effective immediately, from their position as assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice,” Amber Kennedy, a spokesperson for the university, said in a statement on Tuesday evening of the professor.
“Reactions to Dr. Walker’s research and book have led to concerns for their safety and that of the campus,” Kennedy added. “Furthermore, the controversy over Dr. Walker’s research has disrupted the campus and community environment and is interfering with the institution’s mission of teaching and learning.”
The university president also shared a statement condemning child sexual abuse.
“I want to state in the strongest terms possible that child sexual abuse is morally wrong and has no place in our society,” ODU President Brian O. Hemphill said. “This is a challenging time for our University, but I am confident that we will come together and move forward as a Monarch family.”
“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,” the Virginia university said.
The statement comes after one of its associate professors of sociology and criminal justice, Allyn Walker, said in a Nov. 8 interview how people can be attracted to children without acting on it.
“It’s less stigmatizing than other terms like pedophile,” Walker said in the interview with the Prostasia Foundation. “A lot of people when they hear the term pedophile, they automatically assume that it means a sex offender. And that isn’t true. And it leads to a lot of misconceptions about attractions toward minors.”
The interview centered on Walker’s book, “A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity,” which is described as “a study of non-offending, minor-attracted persons.”
“An academic community plays a valuable role in the quest for knowledge,” Old Dominion added in the statement. “A vital part of this is being willing to consider scientific and other empirical data that may involve controversial issues and perspectives.”
Walker reiterated in their interview that it’s “never OK to abuse a child.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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