Interesting. What now of the Abel Test and the like?

Proclivity has been assessed and used (New Hampshire, I recall) to deny, or terminate, employment of social workers.  Methinks, that is now illegal.

Here is an article on the use in post-conviction criminal cases, but also in civil cases.

I will look for specific cases of use in employment screening, but I know that at least one case in which, without an actual event, it resulted in a termination.

Additional reading, see Plethysmograph, this first reference specifically mentions its use in employment screening, albeit with legality caveat.



16 thoughts on “Interesting. What now of the Abel Test and the like?

    1. A general article added. The fact that some civil, custody cases, may hinge on this is scary. The employment use was in the 90s and involved the invasive use of a device that detected physical reactions, shall we say. It followed an accusation of inappropriate statements and/or behavior. Given search algorithms, it may not be easily found.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I imagine that an employer who works with children, like a daycare center, would have a legitimate interest in screening out pedophiles.

    I think the largest problem with such testing us that it only works on someone who believes he has nothing to hide or who is unaware of how the test works.

    The Abel Assessment replaces plethysmograph based tests with measuring how long a person lingers over an image in a series of 160 images of adults and children in various activities and states of undress. A pedophile who is aware of how the test works could fool it by consciously speeding through any image of a child and deliberately lingering over pictures of adults even if they do not really interest him.

    I suspect that the plethysmograph based tests could also be fooled by fantasizing about something other than the image being displayed. Tests based on pupil dilation might be harder to fool.

    The ethical factors in such testing are also problematic.

    What a person fantasizes about might not be the same as what he does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interestingly, some articles specifically mentioned the use of “penile Plethysmograph” with security clearances, old ones, to deny homosexuals. That was long ago overturned. The government used to content that they were subject to blackmail. That practice ended with the first openly gay man, who claimed that since he was open, he was not subject to blackmail. Logic defeats stupidity every time.

      This SCOTUS ruling is going to change at lot of things since the interpretation used sex in all grammatical forms, noun, verb, adjective,… which was a strict textual reading. If Congress had meant only gender, they should have used “gender” and not “sex”.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t think the recent SCOTUS ruling protecting LBBTQ orientations affects laws against acting on pedophilia.

        Sexual preferences among consenting adults is no one else’s business unless they do something obscene in public view. But children cannot legally consent(though our definition of children needs to be clarified)


    2. …”a legitimate interest in screening out pedophiles.”

      True. But are you equating homosexuality with pedophilia? Rick Santorum did that (and included beastiality too) and lost his Senate seat because of it.

      Not an accusation, just a question.


      1. Even worse, there’s a big difference between the act and proclivity. “That is one good looking horse.” “Say what?” “Oh, no, no.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I made no such equivalence.

        A big part of the Libertarian philosophy is understand what is your business and what is not.

        Protecting children from sexual exploitation is in the public’s interest but what adults do in private is up to them and no one else.

        When we start down the road of deciding what sexual preferences are OK and which are not, we end up with absurdities as boxing being legal but consensual sexual spanking is not.


  2. Funny, I just read the Atlantic article after your initial post to find out what the “Abel Test” was.

    It seems to me I read something a decade or so ago about a scientist who was studying psychopaths and serial killers. He found some common traits, physical and mental.

    Then he discovered he had those traits. He wrote about it, but I haven’t found a link yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is in Virginia. Under 18 over 15 and separated by two years. One of the girls in my daughters group of friends dated a boy who was two+ years younger. When she turned 18, it was a concern amongst the group. Fortunately, both sets of parents approved. It was a church thing. Ew.


      1. It’s not pedophilia, but it is considered illegal in VA.

        But then again there was a certain State Representative who was having “relations” with a 17 year old girl in his law office. He was not classified as a pedophile nor a sex offender. (Then he married her) In, fact he won an election after that. SMH.


      2. …”both sets of parents approved. It was a church thing.”

        But all it would have taken was a call from one of the “church thing” people to have her investigated.


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