Clayton Cramer has long pointed out the connection between child sexual abuse, mental disorders, and homosexuality, but only now is California eliminating the "incest exception" that resulting in far lesser punishments for men who abused their own children rather than strangers.
Why would a crime that usually results in an automatic prison sentence ever have been given a free ride? Because two decades ago what was most crucial to many family activists was keeping families intact. Groups such as Parents United lobbied for the incest exception, claiming that relatives who abused children were "situational offenders," not pedophiles. Life stress was said to have induced them to abuse once or twice. With a little therapy, it was claimed, situational offenders would never abuse a child again.
Hank Giarretto, a psychologist and the executive director of Parents United in 1981, testified in Sacramento that lawmakers needed to be careful that the "father offender" who "had, usually, a very outstanding career both in industry and in his place in his community," was not mixed up "with the type of offender, the predator, the type of fellow who stalks his victims or who sets up situations through which he can molest these children."
By 1994, however, the American Psychiatric Assn. had rejected the idea of situational offenders, finding instead that there was no difference between a person who sexually abuses a stranger and one who sexually abuses his own child.
The awful irony of incest exception laws is that most sexual abuse of children 5 and younger occurs within families. Later, teachers, coaches, priests and neighbors join the relatives. Only 7% of child sex abusers are strangers.
In the posts I link to above Mr. Cramer discusses a longitudinal study of child sexual abuse in New Zealand that reports increased rates of depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and so forth among children who are abused.