Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 17, No. 2, April 2005 (
The Criminal Histories and Later Offending
of Child Pornography Offenders
Michael C. Seto
and Angela W. Eke
The likelihood that child pornography offenders will later commit a contact sexual
offense is unknown. In the present study, we identiﬁed a sample of 201 adult male
child pornography offenders using police databases and examined their charges
or convictions after the index child pornography offense(s). We also examined
their criminal records to identify potential predictors of later offenses: 56% of the
sample had a prior criminal record, 24% had prior contact sexual offenses, and
15% had prior child pornography offenses. One-third were concurrently charged
with other crimes at the time they were charged for child pornography offenses.
The average time at risk was 2.5 years; 17% of the sample offended again in
some way during this time, and 4% committed a new contact sexual offense.
Child pornography offenders with prior criminal records were signiﬁcantly more
likely to offend again in any way during the follow-up period. Child pornography
offenders who had committed a prior or concurrent contact sexual offense were
the most likely to offend again, either generally or sexually.
KEY WORDS: child pornography offenders; criminal history; future offending.
There has been a great deal of public and professional attention to child
pornography offenders in recent years, particularly with the emergence of the
Internet and the pornographic content that it has made available (see Jenkins,
2001). A particularly salient question is whether child pornography offenders are
likely to commit a sexual offense involving contact with a child. Unfortunately,
there are no published data on the future offending of child pornography offenders.
In fact, there have only been a few empirical studies on the characteristics of
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and University of Toronto, Canada.
Behavioural Sciences Section Research Unit, Ontario Provincial Police, and York University, Canada.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Law and Mental Health Program, Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 1R8; e-mail:
2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.