Hawaii's sex offenders Part 2: Predator behavior

Published: May. 12, 2011 at 4:27 PM HST|Updated: May. 13, 2011 at 4:40 AM HST
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Ramsay Wharton outside the Laumaka Work Furlough Center
Ramsay Wharton outside the Laumaka Work Furlough Center
Dr. Barry Coyne
Dr. Barry Coyne

By Ramsay Wharton – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Of the 2,800 known sex offenders currently living in Hawaii, around 650 of them are behind bars. About a third of the sex offenders in the prison system will undergo some kind of treatment for their crime.

Just across the street from OCCC is the Laumaka Work Furlough Center. About 30 sex offenders here are undergoing a two year treatment program, to help them reenter society. While over at Halawa, there's about 80 that will go through the program.

Twenty years ago, Hawaii decided to assess, evaluate and treat sex offenders behind bars.

Clinical psychologist and UH professor, Dr. Barry Coyne, runs the prison sex offender treatment program.

Hawaii taxpayers spend about $400,000 a year on the treatment program at state correctional facilities.

Another $90,000 on psych assessments alone.

No one mold fits all sex offenders but there are some similar patterns of behavior.

The most disturbing fact is that most often sexual abuse happens within our own family circles.

About 85 percent of sex offenders know their victim well.  In at least three quarters of the cases it is within the family.

That's the toughest pill for society to swallow but, perhaps, by understanding some of the behaviors exhibited by sex offenders, we can help prevent it.

According to Coyne, some sex offenders were raised that to be a man was to be sexually aggressive toward women.

Some offenders are also sexually and socially immature.

"He just does not know how to relate to women so, when he's a father, he sees a child there and this is his opportunity to start experimenting in ways he didn't when he was 15," Coyne said. "Why he thinks it's appropriate now, is anyone's guess."

"We have men who, even as fathers and step-fathers, they've gone into a relationship as a parasite, perhaps living off their wife's earnings, living in a home they're not paying a mortgage or rent for, and if there are children there, just as they've exploited their spouse, they exploit the children in the family as well."

Other offenders are completely preoccupied with sex and pornography, often exposed to it and even sexually abused when they were young.

"They were on their computer, downloading pornography when they were teenagers," Coyne said. "And now they're married, have children of their own, and are still looking at pornography on the computer late at night when everyone else has gone to bed."

And a warning for those who enjoy internet pornography. Coyne says you're taking a gamble because, sooner or later, child pornography will cross your screen and you may go from checking out 17 year-olds to 13 year-olds then on down to 10 and younger.

"For the most part, if you are sexually normal you're going to see an adult having sex with a prepubescent child and you will be repulsed and you're going to get out of that website as quickly as possible," he said. "But if you're not repulsed, you have a problem. You should be repulsed. If you're not repulsed, what's going on?"

See Hawaii's sex offenders Part 1: Predators among us

The sexual offenders registry

The Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center

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