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A professor at the University of New Hampshire said that kids play a role in “initiating sexual activities with adults,” according to video footage of a March 23 seminar on the “Implications for Prevention and Response” for sex crimes.

Professor David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, discussed the “elements of voluntary participation” by juveniles involved in sex crimes, according to the Post Millennial. The professor argued that when trying to prevent sex crimes against children, it’s important to recognize that children themselves are sometimes “initiating sexual activities with adults.”

“If young people are initiating sexual activities with adults, or enthusiastically involved, we can’t be effective in working with them if we assume that all such relationships start with a predatory or criminally inclined adult,” Finkelhor said. “As we’ve seen in the discussion, young people bridle at being forced into this box of being seen as being the victim of a predator.”

Finkelhor claimed that discussions about “voluntary” sexual relationships with a minor are controversial because the conversation “to some people, opens the door for ex-offenders to feel like this is something that they can do.”

He also argued that laws on statutory sex crimes and statutory rape need to be made more explicit to avoid confusion. The professor argued that underaged people need to think more about why relationships with older people turn “out to be a problem.”

“For young people, it seems to me, they need to have more of a perspective on what the problems are with relationships with older partners. Why they don’t work out. Why we’re not just saying, you know, ‘you’re too young to do this, you can’t think responsibly about these kinds of relationships, if we’re taking it out of your hand,’” Finkelhor said. “I think they need to understand from their point of view why these relationships don’t work out. Why the age difference turns out to be a problem. Why they need to have somebody who is more going through the experiences of life that they’re going through.”

Finkelhor stated that it’s important to inform children that they could put their romantic partner in a bad situation by engaging in sexual activity in the first place. (RELATED: Virginia Grand Jury Investigating School Over Allegedly Mishandling Sexual Assaults)

“‘How would you feel if this person went to jail as a result of the relationship that you’re carrying on with this person?’ And in some sense, that keeps from infantilizing them and treats them as though they’re the responsible person,” Finkelhor said. “‘You have power in this situation, in fact, potentially very damaging dangerous power. So you need to be careful with it.’”

Finkelhor told the Daily Caller that the excerpts being circulated are “very misleading” as the goal was to “help police and child welfare professionals manage some kind of unusual and challenging sexual abuse cases.”

“The idea that I was condoning sex by adults with juveniles is completely incorrect and can only be supported by a very selective listening to the presentation,” Finkelhor said. “My career of research and advocacy on behalf of victims of sexual abuse and my reputation with everyone in the child maltreatment field demonstrates that I am not promoting the decriminalization of child molesting.”

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