COPARTNERS IN THE OFFENSE: HOMOSEXUAL OFFENSES

Vs. minors

A sixteen-year-old male and three friends were swimming nude and saw a fourteen-year-old boy on the opposite bank fellate a fifteen-year-old boy. The parties joined forces and finally all males were fellated by the youth. There was some horseplay, but the extent of force was questionable.

Vs. adults

A homosexual party at the twenty-nine-year-old offender’s home led to heavy drinking and excessive noise. Neighbors complained and the four men and the host were arrested. It was claimed by the offender that there was no overt sexual behavior prior to the arrest. Thus, four of the cases involved three copartners, three of them included four males in addition to the offender, and there was one offense in each of the highest categories of five, six, and seven copartners. The ten accounts given above do not appear, however, to portray generally planned behavior. On the contrary, one feels it to be very much a matter of chance and accident that the particular situation built up. The offenses are typified by the picture of young, aimless males driving around in a car, with an eye out for a potentially willing female if they can find one. A lone male of these ages might well have lacked confidence to attempt a pickup and a sexual approach, but numbers often breed a sense of courage. It will be noted that in these ten cases of group behavior the young offender is in strong evidence. This is understandable, since such group social patterns are typical of younger males.

In fact, if one records the ages of the 92 males at the time they committed the offenses involving copartners, and compares their median age with that of the remaining males at the time of their offenses, it is clear that the offenders who operate in pairs or in larger units are consistently younger than the other offenders in their group. This is no real surprise, since studies of nonsex offenses tabulated on the basis of age and multiparticipation show the same trend, but it is of interest to find here a consistent pattern.

In summary, coparticipation in sex offenses is atypical, and when present it is most likely to be found in heterosexual offenses committed by younger males. It is rarely present in our sample of homosexual or incest offenses.

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