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Castration of sex offneders


Posted by Orchiectomy on 2002-08-22 04:14:46


CASTRATION: EFFECTIVE CONTROL OF SEX CRIMES by Judge Michael McSpadden 209th District Court - Harris County, Texas

"Now that California, Georgia and Montana have passed a chemical castration law and Texas has passed a bill that would allow repeat sex offenders to seek voluntary castration, it's interesting to note the sky has not fallen and the Constitution is still intact. Instead, Texas has become the third state to take a most important step in finally protecting our children.

In 1991, Steven Butler was charged in my court with aggravated sexual assault of a child. At the time of his offense, Butler was on probation for committing another sexual assault of a child two years earlier. I had been quoted in The Houston Post as endorsing castration of sex offenders due to the failure of our criminal justice system to keep them locked up and the failure of all conventional counseling to treat them.

Butler read the article and asked me to put him on probation with surgical castration as a condition. He had received counseling, which didn't help, and was concerned he would continue to rape young girls.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office was notified of the request and talked to the victim's family, who gave its approval to the proposed plea bargain. Butler was seen by several psychiatrists and psychologists to assure everyone that he was making an informed and voluntary decision. After all this was done, all parties were confident Butler would benefit from the treatment and would be much less of a threat to children.

A surgeon agreed to perform the operation at no cost to the state. However, members of the African-American community intervened, raising arguments that the procedure was racist because Butler was African-American and I was white. The surgeon withdrew his offer, and we informed Butler we could not honor his request, much to his chagrin.

Immediately after the publicity of the Butler case subsided, I started receiving letters from Larry Don McQuay, a convicted pedophile, asking for information concerning castration and for help in petitioning the state to honor his request for this treatment before his release. For five years, his desire for castration had been ignored because it was not conventional treatment.

Not until McQuay's mandatory release to a halfway house in Houston was imminent did the public become informed, and the state finally reacted.


Unfortunately, it took an extreme case like McQuay's to bring the issue of sex offender treatment to the forefront. His mandatory release prompted the Texas Attorney General's Office to issue an opinion on the legality of castration.

In discussing the effectiveness of castration, it is important to point out the ineffectiveness of conventional therapy/counseling to date. An exhaustive 1989 review of sex offender recidivism and conventional treatment in North America and Europe published in the Psychological Bulletin concluded 'there is no evidence that treatment effectively reduces sex offense recidivism'. To make matters worse, the re-offense rate often was higher for conventionally treated offenders than for untreated ones.

Although chemical and surgical castration are equally effective in lowering the testosterone level, the primary drawback to successfully maintaining this lower level requires a person who is castrated to undergo weekly maintenance injections, a procedure not required of a person who is castrated surgically. Accordingly, the public's safety is enhanced by eliminating the potential for an offender to regain his former aggressive condition.

The following are some baseless myths-- and refutations -- concerning this humane and effective treatment:

MYTH: castration mutilates a man's body.

FACT: An orchiectomy is a very simple surgical procedure in which a small incision is made to remove the testicles from the scrotum. The operation is far less invasive than a hysterectomy or much of the cosmetic surgery performed today. It typically is an outpatient procedure and replacing the testicles with prostheses makes the procedure virtually undetectable.

MYTH: castration is cruel and unusual punishment.

FACT: What could possibly be cruel about a treatment that allows a person to live a more normal life without the constant urge to molest children? It is unusual in the sense that it is the only permanent treatment that works with the offender.

MYTH: Castration will not be any more effective than conventional counseling.

FACT: European research over the past 30 years shows that in every single clinical study, the re-offender rate drops drastically to lo less than 5% for those who receive the treatment. It is after the surgery has been completed that counseling will be needed in order to aid the offender during the transition of changing lifestyles. Conventional counseling can be effective in conjunction with castration.

MYTH: Castration will only make the offender more violent by using other methods to molest.

FACT: Another positive aspect of castration is that it reduces not only the sexual impulse, but all aggressive traits in a person. A 1991 Czechoslovakian study of 84 castrated sex offenders revealed that only 3 men (out of 84) committed another sex offense after castration, and none were of an aggressive character.

A Danish study in the 1960s that followed 900 castrated sex offenders found that the recidivism rate dropped to 2.2%, and, similarly, none of these offenses were of an aggressive character.

MYTH: Castration is racist punishment.

FACT: Of the 11,000 identified sex offenders in Texas prisons, 45% are white; 24% are African-American and 30% are hispanic.

MYTH: The problem is between the ears, not between the thighs.

FACT: This unsupported opinion is based on the supposition that rape is all about power, domination and control without any sexual component. The clinical studies show that rape is a combination of power, domination and control along with a strong sexual impulse.

It shouldn't really matter which theory of rape is ascribed to. What is much more important is finding treatment that will protect our children.

MYTH: A civilized society cannot permit this barbaric treatment (castration).

FACT: A civilized society, if we dare call ourselves that, cannot permit the numbers of rapes that occur. A civilized society must be open to all treatments of sex offenders in order to change the unconscionable odds we have given to the innocent among us.


It has been a long struggle to reach a point where we can have a serious discussion concerning the effectiveness of castration as a treatment. This discussion also will make the public more aware of the facts concerning the surgery.

Even though research shows castration to be a humane and effective treatment of the sex offender, our first concern should be for the victims of this horrendous crime. Opponents of castration have focused their attention on the sexual predators, which regulates victims to footnote status.

For more than 200 years, our government's primary responsibility always has been the protection of the innocent, especially our children. We have every right to expect our government to do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.

Steven Butler and Larry Don McQuay were the catalysts for the California, Montana, Georgia and Texas laws, allowing these states to take the lead in finally protecting our children.

Now it's up to the rest of the nation to do the same!"