Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

William Fremouw

Committee Co-Chair

Melissa Blank

Committee Member

Christi Cooper-Lehki

Committee Member

Amy Fiske

Committee Member

Elisa Krackow

Committee Member

Karen Weiss


Juvenile sex offenders account for approximately 50% of child sex abuse cases and 20% of sexual assault cases in the United States. Researchers, in an attempt to better understand the etiology of this behavior, have examined typologies of juvenile sex offenders, including victim-age. Much of the research has compared juveniles who offended against children versus juveniles who have offended against peers/adults. Recent research has also compared these two groups with those juvenile sex offenders who offended against both children and peers (i.e., mixed offenders). Using data from psychological evaluations and the Multiphasic Sex Inventory- II (MSI-II; Nichols & Molinder, 2010), this study compared child offenders (i.e., victims were more than four years younger), peer offenders (i.e., victims were four years younger or less), and mixed offenders (i.e., both child and peer victims) on variables including victim, offender, and offense characteristics, trauma, and psychosexual development. Compared to child offenders, peer offenders had more severe sexual offenses, more prior status/non-violent charges, and more issues with sexual functioning. Of these juvenile sex offenders who reported being sexually abused, child offenders were more likely to have been victimized by a relatives compared to peer offenders. Compared to child offenders and peer offenders, mixed offenders began offending at a younger age and were more indiscriminate, offending against both male and female victims, and relatives and non-relatives. Mixed offenders were also more likely than child and peer offenders to have prior sex offender treatment. Mixed offenders also scored higher on the Child Molestation Scale of the MSI-II compared to peer offenders. Implications for a victim-age based typology of juvenile sex offenders are discussed.