An Examination and Comparison of Rationalizations Employed by Solo and Co-Offending Female Sex Offenders

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Limited research focuses on the rationalizations utilized by criminal offenders to reduce responsibility for their crimes. This is especially true for sex offenders, more specifically female sex offenders. The manner by which female sex offenders avert responsibility for their crimes may provide insight into their motivations, typologies, and recidivism propensity. This study qualitatively examined how female sex offenders excused or justified their sexual behaviors postconviction, focusing on account variations - a framework proposed by Scott and Lyman. We examined the population of female sex offenders who were convicted in a southern state from 1999 to 2005 (n = 55), and conducted a comparison of female solo and co-offenders' accounts. The results of this study provide a number of policy implications in regard to crime prevention, cognitive-based treatment programs, and risk assessment.