SMART Office Paper: Chapter 3
As noted above, very few studies focused on juveniles who commit sexual offenses were undertaken prior to the 1980s, and very little attention arguably was paid to this population by juvenile justice policymakers and practitioners. That all began to change, however, when a series of retrospective studies based on sexual history interviews with adult sex offenders was conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In these studies, adult sex offenders self-reported a significant, previously unidentified history of sexual offending, which included sexual offending as a juvenile. For example, 24 to 75 percent of the adult sex offenders reported committing sexual offenses that were unidentified by authorities and 24 to 36 percent reported sexual offending that began when the respondent was a juvenile. In one of the studies (Longo & Groth, 1983), adult sexual offenders reported a juvenile history of indecent exposure and voyeurism, suggesting that juveniles who commit less severe sex crimes can progress to committing more serious adult sex offenses.
Despite their limitations, these studies played a significant role in shifting policy and practice. Juveniles who commit sexual offenses began to be viewed as budding adult sex offenders, and efforts to intervene with this population began to be based on the assumption that they were fundamentally similar to adults who were engaged in sex offending behavior (see, for example, Groth, 1977; Groth, Longo, & McFadin, 1982; Longo & Groth, 1983; Marshall, Barbaree, & Eccles, 1991). ..Source: SMART Office Study..
(All Longo papers are here) ---- And see NY Times 2007 "How Can You Distinguish a Budding Pedophile From a Kid With Real Boundary Problems?"