Summary: 50% of foster parent abuse in a general population survey and 34% of abuse as determined by the Illinois DCFS was homosexual. In news stories in the 50 largest newspapers and wire services 1980-2003, 175 foster parents sexually abused 351+ charges. For the 169 whose sex of victim could be determined: 149 (88%) were men; 76 (53%) victimized homosexually; and 85 (50%) were unmarried. Men assaulted 319 (91%) victims, homosexual practitioners 222 (63%), and the unmarried 164 (47%). From 1980-1994, 57% of the victims were girls, after 1994 56% were boys. In 21 group homes, the molestation was homosexual in 15 (71%) and 31 of the 32+ perpetrators were male and at least 334 of 349+ victims were boys.
Common opinion holds that, as with those who enjoy drugs, those pursing homosexual activity recruit the young (Levitt & Klassen, 1974). Traditional child-placement policies were therefore based on assumptions that children fostered by those who engaged in homosexuality would be more apt to be sexually molested, socially isolated, and engage in homosexuality themselves (Bigner & Bozett, 1989; Golombok & Tasker, 1996).
A new view, initially advanced by homosexual enthusiasts around the turn of the 20 th century, holds that homosexual activity should be irrelevant to social policy ñ and since it is of the same personal and social worth as any other kind of sexual entertainment, it is terribly wrong to discriminate against it in any way. This view, requiring social sacrifice on behalf of homosexuals as a downtrodden class, was appealed to by nationally syndicated New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd. Regarding the 11 states in the U.S. 2004 Presidential election voted to ban gay marriage she complained: ì[the religious were] stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of society’s most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the sexually differentî (2004).
The major psychological, psychiatric, and social work associations came to adopt the ëhomosexuals are merely sexually different and therefore deserve protection’ view after the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to consider homosexuality non-pathological. Thus, in 1975 the American Psychological Association [APA] said it ìdeplored all public and private discrimination in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodation, and licensing against those who engage in or who have engaged in homosexual activitiesî and urged discrimination in their favor, e.g. ìthe enactment of civil rights legislation at the local, state, and federal level that would offer citizens who engage in acts of homosexuality the same protections now guaranteed to others on the basis of race, creed, color, etc.î On July 28, 2004 the APA ( www.apa.org ) declared opposition to ìdiscrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health services.î Since the APA cited no comparative empirical studies on fostering by those who ìengage in or have engaged in acts of homosexuality,î its stance appears ëphilosophical’ rather than empirically based.
In 1995 the major professional associations told the U.S. Supreme Court ( Romer) that tradition was completely wrong about homosexuals being inclined to child molestation. The APA, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) categorically declared ìthere is no evidence of any positive correlation between homosexual orientation and child molestation.î Likewise, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors told the Court that the belief that gay teachers in the classroom would recruit ìstudents to homosexualityî because ìthey are more likely than heterosexual men to molest childrenî ìis without foundation in fact.î (quoted by Cameron, Cameron, & Landess, 1996, p. 385).
Propelled in part by the interrelated professional associations’ contentions that fostering or adopting is a ëright,’ children do just as well if reared by homosexuals, and past concerns about homosexuals’ proclivity to molest children are mistaken, social policy has been shifting away from banning placements with homosexuals. Thus, a 2003 survey of 307 adoption agencies cross the U.S. by Adam Pertman reported that 60% of those replying accepted applications from and 40% said they had placed children with ìhomosexuals.î Pertman commented: ìwe [homosexuals] started out at near zero, and just within the last decade we’re up to 60%î ( Denver Post , 10/29/03).
History of homosexual foster parenting in the U.S.
The first case of adoption to an open homosexual in the U.S. appears to have involved David Frater, 28, in 1981. While living with his mother and a male companion of 6 years in Riverside, California, Frater asked to adopt his temporary foster-boy Kevin, a 16-year-old who had lived in 14 different foster homes. When the Department of Public Social Services received an anonymous tip that Frater engaged in homosexuality it attempted to block his adoption. Judith Cummings (1983) of the New York Times , reported that Frater’s cause was championed by civil rights groups, with the APA and the NASW supporting his candidacy. The lack of cited empirical evidence about the outcomes for children fostered or adopted by homosexuals does not appear to have entered the dispute nor was it noted in any of the stories that made the press. In 1982, the now 17-year-old, Kevin, lived with his adopted father, and Frater’s mother (the lover had departed). Frater was heralded in press reports (Associated Press 5/29/83) as providing a temporary home to kids living on the street and lauded for his desire to adopt 4 more children including Kevin’s 16-year-old brother then living in a boys’ home (Associated Press 5/29/03; 5/30/83). United Press International said ìthe community sees him as a model parentî and quoted Frater: ìI date and go out as often as I have time to. Sometimes my friends spend the night here. Kevin doesn’t feel it is anything out of the ordinary.î (6/14/83).
In 1987, still without citing any published systematic empirical studies as to how children do when fostered or adopted by homosexuals nor offering any empirical evidence of its own, the NASW passed a resolution decrying ìresistance to using single parents, …including lesbian and gay parents, as potential foster care and adoption resources.î Despite the NASW endorsement, utilizing homosexuals met resistance. Laws (e.g., Florida , New Hampshire , and Nebraska ) and regulations (e.g., Massachusetts ) were passed against homosexual foster parents or adopters. Yet, civil rights suits had also been won against the policy of excluding homosexuals from adoption (e.g., David Frater in California in 1982), and more recently the use of homosexual foster or adoptive parents has been encouraged (e.g., Toronto , Massachusetts , District of Columbia ).
Are homosexual foster parents as apt or more apt to molest their charges? About a quarter of surveyed homosexuals reported sex with the underage (Bell & Weinberg, 1978; Jay & Young, 1979). So enabling them to foster with a vulnerable child might result in molestation. Two ways to generate empirical data on whether homosexuals are more apt to molest present themselves: get foster parents or their victims to report such abuse, or examine the circumstances surrounding those who were caught. About half a million children (~0.7% of the nation’s minors) are placed in foster homes every year. If every year ~1% of these are sexually abused (Branigin, 2003) we confront a rare event requiring ~1.5 million respondent random sample of the general population to interview 100 victims. More narrowly, a random sample of ~10,000 foster children would be required to ëcatch’ the 100 or so that might have been molested.
Interviewing foster children proved impossible. When contacted, entities placing children with homosexuals declined to provide information about molestation by foster parents (e.g., including Seattle, District of Columbia, Colorado Springs, Vermont and a number of states contacted by a politician interested in the issue [Illinois provided some information, below]). Each stated that it had not done nor did it contemplate interview research with its charges or foster parents and would not allow examination of its confidential records as an alternative. Even were an interview study to be done, the children would have strong motives to conceal molestation (e.g., reporting would result in a different placement, might prove embarrassing, etc.) and might not produce useful results. Attempting to ask foster parents to admit molestation seemed worthless.
General population surveys : While it was not determined how many respondents had been in a foster home, nor how many of the incidents had been reported to authorities, 6 (0.02%) of a general population random sample of 3,714 adults from five metropolitan areas reported ìserious sexual advancesî against them by a foster parent [3 homosexual against girls; 3 heterosexual: 1 against a boy, 2 against girls] ñ e.g., 6 (0.59%) of 1,021 ìserious sexual advancesî reported by various caretakers. One woman also reported that the advance led to ìsexual contactî with a male foster parent ñ e.g., 0.27% of 369 ìsexual contactsî reported with various caretakers/relatives (Cameron, Proctor, Coburn, Larson, Forde, & Cameron, 1986). Of these 6 sexual interactions, all of which would have been actionable, 3 were homosexual.
Information About Those Caught
The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services provided what it considered ìsubstantiatedî records of foster-parent sexual abuse for 1997-2002. 270 parents committed sexual offenses against foster- or subsidized-adoptive children. 67 (69%) of 97 mothers and 148 (86%) of 173 fathers sexually abused girls; 30 (31%) mothers and 25 (14%) of fathers sexually abused boys (i.e., 92 [34%] of perpetrators homosexually abused their charges). 15 parents both physically and sexually abused charges: daughters by 8 mothers and 4 fathers, sons by 3 mothers (i.e., for both forms of substantiated abuse, homosexual perpetrators were involved in 53%) (reported elsewhere [Cameron, 2005]).
Perpetrator records : South Carolina provided access to records of convictions for child molestation, but they proved too biased and incomplete to be usable. Officials in charge of the database alerted that few perpetrators with competent counsel were convicted of child molestation (and the Attorney General’s staff opined that men accused of molesting boys were disproportionately represented by counsel) and, of course, the records of those not convicted (but often guilty) could not be inspected. Of additional concerns, due to plea bargains the charges for which a perpetrator was sentenced and classified bore modest relationship to what he had actually done, and the database was not set up to determine the circumstances of the molestation (e.g., whether the perpetrator was a foster parent who molested his charge). As the research of Able, Becker, Mittleman, Cunningham-Rathner, Rouleau, & Murphy (1987) with the non-incarcerated demonstrated, the kinds and numbers of sexual crimes occurring in ëthe real world’ may be quite different than those working with prisoners or clients might assume.
News stories : A substantial correlation between a small set of newspaper stories about foster parent molestation and substantiated foster parent sexual abuse from the Illinois DCFS dataset (above) has been reported (Cameron, 2003). Unlike a compilation of convicted perpetrators, news stories usually focus on the charges — often the initial phase of a charge or arrest. So those found ënot guilty’ as well as ëguilty’ are represented at this level of social control (making the news as a possible molester is a form of punishment). As long as the stories that made the news were not biased toward or against homosexuals, examining the past 24 years of the 50 largest-circulation newspapers and wire-service stories regarding foster parent molestations as an index of foster parent molestation seemed reasonable (what actually happened is only known to the perpetrators and victims). News stories are only one index of the possible indices of foster parent misbehavior — but if various indices were to generate much the same outcomes some confidence could be placed in the findings. The time span involved in the news reports also enables a sense as to whether the shift in child-placement policy regarding homosexuals noted in Pertman’s 2003 ( Denver Post , 10/29/03) survey of U.S. adoption agencies is reflected in news stories of abuse.
Definition of ìhomosexualî
The common meaning of homosexual is ìsexual attraction toward a person of the same sex; sexual relations between persons of the same sexî (1992 New Illustrated Webster’s Dictionary ). The public component is sex with the same sex, which could have an effect upon society, rather than ëattraction’ which might not result in actions. The APA resolutions above indicate that ìlesbian or gayî (terms which carry diagnostic and political meanings) are essentially synonymous with ìthose who engage in or who have engaged in homosexual activitiesî (which is descriptive and potentially objective).
When ëhomosexual’ is used diagnostically rather than descriptively, many assume that a ëhomosexual’ neither could nor would have sex with the opposite sex (e.g., Jenny, Roesler & Poyer, 1994). But almost all homosexuals have had sex with the opposite sex and perhaps a third are or have been married (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994; Black, Gates, Sanders, & Taylor, 2000). Some research has adopted the desire and/or behavior standard. Thus, Fergusson, Horwood, & Beautrais (1999), in studying the development of homosexuality from birth reported that at age 21, 20 of their sample of 1,008 said they ìwereî homosexual or bisexual (but 4 of those who said they ìwereî homosexual had not engaged in homosexual activity) and an additional 8 reported sex with their sex since the age of 16. The researchers considered all 28 homosexual.
As with Fergusson, et al . (1999) many studies report a minority of self-described ëhomosexuals’ who hadn’t acted on their desires, some call themselves ëhomosexuals’ to make a political statement, and others who engage in same-sex sexual activity decline to use the term. So recent research has tended to ignore desire in favor of having engaged in homosexual behavior irrespective of age of partners or their sexual interactions with the opposite sex (e.g., the1990 British national survey of 18,876 adults [Johnson, Wadsworth, Wellings, & Field, 1994]; the 1996 Centers for Disease Control national sexuality survey of 12,381 adults [Anderson, Wilson, Barker, Doll, Jones & Holtgrave, 1999). This has not proved intellectually troubling for other than those committed to a ëdiagnostic' meaning of ëhomosexual.' Indeed, to most researchers, the understanding of ëa homosexual is one who engages in same-sex sex' is evident enough that only one team has bothered to ask a sample of men convicted of sexually abusing boys what they ëwere' -- and 86% ìdescribed themselves as homosexual or bisexualî (Erickson, Walbek & Seely, 1988, p. 80). No one, including supporters of gay rights (e.g., Cochrane & Mays, 2001; Herek, 1991) has difficulty in knowing (and arguing) about the implications of these various studies for homosexuals.
When ëhomosexual' is used as other than a behavioral descriptor, empiricism suffers. Thus, the frequently cited ìAre children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?î by Jenny, Roesler & Poyer (1994), who declined to use sexual behavior to classify. These researchers attempted a kind of indirect ëdiagnostic' use of ëhomosexual.' Jenny, et al . examined hospital charts about molested children from Denver Children's hospital for one year. The researchers did not interview the victims, caretakers, or perpetrators; instead they assumed that unless a perpetrator was designated ëhomosexual' on the hospital chart, the perpetrator was a heterosexual (!). Because many of the perpetrators were husbands or boyfriends of the mother (and thus presumably had sex with her), Jenny, et al. naively assumed they were not ëhomosexual.' Identifying only 2 of 269 perpetrators as ìgay or lesbianî from charts, and assuming that ~1% of adults ëare' homosexual, they concluded, ìno evidence is available from this data that children are at greater risk to be molested by identifiable homosexuals than by other adultsî (p. 44). Yet, a perpetrator of the same sex had molested 60 (22%) of the 269 children and descriptively each of these perpetrators would qualify as ëhomosexual.'
While unfulfilled desire is not included by defining ëhomosexuals' as those who have engaged in sex with their sex, it has the advantage of being objective in the sense that it could be visible to observers ñ an important component of empiricism. Since the motivations of a perpetrator are much more difficult to establish than actions, using ëhomosexual' descriptively is widespread. Thus, law enforcement and public health officials often use ìhomosexualî to describe a person who engages in same-sex sexual activity. Thus, ìadult homosexuals often persuade teen-aged boys to engage in homosexual conduct by offering them moneyî (State of Maryland Commission on Criminal Law, 1972) or ìa congregation [a gay bathhouse] of consenting homosexuals does not give immunity from the criminal statute which prohibits open, lewd, and lascivious conductî (331 So.2d 289 ) — both of which employ ìhomosexualî in a descriptive rather than in a diagnostic or political sense. Likewise, the 1975 APA resolution sought protection for all those who ìengage in or have engaged inî homosexual acts ñ ignoring considerations of motive. In a similar vein, because so many of the men infected with HIV from sex with their sex also had sex with the opposite sex, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control abandoned ìhomosexualî and ìheterosexualî for terms that describe the behavior on which the classification is based. Thus the CDC’s participation in the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, as well as many large national sex surveys (Spira, Bajos & the ACSF group, 1994; Wellings, Field, Johnson, & Wadsworth, 1994), divided respondents into those who had engaged in same-sex sex [irrespective of the ages of partners or participation in opposite-sex sex] v . if they only engaged in opposite-sex sexual activity.
To lessen ambiguity, ìhomosexualî is used as a descriptor rather than a diagnosis in the following analysis of news stories. Perpetrators who raped same-sex victim(s) were designated homosexual [some were married and a few also violated opposite-sex victims, see Table 1]; those who raped only opposite-sex victims were designated heterosexual.
Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, an Internet search service, scans the whole text in over 50 regional and national newspapers, largely in the US, but also including major papers in Australia, England, Canada, and New Zealand (e.g., the Baltimore Sun , Boston Globe , Independent [England], Ottawa Citizen [Canada]). Lexis-Nexis also scans the whole text of all wire services (e.g., Associated Press, United Press International). From 1980 through 2003, every news story in the newspapers or wire services that included ìfoster parentî and ìsexî or ìchildî or ìchild molestationî was examined. Only news stories or first-person accounts were tallied, not editorials or opinion pieces, so stories of primarily contemporaneous events were examined. Only a few of the stories listed the stated ësexual preferences’ or ësexual orientation’ of the perpetrators. So, as noted above, the kind of sex in which perpetrators were involved classified their sexual proclivities (e.g., perpetrators who violated same-sex victim(s) were designated homosexual; perpetrators who sexually violated only opposite-sex victims designated heterosexual). Since marital status is generally provided in stories about child molestation (the reaction of the spouse is newsworthy), where it was not reported, the perpetrator was scored as unmarried. Perpetrators were scored married if they were identified as married, widowed, or divorced at the time of the offense(s) since their married status often led to their foster status. Perpetrators were considered foster parents if either the story or perpetrator said so (this is not as open and shut as it would appear since reporters covering a molestation often quoted representatives of placement agencies as saying that they could not be sure that paper work had been completed or the placement fully endorsed). Victims were counted as listed in the news stories, and accusations were scored as true (no retrial exonerated a perpetrator, though a few increased or decreased the number of victims). ìSome,î ìmany,î and other terms indicating a number of victims were scored as 2 victims.
Since the same standard was applied to all alleged perpetrators in the database, as long as there was no bias in the kind of molestations (e.g., same-sex, opposite-sex) that made the press, the legal outcome is irrelevant. If a plea agreement removed a child’s molestation from the conviction, that child’s molestation was not counted in the victim totals. Molested children who were fostered or adopted were counted as victims. Instances where foster-children sexually interacted with each other or the natural children in the home were not included. Molestations in group settings (e.g., shelters, orphanages) were recorded separately. When it was unclear whether the facility was a group home (some homes foster a large number of children and reporting was often unclear), it was counted as a group home.
Private homes : Of the 175 perpetrators, 154 (88%) were men (the victims’ sex for 5 men and 1 woman could not be determined) (Table 1). Of the 149 men whose sex of victim could be determined, 76 (51%) were homosexual, and 72 (48%) were unmarried. Of the 20 women whose sex of victim(s) could be determined, 14 (70%) were homosexual. Of the 14 female homosexuals, 7 molested children along with 4 husbands (3 of these husbands scored homosexual, 1 heterosexual) and 3 cohabiting boyfriends (2 of whom scored heterosexual, 1 homosexual); no female heterosexuals molested with a male partner. Of the 76 homosexual men, 3 molested children along with wives, 1 with a girlfriend, and 1 with a homosexual partner; 1 heterosexual man molested the same girl(s) as his wife, 2 heterosexual men molested the same girl(s) as their cohabiting girlfriends.
Male homosexuals molested 198 (62%) of the 319 children victimized by men and female homosexuals 24 (70%) of the 32 children victimized by women (i.e., 2.6/ male homosexual and 1.7/ female homosexual perpetrator). The 73 nonhomosexual males molested 121 girls and the 6 nonhomosexual females molested 8 boys (i.e., 1.7/nonhomosexual male and 1.3/nonhomosexual female perpetrator). Of the 351 victims whose sex could be determined, men assaulted 319 (91%), homosexuals 222 (63%), and the unmarried 164 (47%).
News stories about foster parent molestation increased over time. Numbers of classifiable perpetrators increased from 13 for 1980-84, to 69 in the 2000s (Table 1). This increase was particularly evident among unmarried homosexuals ñ which rose from 4 (31%) perpetrators in 1980-84 to 26 (38%) in the 2000s; unmarried homosexuals accounted for 5 (20%) of 25 victims in 1980 to 1984 and 62 (44%) of 142 in the 2000s. Homosexuals accounted for 86 (58%) of 139 victims from 1980-1994 and 136 (70%) of 194 thereafter. From 1980 through 1994 for victims whose sex was determinable, 74 (57%) of the 130 were girls; after 1994 most were boys (115 [56%] of 204).
Group homes : The findings are summarized in Table 2. 15 (71%) of the 21 events involved homosexuality, and only 5 of the 31+ male perpetrators had not molested homosexually. All but one of the perpetrators in the 21 group home stories was male (it appears that the Portuguese woman was arrested because she aided the 9 men in their homosexual victimization of the boys, not because she had sex with any of them). While there is ambiguity regarding the ìdozens of perpetratorsî in Wales, most perpetrators there appear to have been homosexual [at the time, news commentators in both print and on TV in England remarked on this aspect of the scandal frequently]. The preponderance of boy victims (334 of 345 whose sex could be determined) is also consistent with a preponderance of homosexual perpetrators. Homosexual molestations in group settings increased over time with 1 event in 1980 to 1984, 1 for 1985 to 1989, then 2 for 1990 to 194, then 3 for 1995 to 1999, and 7 for 2000 through 2003.
Attempting to determine the prevalence and characteristics of the sexual interactions that occur in ëthe real world’ is difficult, and no obvious ëgold standard’ to index ëthe real world’ presents itself. Questioning foster children might prove useful, but such a survey cannot be carried out at this time. A general population sample would be prohibitively expensive. Examining those caught appears more feasible. The convicted are a biased sample, since the sophisticated or affluent are much less apt to be convicted, and their records verge on the unusable. The numbers of disapproved sexual situations with children in ëthe real world’ that occur undoubtedly exceed by far the few that are ëcaught’ (in my clinical experience, of the 5 teachers or clergy who were caught molesting their charges, their employers did a good job of making sure that the events were not known to the police or the newspapers — some perpetrators even left with glowing recommendations), and may even exceed the number reported by anonymous respondents (as Able, et al ., 1987). Newspaper stories are only a tiny sample of ëthe real world,’ and the information in the stories has limits, but news stories address the kinds of detail necessary and are often the only source of public information about rare sexual events that is readily available.
As noted above, the key question about the use of news stories to index molestation of foster children by homosexuals is whether these stories are systematically biased. Absent a systematic bias against or in favor of reporting that the molestation was homosexual, a sufficient number of such stories over a long enough period would appear to have a good chance of being a reasonable index of the underlying reality.
Stories Involving Homosexuality Seem No Less Likely To ìMake Newsî
There is evidence from the news story database suggesting limited bias, and thus the possibility of a decent correlation between the numbers of news stories involving homosexual molestation and the underlying reality. No bias is suggested by the fact that in private homes 88% of the molesters were men who accounted for 91% of the victims. These parameters seem ëreasonable’ in light of child molestation lore (Blanchard, Barbaree, Bogaert, Dicky, Klassen, Kuban, & Zucker, 2000). That the first homosexual to adopt, David Frater, would be charged with molesting a foster son in 1984, may have made his story more newsworthy ( Associated Press 9/28/84). On the other hand, the arrest of Ronald Hewitt for molesting a foster son in 2001, mere days after the boy’s placement, would also appear newsworthy. After all, Hewitt had been recruited as part of the Massachusetts Department of Social Service ìSafe Homesî project with homosexual mentors, which started in 1999 with considerable fanfare and media attention as the ëfirst in the nation’ ( Associated Press 8/18/01). Yet the Boston Globe , the major newspaper for New England, did not report the event while the Associated Press did.
Wire services rather than large newspapers may be more apt to report on homosexual molestation. From January through September, 2003 the 50 largest newspapers published 156 stories about child molestations. Of these, 77.5 (50%) concerned heterosexual molestation, 65.5 (42%) homosexual molestation, and 13 (8%) molestations by perpetrators whose sexual preferences could not be determined (if a man and a woman molested a girl, it was counted as 0.5 homosexual and 0.5 heterosexual). During the same period, newswires published 35 stories about child molestations, of which 10.5 (30%) concerned heterosexual molestation, 20.5 (59%) homosexual molestation, and 4 (11%) molestations by perpetrators whose sexual preferences could not be determined. The 50 newspapers did not publish a story about 14 of the homosexual stories and 7 of the heterosexual stories in the wire service accounts. Had the newspapers reported all the news service stories the number of unique heterosexual stories would have increased to 84.5 and unique homosexual stories to 80.5. The only substantial discrepancy involved one newspaper’s ëunknown preference’ of perpetrator stories, who turned out to be a homosexual in the wire services account.
Some of the stories may have made the news because of a combination of ëinteresting incongruities.’ Thus, Mr. Lindsey, though unmarried, was permitted to adopt 11 foster boys starting in 1971 (he was not caught abusing the boys until 1988 [ Associated Press 12/5/1988]). Likewise, in spite of his conviction for child molestation in 1967, starting in 1977, Mr. Schwarz, until he was arrested for possessing child pornography in 1989, was given at least 24 boys to foster parent by the state of Massachusetts ( Boston Globe 5/18/1989). Mr. Coleman got out of prison after serving 7 years for sodomy against minors in 1971. Yet he was permitted to be a foster parent for 5 boys between 1974-1979 ( United Press International , 1/21/1981).
The proportion of homosexuals involved in ënewsworthy’ kinds of molestations suggests that incongruities do not account for homosexuals’ disproportionate presence among foster parent molesters. For instance, any molestation of a foster child by a man of the cloth would appear newsworthy. Ten ministers molested their foster-children: 7 engaged in homosexuality, and they raped 12 victims (the locations and dates of these stories are: LA 11/11/83; IL 5/12/89; Canada 4/24/91; England 10/5/98; FL 3/5/99; MI 9/10/02; CO 8/18/02); 3 were heterosexual, and they raped 6 victims (OH 9/1/95; MA 12/29/98; FL 11/13/01). A man who falsely presented himself as a ëminister’ to gain foster-parent status engaged in homosexuality with a number of foster sons (TN 1/9/97).
Similarly, 7 widely heralded foster fathers — that is, men who won ëfoster parent of the year’ awards or garnered publicity because of their ëexceptional caring,’ included 4 who engaged in homosexuality (who raped 7 foster-children [IN 2/27/83; IL 6/19/86; FL 12/5/88; CT 3/22/97]) and 3 heterosexuals (who raped 8 foster daughters [MI 5/18/85; TX 1/25/95; VT 7/30/99]). Three of the 5 instances where the foster-child was raped and tortured involved men who engaged in homosexuality (England 11/16/88; MN 12/14/92; RI 6/9/93; CA 5/3/99; CA 9/24/00). Likewise, homosexual perpetrators were involved in 2 of the 4 instances where social workers or DPS officers molested foster children (Wales 2/12/95; CA 5/3/99; WA 7/7/99; GA 3/22/02; OR 5/5/04), and in 2 of the 3 stories where the foster child had been prostituted by the foster parent(s) (Taipei 8/7/94; CA 9/24/00; CO 8/18/02). So the prevalence of homosexuality was about the size in these incongruous or horrific incidents as it was in the news story database as a whole.
While examining news stories is different from a controlled comparison study (e.g., with matched pairs of foster children randomly drawn from the total set of foster children, etc.), it has some compensatory advantages. As with the study of hospital charts (Jenny, et al. , 1994) or those incarcerated for child molestation (Blanchard, et a l., 2000), a part of the ëreal world’ rather than responses to questions generated the data. With news stories, the problems associated with examining case reports (e.g., incompletion, ambiguity, handwriting) or the sampling and measurement problems inherent in the usual comparison study (e.g., refusals to participate, ambiguous responses) are largely avoided. Further, the database is available for inspection on Lexis-Nexis.
Basis For Considering Homosexuals More Apt to Molest
Court cases and convictions
Common opinion about those who engaged in homosexuality or the undesirability of homosexual parents did not come ëout of the blue.’ Rather the belief had some basis in what were considered to be ëfacts.’ In the past, the stories people heard and told were among the most influential forces in shaping common opinion about just about anything ñ including homosexuality. These stories were a kind of ëempirical reality test.’ Individuals experienced events and told others. Beliefs about the criminal portion of society (homosexual activity was illegal everywhere in the U.S. until 1962) were informed by the experiences of police, jurists, the victimized and the accused. Stories radiated from these individuals to their families, friends and beyond. For the past ~200 years, those who lived in cities were exposed to newspapers. Since newspapers often reported on criminality, their stories also influenced common opinion.
From their contact with the British criminal justice system, jurists Rees & Ushill (1956) concluded ìthe male homosexual naturally seeks the company of the male adolescent, or of the young male adult, in preference to that of the fully-grown man. [In 1947] 986 persons were convicted of homosexual and unnatural offences [in Great Britain]. Of those, 257 were indictable offences involving 402 male victims…. The great majority of [whom]… were under the age of 16. Only 11%… were over 21.î This disproportionality (~20% of offences in 1947 involved the underage) informed their etiologic theory: ìit is vain to blind oneself to the fact that the problem of male homosexuality is in essence the problem of the corruption of youth by itself and by its elders. It is the problem of the creation by means of such corruption of new addicts ready to corrupt a still further generation of young men and boys in the futureî (p. 29).
U.S. sodomy case law provides a similar ëflavor’ of the stories that influenced common opinion regarding homosexuality. Perusing the legal dataset compiled by George Painter, a gay-rights historian (e.g., ìfortunately for Washingtonians, Ö[initially] sodomy was legal in Washingtonî) enables a sense of the content of sodomy prosecutions he provides. Painter has traced the history of sodomy laws in each U.S. state ( sodomylaws.org/sensibilities ). Examining Painter’s accounts for 8 states from across the country (Washington, California, Illinois, Texas, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Maryland), and considering only those cases in which the adult or child status of the participants could be determined from Painter’s accounts, further basis for the common opinion about homosexuality and homosexual parenting can be detected.
In Washington, of prosecutions for sodomy in 12 cases, 4 involved man-man sex, 7 man-boy sex (an 11 year old boy was the youngest victim; one case involved a boy seduced by his employer; two stepsons were molested by their stepfather) and in one case a man performed oral sex on a girl. Of 29 cases in Texas: 14 (48%) concerned man-man sex; 12 (41%) concerned man-boy sex (2 cases of fathers having sex with their sons ñ one of whom was adopted; and a school counselor having sex with 2 boys), and 3 boys having sex with other boys. For Illinois, of 12 cases: 7 (58%) involved man-boy sex (one policeman, one music teacher with students, one man with his employee, one 67 year old man with a 9 year old boy [who ratted on him because he was dumped for another boy]), and 5 (42%) involved man-man contact. For California’s 79 cases: 37 (47%) were man-man, 35 (44%) man-boy (including a public school teacher with 2 boys, a Catholic Priest with 3 boys, a father with his son), 2 boy-boy cases, a woman-woman case, and 4 cases of man-woman sodomy. For Rhode Island, the 4 cases involved men with other men at a YMCA, a man with a 14 year old boy, a man with a 16 year old boy, and a man performing oral sex on a woman. For Maine, the 2 cases involved a man with a woman and a grandfather with his grandson. For Maryland, of 31 cases 21 (68%) were man-boy (including a father on his 13 year old son; the youngest boy assaulted was 4 yr.), one was man-woman, and 9 (29%) were man-man. For Florida, of 7 cases, 4 were man-man, one man-boy, and 2 man-girl. Thus, for these 8 states, 74 (42%) of the 176 cases concerned man-man and 86 (49)% man-boy sex ñ twice the fraction for Great Britain in the 1947 Rees & Ushill compilation (1956).
The tilt toward sexual involvement with the underage by those who enjoy homosexual activity is evident in these records. Since many of these criminal trials undoubtedly made the newspapers and otherwise generated stories that traveled considerable distances, and that 6 (7%) of the 87 man-boy cases involved fathers, stepfathers or grandfathers and another 3 (3%) teachers, could have contributed to the common opinion that those who enjoy homosexual sex are more apt to molest their charges.
A considerable fraction of homosexuals have admitted to sex with the underage in major sex surveys. And almost all of these also report sex with adults. Bell & Weinberg (1978) asked 671 homosexual men and 288 homosexual women about the proportions of their homosexual partners who ìwere 16 or younger when you were 21 or olderî (p. 311). Of the men, 77% said ìnone,î 23% said ìhalf or less,î and none said ìmore than half;î of the women, 94% said ìnone,î 3.8% said ìhalf or less,î and none said ìmore than half.î While, 156 (23%) of the men and 11 (4%) of the women admitted to having had some sex with children, none was a ìpedophileî in the sense of only having had sex with or could only have sex with children. Indeed, every one of these admitted child molesters said that children accounted for no more than half their sexual partners.
Jay and Young (1979) analyzed 4,329 questionnaires from homosexual men and 962 women across the United States, aged 14 to 82. They asked: ìHow often do you have sex with men or boys [for the lesbians ìwomen or girlsî] of the following ages?î [ìalways, very frequently, somewhat frequently, somewhat infrequently, very infrequently, once].î 26 of their male respondents (0.6% of their male respondents) and 10 of the female respondents (1% of their female respondents) were 14-17 years old, so some of the answers might reflect sex between teens and other teens or between teens and children. Jay & Young did not provide raw numbers, only percentages: 4% of gays said they engaged in sex with boys under the age of 9; 7% said they engaged in sex with boys aged 9-12; and 23% said they engaged in sex with boys aged 13-15. Even if we subtract the 0.6% of respondents aged 14-17, we are still left with 22% of gays 18 years or older who said they had sex with boys aged 15 or younger. For lesbians: 1% said they had sex with girls under the age of 9; 2% said they engaged in sex with girls aged 9-12; and 6% said they had engaged in sex with girls aged 13-15. Even if we subtract the 1% of lesbians who were aged 14-17, we are still left with 5% of lesbians 18 years or older who reported having sex with girls aged 15 or younger.
No gays and 0.5% of lesbians reported only having sex with children (only percentages were reported). For gays, 1% said they engaged in sex with boys aged 13-15 ìvery frequently,î but none said ìalways.î None said ìalwaysî to boys aged 9-12 and boys under the age of 9, whereas 2% said they ìalwaysî had sex with those 16-19, 5% said they ìalwaysî had sex with 20-24 year-olds, and 4% said that they ìalwaysî had sex with 25-29 year-olds. For lesbians, none said they ìalwaysî engaged in sex with girls under 9 yr. (although 1% said they did ìsomewhat frequentlyî), none said that they ìalwaysî had sex with girls aged 9-12 (but 1% said ìsomewhat frequentlyî and another 1% said ìonceî). However, 0.5% said they ìalwaysî had sex with girls aged 13-15, 1% ìvery frequently,î 0.5% ìsomewhat frequently,î 2% said ìvery infrequently,î and 2% said ìonce.î Even adjusting for the 1% of lesbian respondents under the age of 17, it is clear that a fraction of adult lesbians report engaging in sex with girls.
Respondents were asked ìWhether or not you have sex with any of the following age groups, indicate how you feel about the idea of having sex with each of themî (p. 206) [ìvery positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, very negative, not sure].î For gays, 3% said they felt ìvery positiveî and 2% said they felt ìsomewhat positive,î 2% ìneutral,î and 7% ìnot sureî about having sex with boys under 9 yr. 4% said they felt ìvery positive, 1% ìsomewhat positive,î ì3% ìneutral,î and 7% ìnot sureî about having sex with boys 9-12 yr. And 11% said they were ìvery positive,î 8% ìsomewhat positive,î ì8% ìneutral,î and 5% ìnot sureî about having sex with boys aged 13 to 15 yr. For lesbians, 3% said they felt ìvery positiveî about having sex with girls under age 9, 0.5% were ìsomewhat positive,î and 2% were ìnot sure.î Regarding girls 9-12: 1% ìvery positive,î 1% ìsomewhat positive,î 0.5% ìneutral,’ and 4% ìunsure.î And regarding girls 13-15: 2% ìvery positive,î 4% ìsomewhat positive,î ì6% ìneutral,î and 4% ìnot sure.î
The Bell & Weinberg and Jay & Young surveys generated similar point estimates of the fraction of homosexuals who reported sexual relations with children: 23% and 22% for gays; 4% and 5% for lesbians. This consistency between the two surveys, one based on a semi-random sample and the other on a volunteer sample, lends credence to the Jay & Young findings regarding 6% of lesbians and 19% of gays reporting positive feelings toward having homosexual sex with children.
Other Caretakers: Teachers
After parents, teachers may be the most influential people in children’s lives. Studies to date report a disproportionate homosexual footprint in pupil molestations. In 1978, Hechinger & Hechinger reported that in a survey of 1,400 principals: 7% reported complaints about homosexual and 13% complaints about heterosexual contact between teachers and pupils (i.e., 35% of complaints were about homosexuals). In a ten state study of teachers who had been formally disciplined for sexual interaction with their pupils (Rubin, 1988), 122 men had abused girls and 59 (33%) men had abused boys; 14 women had abused boys and 4 (29%) women had abused girls — 32% of the molestations for which these teachers were convicted were homosexual. In a random 6-city study of 5,182 adults (Cameron & Cameron, 1996b), of the 57 sexual contacts reported with elementary or secondary teachers 13 (23%) were homosexual. Of those reporting ìserious sexual advancesî by elementary teachers, 27% were homosexual; by secondary teachers, 20% were homosexual. Wishnietsky (1991) contacted each of the 140 school systems in North Carolina and inquired about disciplinary actions against high school teachers or administratos for sexual physical contact with pupils in the ìpast three years.î Of 21 events reported by superintendents, 6 (29%) involved homosexual faculty (4 men with boys, 2 women with girls), 15 heterosexual faculty (13 men with girls, 2 women with boys). A survey of 8 of the nation’s newspaper stories of child molestation (Cameron & Cameron, 1998) found 23 teachers who were reported to have molested their pupils ñ 11 (48%) homosexually; a survey of FirstSearch and Newsbank uncovered 22 teachers who had molested their pupils ñ 10 (45%) homosexually. Whether the database dealt with the disciplined (Rubin, 1988; Wishnietsky, 1991), superintendent reports (Hechinger & Hechinger, 1978), news stories (Cameron & Cameron, 1998), or the presumably uncaught reported by respondents (Cameron & Cameron, 1996b), the fraction of molestation events involving homosexuals was disproportionate ñ depending upon the index, ranging between 20% (respondent-reported) to 48% (newspaper stories).
ëPedophilie’ Not A Useful Category
Some (e.g., Herek, 1991) argue that those who have sex with children are ëpedophiles’ rather than ëreal’ homosexuals. This complex diagnostic distinction is not very useful. The term ëpedophile’ is even more recent and ambiguous than ëhomosexual.’ Newspaper stories often treat ëpedophile’ as synonymous with ëchild molester’ as do some advocates of man-boy sex (e.g., O’Carroll, 1980). But the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) specifies that the ëdisorder’ of desiring/having sex with children must last at least 6 months (p. 528). Very few of the homosexual respondents who reported sex with children in Bell & Weinberg (1978) or Jay & Young (1979) [above] would warrant a diagnosis of ëpedophile.’
Orthodox Jews permit a girl to be married at age 3, but consummation awaits her having two pubic hairs or attaining age 12. Roman and Byzantine law permitted marriage to girls at 12 and boys at 14 (Lascaratos & Poulakou-Rebelakou, 2000), old English law recognized consent to sex with the opposite sex by a girl of 10 or a boy of 13, and the 1900 U.S. Census had a ìmarried and workingî category for girls aged 10-15. Surely, all the men who lived under these laws and had sex with girls that we consider underage, did not have a ëdisorder’ of ëpedophilia.’ Those who violate their society’s age of consent laws are engaging in criminality, but the proportion of these criminals who ëhave’ a ëdisorder’ is questionable.
Linkage between men who enjoy same-sex sex and attempts to include boys in their sexual activity has a long history. The 2 nd century Didache commanded ëthou shalt not corrupt boys,’ and, by the 4 th century Roman, as well as Byzantine and English law harshly condemned homosexual sex with boys. The gay movement’s attempt to eliminate laws against boy/man sex has received attention in both Europe and the U.S. for the past four decades (Rueda, 1982). Thus Tom O’Carroll’s Paedophilia: the radical case (1980) which argues for the legalization of man/boy sex was reviewed favorably in the Advocate [the largest circulation U.S. gay magazine] and published by Alyson [at the time the largest gay themed publishing house]. Those in favor of ëintergenerational sex’ have marched under descriptive banners in many gay rights parades from San Francisco to New York to London to Berlin. The consistency between the history of pederasty, reported sex with children (Bell & Weinberg, 1978), reported positive feelings about sex with children (Jay & Young, 1979), empirical studies of teacher-pupil sexual interaction, and the public face of the gay movement is noteworthy.
There may be a growing willingness to place children with homosexuals
The increases evident in Table l are consistent with a change in the employ of more homosexual foster and adoptive parents and the growing number of unmarried homosexual male foster parents in the private and group care of foster children. Additionally consistent is the fact that girls constituted most victims in the database during 1980-1994, while from 1995-2003, boys did. In many clinical and forensic series, girls outnumber boy victims (Blanchard, et al ., 2000), although in a large non-clinical sample, boys outnumbered girls (Able, et al, 1987).
Homosexuals often account for about a third of the perpetrators in clinical and forensic series of adult child molesters (e.g., the ìbest epidemiological evidence indicates that only 2-4% of men attracted to adults prefer men; in contrast, around 25-40% of men attracted to children prefer boys…. Thus the rate of homosexual attraction is 6-20 times higher among pedophilesî [Blanchard, et al , 2000, p. 464]). Homosexuals constituted 76 (51%) of the 149 male and 14 (70%) of the 20 female foster perpetrators in the private foster home stories in the news story database and almost certainly a substantial majority of perpetrators in the group home stories.
In the Lexis-Nexis database 55% of the 169 perpetrators whose victims’ sex could be determined engaged in homosexuality with their charges, while in Illinois 34% of the 270 perpetrators did. In the population sample (Cameron, et al ., 1986), 3 (50%) of the 6 respondents who reported criminal sexual acts against them by their foster parents said it was homosexual. The agreement between these three findings from quite different sources is noteworthy. Likewise, there is good agreement between the Illinois foster care system and the Lexis-Nexis databases regarding the proportion of homosexual female perpetrators, e.g., 69% and 70% respectively (and all 3 homosexual events in the general population survey concerned female perpetrators). But there is poorer agreement between the 14% of male homosexual perpetrators from Illinois and the 55% of male homosexual perpetrators from Lexis-Nexis (and there were no gay molesters in the general population sample).
Addendum: After the above had been accepted for publication, 2004 was examined. In 2004 there were 29 molestation stories about foster parents: 19 were homosexual (18 men, 1 woman) and these foster parents abused 28 boys and 1 girl; in 10 heterosexual events, 10 foster fathers molested 16 girls. Thus 66% of foster parent perpetrators in 2004 were homosexual and they accounted for 64% of the victims. In addition, a DPS officer charged with having sex with at least one boy conspired with an openly homosexual male foster parent to have access to boys (OR 5/5/04), and 2 boys were molested in a group home, but sex of perpetrators was not provided (TX 8/16/04).
How Disproportionate Is The Homosexual Footprint?
Those who engage in homosexuality are less apt to have children, to be married or have been married (Black, et al ., 2000). They are also less apt to say they want to have children and have fewer children if they do (Cameron & Cameron, 1996; Black, et al ., 2000). So while the fraction of homosexual foster-parents is unknown, it seems unlikely that it is as large as the proportion of homosexuals in the adult population. While the precise proportion of those who are engaging in homosexuality in the adult population is unknown, it seems unlikely that it exceeds 3% (Black, et al , 2000), indeed, the June 2004 Canadian Census survey of 121,300 adults aged 18+ put it at 1.4%. The little that is known about the proportion of homosexuals in the population of foster parents suggests that it is less than 3%. Ottawa was among the first jurisdictions to actively recruit homosexual foster parents. As of October 24, 2002, homosexuals were present in 9 of 278 Ottawa’s approved foster, and two had not yet been given a foster-child ( Ottawa Citizen 10/24/2002), thus less than 3% of Ottawa’s placements were with homosexuals.
Married homosexuals might not be known as ëhomosexuals’ to agencies (or their spouses). In the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, a well-done representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults in the US, about 0.1% of currently married men and 0.7% of currently married women reported a same-sex sexual partner in the past 12 months. This suggests that 320,000 of the approximately 84 million currently married 18-59 year-olds are homosexuals [www.icpsr.umich.edu/samhda]). After passage of its 1987 law against homosexuals adopting or foster parenting, New Hampshire polled foster and adoptive parents asking whether they engaged in homosexuality. Ninety percent of respondents said that they did not, and 10% declined to answer on the grounds that the question was an ìinvasion of privacyî ( New York Times 3/27/88). It is unknown if any who refused to answer were homosexual. Since the Ottawa survey was conducted in an environment highly accepting of homosexuals, and for most of the 24 years covered by our survey of foster parent molestations homosexuals were barred from fostering, even if married homosexuals are counted-in, the Ottawa report that 3% of approved foster placements are homosexual may be toward the high side for the proportion of the Western world’s foster parents. If the 3% expectation were applied to the 169 perpetrators uncovered in the Lexis-Nexis database, 5 homosexual perpetrators rather than the 82 actually counted would have been involved in molestation ( X 2 > 100; P < .0001), indicating a greater risk of sexual molestation if a child is placed with a homosexual.
Screening, Training, And Home Visits Have Significant Failure Rates
Agencies pursuing the new philosophy of placements with homosexuals often do the same background checks and make prospective foster parents attend the same training. These procedures, they contend, will ëweed out’ those likely to offend. The Lexis-Nexis database provides evidence that these techniques frequently fail. Screening prospective foster-parents, even for previous convictions for sexual child abuse, was inefficient. A number of cases besides those of Schwarz and Coleman detailed above involved fostering by those previously convicted of child molestation (e.g., NJ 1/21/81; WA 8/31/90; IL 8/31/90; MO 9/1/90; Scotland 7/11/94; England 5/23/97; NM 3/3/00; Fl, 2/5/03). A foster parent known to have molested was given children anyway (GA 10/27/93). Home visits of social workers have frequently failed to uncover substantial sexual abuse (e.g., CA 5/3/99; CA 2/24/03; MA 2/21/03; MD 7/8/03), and reports by foster-children of sexual abuse have been ëlost’ in the shuffle (e.g., Canada 5/14/93; England 5/19/94; NY 3/16/94; WI 12/23/98; CO 2/18/03; WA 2/21/03). The most glaring example of the inefficiency of background checks may be the fact that it took years and many molestations before a male couple in which the one who pretended to be a woman was discovered to be a man (PA 2/12/02) — how could a good ëbackground check’ miss the sex of the applicant?
In addition, in numerous situations the molested children were intimidated and silenced for years. For instance, in their adulthood two foster-sons went public about one of the four homosexual placements in Minneapolis. Even though early in the placement one of the boys was ìtied up and burned with matches, …foster-care workers violated state law by failing to report the abuse.î ì’[The gay couple] fooled everybody who came to our door,’ said one of the foster-sons. On the staircase wall was a family photograph that is ingrained in [my] memory as the symbol of hypocrisy. ëYou’d look at that picture and swear nothing was wrong with this family,’ he said. ëThe typical all-American family with everyone smiling.’î But the boys had been continuously sexually molested and tortured — one beginning at age 4 yr. Further, although the statute of limitations had not expired when all of this came to light, the perpetrators were never prosecuted. These facts led reporter Paul McEnroe to question the motivations of the protective service bureaucracy in this case ( Minneapolis Star Tribune , 12/24/92).
Including the addendum, an oversized homosexual footprint in the molestation of foster children has appeared in 4 different empirical databases. An Illinois bureaucracy put it at 34%, a general population survey at 50%, the news story 1980-2003 database at 63%, and the news story 2004 database at 66%. No one of these studies is definitive, indeed, just what would constitute a definitive study is obscure. But one of the studies is probably from the universe of ëthe uncaught’ and the other three from the universe of ëthe caught.’ Compared to the kinds of empirical evidence usually cited by those in social service or the social sciences as evidence for or against a policy, this finding appears pretty solid. Which one of the four studies generated a parameter closest to ëthe truth’ is uncertain, but even the lowest estimate should cause pause about changing social policy regarding homosexual adoption and foster parenting.
This disproportionate homosexual footprint is consistent with what one might expect given the history of sodomy in general, the history of sodomy in the legal systems of Great Britain and the U.S., and what we know about teacher-pupil molestation. It is also consistent with the responses of homosexuals to studies that inquired about their involvement with and desires toward children — carried out and reported by pro-gay investigators (e.g., Bell & Weinberg, 1978; Jay & Young, 1979).
The APA and the NASW have put their considerable social standing behind removing the traditional discrimination against homosexual foster or adoptive parents (e.g., the 1987 NASW resolution decrying ìresistance to using single parents, …including lesbian and gay parents, as potential foster care and adoption resourcesî and the 2004 APA resolution against ìdiscrimination against lesbian or gay parents adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care and reproductive health servicesî). Yet the evidence published to date indicates that at least a third of foster parent molestations of charges is homosexual. These associations claim to adhere to empiricism ñ to test their beliefs and recommendations against empirical findings, and a willingness to change their stances if the empirical evidence is otherwise. The results from the newspaper story surveys, in concert with the previously published evidence, makes it likely that homosexuals account for at least a third of foster-parent molestations. Yet these associations have not only ignored the empirical evidence that has been published but have cited no empirical evidence to the contrary. Taking novel positions at variance with both custom and what appears to be the ëempirical truth’ without empirical evidence that supports these novel positions are not the actions of objective, empirically-driven associations.
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