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Former ODU professor who made controversial pedophilia comments joins center for prevention of child sexual abuse

Allyn Walker was put on administrative leave by Old Dominion University after making controversial remarks about the word "pedophile." Walker later stepped down.

BALTIMORE — Editor's Note: The above video is a story about the situation that we first aired in December 2021.

A former professor at Old Dominion University, who left the school after they said the word "pedophile" should not be used to refer to people who are attracted to children, landed at a center aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.

Johns Hopkins University's Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse tweeted on Thursday, May 12 that it was "excited to share" that Allyn Walker would join the center as a postdoctoral fellow on May 25.

In an interview with the Prostasia Foundation in 2021, Allyn Walker, who uses the pronouns they/their/them to self-identify, said that not everyone who is attracted to children will abuse children, that an adult can be attracted to a child without acting on the feeling. For that reason, he argued the term "minor-attracted people" -- or MAPs -- should be used instead of "pedophile."

In the interview, Walker stressed that child sexual abuse is never okay.

Walker said there is no “morality” attached to attraction because that’s something we can’t help. They said it’s the response to that attraction that’s either good or bad.

The Prostasia Foundation’s Executive Director, Jeremy Malcolm, agreed. The foundation works to prevent child abuse.

“The problem is, it isn’t actually a choice. People are just born with this condition, according to what science says," Malcolm said.

“The problem that we’re faced with is, given some people are going to be born this way, how can we prevent those people from actually going on to abuse children? What experts like Dr. Walker are saying is that telling these people that they’re inherently bad and doomed to offend is counterproductive.”

Criticism about Walker’s comments prompted ODU and Walker to release statements. A short time later, Walker stepped down.

A day after Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse tweeted Walker would be joining it, the center tweeted a few more times:

  • Allyn Walker is a leader in the field of perpetration prevention research, which is essential for developing a comprehensive public health approach to addressing child sexual abuse and effective prevention programs. We are delighted to have Allyn Walker join our team. 
  • As a postdoctoral fellow at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Allyn Walker will support multiple, large-scale, ongoing research projects and help identify new projects. 
  • Allyn Walker’s expertise and qualitative research methodology will enhance and advance the  work of the Moore Center. We are excited to have them join our team.