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While the most bizarre charges of satanic ritual abuse that convulsed communities during the 1980s have slowed, false accusations and wrongful convictions of child sexual abuse continue apace, along with ever-broader definitions and more draconian penalties for sex offenses. Human rights advocates have condemned U.S. sex crimes law—in particular the prosecution of minors and the regime of post-incarceration registration and civil commitment—as grave violations of international human rights laws. And yet those who should be expected to care about this issue—sex radicals, GLTBQ organizations, criminal justice reformers, and prison abolitionists—have run the other way. In this chapter, I examine how (largely feminist) ideas about victimization, age, and sexuality, as well as the intersections of race and criminal (in)justice have led progressives to exclude sex offenders from their purview.

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