News

Actions

ODU professor who stepped down after backlash over comments defending people attracted to children hired by Johns Hopkins

Dr. Allyn Walker joins Johns Hopkins' Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Old Dominion University Police investigate third case of sexual assault this semester
Posted at 6:15 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 18:15:58-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Dr. Allyn Walker, the former Old Dominion University assistant professor who stepped down after coming under fire following a controversial interview where they defended non-offending pedophiles, was hired by Johns Hopkins University's Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse.

The Moore Center announced the news Thursday afternoon.

Walker, who will join the Moore Center as a postdoctoral fellow, will "support multiple, large-scale, ongoing research projects and help identify new projects."

The Moore Center recognized Walker as "a leader in the field of perpetration prevention research" and said they are "excited" to have Walker join their team.

Walker, who uses "they/them" pronouns, announced in November 2021 they would step down from their position when their contract expired in May 2022. They were on leave until that time.

The backlash started after their controversial comments they made in an interview with the Prostasia Foundation regarding their book, "A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity," gained traction on social media and gained national attention. In the interview, Walker concluded that it is "never OK to abuse a child," but argued that there is no morality attached to attraction towards children as long as it isn't acted on.

ODU released the following statement after the interview:

An academic community plays a valuable role in the quest for knowledge. A vital part of this is being willing to consider scientific and other empirical data that may involve controversial issues and perspectives. Following a recent interview that gained national attention, Dr. Allyn Walker has released the following statement.

"I want to be clear: child sexual abuse is an inexcusable crime. As an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, the goal of my research is to prevent crime. My work is informed by my past experience and advocacy as a social worker counseling victims. I embarked on this research in hopes of gaining understanding of a group that, previously, has not been studied in order to identify ways to protect children."

Following recent social media activity and direct outreach to the institution, it is important to share that Old Dominion, as a caring and inclusive community, does not endorse or promote crimes against children or any form of criminal activity.
Old Dominion University

Students at ODU had mixed feelings about Walker's comments. Some described the comments as "gross" and "weird," while others said they didn't believe Walker's beliefs outside of work should interfere with their role as a professor.

Walker had been a professor at ODU since 2019.

Related: ODU chapter of national organization publishes letter sharing concern of professor stepping down over controversial interview