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This is the first scholarly book in half a century to detail and critique the justice system's response to sexual misconduct by children and adolescents in the United States. Too often, as Franklin Zimring argues, the American legal system fails to take age and developmental status into account when adjudicating young sexual offenders, responding as it would to an adult. An American Travesty - the second volume in the Adolescent Development and Legal Policy series - is a summary of current knowledge, a much-needed indictment of the legal system's ability to make appropriate decisions concerning young sexual offenders, and a call for specific reforms. Zimring shows that current policy toward young sex offenders is rarely based on facts and is often the result of fearful haste following a highly publicized crime. Assumptions about juvenile sex offenders in current legislation and debate are often based only on presumed motives and inclinations of adult offenders. But seventy-five years of empirical data show that such assumptions are wrong.;After surveying the facts and outlining the additional information needed for rational policy, An American Travesty proposes a series of reforms in juvenile and criminal courts as well as sex offender registration laws.