Virginia’s Old Dominion University has placed a professor on administrative leave after he called for "pedophiles" to be rebranded as "minor attracted people."
Dr. Allyn Walker, who is transgender, was placed on leave after his book and academic research on adults attracted to minors led to safety concerns and "disrupted" the campus.
"I want to state in the strongest terms possible that child sexual abuse is morally wrong and has no place in our society," Old Dominion President Brian O. Hemphill wrote in the statement posted to Twitter.
Walker has claimed having an attraction to minors does not constitute wrongdoing "as long as it isn't acted on," and defended the research, saying it can lead to pedophiles getting help before they act on their attraction.
He also said it was an effort to help protect minors, The Hill reported.
The remarks have led to a campaign on campus to "Get Allyn Walker Off Campus," The Washington Post reported. Also, a Change.org petition has around 11,000 signatures in the effort to condemn the professor.
Walker claims the research is "being misrepresented in right-wing media" and was "unsafe to remain on campus."
"The university's decision to place me on administrative leave really acknowledges the gravity of the threats to me and other people on campus," Walker told the Post.
"The idea that I'm somehow condoning child sexual abuse is absolutely outrageous. I really think it's a coordinated effort about attacking the LGBTQ community and academic freedom."
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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