The Johns Hopkins University Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse announced Thursday on Twitter that it is hiring a professor who recently researched and wrote a book on ''minor-attracted people.''
''We are excited to share that Allyn Walker, PhD, will be joining the Moore Center as a postdoctoral fellow on May 25,'' the center tweeted.
Walker was placed on administrative leave last November and eventually resigned as an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University after igniting protests and threats for calling pedophiles ''minor-attracted people'' in his research and book ''A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity,'' The Washington Post reported.
''That research was mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity,'' Walker said in a statement to the Post at the time. ''As a result, multiple threats were made against me and the campus community generally.''
An Australian child sex abuse expert immediately took issue with the hiring of Walker in a Twitter post.
''To retain its ethical foundation, child sexual abuse prevention work has to be victim-centered,'' Michael Salter, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia and president-elect of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, posted on Twitter. ''What is victim-centric about the claim that there is nothing wrong with being sexually attracted to children?''
Some 60 other professors who are in the fields of child sexual abuse prevention, mental health, sexuality and criminology sent a letter of support to Old Dominion administrators supporting Walker's research, saying that it was a ''misunderstanding'' that his work might be defending pedophilia and child sex crimes.
''We are strongly committed to creating a world without child sexual abuse,'' the letter said. ''In order to accomplish this daunting goal both ethically and effectively, it is essential to have a complete understanding of the issue, and this requires dissemination of research findings even when they contradict popular assumptions.''
That university had a petition of more than 14,000 names calling for Walker to step down, which university President Brian Hemphill said at the time would be the best way to ''move forward,'' according to the Post's report at the time.
''The safety and security of individual Monarchs and our collective campus are of the utmost importance,'' Hemphill said in the statement. ''For ODU, these will always remain top priorities as we pursue our mission in a caring, inclusive, and supportive community, one that respects academic freedom and remains willing to discuss controversial ideas in an atmosphere free of intimidation or violence.''
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