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McNeil Island is where Zachary Nelson may spend the rest of his life.
Zachary S. Nelson is said to have molested his first boy at

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Zachary S. Nelson, Pedophile Convicted at 15 and Facing Life, Is One of Many Young Sex Criminals

mcneil_island2.jpg
McNeil Island is where Zachary Nelson may spend the rest of his life.
Zachary S. Nelson is said to have molested his first boy at age 4. Since then he's been charged with and convicted of two other sex crimes: one for dragging a 4-year-old sleeping boy out of his bed and molesting him and another for raping a 5-year-old girl. His conviction came at age 15.

Now, at 19, after spending most of his life in and out of mental institutions with seemingly no improvement in his behavior, prosecutors have filed paperwork to try and send him to McNeil Island possibly for the rest of his life.

Interestingly, he may have plenty of company his age.

The P-I has the story this morning on Nelson, who psychologists contend is a committed pedophile that will re-offend at the first given opportunity.

No one is coming to his defense, either; apparently, when his mother was told that if Nelson was released he'd have to come stay with her, she said "Oh, hell no!"

Perhaps most interesting in the P-I's story is this little fact thrown out by state-contracted psychologist Harry Hoberman, explaining that young offenders like Nelson are far from uncommon.

Juvenile sex offenders account for a disproportionately large percentage of sexual offenses, Hoberman told the court. He went on to assert that juvenile offenders are responsible for one of every five rapes, and 30 to 50 percent of sexual assaults against children.

The P-I's piece didn't note where that figure came from, but a cursory look through law-enforcement studies appears to back up the notion that when it comes to molesting young kids, slightly older kids are often the main culprits.

Here are some charts from a 2000 study by the National Center for Juvenile Justice.

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UPDATE: Psychologist Harry Hoberman just called in to also note another another study by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that shows the high rate of juvenile offenders that commit sex crimes against children.

As you can see, the age of sex offenders peaks around 13 or 14 for very young victims, then gets slightly older as the victims themselves get older.

So while it's notable that a man who was convicted at age 15 of a sex crime may never see freedom, it would appear that his circumstances are far from uncommon.

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