Schools face vexing test: Which kids will sexually attack?

Thousands of school-age offenders are disciplined or treated for sexual aggression each year in the United States.

The Associated Press sought to understand who they are, and why they assault.

Therapists say there is no typical attacker: It could be the popular jock, the quiet loner, or anyone in between. And experts say they cannot reliably predict who might harm a classmate. What count as potential warning signs — such as social isolation or a student who disrespects personal boundaries — can mean many things other than an impending sex assault.

Therapists describe motivations that are rarely as straightforward as physical gratification.

Schools struggle both to monitor and help sexually aggressive students.

The good news: Therapy and a support network can speed recovery, if the offender is open to it.


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