Researchers Push Back On Criticisms Of Well-Known Serial Rapist Study

A team of researchers is circulating a rebuttal to a study about campus rapists, doubling down on what they call evidence that most assaults in college are committed by serial perpetrators.

It’s the first time David Lisak has publicly defended his oft-cited 2002 research that concluded most rapes are committed by serial offenders. That conclusion was criticized in a peer-reviewed study published in July and a subsequent column in a libertarian magazine.

The July study by lead researcher Kevin Swartout, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that a higher number of men in college had committed rape than Lisak’s study said but that the vast majority were not repeat assailants.

Lisak, along with researchers Jim Hopper and Allison Tracy, sent a letter Friday to the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics claiming Swartout’s study undercounted the number of serial rapists and used flawed methodology. This week, Tracy, a research scientist and methodologist at Wellesley College’s Centers for Women hired by Lisak and Hopper, said Swartout’s study should be retracted altogether.

The three researchers have also posted their analysis online, which was circulated this week among academics and advocates working on sexual violence issues.

Swartout, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, told The Huffington Post that he and his colleagues stand by their peer-reviewed analysis, but didn’t want to comment extensively because “we really don’t want to engage in this kind of back-and-forth.” Swartout did refute Hopper’s claim that his study was accepted for publication 13 days after submission, something Hopper had called “unheard of” for scientific research. Swartout says the submission process lasted several months — from October to February — and went through two rounds of revision, which he said is typical of the process of submitting to —> Read More