A Court Has Ruled It's Not OK To Arouse Sex Offenders and Measure Their Erections

Credit: Alabama Dept of Public SafetyCredit: Alabama Dept of Public SafetyYesterday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees New York, Vermont, and Connecticut, determined that using an erection-measuring device as part of probation for one sex offender was an “extraordinarily invasive” and a violation of due process.

As part of his probation, convicted sex offender David McLaurin underwent “plethysmograph examinations,” in which a device was “attached to the subject’s penis” and “the subject is then required to view pornographic images or videos while the device monitors blood flow to the penis and measures the extent of any erection that the subject has.”

In a similar case in 2001, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals explained that erection-measuring “has become routine in the treatment of sexual offenders.” Plethysmography advocates, like the Council on Sex Offender Treatment in Texas, contend that although the procedure cannot be used to prove anything in court, it can help gauge a sex offender's likelihood of recidivism.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals saw some problems with the claims of plethysmography's effectiveness. The judges wrote, “We find it odd that, to deter a person from committing sexual crimes, the Government would use a procedure designed to arouse and excite a person with depictions of sexual conduct closely related to the sexual crime of conviction.”

The rights-violating and “unduly intrusive” examination stems not from the actual sexual crimes McLaurin committed. In fact, a previous court had determined him “unlikely to reoffend again.” Rather, a bureaucratic slip-up led to him enduring plethysmography. McLaurin failed to fill out a form registering his address when he moved from Alabama to Vermont in 2011. Subsequently, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison and five years probation. His sentencing included the option, but did not require, that McLaurin could undergo plethysmogrophy.

The judges overseeing his appeal stated that they “fail to see any reasonable connection between this defendant, his conviction more than a decade ago, his failure to fill out paperwork, and the government-mandated measurement of his penis.”

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  • Juice||

    government-mandated measurement of his penis

    Are we living in a Woody Allen movie?

  • Aresen||

    If you have to ask that, you are.

  • SweatingGin||

    Now you see why no one has been able to buy insurance through Obamacare yet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Oh, my god, no. Please! What is that? Don't tell me!"

  • Hugh Akston||

    The Second Circuit Court of Appeals saw some problems with the claims of plethysmography's effectiveness. The judges wrote, “We find it odd that, to deter a person from committing sexual crimes, the Government would use a procedure designed to arouse and excite a person with depictions of sexual conduct closely related to the sexual crime of conviction.”

    Of course they would say that, they have the brainpans of a stagecoach tilter.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why don't they measure the boners of the officers who investigate this stuff?

    Or are they afraid to find out how much they really enjoy their jobs?

  • John C. Randolph||

    They couldn't find instruments that small.


  • Cytotoxic||


  • Rich||

    Plethysmography advocate

    I imagine that stands out on one's resume.

  • marshaul||

    Comment of the month.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I feel bad for any perverts who get off on massive privacy violations and humiliation. Because I'm thinking they got hard even if they hated what they were seeing on the screen.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What in the unholy fuck is this "procedure" alleged to accomplish?

    In P Brooks -topia, any government official who even suggested this would be on a sex offender list and monitored for life.

  • Aresen||

    What in the unholy fuck is this "procedure" alleged to accomplish?

    I asked the same question, but decided I really did not want to know.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Well to be fair, their original test-case did show a high correlation between turgidity and rapiness. Of course, the original test-case was Warty, so I'm not sure how much that actually proves.

  • Robert||

    What in the unholy fuck is this "procedure" alleged to accomplish?

    Looks like you answered your own Q.

  • Paul.||

    I... ok...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...excite a person with depictions of sexual conduct closely related to the sexual crime of conviction.

    Does this mean law enforcement is in the habit of showing child pornography to pedophhiles?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Well they were until the Obstrublicans forced the government shutdown.

  • SIV||

    Does this mean law enforcement is in the habit of showing child pornography to pedophhiles?

    That's SOP for arresting them in stings.

  • Rasilio||

    Given that they run a significant percentage of the CP servers, if not an outright majority of them I'd have to say yes.

  • marie||

    Yes. It also means that plethysmographers are allowed to have a collection of child porn images to display when they are testing someone. How's that for bizarre? The guy they are testing is in trouble for owning CP; the guy testing him gets paid to have CP.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Upon seeing convicted sex offender Warty Hugeman's penis, the head plethysmographer said, "We're gonna need a bigger plethysmograph."

  • Ted S.||

    I'm surprised it took 15 minutes for anybody to mention Warty. I figured that would have been in the first comment.

  • DK||

    I see our betters are employing the Seinfeld test .


    I woke up. The pain and sickness all over me like an animal. Then I realized what it was. The music coming up from the floor was our old friend, Ludwig Van, and the dreaded Ninth Symphony.

  • SweatingGin||

    New term from AceOfSpades today: schadenboner

    My schadenboner after this week of government debacles is enormous, as measured by a plethysmograph.

  • SweatingGin||

    Anyone know where one could get a plethysmograph device? Asking for a friend.

    Preferably USB.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Aroused, his great physical strength could kill. But it's a risk I'll have to take."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Put the plethysmograph away until pon farr rolls around again.

  • Another David||

    But seriously, what in the actual fuck?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Wait, did he have to wear the Peter Meter on a 24/7 basis? So if he started to get a boner, cops would swoop down from helicopters and beat him into submission?

    Or was he required to go a government-run boner measurement facility on a regular basis in order to undergo Cockwork Orange treatments where he would be subjected to countless hours of grotesque child porn?

  • Loki||

    I think we've officially identified the worst job in the world.

  • Enough About Palin||

    No, that would be the job of the poor fuck who has to sanitize the plethysmograph after each use.

  • SugarFree||

    That's what shrike's tongue is for.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    What was the alleged justification for imposing this in the first place? I mean, what did they use to dress up the FYTW?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||


  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Obviously, but I was hoping for how this was supposed to protect the children.

  • tarran||

    The idea was you show people stuff, and if they start to get hard, you know they really like it.

    So, if you show a guy a picture of an eight year old girl and the blood starts flowing to his nethers you know that eight year olds arouse him.

    It doesn't tell you how likely he is going to *act* on the arousal. But if he is aroused by eight year olds, then he is a devil incarnate and can be locked up safely forever.

    I work with some very pretty 25 year-old women... if you ran me through the machine while showing pictures of them cavorting in swimwear, you *would* get a response. Somehow I've managed to avoid raping any of them... as has every other male in my company. That tells you everything you need to know about the usefulness of the machine.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    At least that's something. Completely nonsensical, but something, anyway.

    (Your proffered defense, not your actual thoughts)

  • Aresen||

    Not entirely sure of Roman Catholic teachings on this, but IIRC, the Church held that contemplating sinful behavior was as wicked as the sin itself.

    This could be the same sort of thinking.

  • Tim||

    Anthony Wiener should sign up for this.

  • tarran||

    Rule 34, man.... I'll bet there are thousands of men that would get off on having this test done.

    Which brings up an interesting question... is there a similar device for women?

  • Tim||

    Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

    Look it up on Amazon

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Put a number to something and you will automatically create a competition. I bet I can get a better score than you... just have to squeeze a little more...

  • lap83||

    There goes Warty's weekend plans

  • Robert||

    His sentencing included the option, but did not require, that McLaurin could undergo plethysmogrophy.

    So can we assume he asked for it because he liked it?

  • ||

    He asked it because without it he would have gotten 30 months or so.

    Those sentencing options don't recommend themselves.

    Nowadays sentencing is often similar to the Spanish Inquisition. If you admit to being an incubus, we strangle you very shortly after the lighting of the wood under you; if you refuse to do so -- although we already convicted you --, no strangling ... you can enjoy the experience fully while we turn you into carbon.

  • crazyfingers||

    Facebook will just make themselves irrelevant as kids move over to services that aren't monitored. I'm sure many already have.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Being a government policymaker means never having to make any sense.

    What does the state do if the sex offender do NOT get a boner? Set him eternally free? Give him ten times the dosage to see if he's REALLY cured? And what if it isn't IMAGES that gets him off but actual proximity to a human being? Will they give him six kids to diddle because just one isn't enough for him anymore?

  • Eric T||

    I'll tell you precisely what they do, and from personal experience. I took one of these tests, more than two decades ago and I was convinced that I showed no reaction whatsoever to any of the images (and this includes control images as well as "target" images). This was confirmed to me by the technician who administered it who told me that I was spectacularly unresponsive.

    What happened next was absolutely nothing. You see, the tests are considered valid only if they confirm what the "experts" want to believe about the subject. If not, they do not, in any way, confer upon the subject an existence less troubled by the state. That I am still hounded by the authorities relentlessly and my life substantially degraded, nearly a quarter century later, despite having committed no additional 'crimes' (I had performed fellatio on an underage boy who thoroughly enjoyed it and was a "non-complaining victim" back in the late '80's) is testament to the rigidity, obduracy and cruelty of the ascendant victimist culture.

    You will find that the terms "predatory" and "sexually violent" have been throughly redefined by our government to mean simply having sexual contact with someone under the age of 14. No further "violence" as most understand the term is required.

    Leave the country permanently? Love it or leave it? I'd LOVE TO LEAVE THIS COUNTRY! Please tell me how!

  • Michael S. Langston||

    So what's next? Give an ex heroin addict all the heroin he can have without dying for a few hours - then measure how much he likes it?

    How about people that like to fight? Are they confronted with the most obnoxious POS imaginable, whose sole purpose is to push the offender into fight for hours straight?

    Accidentally drop wallets in front of the thief for weeks before he is released?

    The funniest part though isn't the analogies - it's that anyone anywhere thinks this will work. I think deviant type behaviors are very good at controlling behavior when necessary - especially if it's for some pre-determined time.

    Of course hat's not the purpose here - they're simply trying to find a device that tells them exactly what they want to be told - anything that keeps these people in indefinite detention.

    It would not be all scientificy, but much cheaper if they just bought mood rings which never turned any color other than black and made ex-offenders wear them while watching porn - and of course black means "you love it".

    Better yet - a coin where both sides are heads - flip it, the state calls it in the air.

    On second thought - they may miscall it- let's go back to the mood rings. As many government workers are fond of saying - make it idiot proof.

  • Assaf Koss||

    Makes you want to cry, doesn't it?

    It's obvious that this is all about "gaining points" in those government offices. The more productive you seem, in your little sector and office, the better you appear to your higher ups and publicly. It's a game for them, where the prize is money, and the cost is people's dignity and lives.



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