Campus Rape Expert Who Misrepresented His Work Faces Powerful New Criticism

Dr. Mary Koss—a scientist, feminist, and acclaimed expert on the subject of campus sexual assault—says the psychologist who popularized the serial predator theory of student-on-student violence has misrepresented his research for years.

“It’s one of the most egregious examples of a policy with an inadequate scientific basis that lives on because it offers a simplistic solution,” said Koss, in an interview with Reason.

Her analysis supports the findings of a recent Reason investigative series scrutinizing the work of Dr. David Lisak, a psychologist and former University of Massachusetts-Boston professor whose faulty 2002 study on undetected rapists persuaded advocates, policymakers, and even the White House that most campus rapists are serial predators.

Koss, an American Regents’ Professor in the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, criticized Lisak for broadening his data and misapplying the serial predator theory to the majority of campus rapists.

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