Investigating Crimes Of The Sexual Sadist
The law enforcement community’s concern rests with the criminal sexual sadist,
who can be a noteworthy adversary. The sexual sadist is cunning and accomplished
at deception. He rationalizes his actions, feels no remorse or guilt, and
is not moved by compassion. He considers himself superior to society in general
and law enforcement in particular. And, while he envies the power and authority
associated with the police, he does not respect it.
Invaluable sources of information about suspects in sexual offenses are their
former spouses or girlfriends. As noted previously, sexual sadists sometimes
force partners to become compliant victims. However, because of the embarrassing
nature of the sexual acts involved, these individuals are often reluctant
to divulge information.
Because offenders retain incriminating evidence and crime paraphernalia,
these items should be listed in search warrant applications. This would include
records and mementos, as well as photographic equipment, tape recorders,
reverse telephone directories, and weapons or other instruments used to elicit
suffering. Pornography, detective and mercenary magazines, bondage paraphernalia,
women’s undergarments, and sexual devices are other materials commonly collected
by sexual sadists.
Interviewing The Sexual Sadist
Sexual sadists are masters of manipulation. Therefore, the investigator must
be well prepared before conducting the interview. The investigator must know
the suspect intimately and be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Premature
interviews of primary suspects often fail.
Despite their seeming sophistication, sexual sadists are likely to consent
to be interviewed, even after being advised of their rights. These offenders
often have an exaggerated self-image and consider themselves intellectually
superior to the police. They believe they are in no danger of divulging
detrimental information about themselves. More importantly, they expect to
learn more information from the officer than they provide during the interview.
From the questions asked, they hope to determine how much the investigator
knows and the current status of the investigation.
The interviewer should be of detective status or above, preferably older
than the suspect, and superior to him in physical stature, personality, and
intelligence. The interviewer must appear confident, relaxed, and at least
as calm as the suspect. Any personal feelings about the crime or the suspect
must be suppressed. The interviewer should not attempt to become “friends”
with the suspect, as this will cause him to lose respect for the interviewer
and provide him with an opportunity to manipulate the conversation. Instead,
the interview should be conducted in a formal and professional manner.
Because these offenders enjoy attention, the interviewer should be prepared
for an exhausting and lengthy interview. Questions should be thought out
in advance and be structured in such a way that the offender cannot evade
a line of questioning with a simple “no” answer.
For example, rather than asking the suspect if he likes to torture women,
it is preferable to ask him his favorite instruments for torturing women.
Posing questions in this manner reflects the interviewer’s knowledge, does
not provide additional information to the suspect, and may facilitate
incriminating disclosures by the subject.
Above all, the suspect must not be allowed to provoke anger. In all likelihood,
he will probably attempt to shock or antagonize the interviewer, and if the
interviewer yields to human emotion, the suspect will score a significant