Using mock jury studies to measure community sentiment toward child sexual abusers

Krystia Reed, Brian H. Bornstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In the legal system, jurors serve as a reflection of community sentiment. Jurors’ task is to "find facts" and apply the law to those facts, but in the course of doing so, they necessarily make moral judgments about how bad a crime or criminal is when they render verdicts. This process allows jurors to express their own sentiments, which are reflected in their ultimate verdict. The current chapter describes two studies that assessed some of those sentiments by examining how mock jurors perceive child sexual abuse perpetrators based on the relationship between the perpetrator and child. Legally, judgments of the perpetrator should be stable regardless of the relationship between the perpetrator and the child; however, results indicated that mock jurors may be considering the relationship between the perpetrator and the child when making decisions. The chapter also addresses the challenges and benefits of assessing community sentiment through mock juror experiments and surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Community Sentiment
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781493918997
ISBN (Print)9781493918980
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Child sexual abuse
  • Community sentiment
  • Decision making
  • Mock juror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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