Sexual psychologist under fire for research tied to minors reportedly stepping down

A Virginia Tech professor who wrote a study on the sexuality of minors is reportedly stepping down.

Stephen Young of VCU and a retired State University of New York scientist have been under fire since a story about their research was published by the Washington Examiner on Monday.

It stated that Young and co-author Bonnie Bellow, a former pediatrician, conducted the study for a decade and discovered that minors are attracted to other minors — which was the same age range and behavior criteria that Young and his team used for their research.

The study, however, was never published.

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According to the Examiner, Young and his team created “an alternative set of academic tests that examined whether an objective body of scientific evidence supports homosexual attractions in preadolescent and primary-school children.”

The results were received “positively,” the paper continued, and researchers were sent praise as well as “substantial potential reimbursement” for their research.

The paper was never published, however, because administrators at each school where the researchers worked had their experts review the report and deemed it to not be appropriate for publication.

Young’s interim role will be to guide his proteges and “serve as a trusted sounding board for students who want to pursue research in the field of sexuality and gender studies,” according to a statement.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for VCU’s department of social work, Vicki Laporte, told the Washington Examiner that Young has been a VCU social work lecturer since 2001 and a university staff member since 2012.

He’s currently working on his retirement and is expected to officially leave the University in November.

“He has decided to step aside as an academic colleague and mentor to our students in his current role and as a faculty adviser to younger scholars,” the university said in the statement.

In a statement Tuesday, Young told the Washington Examiner, “I would not describe myself as a researcher.”

“I have done work in understanding the gender identities of preteens and primary-school children,” he continued. “In the second phase of the project, our researchers produced a paper that examined the possibility that, in response to the signals of conflicting caregiver attitudes, some preteens pursue sexual or romantic relationships with other preteens in order to find security.”

Young is expected to release a statement Wednesday on his website, one of his publications included.

Dr. Young and Dr. Bellow’s research will continue, though it will be done on a “smaller scale” and with a different set of external investigators.

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