2nd Edition

Sexual Murder Catathymic and Compulsive Homicides

By Louis B. Schlesinger Copyright 2021
    370 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    370 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Sexual Murder: Catathymic and Compulsive Homicides is the culmination of the author’s 45 years of experience with, and studying, sexually motivated homicide. Sexual murders are generally of two types — catathymic and compulsive. Catathymic homicides are caused by a breakthrough of underlying sexual conflicts. They can be unplanned, explosive (acute) attacks or planned murders stemming from a chronic obsession with, or disturbed attachment to, the victim. In compulsive homicides, a fusion of sex and aggression results in a powerful internal drive which pushes the offender to seek out victims to kill — and the killing itself is sexually gratifying. These murders also may be planned or unplanned. In compulsive homicides that are unplanned, the urge breaks through and disrupts the offender’s controls when a victim of opportunity crosses his path. The compulsive offender who plans his crimes often eludes law enforcement, and as a result he can have multiple (serial) victims over extended periods of time. Both forms of sexual murder — the catathymic and the compulsive — are presented in this volume from a clinical-descriptive perspective encompassing case studies with analysis. Recent advances in empirical research in sexual murder—including findings from the joint research project between John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico—has published many important studies. These include such topics as necrophilia, foreign object insertions in sexual homicide, ritual and signature and temporal patterns in serial sexual homicide, mass murder, crime scene staging in homicide, and undoing (symbolic reversal) at homicide scenes. All such research will be included and incorporate into this fully updated Second Edition, including approximately fifty new clinical case studies.

    1 Understanding Sexual Murder: Problems and Approaches

    2 Forensic Assessment: Evaluation of the Sexual Murder

    3 The Place of Sexual Murder in the Classification of Crime

    4 Catathymia and Catathymic Crisis: Contributions of Hans W. Maier and Fredric Wertham

    5 Acute Catathymic Homicides

    6 Chronic Catathymic Homicides

    7 Compulsive Homicides in Historical Context

    8 Planned Compulsive Homicides

    9 Unplanned Compulsive Homicides

    10 Prediction and Disposition


    Louis B. Schlesinger, Ph.D., is Professor of Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, a Diplomate in Forensic Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice. He served as president of the New Jersey Psychological Association in 1989 and as a member of the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association from 1991 to 1994. Dr. Schlesinger is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and was the 1990 recipient of the New Jersey Psychological Association’s Psychologist of the Year Award, and Distinguished Researcher Award in 2014, as well as a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award (1993). He was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey and the commissioner of corrections to be a member (and later served as chair) of the Special Classification Review Board at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (1980–1987), the state’s forensic facility; he was also appointed (2001) by the president of the New Jersey State Senate and acting Governor to serve as a member of a Senate task force that rewrote Megan’s Law. Dr. Schlesinger is co-principal investigator of a joint research project between John Jay College and the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit at Quantico, studying various types of violent crime including sexual and serial murder, rape, bias homicide, suicide-by-cop, and other extraordinary criminal behaviors. He has testified in numerous forensic cases and has published many articles, chapters, and eight other books on the topics of homicide, sexual homicide, and criminal psychopathology.

    "Sexual Murder: Catathymic and Compulsive Homicides, is a brilliant integration and application of previous theory and research, and advances the field of criminal forensic psychology." —J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist, Criminal & Civil Case Consultant, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSD, Faculty Member of San Diego Psychoanalytic Center, San Diego, California, USA