case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"The Evaluation of Sexual Predators for the Courts―Are They Really Dangerous, and Can We Predict If They Will Reoffend?"

March 23, 2007
Crawford Hall, Room 9 - The Inamori Center

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Michael Aronoff, Ph.D. - Chief of Psychology for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Court Psychiatric Clinic


Dear Colleagues:

Sometimes we don't ask enough of our justice system, and sometimes we may ask too much.

It is hard enough to do justice based on what people have already done: to determine their actions and guilt and appropriate punishment. Our system does not always do well at those tasks. Yet the courts are often asked to do more: to predict what people will do in the future.

That's expected in part because the public expects the justice system to protect the public, not simply to exact justice. And controversy about protection tends to be related to the fears that are being promoted at any given time. In our current society one of the most publicized fears, visible and audible across the media, is of "sexual predators."

Many questions could be asked about the reasons for that fixation. But at this week's Friday lunch we will ask a more basic question: how well do the courts respond to the concern? Indeed, how well could they respond to this fear?

In order to protect the public against "sexual predators," the courts must be able to identify those people and predict their future behavior. In making these decisions, the legal system relies in part on expert evaluation by psychologists. But how well can psychologists evaluate whether an individual is a dangerous sexual predator, and the likelihood that person will offend again?

Michael Aronoff Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who must address this question daily, because he is Chief of Psychology for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Court Psychiatric Clinic. He has worked as a forensic psychologist for the past 13 years, and will bring his perspective to the Friday Public Affairs Lunch Discussion this week, on March 23. We will gather from 12:30 1:30 p.m. in Room 9 of Crawford Hall. That's on the lower level of Crawford, inside the Inamori Center, next to Access Services. Cookies and hot beverages are provided by the Office of University Communications and kind donors. Please join us for what should be a fascinating discussion of both the human mind and the challenges of government.

Best regards,
Joe White

Spring Semester Schedule

Beginning on February 2, the Friday Lunch will move back to Crawford Hall, in ROOM 9. Room 9 is within the Inamori Center, on the basement level of Crawford.

It is very kind of Bill Deal, Director of the Inamori Center, to make this room available on a regular basis. Thank you, Bill!

Room 9 seats 35, with a central table and also chairs along the wall. It should be a better setup than Guilford. If we expect a large crowd, we may be able to open a partition and join up with Room 11.

There will, however, be a class in the room until 12:20. Therefore it will not be possible to get there much before the lunch begins. On the other hand, people who are a bit early should be able to hang out in the Tomlinson food court. I believe the underground passage from Tomlinson to Crawford will be restored when construction is finished.

Coffee will be provided from the SAGES Cafe'. Which should mean very good coffee.

The tentative schedule of speakers, so far:

January 26: Phil (Perkins Professor of Physics-Case Western Reserve University) and Sarah Taylor, Wind Power and All of It's Aspects - Environmental, Energy,  Economic, Aesthetic, and Maybe More.

February 2: Ken Grundy, Marcus Hanna Professor Emeritus of Political Science, on subject to be determined

February 9: Paul Schroeder, Visiting Lecturer in Political Science and from Families of the Fallen for Change, on what to do in Iraq

February 16: Mark Turner, Professor of Cognitive Science, on cognition and politics

February 23: Mel Goldstein, Professor of Anthropology, on why the Chinese are winning in Tibet

March 2: Susan Helper, Professor of Economics, on strategies for American workers within the current global competition.

March 9: Baiju Shah, President, Bioenterprise Corporation, on the new economic prospects in Cleveland.

March 16: Break

March 23: Mike Aronoff of Cuyahoga County on the evaluation of sexual predators for the courtsare they really dangerous, and can we predict if they will reoffend?

March 30: Barbara Morrison, Assistant Professor of Nursing, on how current patterns of care for Moms and newborns deny them the peace and quiet and bonding they need.

April 6: Horst von Recum, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Insoo Hyun, Assistant Professor of Bioethics; and Greg Eastwood, Interim President of Case Western Reserve University on Stem Cell Research.

April 13: Marixa Lasso, Assistant Professor of History: Drugs, War, and Coffee in Colombia

April 20: Mark Joseph, Assistant Professor, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences: Mixed-Income Development as an Approach to Addressing Urban Poverty

April 27: Christine Cano, Associate Professor of French, on the French elections (this date falls between the first round and the runoff election)

Parking: For those people who seek to make special arrangements about parking, the contact person now will be Fay Alexander.  Her phone number is 368-4440, and her e-mail is

Case Center for Policy Studies | 11201 Euclid Avenue | Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7109 |
Phone: 216.368.2426 | E-Mail: | Part of the: College of Arts and Sciences
© 2007 Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, Ohio 44106 | 216.368.2000 | legal notice