Prof who previously stated that pedophiles should be referred to as'minor-attracted folks' has agreed to resign.
After receiving strong outrage, a Virginia university assistant professor who suggested that adults being sexually attracted to children was not inherently sinful has agreed to quit.
Allyn Walker, 34, will resign as an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, Old Dominion University announced Wednesday.
Walker was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 16 following a backlash over his contentious assertion that pedophiles should be referred to as "minor-attracted folks."
The associate professor, who is transgender and uses the pronouns they/them, will be on leave until May of next year, when their contract expires.
The university had been facing calls to remove Walker after the instructor made the remark earlier this month during an interview with the Prostasia Foundation, a child protection organization based in San Francisco.
Walker insisted that the term "minor-attracted folks" be used rather than "pedophile" because it is less stigmatizing.
However, critics contended that Walker's language destigmatized sexual offenders.
As of Wednesday, an online petition demanding for Walker's resignation had garnered more than 14,000 signatures.
Walker stated in a statement announcing his resignation that the research was conducted to prevent child sexual abuse and to better comprehend would-be sex criminals.
"Some in the media and online mischaracterized that research, in part because of my trans identity," Walker explained. "As a result, numerous threats were made against me and the broader college community."
Brian O. Hemphill, the university's president, praised Walker's resignation as the "best path forward."
Walker, the author of "A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Struggle for Dignity," previously stated that the phrase "minor-attracted folks" may imply to some that it is acceptable to be attracted to youngsters.
However, they asserted that categorizing someone only on the basis of their sexual inclinations reveals nothing about their moral character.
"From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality to attraction to anyone, because no one has any control over who they are attracted to," Walker explained.
"In other words, it is not who we are attracted to that is acceptable or unacceptable. It is our acts in response to that attraction that determine whether they are acceptable or not."
Walker stated that while child sex abuse is "never, ever acceptable," having sexual inclinations toward children is not always immoral – as long as those carnal desires are not acted upon.