Psychosexual Evaluations: An Important Tool in Resolving Many Cases

What is a Psychosexual Evaluation?

A very effective tool for helping our clients in many cases of sexual misconduct is the psychosexual evaluation (PSE), sometimes referred to as a sexual deviancy evaluation. A PSE is a systematic assessment of a client’s social and sexual history, deviant or paraphilic interests, and the risk of sexual reoffending in the future. The evaluation is intended to identify any particular treatment needs of the client, and to propose a treatment plan to meet those needs. These specialized evaluations can only be performed by state certified Sexual Offender Treatment Providers.

PSEs are an important tool in the representation of those accused of sexual misconduct, but they are also fraught with risk. A PSE offers our attorneys an avenue to develop somewhat objective information that helps our client resolve their case. But an evaluation is not a strictly objective measure of a physical fact such as a blood test that yields a numerical result. A PSE is a subjective snapshot of our client’s beliefs and attitudes at a particular point in time.

Preparing for a Psychosexual Evaluation.

At the Meryhew Law Group we have pioneered a method for preparing our clients to participate in these evaluations and a strong track record of positive results for our clients. Brad Meryhew has spoken at state and national conferences about the important and difficult process of preparing a client to participate in a PSE successfully and without risk of further legal trouble. Brad and Ali Hohman recently published an article detailing their method in the March 2017 issue of Champion Magazine, the national publication of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, called “Preparing a Client for a Psychosexual Evaluation.

A person who does not know what to expect during a Psychosexual Evaluation is being put at risk of making critical mistakes that can have a huge effect on the outcome of their case. This process is intrusive and asks the most personal questions a client will ever hear. This is not the time to make excuses or to blame others, and it is the time to be brutally honest about oneself. Preparing our clients to face this challenging

How can the Psychosexual Evaluation Help in my Defense?

At the Meryhew Law Group we have learned that we cannot expect the government to make significant concessions for our clients unless we give them a good reason to do so. This is true for charges ranging from Child Pornography or Chill Molestation cases to Internet Stings involving fictitious juvenile victims. From Rape cases to Voyeurism and Indecent Exposure. We also use them often in requests to have a client relieved of the duty to register as a sex offender.

A PSE can be that good reason where it establishes the client’s low risk to the community, amenability to treatment, and likelihood of success in specialized sex offender treatment. Or, a PSE may enable us to establish that our client does not have a long history of offense behavior, and that the offense they’re charged with is an isolated event. There are many circumstances where a PSE might make a difference when representing a person accused of sexual misconduct, but the most common use is as an evaluation for persons who have admitted their offenses to at least some degree.

Choosing the Right Evaluator.

At the Meryhew Law Group we work with a wide range of state certified Sex Offender Treatment Providers. We try very hard to match our clients to the evaluator and to treatment providers who are a good fit for them. There are a wide range of providers with different areas of expertise and different focuses in their approach. The attorneys at the Meryhew Law Group are affiliate members of the professional association for the SOTP providers, the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (WATSA). They regularly attend WATSA Conferences and network with these treatment providers. We find that taking the time to get to know these providers and to know their work enables us to get the best results for our clients.

Polygraph Examination

An essential part of the psychosexual evaluation is a sexual history polygraph examination. This is intended to corroborate our client’s self-report of their history of sexual and offense behavior in the past.

Polygraph testing involves a structured interview during which trained examiners record several of an examinee's physiological processes. Following this interview, examiners review the charted record and form opinions about whether the examinee was non-deceptive or attempting deception when answering each of the relevant questions.

Polygraph examinations have not yet reached the level of scientific reliability to be admitted in a criminal trial, but they are used extensively and relied upon in conducting psychosexual evaluations. At the Meryhew Law Group we will prepare you to take the polygraph examination—not by helping you tell a better story or to beat the polygraph, but by helping you tell the truth and approach the polygraph with the right attitude. We work with only the best polygraph examiners, and we know they are appropriately trained in the use of their assessments and adhere to the applicable standards and ethical guidelines of their profession.

Psychological Testing

Another essential component of a psychosexual evaluation is a battery of psychological testing. Typically, this involves several hours of test taking, and tests that focus on general psychological well-being as well as tests specific to sexual issues. At the Meryhew Law Group we review the general nature and approach of these tests with our clients, and help them approach the testing with the right state of mind to insure a more accurate result.

Call the Meryhew Law Group Today for a Free Initial Consultation.

A favorable evaluation can make a critical difference for our clients, and an unfavorable evaluation can have a negative impact on the client’s future. At the Meryhew Law Group we have been leaders in developing methods to prepare our clients for this critical evaluation and to significantly improve their chances of success in this process. Going into the process unprepared, and with the wrong evaluator, can lead to disaster.

If you have been accused of a sexual offense a psychosexual evaluation may be an important part of your defense. At the Meryhew Law Group we will work to prepare you for this process, and to help you get the best possible result. You don’t get to try again if you mess this up. Make sure you are prepared before you take this critical step in your defense. Call today for a free initial consultation to discuss how the Meryhew Law Group can help you.