Elizabeth Letourneau is Professor with Tenure, Department of Mental Health, and Director, Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Northern Illinois University in 1995 and completed an internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Letourneau served as faculty at MUSC for 11 years before joining Johns Hopkins University in 2011. For nearly 30 years she has conducted research involving the development and rigorous evaluation of prevention and intervention programs aimed at addressing youth sexual violence and related youth risk behaviors, including substance abuse and sexual risk behaviors and at improving HIV testing and medication adherence. She also has conducted substantive research on the effects of legal policies related to youth sexual behaviors. More specifically, Dr. Letourneau led the largest randomized control trial to date evaluating an intervention for youth who have sexually offended, served as principal investigator for six studies evaluating adult and adolescent sex crime policies, findings of which have been presented internationally (e.g., to INTERPOL), nationally to US Department of Justice Agencies (e.g., US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), cited in federal and state court cases including three state supreme court cases, and provided as testimony to state and federal policy makers.
Her policy research has been funded by a diverse array of agencies and organizations including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Open Society Foundation. As the inaugural director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Dr. Letourneau’s efforts now focus on developing and evaluating child sexual abuse prevention interventions. One of these projects focuses on the universal prevention of sexual abuse against young children by older children and was recently awarded funding by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH. Dr. Letourneau’s prevention efforts with adolescents sexually attracted to younger children was awarded an inaugural grant from “Raliance”, a sexual violence prevention foundation and was mentioned in a This American Life podcast which drew broad acclaim (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/522/tarred-and-feathered?act=2).
Recently, she provided a TEDMED talk on the prevention of child sexual abuse (to be released in September 2016), served as an expert witness to the Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and as a member of the World Health Organization Guidelines Development Group developing Clinical Guidelines for Responding to the Sexual Abuse of Children and Adolescents. Dr. Letourneau’s research has been cited in U.S. state supreme court cases, by state and federal legislators, and widely reported in the media. Dr. Letourneau is a member of the Maryland State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect and a past president of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.