May 12, 2017

Colloquium Speaker: Michael Bourke


Dr. Michael Bourke is the Chief Psychologist for the United States Marshals Service and serves as the head of the USMS Behavioral Analysis Unit.  He has been a federal law enforcement officer for 17 years.  Prior to joining the Marshals Service he worked as a clinical psychologist within the federal prison system's sex offender treatment program.

Dr. Bourke is a graduate of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, and he has conducted several hundred polygraph examinations of sex offenders.  He is a regular consultant to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies on matters pertaining to sexual criminality, interviewing/interrogation techniques, and psychological safeguarding of law enforcement personnel.

An active researcher, Dr. Bourke co-authored the “Butner Study” and published seminal work on the use of Tactical Polygraph with sex offenders.  He serves as an adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University and the Defense Intelligence Agency (NCCA).  In 2008 he received the highest research honor awarded in the field of child exploitation by the United Kingdom’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). He and his work have been profiled in the Monitor of the American Psychological Association, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and several textbooks in forensic psychology.




Colloquium Topic: The Psychology Behind Child Sex Offenders

This presentation focuses on the psychological and behavioral characteristics of sexual offenders, particularly sex offenders who commit crimes via the Internet.  The presenter reviews the extant literature in the field of Internet sexual offending and addresses important issues for individuals who work in the field.  These include identifying the motivational pathways that underlie online criminality, highlighting challenges in the area of risk assessment, and describing issues that relate to the treatment and management of online offenders.

Key Points:

  • What are the characteristics of online sexual offenders?
  • What is the link between “hands-off” and “hands-on” sexual offending?
  • How effective is the polygraph in obtaining confessions and disclosure of unknown victims?
  • What have we learned about this criminal population?