The research of Professor Kristina Sundquist and Associate Professor Ardavan Khoshnood of Lund University became the subject of a preliminary prosecutor’s investigation suspecting them of conducting and publishing illegal research.
Most rapists are immigrants
After studying more than 3,000 convictions in rape cases passed between 2000 and 2015, researchers found that most of the convicted perpetrators are immigrants.
A total of 3 039 offenders were included in the analysis. A majority of them were immigrants (n = 1 800; 59.2%) of which a majority (n = 1 451; 47.7%) were born outside of Sweden.
– It was a side effect. The aim of the study was to include all rapists and characterize them by means of implicit class analysis. At that time, the background of immigrants was not included as a variable in this analysis, but we wanted to see if they were dealing with many other crimes, ill-health, social benefits and more, said Professor Kristina Sundquist.
“Immigrants were just a variable and it turned out to be quite a remarkable discovery as there were many immigrants and foreign-born people in this group,” she added.
The research report was submitted to the Board of Appeal for ethical review – a body reporting to the Ministry of Education.
It was questioned, inter alia, whether Sundquist and Khoshnood were given an “ethical license” to handle “sensitive data” such as crime and origin to draw conclusions about immigrants and rape.
“I don’t see anywhere that ethical permission is sought to test the hypothesis if immigrants are overrepresented in statistics on convicted rapists,” it said.
Case in the prosecutor’s office
After receiving several reports, the Ethics Review Board of Appeal decided to start an investigation into the researchers in spring. Kristina Sundquist and her colleagues are suspected of violating good research practice.
Scientists are also criticized for insufficient evaluation as they failed to indicate how their research should ‘reduce exclusion and improve integration’.