Controversial talk by psychologist Adrian Raine draws big College of Charleston crowd

At least four security guards and a campus police officer kept an eye out for trouble at a controversial lecture at the College of Charleston Thursday night.

But Southern hospitality prevailed, and all the fuss beforehand apparently served only to swell the crowd.

Adrian Raine, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist who explores links between crime and biology, spoke to an overflow crowd in the auditorium of the college’s Science and Mathematics building. About 150 people filled the chairs, with more sitting or standing along the walls.

A notice coming into the room warned that disturbances or signs would not be tolerated, and uniformed guards were there to make sure everybody got the message.

Raine testified as an expert witness for the defense in the trial of a man who brutally raped and murdered C of C graduate Peyton Tuthill in 1999 in Colorado. He said the frontal lobes of killer Donta Page’s brain were misshapen, identical to the frontal lobes of 41 murderers Raine had examined. The frontal lobes control impulsive and violent behavior.

Several of Tuthill’s family and friends tried to get the college to cancel Raine’s talk. College officials refused but said Raine would not mention that particular case and would not sell his books.

Raine’s newest book, “The Anatomy of Violence,” includes a discussion of Page and Tuthill’s murder.

Todd Grantham, the head of the philosophy department, mentioned the controversy when introducing Raine. He said he was asked not to talk about the controvery but believes it’s important to consider Raine’s theories.

Assistant professor Thomas Nadelhoffer said Raine’s research could help prevent violence.

Raine started off by saying that the goal of his research is to figure out “what causes crime and what we can do to prevent it.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.

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