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What does one look like? How can we spot one? Some think a typical child molester is a man in a raincoat who hangs around playgrounds trying to lure a child with candy. Not so.

A child molester is anyone who sexually touches a child in a sexual manner. Not all child molesters are pedophiles and not all pedophiles are child molesters. However, according to the Mayo Clinic*, approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. A pedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children of either sex. Not every adult who is attracted to children acts on their attraction. There are pedophilic offenders and there are situational offenders. Some situational causes may include curiosity, stress, marital problems, unavailability of an adult partner, mental or medical conditions and/or being unsociable.

DEFINITION DEFINITION: Pedophilia is a psychosexual disorder in which the fantasy or actual act of engaging in sexual activity with prepubescent children is the preferred or exclusive means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification. It may be directed toward children of the same sex or children of the other sex. Some pedophiles are attracted to both boys and girls. Some are attracted only to

children, while others are attracted to adults as well as to children. (Source: )

Pedophilia is defined by mental health professionals as a mental disorder, but the American legal system defines acting on a pedophilic urge as a criminal act. (Source: )

More importantly, an individual who has been diagnosed with pedophilia is a person who either has acted on intense sexual urges towards children, or who experiences persistent sexual urges and fantasies about children, which in turn cause distress and/or interpersonal difficulty.

The condition of being a pedophile is called pedophilia, and it covers a wide range of sexual activities which may or may not involve force. Sexual acts may include: exposing themselves; masturbating in front of a child; rubbing, fondling or undressing a child with or without genital contact; touching a childs genitalia or asking the child to touch anothers genitals; exposing them to pornography; talking or teasing a child in sexual ways, oral sex and penetration.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed. Rev., the following criteria must be met to establish a diagnosis of pedophilia:

Over a period of at least 6 months, the affected person experiences

recurrent, intense and sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or actual behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child. The fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of daily functioning. The affected person must be at least age 16 and be at least 5 years older than the child or children who are the objects or targets of attention or sexual activity.

PROFILE OF A PEDOPHILE: Child sex offenders dont stand out and dont usually appear scary or weird. A child would not normally become afraid when meeting one. They are often someone the child knows; a neighbor, relative, family friend; or someone in a position of authority; i.e. minister, healthcare worker, teacher, coach, leader of childrens activities. Most pedophiles are males.

Pedophiles come from all social classes and all walks of life. They may be young or old; male or female. Their intelligence varies. Most sex offenders are not psychotic or crazy. Their common feature is an abnormal sexual interest in children, although they may not desire children exclusively. About 50% are married and some are also attracted to other age-appropriate adults.

Many pedophiles begin with fantasizing and progress to acting out. Wondering if they can make their fantasies come true in real life, they begin

to experiment. Their attempts may meet varied degrees of success. Sexual gratification, with the intoxicating feeling of being powerful and in total control adds a new high to their disturbed world, along with a heightened appetite for more.

HOW THEY ENTICE and ENSNARE: Some volunteer their services to groups serving youth. Often, they relate well to children, easily gaining their trust and friendship and may also befriend their parents. Children have an insatiable need for care and attention and pedophiles use it to abuse them. They are masters at verbal manipulation. Most offences against children are premeditated and it is rare that a pedophilic offender spontaneously molests a child.

GROOMING THEIR TARGETS GROOMING THEIR TARGETS: When hunting prospective children to abuse, they tend to choose vulnerable children; i.e. those from divorced homes and children who are emotionally needy or unhappy; the quiet ones. They also target children from certain types of families; i.e. single parents, homes where parents are often absent, and who are less educated.

First, they usually test the childs ability to keep secrets and reward them for doing so. They subtly grow closer to the child. They may attempt to change the way the child views his parents; i.e. as infringing on the childs personal freedom. They may give the child liberties his parents would not approve of; i.e. smoking, drinking, watching pornography. They attempt to

create a mental environment where the child sees the pedophile as the person who trusts and cares for him the most. The grooming process may take up to a year.

Doing things his parents would not approve of virtually insures that the victim will not go home and tell, enabling the pedophile to feel safe in acting out his fantasies. This keeps the victim captive to the pedophiles sick desires, and leads to the initial undressing and fondling attack. Once the child voluntarily engages in oral sex (usually for a bribe), s/he will most likely be in a position where telling is almost impossible. When the child cant tell without incriminating himself, he often gives up any resistance, his spirit is broken, and he becomes mentally resigned to doing whatever his pedophile friend asks. Some learn to disassociate themselves from the crazy acts his pedophile friend wants him to do. Some abusers are liars, angry and physically that the children are controlled by the anger and the pain of physical abuse. Some photograph the children and may market the photos.

PEDOPHILES GENERAL CHACTERISTICS: experience feelings of inferiority, isolation, loneliness, low self-esteem and emotional immaturity. their attraction to children usually began when they were adolescents, but may develop later in life. are impulsive, have difficulty controlling their behavior and resisting their urges. have poor communication skills, lack empathy, may be socially

retarded; have difficulty forming close relationships. feel they are inherently different, by fate, default or circumstances out of their control and responsibility. maintain a faade or front for the world to see; divide the world into me and them. JUSTIFYING THEIR ACTIONS: They live in a distorted mental world. Most pedophiles view their actions as being totally involuntary--something over which they exercise no control. They cling to this self-serving concept because it allows them to continue their acts and still view themselves as an unwilling participant in the process; something they are forced to endure. By seeing themselves as being victimized, they are able to justify not setting any personal limits on themselves, which allows them to do anything they want without feeling guilty or responsible. They manipulate the facts and use their delusions as permission or justification to do what they want to do. Some distorted reasoning they use: That the behavior is not harmful or is less serious than claimed. That the child was sexually provocative and encouraged/initiated the act That they are being helpful to the child and are contributing to the childs development That the acts had educational value That they are teaching the child about the facts of life or love That the child enjoyed the acts or attention

CAUSES: Much research has been done on the cause/s of pedophilia. Many medical theories exist. Some evidence suggests genetic factors may be responsible. Abnormalities in male sexual hormone or the brain chemical serotonin have not been proven as causes. Some believe it is an orientation they were born with. A relatively high number of pedophiles were sexually abused when they were children, but there is no conclusive research that this causes an individual to become a sex offender.

Do people choose to be pedophiles or are they born that way? Are pedophiles sick or are they evil? Many Christians define pedophilia as evil. Andrew Vachss wrote: Sickness is a condition. Evil is a behavior. Evil is always a matter of choice. Evil is not thought; it is conduct. And that conduct is always volitional. And just as evil is always a choice, sickness is always the absence of choice. Sickness happens. Evil is inflictedsickness should be treated. Evil must be foughtif a person has desires or fantasies about sexually exploiting children, that individual may be sickBut if the individual chooses to act upon those feelings, that conduct is evil. People are not what they think; they are what they do. (The Difference Between Sick and Evil. May 2, 1999 Parade Magazine)

TREATMENT: In 2008, the medical opinion is that pedophilia cannot be cured, but there is treatment that can be successful, depending on how cooperative the patient is during therapy. They must admit they have a problem. The treatment

available is therapy primarily focused on the prevention of reoccurrence, rather than changing thought patterns and feelings. The goal is for the predator to learn self-control and change his behavior. Pedophilia may also be treated with medications, along with cognitive/behavioral therapy.

RECIDIVISM: Pedophiles have a high rate of recidivism (the frequency of additional sexual crimes committed after being caught. .) Some treatments are effective in lowering recidivism. The typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children, most of who do not report the offence. [Source: National Institute of Mental Health, 1988]

*Source: HALL, MD, RYAN C. W.; AND RICHARD C. W. HALL, MD, PA.. "A Profile of Pedophilia: Definition, Characteristics of Offenders, Recidivism, Treatment Outcomes, and Forensic Issues". MAYO CLIN PROC 82:457-471 2007. MAYO FOUNDATION FOR MEDICAL EDUCATION[Base] [Index] What is the Reason for Pedophilia

Why someone becomes pedophile?

At the current moment, the answer is unknown. There are different theories. There may be genetical or hormonal influences or early childhood experiences. It seems reasonable that homosexual and heterosexual pedophilia has to be considered separately.

This question has to be clearly separated from the question of reasons to make sex with children for pseudo-pedophiles - people who have sex with children but who are not pedophile. Unfortunately, many researchers have ignored this difference. As a result, the scientific value of a lot of research is

questionable. The very popular "transmission theory" (sexual abuse in the childhood as the reason) is an example (Reeves 1992).

Nonetheless, there are some empirical results which allow some suggestions. Age of Determination of Erotic Age Preference

Freund (1993) suggests that "erotic age preference" is determined at a fairly young age, no later than puberty, and very possibly earlier than that.

Blaske et al. have studied ( 1989 ) "individual, family and peer characteristics of adolescent sex offenders and assaultive offenders". Their primary finding was that while assaultive offenders hang out with a peer group which is also delinquent, the family relations and behavioral functioning sexual offenders, on the other hand, were much like the nondelinquent adolescents, the main difference being that they are more isolated.

One interpretation of this data is that assault is a behavior which is strongly influenced by a peer group, while sexual offences are more driven by internal processes.

The autobiographical reports of pedophiles I have also indicate that the orientation is determined at a young age: "My own sexual 'persuasion' is something that I have felt and grown up with from as far back as I can remember - perhaps as young as 5 or 6." (James) Continuous Degree of Pedophilia

Considering the distribution of pedophile feelings, we find that pedophilia is not a yes/no state, but that there are pedophile feelings of lower or higher degree. This suggests that there is no single "pedophile gen", but more complex reasons. Man-Boy Association as Typical Human Behavior

We can consider man-boy love as an extremal case of a normal bondage between adult man and boys. From this point of view it is interesting to study this association between adult males and prepubescent boys. The results of Mackey (1990) suggest that this is a common human trait, independent of culture,

thus probably genetically transmitted. Selective pressures connected with the onset of hunting and scavenging as male-only prerogatives for the early Homo are suggested as the reason: "... older males recruit peripubescent males into all-male (e.g., hunting and scavening) groups." "It is reasonaternational police led by a UK team say they shut down the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered.

The global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.

The operation has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children.

Detectives say 184 people have been arrested - 121 of them were in the UK. Some 60 children have been protected in the UK.

The three-year investigation, Operation Rescue, was led by investigators from the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

Speaking at a news conference at The Hague in the Netherlands, investigators said the network hid behind a legal online forum which operated out of the country - but its members came from around the world.

Europol Director Rob Wainright on 'spectacular international police success'

Along with the Netherlands and the UK, suspects have been identified in Australia, Italy, Canada, New Zealand and Thailand.

The members of the network went into a private channel,, and then used its secret systems to share films and images of abused children, said Rob Wainwright, director of European police agency Europol.

However, child abuse investigators, including a team from Ceop, had already infiltrated the network and were posing as paedophiles to gather intelligence.

In the UK, the 240 suspects include police officers, teachers and a karate teacher. One of the suspects in the UK is a woman.

The latest arrest was in Northamptonshire.

To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, a scout leader from Plymouth. Another forum user was Stephen Palmer, 54, of Birkenhead, who shared abuse images with contacts in the US. A third man, 46-year-old Colin Hoey Brown of Bromsgrove, was jailed for making and distributing almost 1,000 images. 'New ground broken'

Peter Davies, head of Ceop, said: "The scale and success of Operation Rescue has broken new ground. Continue reading the main story Analysis image of Danny Shaw Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

The internet has proved to be fertile territory for people with a sexual interest in children.

Those wishing to explore their feelings or satisfy their urges can spend hours doing so without having to leave their room. Taking advantage of the anonymity modern computer technology provides, paedophiles download and exchange vile images of abuse unaware of the reality of the suffering.

For some years, however, child protection agencies have been on their case. By pretending to be online sex offenders and by using sophisticated computer techniques, they've managed to identify offenders and locate suspect websites. So it was with Operation Rescue.

What marks it out is its global scale. But in UK terms, it still lags behind Operation Ore - an investigation into 7,000 people from Britain whose credit cards were used to access child abuse images on a US website.

"Not only is it one of the largest operations of its kind to date - and the biggest operation we have led - it also demonstrates the impact of international law enforcement agencies working together with one single objective, to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice.

"While these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them.

"Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could and was tracked by following the digital footprint."

Operation Rescue began when Ceop and colleagues in the Australian Federal Police separately identified the site as a key online meeting place for abusers.

The two forces deployed officers to infiltrate the site and to identify the members who were posing the most risk to children.

One of the early breakthroughs in the investigation was the arrest of four suspects in Thailand in 2008. Two of the men were British.

In March of the same year, Ceop identified the owner of the site and the location of its server in the Netherlands. The owner of the server is now co-operating with Dutch police.

CEOP Chief Peter Davies: "The case was very demanding"

Rob Wainwright of Europol said the man running the server had used "advanced security techniques" which took months to break down.

"If you think you can use the internet to abuse children you are wrong," he said.

"We will not allow these offenders to carry on committing these awful crimes against young children. We will not rest until we have identified every offender that has been active in this network and others that might be operating on the internet." More on This Story Related Stories

Child abuse 'big business online' 13 MAY 2010, TECHNOLOGY Scout leader charged over images 10 AUGUST 2009, DEVON

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