In the ask Dr. Bob thread, there was much academic discussion of damage caused by pedophilia. I thought I should give an additional viewpoint.

There is a man, let's call him Phyllis, who had four children with his wife and then they had an ugly divorce. In the settlement, she got full custody of the kids and Phyllis had them for a weekend twice a month, and two weeks in the summer. Phyllis had a job as an over the road truck driver and made a good buck, so he kept up with the child support. I married Phyllis' ex-wife six years after they split up.

He also took the kids to Catholic church in the small town he lived in every time he had them and was very active in his church. He moved in with his mom after the divorce and kept seeing the "other woman", let's call her Zelda, who inspired the divorce in the first place. She had 3 kids of her own. Phyllis and Zelda were dating for 8 years, and finally decided to get a house together.   

About 2 months after they moved in together, on Dec. 23rd, Phyllis stayed home, and Zelda's 10 year old daughter had the day off of school. It turned out that this was the first time he was alone with any 10 year old girl in many years and he convinced the little girl to pose for some pictures--sans clothing.

A couple hours later, she told my 15 year old stepdaughter (Phyllis' biological daughter) what had happened in an emotional state, crying and asking if she had done something wrong.  

When my wife and I were told of it, we immediately called Zelda, the grandparents (Zelda's mom and dad).  We let Phyllis know that we knew what had happened, and since he did not turn himself in after 2 days, I went to the small town he lives in and reported him to the police.

By the time they went to investigate, there were no images on the camera he used, and they eventually dropped the case because it was the little girls word against his, and he denied it. About 2 years later, Phyllis and Zelda were married, and the poor little girl was forced to live in the house of the man who did this to her.

All of this was around 8 years ago. The little girl moved out right after her 18th birthday and just had her first child with her boyfriend. My stepkids didn't see their father for about 3 years, but eventually could not keep themselves from him and the oldest boy now lives with him. The other three mostly keep their distance. Phyllis' actions ruined at least 15 lives in many different and disparate ways, and Zelda's looking the other way only made it worse. 

I'm not going back into my old research on pedophiles, but here is some of what I learned:

  • Recidivism (repeat offences) vary according to the sex and age of child they are attracted to, but most of them have a higher than 50% recidivism rate, and none of them are 0%. So it is fair to treat a pedophile as a potential threat to children for their entire lives.
  • Many pedophiles are caught after multiple offences, many years between them. The weird young uncle that everyone knows has a problem goes off and lives on his own for a couple of decades. He comes back and the memories are faded. Nieces and nephews who have not been properly warned have kids of their own, and a need for babysitters. Uncle Squirrelly happens to have some time on his hands and is happy to help.
  • Pedos are attracted to a particular age and sex, and are not as attracted to anything outside of that. So if they are into 8 year old boys, an 11 year old just won't do.
  • Without rock solid evidence, everything is difficult to prove. If you ever encounter an instance of sexual activity used on a child, act immediately with no hesitation. 

Writing this post was difficult, I have never put it in writing like this before. I am sitting here crying right now. The story is unfortunately true, and the bullet points are important to anyone who works with kids, or needs information on pedophilia. 

Phyllis was very tight with his church, and I believe he went to counselling with them after the incident. I am quite sure that his priest knows whats up and that Phyllis has been absolved of his sins. But in a twist that seems like it should be fiction, I just found out from my stepson that Phyllis retired from truck driving, and is now the janitor of the high school in the small town he lives in. If it weren't for my 3rd point above, I would have went back down to that town and fucked up his life.

I am also divorced from the mom (about 5 years now), although I am no longer officially anything to my stepchildren, I treat them as if they are my own. They are all grown, all of them were seriously affected by this incident, and there are effects to this day. 

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One other point I want to add, pedophiles realize that their entire lifestyles, income, and futures are on the line if they are found out. So lying, misdirection, and all forms of deceit are to be expected. 

Yes, and given the rather extreme response they can expect, I'm sure that pedos are sometimes motivated kill (by making them disappear somehow) the one witness to their crime.

We need a better way of dealing with pedophiles.

kill (by making them disappear somehow) the one witness to their crime

Yeah, especially in cases of abduction.

One has to face up to three facts: The recidivism rate is high, approaching 100%; there is no "cure"; and we can't execute them unless they murder a child. 

Suppose we put them on a sort of Devil's Island where they could watch all of the photorealistic computer-generated kiddie porn to their heart's delight. Porn that doesn't injure of reinjure a child. Basically, lock 'em up and throw away the key and stop trying to play psychological engineer on their brains.

If you ask, why not punish them? Much like homosexuals, they probably discovered their taste in childhood and became sure of it in their teen years. Punishment won't change that, so what's the point of punishment? 

stop trying to play psychological engineer on their brains

I'll bet they have a detectable neuropathology of some kind. With new research coming, it could even be discovered accidentally.

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Belle, real stories like yours break my heart, and as you mention, have lifelong effects and memories.

I will give this one positive spin on my story, the little girl was self aware enough to identify that she was wronged, and was taught well enough to speak to someone right away. So although her life was no peach, her story could have been yours, just brought up to current day. Phyllis avoided sex offender status, but he's not going to be anyones babysitter ever. He maybe the breadwinner in his family, but enough people know about him that he cannot escape and is essentially under lifetime house arrest.

I titled this to be about the Catholic Church as well, and although Dr. Bob is tired of hearing about it, I wanted to show that the reason why we at T/A and frankly the rest of the world cannot let it go is because the facts and figures do not fully encompass the whole story. I mentioned that at least 15 lives were ruined, and I could outline each of them, different for each person. On that day, everyones hopes, dreams, and futures were started over in a way that was sadder than the day before. Disparate people as well; I never had contact with the little girls grandparents before that day, I never had the need.

So that is one of the reasons we cannot let it go.

Further, he would like to step away from it because he thinks it is handled. The authorities are involved, it is so difficult to keep secrets these days, and there is even money at the end for some victims. 

But the pedophile factory is still running. Refusal to have women in top posts, unnatural rules that men are not allowed to touch their own dicks (and women their own hoo-hoos), men and women (priests and nuns) not able to have normal sexual relations for decades, for their entire lives. You cannot produce healthy adults in this fashion. 

I feel that when the church finally sees its way through, it will find that the rules that are in place today are the equivalent of attempting to deliver castrati. 

He knows better, but as Strega mentioned, the cognitive dissonance is breathtaking. And foments a culture that allows for guys like Phyllis and your attackers.

Bob hates that we can't let it go?

I hate that he won't acknowledge the church has a systemic institutional problem, and he comes over here to sing its praises.  So he and I are even I guess.

Exactly what he thinks he is accomplishing is anyone's guess; I'd say he's alienating more people than he is influencing in a postive way.

Bob doesn't hate anything.

I myself have never been a victim like @Belle, but like @Melvinotis, I know victims of childhood abuse.  In one case of priestly abuse, but the others were family and teachers/coaches.   The tales are every bit as heart wrenching.  In fact, in one case at least they are worse.

Unlike the two of you, I have also been on the other side as a professional dealing with allegations and coordinating responses with law enforcement and children's services.  That offers one a different perspective, because frequently these things are quite complex.  @Melvinotis's tale is the norm; often respect for the law means that we let perpetrators get away.  My guess is that things have improved as the stigma on reporting has gone away, but the challenge is still very real. 

The victims that I know that give me the most heartache and pain personally were not church-related abuse.  They were in other youth programs and families.  They were betrayed by parents and by school officials and under-funded children's services agencies. 

So for me, what you do by focusing exclusively on priestly abuse is you devalue and neglect the children I know who were harmed by others.  You seem to dismiss that as irrelevant and not worthy of your time and condemnation and efforts to reform, because it's more in keeping with your worldview to point with alarm at those terrible Catholics.  But the pain of those children is so real, and their tales so terrible.  Parents and teachers have so much more access to kids than priests do, and the rate and type of abuse is horrible.

Bob, I can summarize your entire comment in a short sentence: "We're not the only ones!"

No, you're not, but you ARE the only ones who, as an organization originally established for the purpose of doing good, has systematically and institutionally protected pedophiles, which is a far cry from weird Uncle Harold playing with his pre-teen nieces, then denying it. An organizational cover-up trumps an individual duck and run every time.

Interesting, your tack last time was, "Hey, it wouldn't be such a big deal if the public were only more accepting, like the ancient Greeks! Now, Melvinotis and Belle tell their stories, and you suddenly recall experiences that were, "heart wrenching"! Not very Greek-like.

What do you do, check to see which way the wind is blowing, and use that to decide which way to tack?

I'm not sure how many times I need to acknowledge it, @Belle.  I have said it repeatedly. 

I knew Bernard Law, in as much as I had met with him and dealt with him on several occasions.  He was always an arrogant ass who put his narrow view of (small c) church ahead of compassion and decency and (big C) Church as people of God.  But even I was stunned, ashamed, and furious at what he allowed to happen in Boston.   There's no excuse, none.  I wanted to see him in prison.  I worked with many, many good priests and lay people to get him removed and exiled to a back room in Rome. 

There's no excuse for what was done.  None.  No excuse for the perpetrators, even less for the enablers and those who papered it over.   We have a deep and abiding moral duty to the victims.

At the same time, for me "the Catholic Church" is the vast majority of priests and lay people in Boston who worked to have Law removed, not the man and his half-dozen cronies in the chancery.   So when you say that the Catholic Church is hypocritical from my perspective you're dead wrong, and doing a profound injustice to me and all those people who responded and continue to respond to these situations, who forced the Jay report and changes in policy in diocese across the nation, and whose dollars have been used to provide compensation to the victims.

At the risk now of stepping back from the emotion to the land of rationality and being accused of being heartless, let me try to step back into the land of rationality.

The Vatican during the last year of Benedict's term was plagued by the leaking of a bunch of internal documents to the Italian press.  None of these had anything to do with abuse or pedophilia.  It was sort of a nastier version of Manning and Wikileaks; nastier because the people doing the leaking had a political agenda, where as far as I can tell Manning was just a somewhat naive and idealistic young man.

So the pope put in place a rule that said, "hey, private documents are private documents, and shouldn't be leaked."  You will find this rule in place in every company in the country, and for good moral reasons for the most part.  Personnel records and other private documents should be confidential.

That's it.  Nothing more.  The pope did not make reporting child abuse a crime.  The U.S. Catholic Conference rules mandating reporting to civil authorities are still in place.

If I may suggest, there's a reason why  no serious news outlet is covering the absurd allegation that the pope makes reporting child abuse a crime, and it only appears on hyper-biased anti-Catholic blogs. 

See above.

@Belle, I'm not sure that the Catholic Church has an obligation to be open to the general public.  They're a private organization, and there are lots of things in any private organization that are confidential.  That's especially true in an organization like the Church that does a lot of social work and counseling.  

I am involved in several church ministries, including to youth, and would in some cases be the first responding volunteer "official" in a case of child report of sexual abuse.  If a child made a report of sexual abuse to me the protocol is as follows:

1) Protect and secure the child from harm and try to preserve evidence.

2) If the parent/guardian of the child is the one accused, call Children's Services.  If not, call the parents.

3) Call local law enforcement.

4) Call our on-call trauma psychologist for on-site counseling support for the victim and family.

5) Notify the pastor and diocesan youth protection contact.

6) Document thoroughly.

7) Go to church and pray fervently for the strength of character not to take the law into my own hands decisively.

The follow up would involve working closely with law enforcement, counselors, and church officials to provide support.


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