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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In terms of evidence DO NOT take possession of it. DO NOT take the computer if it's on a computer, DO NOT make copies of it in order to preserve evidence. 

Treat it like it's radioactive.

WHY? The mere possession of child pornography is a felony. If you stumble on child porn online, I don't know what to tell you. Anything that was displayed on your computer screen remains in your machine for a very long time. And reformatting the hard drive is destroying evidence. 

Chances are, many of us who cruise for porn have stuff in our machines that is technically child porn. What do I mean? If there is a porn scene with a model or actor who looks like he or she might be under 18, the burden is on YOU, should it come to that, to demonstrate conclusively that they were of age on the date of production. Now, think about how your legal team could possibly do that.

Currently in the U.S.?  I think we've shut the barn door as well as we can for now.  Background checks for everyone, mandatory training for everyone, strict protocols for response, vigilance about supervised contact, required internal and external reporting.  Worldwide?  There's still work to be done.

One of the things that came out in the Jay Report is that this stuff spiked in the two decades surrounding 1975 or so.  Really spiked; order of magnitude increase and then equally dramatic falloff, which is crazy for a social science phenomenon.  There was a lot of turmoil then; the Vatican II changes radically altering the role of priests and laity, the sexual revolution in the broader culture.  I think we were blindsided by it.  The huge increase in reports was anomalous and therefore wasn't taken as seriously as it should have been; the prevailing psychiatric research at the time believed that pedophilia could be treated successfully and people returned to working roles; the officials making decisions weren't experienced and didn't adequately seek out others with more experience. There weren't any mechanisms for tracking; we don't really "supervise" priests.  Diocese didn't share records, so we were slow to realize the extent of the problem.

By the 80s we were getting a better handle on things, which is why the actions by some officials like Bernard Law were so egregious. 

Melvinotis, I could not find adequate words to give you, when I read this last night.  Thank you for telling your story.  I am so honoured to call you my friend.

Belle, I know your story a little better as my wife also has as ghastly history.  Thank you for having the courage to put yourself out here, to share with Melvinotis and the rest of us.  You have a truly wonderful heart.

I'm humbled to know you both.

Success is the best revenge. 

I'm with Simon,

Surviving I think is a step in the process. Being a survivor still defines one a subject of a crime. I survived this problem ( and others, I'm kind of a one man Oprah special) but I don't think of myself as a survivor, at least not any more. It gives too much power to those who have done wrong/evil.

I won't give that to them.

Hah ha. A one man Oprah special. Me too! It's good to be at a place where you can almost (almost) laugh about your issues.

Thank you for sharing your story. I think I know a pedophile. I have no proof but I cannot think of any other explanation for what I know of his behavior. I plan on warning parents of young children who come into his sphere and I plan to watch him closely. It is such terrible knowledge to have. I hope I am mistaken but I cannot take the risk that I am not.

Thanks for sharing your story. 

Thank you as well. I think that all adults of conscience have to be vigilant regarding child abuse, there is no other way to fix the future.

I prefer vegetarian pizza, too. (Whatever that means!)

It seems strange after reading of all the people here who have had this horridness happen to them, but I don't beleive it happened in my family.  I have one (1) close friend who had shit happen to him.

I cannot imagine; I literally cannot imagine, what it is like.

I cannot imagine being an apologist for this sort of thing or its enablers, either.

We need to change the laws in America.

It would probably be better to set up a settlement somewhere permanently away from children and place them there. No kids within 500 miles at least. No cars (or boats if it is an island). They could create their own city among themselves. Ship all the molesters from around the country there. It would very likely save the public a huge amount of money if done right. Plus, there are fewer problems if you wrongly convict someone of molestation.


We need to remove the unconstitutional treatment of Catholic priests: crimes talked about in confession must be reported to the police or the priest needs to be charged as an accessory-after-the-fact. Allowing the priests to not report the crimes gives unconstitutional support to Catholicism.

Some people will make boloney claims about confession being "holy". Show me ANY difference between a blessed and an unblessed object/substance. Until you can, confession is just the harboring of criminals. Is it really all that surprising that they would harbor their own criminals? Because that is the Catholic mindset: protect the criminals, not the victims. That is why they are worse than child molesting teachers or coaches. Because all of them – not just the ones directly guilty of molesting – are okay with protecting criminals.

Catholics priests need to start being responsible people


I'm curious, @Ward.  If a pedophile knows a priest is obligated to report him to the police, do you think he or she is going to go to confession?

So aside from perhaps catching a molester with an IQ of 12, what exactly would this accomplish?


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