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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I was not commenting on the boy scouts. You seem to have an automatic deflect mechanism to the boy scouts.

I am correct in everything I posted about liability insurance, insurable interest, notification and policy response.  It is what I do for a living, and have done for over 35 years.  I specialize in US liability.

It amazes me when I hear non-insurance people's assumption of how it all works, and I am forever finding myself clarifying their optimisms.

I work in the USA on precisely these matters, and usually with US insurance companies, both solvent and insolvent.  My encounter with Australian insurance was indirectly through international reinsurance of the Catholic Church Insurance Company, Australia.

The current US (and other territories) insurance policies issued to church-related organizations specifically exclude pedophilia.  The older policies, going back fifteen years or more, were more ambiguous in their cover and it is common practice when such a claim is made, for the insured to try to back-date any claim of this nature to where there might be a policy that could be deemed to respond. 

That is when courts get involved, and in many states in the USA, the courts attempt to take a "Robin Hood" approach and find ways to obtain settlements, such as deeming 'negligent supervision' to be an acceptable coverage trigger.  That, since the clarity of contracts has been tightened, is nowadays a much rarer occurrence.

You must understand, if a claim against your organization is made for  pedophilia-related activity today, or at any time in the past 15 years or so, it is considered to be excluded under the policy.  This means that if it were to be notified to an insurer, it would not be recorded as a possible loss, no reserves would be set, and liability would be immediately denied.  As a result, they are not notified unless a sufficiently older policy without such exclusions can be called upon to respond.

Your point was in regard to insurers having better pedophilia statistics.  This is just not the case. That insurers may have had statistical information on this subject may have been true a couple of decades ago, but it is simply not the case now.  This is the only point I am making here, and I don't think it's up for debate.

Ah, I understand.   You're referring to specific exclusion clauses for pedophilia.  Yes, that would be correct in recent years. 

I would still expect insurer notification, just because of the "negligent supervision" or "insufficient training/notification" sorts of approaches.  The latter was used in the Oregon Boy Scout case.  I bring up the Scouts only because the information has been uniquely well investigated and publicized, along with a truly comprehensive release of national data.  There aren't any other organizations to refer to where that level of transparency has been achieved.

I would still expect insurer notification

You can expect, but the insurers don't.  I tried to find you a simple analysis of the issue from a legal insurance standpoint, since most of them are too technical for a layman to grasp.  I doubt it will change your expectations, because you don't seem to be able to concede your expectations might be misplaced.

I bring up the Scouts...

You do this so often, it is beginning to look like an obsession.  If you want to discuss Boy Scouts, open a thread on it, though I suspect you may well be the only participant.

You do this so often, it is beginning to look like an obsession.

LOL.  Sort of the way people here bring up pedophilia? I wonder at times whether this is an atheist site or a sex crimes site. 

If we must constantly discuss pedophilia, the U.S. Boy Scout data is good data.  Fifty plus years of nationally compiled reporting, with court-ordered comprehensive release of the entire collection.

I'm not sure how one can rationally discuss a phenomenon without referring to the best currently available data set.

I started reading about Buddhist celibacy and basically those folks try to get as far away from civilization as possible in order to avoid sexual situations. Obviously quite different in the Catholic tradition.

@Bob and @Ward, part of my concern regarding celibacy is that I have personal knowledge of the affectation. I myself was celibate for 2 years in my mid twenties.

I was dating a Catholic girl whose father was a prominent local politician. He was your garden variety hypocrite, but she was devout and convinced me at the time to abstain and also not masturbate. So here are some of the side effects I experienced during my period of celibacy:

  • Obviously, wet dreams--which are natures relief valve for this counter-natural affect
  • Wet dreams are crazy dreams, very vivid, sometimes disturbing, sometimes even violent
  • Impure thoughts during the day, while doing even mundane activities
  • Attraction to everything, not restricted to humans, not even restricted to animate objects. Did you know that the top of a fireplug kinda looks like a breast? Figured that out while on my testosterone high.
  • Testosterone is one of the most powerful drugs a human body produces.
  • Feelings of loneliness take a special tone 
  • effects are intermittent, but also triggered by events, or colors, or smells.
  • heightened sensory input
  • a list of other effects too much to go into tonight.

So Bob, much of what I have not said well enough is not that celibacy makes a man want to head towards pedophilia. It is that when you are celibate, it takes concentration not to want to hump everything. So if you are on top of your game, everything is controllable. When you are distracted, you start wondering how the steam that comes out of a dishwasher would feel on your genitals. Deviancy, freaky stuff that is sometimes not even possible, like wanting to fuck a cloud, that is what celibacy gives a healthy male.

Since the priesthood is based around this practice, the weak link can only find its way. Eventually, it is somewhat unavoidable for some weird thing to pop out of someones head and find itself a manifestation of reality. So yes, you are right, priests don't just find their outlets in young boys, they find lots of places to fall off the wagon, sometimes being caught, often not.

The ability to manage the internal consequences of celibacy is a rare thing. Rarer than the church could use. So as a result, you have thousands of celibates when you should have hundreds, or maybe tens. 


Well, @Melvinotis, I'm happy to report that, being a relatively faithful and traditional Catholic, I made it through a longer period of chastity in my 20s without having any desire to fuck a cloud or a fire hydrant.  Being an older fellow now, I know quite a few adult males who are able to love and care for an ill spouse without needing to run around on the side like our odd late-in-life convert Newt Gingrich.

I think it's safe to say that quite a few ordinary men are able to do just fine controlling our urges without wandering into the realms of abnormal psychology.  Your experience would be an outlier.  I wonder, out of curiosity, how sexually active you were while growing up, prior to your mid-20s?  So much of our brain development occurs earlier in life and sets behavioral norms for the rest of our lives.  Perhaps being a relatively (yes, you can make fun of me for "relatively" if you like) faithful Catholic as a teen makes it easier as an adult to see women, and dishwashers, as something other than objects to satisfy our urges.

That having been said, I think overall you make an interesting point.  I suspect, and my church would tend to teach, that celibacy is a calling for individuals.   Within the Roman Catholic Church we do have a number of married priests, and within some other rites of the Catholic Church married priests are the norm, as they are for the Orthodox Churches with whom we are in communion.  This is a discipline within the Latin Rite, not something with a theological basis, and your point about whether that is healthy in terms of the number of priests we have is one worth considering. 

In my own experience, I think the issue is not so much one of numbers as that we have been attracting the wrong people.   The bureaucratic, authoritarian and somewhat dysfunctional setup of our seminaries I think drives away a number of good men (and most good women in the case of religious orders) who have legitimate callings.   It tends to keep those who are seeking such a highly structured and authoritarian community as a means of coping with their own dysfunction.  That is definitely not healthy, and I think it has been very real, at least in the not so distant past.  I had some contact as a faculty member with a graduate school ("major") seminary on a university campus in the late 80s.  There were a number of good men who entered, but by the end very few stayed.  Those who did stay were coping with personal issues (seminaries at the time were a bit of a refuge for gay males trying to deal with their sexuality, or other issues related to authority).  At the same time, those who left often remained relatively chaste, even celibate, in their service to the community as laymen.

In my experience the people who are truly called to such a life are ones who in their very nature tend to put care for lots of others or the broader community first in their lives.  Given a choice between being with their significant other or making sure everyone gets home from the party safely, they choose the latter every time.  If you make that choice often enough, you are forced to become celibate, LOL. 

So I think there are genuinely those with such a calling, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a discipline required to be a priest, but one can see advantages to that overlap.  One need only look at the number of failed marriages and messed up kids among our married Protestant ministers (and how disruptive that is to their congregations) to see the advantages.  The work of a church pastor is a 24/7 sort of job, and it is very, very difficult to maintain family time when there's always a parishioner who is in the hospital, or in crisis, and where so much of the work with people is on evenings and weekends. 

On a purely practical basis, we have a different sort of problem.  Celibate priests have been around so long in the Roman Rite that the system is deeply embedded economically.  We pay our priests little more than a subsistence wage.  We certainly don't pay them anywhere near enough to properly support a family, nor at this point could we afford to without enormous structural changes and a lot more income than we have.   I suspect that as much as anything contributes to maintaining the status quo, perhaps inappropriately.

 I know quite a few adult males who are able to love and care for an ill spouse without needing to run around on the side like our odd late-in-life convert Newt Gingrich.

I did that too, for about 6 years, remained faithful, with the exception of Rosy Red Palm.

 I wonder, out of curiosity, how sexually active you were while growing up, prior to your mid-20s?

The celibacy thing was trying something new. I got around in my late teens and early 20's, but in the years before AIDS, sometimes you learned her name the next day. It was a crazy time. I didn't have sex until 18 though, and I'll say this about Christian Science, the faith I grew up in. Since the founder of the Church was a woman (Mary Baker Eddy, in 1903) and it was one of the first churches to put women on real equal footing, a lot of very strong women were drawn to it. As a result, I grew up around many strong women, many septegenarians, daughters of some of the other founders and early converts. 

Perhaps being a relatively (yes, you can make fun of me for "relatively" if you like) faithful Catholic as a teen makes it easier as an adult to see women, and dishwashers, as something other than objects to satisfy our urges.

I would put my behavior with women, including my more promiscuous times, up against anyones. The bottom line is accepting their humanness as well as your own. 

"Relatively"? Isn't that all Catholics? I looked up the meaning of Cathol, which in Greek means "on the whole" so that kinda covers everything.

The rest of your post tends to make my point, that the unstoppable force of testosterone often and easily breaks through the very breakable wall of the human will. I think the added level that twists it towards pedophilia is the need to hide the act and potential results. A woman will talk, and even reveal an indiscretion just as a matter of course and time. 10 year olds have been coerced into silence with candy, shame does (did) the rest.

As you mentioned at the end of the post, other avenues are closed for those who have chosen to be a priest, since they do not accumulate anything over the course of their lives. Kind of a 'No Way Out Clause' in that contract as far as economics go. 

The rest of your post tends to make my point, that the unstoppable force of testosterone often and easily breaks through the very breakable wall of the human will.

Then you didn't read it carefully, or I was relying on too much prior knowledge.  Will is something that needs to be developed.  Some find it easy to decline alcohol, some find it harder in social situations, some are alcoholics.  Will and building good habits and reinforcing social structures can overcome all of them, but it is definitely a harder row to hoe for an alcoholic.

The rest of your hypothesis has been largely disproven.  Pedophilia is a sexual orientation, and offenders tend to prefer children with specific physical characteristics.  They aren't resorting to it because they want to fuck a cloud, this is who they are attracted to.  Besides, priests have access to all kinds of women; they are half of the congregation.  We have priests who "opt out" and go get married all the time.

There is no evidence that celibacy contributes to pedophilia whatsoever, nor is there any evidence that the rate of pedophilia within Catholic clergy is any different than the rate of pedophilia for non-Catholic clergy who are allowed to marry.   The worst incident of pedophilia we had in my current Catholic diocese involved a husband/wife youth ministry team and multiple kids they ministered to.

So your theory was interesting, but the evidence rejects it.

@Dr Bob

I think it's safe to say that quite a few ordinary men are able to do just fine controlling our urges without wandering into the realms of abnormal psychology. Your experience would be an outlier.

You base these statements upon what? Can you quote a study regarding celibacy which also tests the subjects for their base level of libido prior to the period of celibacy?

Even if he is at the edge of the bell curve, that doesn't change the fact that his experience calls into question the findings that supposedly show that celibacy does not have a detrimental effect. He is also not alone - I know of someone else who has experienced unwanted desires during an extended period of celibacy. So, the Catholic Church lied about or fabricated the results of the study to show what they want it to show.


@Bob - Here he goes again - catholic on Atheist site - that is what it is about - He dares to say we devalue pedophile victims in other situations - you really are a piece of work - you are arrogant and insulting - if you had come here, and say it is abhorrent what the catholic church has done - and I want to clean my church up from this vermin - Bob would have got a different reception, and would have made his points about the catholic church and the bible, whatever, civilized, informative conversation.

But this cretin didn't, he diverted conversation, and asked about what if society had a different attitude about the rape of children. Unbelievable. Bob will do anything to protect this Den of Inequity, this Pedophile Heaven, known as the catholic church. Bob is a disgrace to all honest christians.

@Melvinotis - How brave are you telling us your story - Your last bullet point is the one pedophiles rely on - difficult to prove, a pedophiles word against the child. It is stories like Mevinotis and Bella Rose, that exposes these aberrational humans.

Everybody needs to know how pervasive pedophilia is, and I will be sticking to Bob,he is part of the problem of cover up in the catholic church, by sitting on his hands and obfuscating conversation. A disgrace.

He dares to say we devalue pedophile victims in other situations

Simple deflection of blame, Suzanne. "Sure, my church is evil and corrupt, but look at those other guys over there! Let's talk about them because this is making me uncomfortable!"


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