Just about every regular reader of this site knows I’m part of the Marine Corps, serving 5 years of active duty continuing as a reservist. Some of you know that my day job is at a Deputy Sheriff’s Department in an average sized town in an average county in Michigan.
When I was hired by the Sheriff’s Department in late 2003, I was lucky enough to be assigned to Circuit Court. New deputies generally aren’t initially assigned to patrol. They have to prove themselves either as Court Officers (what I do) or as Corrections Officers in the jail, and court sure beats the jail.
My job is to act as the enforcement arm of the Family Court to which I am assigned. I often handle common things like divorces and child support enforcement by hauling dead beat dads who don’t pay support or other money due in front of my assigned judge to face the music. Most of the time however, I spend on child abuse and neglect litigation. That means I see half the child abuse cases in my county which go through Child Protective Services. That includes pedophiles that molest children whose rights to their own children are being formally terminated, and mother’s (or fathers) being investigated for failure to protect their children.
Essentially my judge decides weather or not to terminate a parent’s parental rights or restrict their access to their children in any way. This gives me direct familiarity with half of all Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) cases with a minor in my county, as regular law enforcement and Protective Services refer all CSC cases to our court as well as initially investigate all parents of abused children for failure to protect. What this means is, I interview, listen to testimony from, and arrest what from a law enforcement point of view is an incredible number of pedophiles. Far more than the average officer. To give you an example, myself and the other family court officer are consistently the top arresting officers in our department for CSC cases. Of all the arrests I made last year, 63% of them were CSC cases involving children.
I hear testimony in court from pedophiles or experts on them and read expert reports about pedophile related cases about half of every day, five days a week. Thousands and thousands of cases a year. I think all this experience makes me sort of a lay expert on the subject. As I write this in fact, I’m ignoring the testimony of a pedophile because I’m sick of hearing what these scum bags have to say.
In fact, I’m sick of them entirely. Even more so than the average citizen, who doesn’t have to deal with them day in and day out.
We as a society unfortunately will never get rid of these people, but I have often thought if more parents knew what I know, maybe we’d see less of these cases. So here is nearly three years of my observations of sex offenders. Please, all of you with kids take it to heart.
We’ve all heard that rape is about power; it’s not about sex. With child molesters, it’s different. It is about sex.
What’s sick is that often we pick up that these people genuinely love kids. It may sound perverted to say this, but they genuinely love kids. A lot of people get upset by that notion. “How can somebody love a kid and do that?” they ask.
You can’t deny that. And that’s why when you see the person who operates the day-care center or the beloved Pop Warner football coach accused of CSC with a minor, there’s almost always an out pouring of sympathy for the defendant. Letters to the editor of the local paper in support, nasty letters to the prosecutor and the police about how unjust we are. People see someone who genuinely appears to love children and they say “Someone like this who really likes kids couldn’t possibly do this.” People get confused by that. But let me tell you, Pedophiles genuinely love kids… and they have a sexual desire for kids. Take the Michael Jackson case in California as a great example of this phenomenon, public support for a molester because of the molester’s love for children. Some people are fooled by that love. Don’t be.
Whenever I hear somebody say, “Wow, did you hear about that schoolteacher, that priest, that camp counselor, who abused the kid?” it doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me a bit. I’d expect it.
Why? These people learn at an early age, usually at the onset of puberty, that they like children. Everybody else is getting excited by their peers, but they get excited by little boys or girls.
If they know then, they have a career choice to make. Now you could be a lumberjack or a schoolteacher. They put themselves in a position where they’ll have contact with kids. If they’re smart, they’ll become a teacher, a priest, a youth counselor. If they’re not smart, they might become the school janitor, or the groundskeeper at camp. Both will try to marry dependant women who already have children of ideal age for them to molest.
So it never surprises me when a teacher, a priest, or the Boy Scout leader is arrested and charged with abusing a child. They knew about it, and they picked the profession deliberately.
The vast majority, the utter vast majority of people we arrest are people who have gained legal access to the child through vocational, volunteer, or family contact. That’s the problem. People think if it’s a teacher in school, the piano or karate instructor, or the youth minister, he’s okay. I’ve arrested a Boy Scout leader for molesting kids in his Scout troop.
My department has arrested college professors, priests (NOT JUST CATHOLICS!) Boy Scout leaders, child counselors, social workers (That counseled sexually abused children no less!) day-care workers, teachers, and family members, and most often-- step-fathers. I don’t want to imply that all people in child related fields are pedophiles, but some of these people aren’t working with kids out of the goodness of their hearts.
This is something we in Law Enforcement go insane trying to tell parents and kids. When I was a kid all you heard about was the “Dangerous Stranger,” the outrageous, scary-looking guy that would kidnap you from K-Mart. Mr. Dangerous Stranger is out there. There are individuals who pick up children, torture them, and murder them, they do exist. They are also less than one percent of all CSC cases.
Let me tell you, sex offenders are very normal looking. I arrested a [large car company] VIP for child porn once. Most have “normal” families, children, and jobs. It’s usually not the weird looking dude in the trench coat outside the school yard with a hand in his pants. It’s usually is the basketball coach at the Y. I tell my daughter to look out for the one you know.
Pedophiles take their time in the seduction process of not only the child, but the child’s parents. Half of what gets them off is tricking mom into giving him access. To them it’s just like a man dating a woman. They’re not going to go home that first night and jump into bed. He’s gonna kind of feel the kid out and gain his trust before he makes a move on him. That’s the worst part for me to see. When a kid has trusted someone and he gets abused, now he doesn’t trust anybody. That’s so sad to see, a little kid’s innocence violated like that. That’s one of the things I struggle with in my job actually. Some days I just feel like quitting so I don’t have to see it anymore. I almost ran off to Black Water after a while. The disgust comes in waves. Some months and some cases are just worse than others. It’s horrible. It really is like looking into the face of pure evil.
But anyway, a pedophile will make a few moves on the kid, and if he’s rejected he’ll back off for a couple of months. Usually he has time to wait, as it seems they ever have just one kid going at a time.
That’s something Law Enforcement has been slow to catch on to. They NEVER abuse just one kid. I always keep investigating, because often I come up with an average of three of four kids he’s molesting at that moment and many more in the pedophile’s past. I’ve head of child sex offenders who’ve molested hundreds of kids. I’ve heard of these guys caught with computer listings of kids; they computerize the kids and rate them with different things the kids can do.
Pedophiles target certain types of kids. They place themselves in a position, they might use work, or they might be a step-father, friend of the family, or relative, to target the type of kid they’re after. They separate that kid like a wolf separates sheep, to weaken the target. They go after the kid with “problems.”
I heard a story once out of Colorado where a teacher went so far as to pass out a questionnaire about home life to figure out which kids were weak. Then he’d separate that kid and do a little one-on-one counseling with him to set up the abuse.
Remember these people are not raping these children in the classical sense of the word rape. They are trying to con these children, guilt these children, trick these children into performing varying levels of sexual activity with them (Those that abuse infants aside.) To do this, it is critical that the pedophile gain the trust of the child before actually perpetrating the crime.
I remember a Baptist minister I arrested after the mother’s boy friend was initially suspected and cleared, who would ask the other kids – “Oh, so and so is having trouble at home right? Didn’t his mom and dad break up? How’s he taking it?” They’re like wolves looking for sick antelope. They know these kids are looking for love and support, and they capitalize on that need. Often we have victims attempting to cover for the molester, because they genuinely love the offender and don’t want the relationship severed. They are so desperate for love and affection, they are willing to trade the pain of abuse for the affection they feel they receive. It’s enough to make you want to vomit.
In my experience, step-fathers and live-in boy friends are the most common CSC offenders. They prey on down and out young mothers with financial woes. They wine and dine the mom to start a co-habitation to gain access to her children. More often this is a case where it’s very difficult to get information out of the victim, because the suspect acts as a father figure. Often the only one the victim has ever had.
Sometimes the mother knows about the abuse and tolerates it or doesn’t consider it a serious problem, because the abuser is her cash cow. Her meal ticket.
More often the mother is simply oblivious, to scared to act on her suspicions because she doesn’t want to believe her knight in shining armor is a child molester. You wouldn’t believe how much reality some of these mother’s ignore. I’ve seen mothers genuinely unaware of OBVIOUS abuse. Often they just can’t come to terms with the idea that they exposed their kids to a pedophile, and stick their heads in the sand and hope it goes away.
That’s the biggest frustration in investigating these cases. What do you do with the kid once they’ve told you what happened? You get a kid that tells you “My step-dad abused me,” and there is credible evidence to support the claim. Mom’s head was so obviously in the sand you’ve no choice to charge her with failure to protect and then what is the officer left with? Foster care or hopefully placement with a suitable relative.
If a kid tells, his family life is basically over. He can never be with the abuser (Who he/she often loves.), and they’ve lost all they have left, the mother. For the victim it’s always a no-win situation. What’s sick is kids always feel they did something wrong. They blame themselves for the breakdown of the family. And the damn pedophiles set this up before we get them, the bastards.
Worse yet is Pedophilia is a cycle. Most experts will tell you that pedophiles were sexually abused when they were children. Many that I’ve arrested and I’ve often heard this from more experienced deputies and cops, is that a pedophile will get fixated on children of a certain age. Often the age they were abused.
So a pedophile will start grooming his intended victim before he/she reaches that age. After the child gets to old for the molester, he often wants nothing more to do with the victim. Also common, is that pedophile passing off the child to another pedophile.
These assholes are experts at seduction. Both adults and kids. They love to trick the parents almost as much as the kids.
They work at seduction, almost like a guy at a singles bar develops his technique. He’ll try something, and if it works it goes into his little bag of tricks. If it fails, he’ll never try it again.
The real slick ones will pick a kid that’s about thirteen with no sexual experience and has nothing to base his/her judgment on. They’ll ply the kid with marijuana and beer, and maybe some porn to sexually arouse the child. And then they strike while the kids intoxicated and horny. These kids are young and have no experience with what they should or shouldn’t be doing. The drugs and booze are another plus for the pedophile. It can taint the credibility of the kid, and they love that.
They love their porn collections. That’s another interesting thing about them. Their collections are their whole life. I’ve seen child pornographers hit who’ve never been hit before, and we end up spending weeks printing the pictures off the computer for evidence. Over 10,000 pictures is very common. Some times you need a truck to carry out all the Polaroid’s or digital prints.
Sometimes they’ll keep souvenirs from kids. They love to keep diaries and scrap books of what they’ve done. Often they’ll be a million legitimate pictures of kids around the house. Kids everywhere on the walls… often kids the pedophile has victimized.
It’s amazing how they communicate with each other. This is something we’re catching on to, they seldom operate alone. By looking at each other… they know. I think they read each other by watching how another one reads other people. If you’re standing on the same corner as some other guy, and ever time a kid comes by, his eyes start following a kid, every time a woman or man comes by, nothing… They can detect that spark in the other pervert’s eye.
I’ve gotten so I can pick up on them. I saw a guy with his daughter walk into court today. He was dressed business casual and the daughter had on a nice dress. I read the kid. She was holding on to a teddy bear… and had a “look” that you have to see every day for three years to recognize. I followed the guy to his traffic hearing and got his name off the docket sheet and ran his record. Guilty of CSC 3rd degree. I arrested him on the spot, he isn’t supposed to be with children.
All these guys are into kiddie-porn. I mean all of them. The pornographers are all child molesters too. It’s a cottage industry in this country, but the money isn’t important to them. They do it because they’re sick freaks.
These guys will often tell you they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. Child molesters and pornographers always seem to be shocked we’re arresting them. Like “What, for this? I love kids!”
They’ll tell you the kid asked for it. Child molesters don’t think they inflict damage. They’ll tell you the four year old was being provocative and leading them on. That they just couldn’t resist. If you talk to an offender and a victim, you’ll get two radically different stories. The offender will describe this very loving, tender relationship in which the kid was a willing participant, while the child will tell you about how they put on four pairs of pajamas when they went to bed so that Daddy wouldn’t come and bother them. Or brother, or mom’s boyfriend, or uncle, or cousin.
They rationalize the whole thing: They love this child. They wouldn’t hurt the child. That’s why they can lie so well, they believe it. They don’t want to admit it to themselves they’re victimizing these children and that it is absolutely wrong.
So that’s why when you talk to a convicted sex offender, they’re enraged, incensed. They couldn’t possibly do something that terrible! They didn’t rape or trick a kid… THE KID WANTED IT!
Have you guys figured out yet why I’m pissed off all the time?
If you want to put these scum bags away, you get right up next to them and put your arm around them… shed a tear or two. You tell them what they did isn’t quite legal, but if they just tell the truth you think the prosecutor will understand and plea way down. Keep them off the sex offender list. If you slap them around and beat them, you’re not going to get anywhere. But if you bold face lie to them that you understand… you get the confession. That’s why so many cops won’t do this kind of work, it’s too ugly for them, or they can’t keep from beating defendants.
I’m one who believes that the sexual abuse of children isn’t new or on the rise. It’s always been around. It just gets reported more now. Statistically this is an under reported crime. Often children don’t report for many different reasons. They love the pedophile and don’t want to see him in jail. Pedophiles often tell their victims this will happen if they tell. Second, the child is often very embarrassed, and doesn’t want anyone to know. Last, some parents for financial or just plain sick reasons… or blatant stupidity don’t encourage their children to come forward.
There are a few female pedophiles… but mostly they are technically statutory rapists… and not child molesters. Still CSC criminal’s, but their own breed. Recognize though, how many female teachers have been in the news. The common pedophile act of gaining access to kids?
If you take any one thing from this post, it should be this. The profile of a typical pedophile is a white male. That’s it. They can look like anyone. Somewhere between one in fifty to one in ten white males are pedophiles. That means right now, statistically someone you know, in all likely hood someone you love… is a child molester.
This knowledge affects me a lot, and so I don’t often speak of it. Maybe I’m overly protective. I watch people all the time. When I look at people and see how some people act in certain situations, from what I know from my experience, I wouldn’t let my kid go anywhere near them for any reason. I wouldn’t have any evidence, it’s nothing I can pin point; it’s an instinct. You have it too. If you feel funny about a person at all, don’t let them near your kids. Better safe than sorry. Don’t be the one with your head in the sand. Better to hurt someone’s feelings than to have your child molested out of politeness.
With me it could be a teacher (I’ve had my daughter change classes.) or someone she’s on a field trip with. When my alarm system goes off, I trust it every time. It’s not paranoia, that’s not it. But I watch people.
(Added by ALa: Please contact your Governors & Senators to urge them to pass Jessica's Law!)
Update: Part two of Free's post will be up on Monday.