Pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a deep-rooted predisposition that does not change.
As a young boy, Paul Christiano loved the world of girls — the way they danced, how their spindly bodies tumbled in gymnastics.
In adolescence, as other boys ogled classmates, he was troubled to find himself fantasizing about 7- to 11-year-olds.
His desires remained stuck in time as he neared adulthood. Despite a stable home life in suburban Chicago, he was tortured by urges he knew could land him in prison.
"For having these feelings, I was destined to become a monster," he said. "I was terrified."
In 1999, Christiano was caught buying child pornography. Now 36, he said he has never molested a child, but after five years of state-ordered therapy, the attraction remains.
"These people felt they could snuff out the desire, or shame me into denying it existed," he said. "But it's as intrinsic as the next person's heterosexuality."
In the laboratory, researchers are coming to the same conclusion.
Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or homosexuality. It is a deep-rooted predisposition — limited almost entirely to men — that becomes clear during puberty and does not change.
The best estimates are that between 1% and 5% of men are pedophiles, meaning that they have a dominant attraction to prepubescent children.
Not all pedophiles molest children. Nor are all child molesters pedophiles. Studies show that about half of all molesters are not sexually attracted to their victims. They often have personality disorders or violent streaks, and their victims are typically family members.
By contrast, pedophiles tend to think of children as romantic partners and look beyond immediate relatives. They include chronic abusers familiar from the headlines — Catholic priests, coaches and generations of Boy Scout leaders.
Other pedophiles are "good people who are struggling," said Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychiatrist who heads the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. "They're tortured souls fighting like heck not to do this. We do virtually nothing in terms of reaching out to these folks. We drive it underground."
Some of the new understanding of pedophilia comes from studies done on convicted sex criminals at the Center for Mental Health and Addiction in Toronto, where researchers use a procedure known as phallometry to identify men whose peak attraction is to children.
A man sits alone in a room viewing a series of images and listening to descriptions of various sexual acts with adults and children, male and female, while wearing a device that monitors blood flow to his penis.
Like men attracted to adults, nearly all pedophiles respond most strongly to one gender or the other — females far more often than males. ...continued... by By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times
Senate PASSED S-954 Farm Bill (Vote 66-27-7). There will be a House/Senate Conference Committee.
The HARMFUL Vitter Amend. is in the final Senate Farm Bill. See HERE
House Farm bill (HR 1947) is under consideration with issues affecting certain sex offenders.
Voting on Thurs. 6-20 9:00 Am (Clerk list Floor proceedings) or so, WATCH proceedings HERE
Tuesday, January 15, 2013