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Child Molesters: a behavioral analysis (pdf)
Provided courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/FBI

Child Molesters: a behavioral analysis - document with summary



To provide information about the behavior of child molesters, we provide the important document ‘Child Molesters: a behavioral analysis’ above. While written for law enforcement personnel it is vital information for anyone who has dealings with children or the subject of child molesters or predators.

Child pornography
The following excerpts from the document refer to those found viewing child pornography online. These passages (with page numbers) refer to the reaction, reasoning and justifications given by those caught, or who think they may be caught, viewing the rape of children in online child pornography. The excerpts are provided unaltered. For additional context please access the original document above


Guilty Knowledge (P93)

When caught with child pornography, offenders come up with a wide variety of responses. Some deny any knowledge and ask for their lawyer. Most, however, come up with a vast array of explanations and excuses. They claim they did not know they had it or did not know it was child pornography. Some claim that as law-enforcement officers, lawyers, doctors, therapists, or researchers they had a professional use for the material. Some claim they are artists and that the images in question are works of art. Some claim they were conducting investigations as concerned members of society. A few claim to have no sexual interest in the material. They downloaded it out of curiosity or inadvertently.


Miscellaneous “Offenders” (P92)

Miscellaneous “offenders” include…
Overzealous civilians - members of society who go overboard doing their own private investigations into this problem. As will be discussed, investigators must be cautious of all overzealous civilians who offer their services in these cases.


“Concerned Civilians” (P93 - 94)

Many individuals who report information to the authorities about deviant sexual activity they have discovered on the Internet must invent clever excuses for how and why they came upon such material. They often start out pursuing their own sexual/deviant interests, but then decide to report to law enforcement either because it went too far, they are afraid authorities might have monitored them, or they need to rationalize their perversions as having some higher purpose or value. Rather than honestly admitting their own deviant interests, they make up elaborate explanations to justify finding the material. Some claim to be journalists; researchers; or outraged, concerned members of society trying to protect a child or help law enforcement.

One especially sensitive area for investigators is the preferential sex offender who presents himself as a concerned civilian reporting what he inadvertently “discovered” in cyberspace or requesting to work with law enforcement to search for child pornography and protect children. Other than the obvious benefit of legal justification for their past or future activity, most do this as part of their need to rationalize their behavior as worthwhile and gain access to children. When these offenders are caught, instead of recognizing this activity as part of their preferential pattern of behavior, the courts sometimes give them leniency because of their “good deeds.”


Fabrication (P130)

Some of the more clever child molesters come up with ingenious stories to explain their behavior. Many incest offenders claim to be providing sex education for their children. One father claimed he was teaching his daughter the difference between a “good touch” and “bad touch.”  

These stories work even better for an acquaintance molester who is a professional such as a clergy member, teacher, doctor, or therapist. One offender, a doctor, claimed he was conducting research on male-youth prostitution. A professor claimed he was conducting research on pedophilia and collecting and distributing child pornography for scientific research. A teacher said that his students had such a desperate need for attention and affection that they practically threw themselves at him and misunderstood his affection and response as sexual advances. A minister claimed he was doing research on adolescent growth. In another case a nursery-school operator, who had taken and collected thousands of photographs of young, nude or seminude children in his care, claimed they were not for sexual purposes; he simply admired the anatomy of children. Another offender claimed his sadomasochistic photographs of children were part of a child-discipline program. One offender claimed the children made a sexually explicit videotape without his knowledge and that he had kept it only to show their parents. Another offender claimed he was merely keeping the child warm in his bed on a cold night. A lawyer claimed his child-pornography collection was part of his legal research. Several offenders have recently claimed they are artists victimized by censorship and their collections are works of art protected by the First Amendment. Another offender claimed unwanted child pornography was sent to his computer, and he kept it because he is a compulsive pack rat. One offender claimed he had child pornography not because of a sexual interest, but because he liked to collect “forbidden material.”


Provided courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). © Copyright NCMEC


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