Child Molesters


75-Year-Old Man Charged with Impregnating 10-Year-Old

Sometimes it's Britney Spears and sometimes it's Carrie Fisher.
I can't tell if I've got a Lolita complex or an Œdipus complex.

- Ben Affleck

Bridgeport, Connecticut - City police have accused a 75-year-old man of impregnating a 10-year-old girl he met at his senior centre.  Jimmy Kave of Bridgeport admitted having sex with the girl several times, but claims she had enticed him, police said.  He turned himself in Wednesday after learning there was a warrant for his arrest.

The girl, now 11 and six months pregnant, has been removed from her home and taken into the custody by the state Department of Children and Families.  The Connecticut Post reported that the girl apparently intends to have the baby.  Her mother, who reported the assault to police, said her daughter met Kave through an "Adopt-a-Godfather" program at the Harborview Towers housing complex.

Kave was charged with six counts of first-degree sexual assault, eight counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.  He was arraigned Wednesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, where he was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and leg shackles.  Judge Thomas Upson set bond at $500,000 and scheduled his next court appearance for 30 April.  Kave has an extensive criminal record, including a 1984 sexual assault conviction in New Haven.  Police allege that he began sexually assaulting the girl beginning in January 2001.

Source: Associated Press 18 April 2002

The Sad Truth about Child Molesters

by Johann Hari

...a unique study was conducted with a control group.  The psychologist J K Marques and three colleagues wrote about the findings for the journal Criminal Justice and Behaviour.  They monitored pædophiles who were part of a very extensive programme of both individual and group treatment and, after they were released, of a year-long aftercare programme.  These offenders were given the highest-quality treatment known for pædophiles, and it might have been hoped that there would be impressive results.  Yet the treatment made no difference at all.  Those who had been through the programme were just as likely to reoffend as those with no treatment at all.

It seems, on this evidence, that Sigmund Freud might have been right after all when he judged pædophilia to be an intractable sexual orientation, entirely unresponsive to treatment.  In the mid-20th century, we moved away from this view towards a belief that we could treat pædophiles sufficiently to release them into the community.  There were honourable experiments conducted by people like Jan Evans.  But judging by the available evidence, these experiments are shown to have failed.

Most pædophiles are, as the child abuse expert Dr W F Glaser of the University of Melbourne argues, "long-term recidivists.  The oldest offenders in the clinic where I consult are in their 80s...  Burglars, car thieves and brawlers all appear to give up in their 30s, but pædophiles just keep on offending."  Combine this with the knowledge that sex offences against children have a negligibly low detection rate, and it becomes clear that the stakes, when a pædophile is released, are unusually high.

Some on the hard right, especially in the United States, have argued for a very different approach to treatment.  They advocate "treating" pædophiles with drugs that drain them of sexual desire ("chemical castration"), or even actual castration.  Yet study after study has found that these "treatments" never stop sex offenders.  Shorn of the ability to maintain an erection, the molesters simply continue their abuse by using objects instead of their penis.

The sad conclusion to which all this cold evidence leads is that pædophiles can never be released safely because the risk of recidivism is so great.  Perhaps this disappointing statement could be twinned by a brave politician (David Blunkett?) with the less palatable, but no less true, assertion that almost all pædophiles have been sexually abused themselves.  These are not satanic monsters, but tragic, pitiful figures.  Once we conclude that they can never be released, but nor are they evil, we could begin to talk about treating them humanely.

Source: 25th March 2002

Who Is to Blame?

She needs time to grow up

The special children's session at the United Nations is dedicated to improving education and health for the world's young people, combating Aids and protecting children from being forced to be soldiers, prostitutes and slave labourers.

It has also been a scene of jousting between Israel and Arab nations.  Palestinian supporters called on the conference to adopt a resolution demanding that Israel protect young people in the occupied territories and challenged Israel's UN credentials.  Israeli Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit said he was astonished, telling the conference: "Every one of you knows in their hearts who is to blame for the situation."

Rights activists told the conference that people who exploited children for sex in many parts of the world were more likely to be local residents looking for a "good luck charm" or a cure for Aids than pædophiles or sexual tourists.  In many parts of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, looking at offenders as stereotyped pædophiles or visitors from far-off lands amounted to an oversimplification that made the problem more difficult to deal with, said Carmen Madrinan, executive director of Thailand-based End Child Prostitution and Trafficking International.

The child sex industry is a multibillion-dollar business, with about a million children a year entering it, according to Unicef.  Both boys and girls are victims.  Some 20,000 to 30,000 child prostitutes in Sri Lanka are boys, and the FBI estimates that over half of all child pornography seized in the United States depicts boys.  "One of our greatest enemies in this work is to acknowledge that the problems exist fully.  Of course it is painful to do, but we must not forget that the suffering of the victims is far more painful," Queen Silvia of Sweden said.

Delegates and other speakers at the session said raising awareness of the children's plight would help to deal with the problem, as would better data on offenders.  Madrinan called on legislators around the world to criminalise all child pornography, as well as sex acts with young people under 18.  Delegates called for networks bringing together children, interest groups and government officials to fight sex offenders.  "We need to focus or we will lose our children and they in turn will lose their childhood," said Naira Khan, director of Zimbabwe's Child and Law Foundation.

As well as some 60 Government leaders and officials, about 400 children are taking part in the special UN session, a follow-up to a 1990 meeting. - Reuters

Source: 11 May 2002

Sex between Adults and Children: Experts Question Impact of Our Darkest Taboos

by Karen S Peterson

I deplore any kind of non-consensual sex between persons of any age.
But teens deserve respect for their decisions,
and they need from us the emotional and practical tools to make good decisions.

- Author Judith Levine

Our major task is trying to figure out how to stop this nonsense,
this justifying and encouraging adult-child sexual behaviour.

- Psychiatrist Paul Fink

Sex researchers and academics are tussling over a topic that most Americans don't even want to think about: sex between adults and children.  Some or these experts are making the startling assertion that not all sexual activity between adults and minors is necessarily harmful.  The result is a questioning of one of the country's most strongly held taboos.  Parents and others may gasp at the concept, especially in the current climate of scandal over sexual abuse by priests.  But some serious researchers and academics want to review the term "child sexual abuse," preferring a more neutral term such as "adult-child sex."

They do not say coerced sex is acceptable.  Rather, they debate questions such as whether a 25-year-old man should be prosecuted for statutory rape if he has sex with his eager 17-year-old girlfriend.  Laws vary by state.

How about if an older woman provides a sexual initiation for a teenage boy?  It's a fantasy dear to the hearts of many young men and a frequent theme of TV shows and movies, including the classic Summer of '42.  Experts debate whether sex with an adult is more damaging for an adolescent girl than for a boy, as some research indicates.  Also being discussed is whether it's really possible for a minor to initiate sex with an adult.  However, if the older lover is an authority figure, such as a teacher, coach or priest, most respected social scientists say the power imbalance is clear.

The controversy is engaging some researchers at top universities.  "I think the evidence has been clear for some time that child and adolescent sexual abuse does not always do harm in the long term," says David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation's foremost researchers on the sexual abuse of children.  "That is the good news."  One question now, he says, is determining if some youngsters are more mature and "able to consent to sexual relationships with older partners."

The belief that children can truly consent to sex with an adult horrifies critics across a wide spectrum.  "Our major task is trying to figure out how to stop this nonsense, this justifying and encouraging adult-child sexual behaviour," says Paul Fink, past president of the American Psychiatric Association.

"Is it open season on our children?" asks Stephanie Dallam, a researcher for the Leadership Council for Mental Health, Justice and the Media, a non-profit advocacy group for children that focuses on pædophilia.  The issue should not be blurred by talking about sex with a 17-year-old versus a younger child, Dallam says.  "That is just one hill in the battle" pædophiles are waging, she says.  "Once they have the 15- to 17-year-olds, then it will be okay with the 12- and 13-year olds."

There is still "a lot to be cleared up," Finkelhor says.  The adult-child issue would be easier to deal with, he says, if America had fewer children who had been victimised and "so badly hurt by the imposition of adult sexual activities."  Alarmed critics often quote a list of negative effects Finkelhor has catalogued.  His inventory includes depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, an earlier entry into sexual activity, a larger number of partners and a greater tendency to be sexually victimised later in life.

Discussions about adult-child sex are appearing in professional journals, including a special issue last month of the American Psychologist, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).  Researchers are not trying willy-nilly to turn traditional American values upside down, says APA spokesman Rhea Farberman.  There is no drive among mainstream mental health professionals or social science academics to "legitimize adult-child sex."  But she says there are reasonable questions for research, including analysing types of sexual activity that include everything from fondling to rape.  Defining terms is one of the problems researchers face, she says.  "Your definition, mine and the researcher's down the hall can all differ.  Are we talking about homosexual or heterosexual sex?  What is sex?  How old is a 'child'?"

The APA thinks child sexual abuse is by definition abuse and is "immoral and wrong," she says.  But "we can all agree it is a much more serious and potentially harmful situation when a 9-year-old is raped than when a 16-year-old has 'consensual sex' with a 19-year-old.  We need to be very careful of what we talk about."

The adult-child theme has been picked up on TV shows such as Boston Public, Once and Again and Dawson's Creek.  Actor Peter Krause's character on Six Feet Under recently revealed his sexual initiation occurred when he was 15 with a woman 20 years older.  And a sequel to the 1971 movie Summer of '42, in which an older woman pleasures a teenage boy, reportedly is in the works.

The debate has spilled over into a public battle over a book due May 1 on children and sexuality.  Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex is from the University of Minnesota Press, a noted academic publishing house.  The author, Judith Levine, is a respected journalist and activist who has been writing about sex and families for 20 years.  The book has prompted bitter attacks from critics who say its publication should be stopped.

The University of Minnesota, which provides 6% of the Press' budget, responded to the criticism in early April by announcing an independent review of how the Press chooses what it publishes.  Contrary to what some critics say, the book does not advocate pædophilia, says Douglas Armato of the University Press.  Instead, it makes a case for open and honest discussion about adolescent and children's sexuality.  "We published a 300-page book, and people are paying attention to four pages of it," he says.

E-mails are running 2-to-1 against the book, Armato says, but a corner has been turned.  "We are beginning to hear favourable things from those who say these topics must be addressed."  A number of respected groups including the Association of American University Presses released a statement Tuesday in support of the Minnesota Press and its decision to "enrich the public debate."

Levine's book focuses on the need sex educators feel to get solid sexual information to adolescents.  Frightening them, overemphasising the dangers from pædophiles and from predators on the Internet, and overprotecting them does more harm than good, she writes.  "In my book, I deplore any kind of non-consensual sex between persons of any age," she said in an interview.  "But teens deserve respect for their decisions, and they need from us the emotional and practical tools to make good decisions."

Levine had sex with "a man in his 20s" when she was "about 17" and believes such sexual contact is not always harmful.  But in her book, Levine goes much further.  She applauds a Dutch age-of-consent law that permits adult sex with a child ages 12-16 if the young person consents.  Either the child or the child's parents can file charges if the sex is coerced.

Reaction has been swift.  "We are really appalled," says Fink, who also is director of the Leadership Council for Mental Health, Justice and the Media.  "Children need to grow up unencumbered and unused by adults.  This whole movement is justifying the needs of adults by utilising children in a negative way."

Dallam says: "Children should be off-limits sexually.  There is a concerted effort among certain academics to change society's basically negative attitude toward sex with children.  They try to say scientific data show some children are not harmed, therefore society is wrong in thinking that this is harmful."  Others object passionately to Levine's book.  Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute calls the book "evil."  The institute takes its guidance from God and the Bible, its Web site indicates.  "The book makes a case for pædophilia," he says.  "I have not read it cover to cover, but I am familiar with its themes.  She is drawing on quack science.  It gives a scientific gloss to the arguments that child molesters use."

The American Psychological Association is once again coping with the hot-button issue of adult-child sex.  A 1998 article in one of its more obscure publications, the Psychological Bulletin, created a firestorm that included a denunciation by Congress.  Now a March 2002 special issue of the American Psychologist published by the APA examines how it handled what turned into a debacle of criticism and counter-criticism.

In the 1998 article, three authors analysed 59 studies of college students recalling sexual abuse.  The researchers reported that despite what many think, child sexual abuse "does not cause intense harm on a pervasive basis regardless of gender in the college population," although boys fared better than girls.  And they concluded that some children experienced positive reactions in "willing" sexual encounters with adults, according to the March APA analysis of what happened after publication and why.

One of the authors - researcher Robert Bauserman, who was with the University of Michigan in 1998 - now says, "I have the feeling that if you don't say anybody under 18 is permanently psychologically harmed by any type of sexual experience," then you are called a supporter of pædophiles by critics.  He has never, he says, called for lower age-of-consent laws or "changing social norms."  Instead, he says, researchers "need to identify the situations and circumstances that produce the most harm."

Researcher Finkelhor says that, as a society, "We seem to have an extremely difficult time recognising the need for boundaries.  We will be talking about this subject for some years" to come.

Source: USA Today Wednesday 17 April 2002

Sexy Kids

by Cristina Odone

Always eager for new markets, capitalism has turned to pre-teens: shops are full of videos, clothes and cosmetics designed to exploit and sexualise them.

The pink cotton T-shirt hangs from the "Sale" rack at the front of the shop.  Its logo, in red lettering, stretches from left to right: "So many boys, so little time."  It's an old line, which usually raises a smile.  But not this time: this T-shirt is a "5-6 years" size.  Inappropriate?  Well, yes.  But everything is relative.  What about the thong for 7-year-olds, with a little heart on the crotch?  Or the padded bra for a 9-year-old?  As for America - you can buy your prepubescent daughter a thong with a cherry and the words "Eat Me" embroidered across it.

What have we done to childhood?  Browse on the high street and you'll find make-up for children, perfume for toddlers and magazines such as the BBC's Girl Talk, with 11-year-old cover girls and features, aimed at the 9+ age group, that give tips on how to get the beach babe look.  Pre-teen has become an erotic term in itself; Lolita, a concept as familiar as Barbie.

For many children's organisations, the greatest culprits in this sexualisation of the under-age are the manufacturers: "Theirs is purely a marketing exploitation," says Michelle Elliott, director of the charity Kidscape.  "They claim that they're responding to demand.  But it's not true.  They've run out of teenagers and they're asking - what next?"  Last year, Kidscape launched a campaign to pull Tammy brand thongs and padded bras from Argos: "We pointed out that, as a responsible family store, Argos should not carry such items.  We succeeded in getting them to withdraw the merchandise - and they've told me that in future they will consult with Kidscape before purchasing children's clothes."

The clothing industry is not alone in milking young tastes for profit: the pop music, film and pharmaceutical industries are equally eager to boost sales by treating children as mini-adults who deserve no special protection.  They target kids (and their pocket money) with the same message: you are a sexy little beast - and will be even sexier, once you've tried this shampoo, learnt from this film, listened to this song.

As a sales pitch, it is hard to beat.  And even if you should feel confused about your sexual being, or want to cling to your dolls rather than shop for your thongs, there are plenty of examples out there to confirm how sexually attractive you are.  There's the video of Britney Spears gyrating suggestively in a school uniform and pigtails: all the boys - and the men - keep saying she's sexy.  There are those clubs that specialise in "school discos" - attended by ravers dressed up in gymslips and short little school uniforms.  And, should you browse the net, you will find S Club Juniors, the pop group aged 11-14, striking suggestive poses in their crop tops.  So intense and widespread is the message that little kids are sexy that even the slowest of slow developers cannot fail to get it.

The market - and Fleet Street, or at least the tabloid end of it, with its titillating stories that fume, in extraordinary detail, about dirty pædophiles, under-age sex and teenage pregnancies - has understood that it can tap into powerful yearnings: of children, to have their way, and be adult; of adults, to have their way with children.  The former urge has long been recognised; the latter, long suppressed, and never more so than now.  Yet many refuse to acknowledge the link between these urges: if you promote raunchy lyrics about the under-age or allow a child to listen to them; if you sell boob tubes to a 9-year-old, or allow your daughter to wear them, you may be making her wish come true - but what are you doing to the pædophile, or even, closer to home, to the lecherous, perhaps drunk, family friend who happens to drop round when neither parent is about?  Many would agree with Michelle Elliott of Kidscape that "parents have to beware.  If you dress up your child in a sexual way, it will justify the pædophile.  We're making children vulnerable."

Ironically, the same parents who see nothing wrong in allowing little Jane to dress as Britney-in-the-making will forbid their children (boys and girls) from taking the bus to school unaccompanied, ban them from playing out of doors and generally circumscribe their movements as insurance against the bad adult world out there.  Some responsibilities, it would seem, are recognised, some risks taken on board.

In the marketplace, however, even these responsibilities are shed: the "kidult", after all, is a money-spinner - all those must-haves that children beg their parents for, all those pædophile porn gadgets adults get off on.  As a result, the come-ons from manufacturers have grown ubiquitous, luring children on a fast track to adulthood in much the same way that wages used to lure children down mines or up chimneys in the Victorian era.

In those days, their premature entry into adulthood condemned children to TB, black lung and no school.  Today it comes at a different, if equally worrying, price: one in four of all rape victims is a child; sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase among the under-18s; one in three British girls under the age of 16 is sexually active; and Britain has Europe's highest teenage pregnancy rate.

What's a parent to do?  Parents complain that they feel powerless as the forces ranged against them increase.  How persuasive can you be, with your objections to crop tops and explicit pop lyrics, when yours is the lone voice of dissent?  Gone are the days when Mum and Dad could find some support from school, media and the church.  Today, those institutions are either discredited or they have joined the conspiracy to rob children of their childhood.  The government proposes to hand out free condoms and the morning-after pill in secondary schools and to fund birth control clinics, responsible to the health authority rather than the school, for 11-year-olds.  Add to this the decision to allow teenagers easy access to the abortion pill RU486, and you can understand that many parents think the government contributes to a climate that condones under-age sex.  Robert Whelan, of Family and Youth Concern, argues: "These proposals persuade children that sex is all-important and that they must hurry to step into an ersatz adulthood, a simulacrum of real maturity."

The disturbing precociousness is accompanied by an acceleration of children's physical maturity.  At the University of Bristol, researchers who studied 1,150 8-year-old children in Avon, as part of their "Children of the '90s" project, concluded that 1/6 of all 8-year-old girls showed signs of puberty, compared to one in 100 in the not-very-distant past.  Also, 1 in 14 of the 8-year-old boys had pubic hair - something once more or less confined to boys of 13 and over.

Yet did our children ever inhabit a Walt Disney wonderland of innocence from which Mother Nature and market forces now conspire to exile them?  Emma Duncan, mother of 5-year-old twin girls, thinks not.  "We've created this notion of childhood, rather than robbed our children of it," she maintains.  Paintings from the Renaissance onward show that children were viewed as "mini-adults, dressed in grown-up clothes, wearing grown-up expressions.  It is a myth that there was a time when they were more protected, or more cherished, or more innocent."

Her own daughters force her to reconsider time and again how best to protect children: "Girls don't get pregnant because they wear sexy clothes.  They get pregnant because of abuse, ignorance and lack of contraception."  She has already taught the girls about sex: "I want them to have a knowing - informed - childhood."

At primary schools in the UK, sex education covers areas such as "stranger danger" - raising children's consciousness about potential abusers; how to say "no"; and how to blow the whistle on someone who has behaved "inappropriately" with you.  Further protection is offered in some schools by uniforms: not the short and sassy Britney Spears number, but prim and sober garb that restrains children from dressing as their pop idols do.

Yet even the uniform can be tarted up: as one primary school teacher points out: "My 8-year-olds come to class wobbling on high heels.  The most I can do is warn their parents of how dangerous the heels are - the little ones could fall off and hurt themselves."  What she feels she cannot do in the present climate, where so many parents express hostility towards teachers who "meddle", is warn parents that their little girl risks attracting the wrong sort of attention.  She feels even less entitled to comment on the girls' dancing at school parties, "when some of them gyrate and sway like provocative, grown-up women".  Asian parents, she points out, are far more careful about their children's clothing and behaviour.  "Some will not allow their daughters to attend school discos, or to wear revealing clothes or make-up.  It's a cultural difference that shields the Asian girls from the fashion excesses others fall into."

Excess seems an apt term: our idealisation of childhood as a Teletubby Garden of Eden seems excessively sentimental; at the same time, the products and popular narratives - from MTV entertainments to Hollywood films - that we buy, and buy into, excessively sexualize the very young.  Is it any wonder that children who experience this contradictory view of themselves feel confused about their role - am I a 9-year-old or am I a nymphet?

And is it any wonder that pædophiles (who are rare) or men with Humbert Humbert tendencies (who are more common) feel equally confused when they receive contradictory messages about the innocent-sexual child?

Neither child nor predator exists in a vacuum: if we surround them with erotically charged images and props, both risk slipping into a sleazy landscape where sexy children are commonplace, and sex with children no longer taboo.

Source: Monday 15 July 2002

Marilyn's Childhood...

Mummy's Little Lolita: Just Like Barbie

Sasha Bennington is just 11 but her mother loves the way she looks.


by Jenny Johnston

She wore her first sets of false eyelashes and nails at 8, and her beauty treatments cost £300 a month.  A sick abuse of an 11-year-old?  "No," insists Sasha Bennington's mother, Jayne, "I just want her to be famous..."  At 11 there are hair extensions, fake tans, pedicures - "All the kids are at it now," insists Jayne.  "Perhaps it's different in country areas, where they don't need to grow up so fast.  But, around big cities, girls have got to be more forward and act older.  That's just the way it is."

Earlier this year, Sasha became the first British child to dip a scarlet-tipped toe into the American pageant scene.  Jayne was at her side and found what you'd expect at a US beauty pageant held in a down-market-looking Texan hotel: mums parading their daughters like prize poodles.  "It was just fantastic," says Jayne.  "All the mums were up at 6am so they could get started on hair and make-up.  And everything is just the best - no expense spared.  You have to spend £2,000 on a pageant dress but the one we bought Sasha was out of this world.  We went to this huge shop where there was every colour and style you could imagine - Sasha was in her element.  The pageant was like a dream, just like a big theatrical event - like being transported to another world."

It seems that the main lesson Jayne learned was that her darling daughter could look like a plastic Barbie.  She enthuses, "It was wonderful!  I watched them on the catwalk, with their arms held so precisely, walking slowly and turning just so.  They reminded me of little ballerina dolls."  What sort of mother wants her daughter to look like a doll?  Jayne's response to the pageant pictures of Sasha - looking shocking with deep red lips and heavily smoked eyes - probably says more about her than her daughter.  "The pictures are amazing, and Sasha is such a lucky girl to have them.  I'd love to have those sort of pictures, nice pictures, rather than ones you hide away because you can't bear to look at them."

Jayne takes Sasha to a major agency, in hopes that she will be signed up.  The model booker says a vehement "No!" horrified by Sasha's portfolio; she tells Jayne that clients want child models to look like children - for this sort of career success she would have to stop bleaching Sasha's hair and encouraging her to wear plastic nails.  Jayne refuses to comply, maintaining that it has always been Sasha who has driven her own "career" forward.  Even as a baby Sasha was a "total poser," playing up for the cameras and basking in attention.  "She's always wanted to be a model, 100%. I'm just helping her do what she wants, like any good parent would."  Yet "the best" involves holding her hand as she steps into a terrifyingly sexualised world.  It is Jayne herself who says that her daughter looks "about 18" when she has full make-up on.  "But even without make-up, she looks older than her age."  Jayne thinks this is a good thing and brushes off questions about unwelcome male attention.  "People go on about the pædophile thing, but they've got that one wrong.  Pædophiles don't want girls who look 18.  If anything, it's the fresh-faced younger ones they want.  And so what if she poses in a bikini?  There are plenty of 11-year-old girls on beaches in bikinis.  If people have a problem with it, I'd say it is their problem, not mine."

Jayne also takes Sasha to cheerleading classes, making her practise wherever she goes - even pushing her into the middle of the floor in restaurants.  Why?  "You have to be out there, being noticed, even at a bus stop.  What if Andrew Lloyd Webber walks past?"

Ask Sasha how she sees herself and she replies: "Blonde, pretty, dumb - I don't need brains."  Her mum laughs at this, proud the child is so like her.

Source: 5 July 2008

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