The American Psychological Association (APA) Dictionary of Psychology defines pedophilia as “a paraphilia in which sexual acts or fantasies involving prepubertal children are the persistently preferred or exclusive method of achieving sexual excitement. The children are usually many years younger than the pedophile (or pedophiliac). Sexual activity may consist of looking and touching but may include intercourse, even with very young children.”
Is a person who is arrested and convicted of pedophilia a deviant and depraved individual? An evil individual? A mentally ill individual?
Nine people were indicted on an array of pedophilia and child sex trafficking charges related to an Ohio pedophile ring in Scioto County that allegedly gave illegal drugs to young mothers in exchange for sexual access to their children.
Former 10TV meteorologist in Columbus, Ohio, Mike Davis was sentenced to a minimum of four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to child porn charges in January.
Child pornography is not a victimless crime. The children in photos and videos are victims. And individuals who view child porn are doing harm.
Is non-offending pedophilia a mental disorder? Should an adult who is sexually attracted to children be diagnosed with a mental disorder even if he/she does not sexually molest children and does not view child pornography?
“Virtuous Pedophiles” or virped.org is the name of an online organization. “Our website is intended to reduce the stigma attached to pedophilia by letting people know that a substantial number of pedophiles DO NOT molest children, and to provide peer support and information about available resources to help virtuous pedophiles remain law-abiding, and lead happy productive lives.”
However, viewing child pornography is a crime, even if an individual does not engage in the sexual molestation of a child.
The Virped website continues, “But as long as pedophiles are celibate, they should not have to think of themselves as having a disorder. They did not choose pedophilia and they cannot make it go away. We encourage celibate pedophiles to let go of feelings of shame and distress. If they can, they no longer have a disorder according to DSM-5.”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) lists “Pedophilic Disorder” as a mental disorder (page 697). It also states that “individuals who have never approached a child sexually but who qualify for the diagnosis of pedophilic disorder on the basis of subjective distress.”
A statement released in 2013, reported, “The American Psychological Association maintains that pedophilia is a mental disorder; that sex between adults and children is always wrong; and that acting on pedophilic impulses is and should be a criminal act.”
There’s a new term floating around that seeks to replace the word pedophilia. A “minor-attracted person” or MAP refers to a person who is sexually attracted to children, but does not sexually molest them.
Allyn Walker is the author of the book, “A Long, Dark, Shadow: Minor Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.” The controversy centers around the argument that not everyone who is attracted to children will sexually abuse them. Walker doesn’t want this group of people to be labeled as pedophiles.
As a therapist with over 30 years of experience, I agree that non-offending individuals with pedophilia need access to mental health counseling. And the first and ongoing goal is the protection of any and all children. Individuals who want help, need to have a safe therapeutic place to receive treatment.
Individuals arrested, charged, and convicted due to child porn need long prison sentences. Individuals arrested, charged, and convicted of child molestation need long prison sentences. Prisons offer treatment for sex offenders. Does treatment work? That’s another controversy.
And the new phrase “minor-attracted people” is absurd.