Modus Operandi of Pedophiles
(Method of Operation)
Preface: We have compiled some insights about pedophiles gathered over nine years of experience working with adults who have experienced pedophilic violence. Additionally, insights come from the collective wisdom of persons who have survived experiences of pedophilic ritual abuse-torture. Wisdoms shared with us during two years of conducting interviews a “kitchen table” research project which is evolving into a book entitled, “The torturers walk among us”. As we witnessed the survivor’s telling of the monstrous acts inflicted upon them by cruel men and women perpetrators, we concluded that pedophiles engage in very intentional behavior. Having said this, we are aware that the literature speaks to the fact that some acts of pedophilia occur without pre-planned intentionality, to which the perpetrator takes responsibility, has empathy for their victim, and can respond with remorse for the harm they have inflicted, for instance, a one time incident of incestuous rape. One-time ordeals are not the situations we are referring to.
The population of pedophiles we have been “introduced to”, that we speak about, are the “hard-core” pedophiles who engage in intentional repetitive acts of pedophilia, who engage in group pedophilia, who are involved in systemic institutional pedophilia, or who participate in acts of non-political pedophilic torture including ritual abuse-torture.
This paper, although written from the perspective of the victim from the perspective of exposing the impact of pedophilic victimization and traumatization is by no means a complete detail of the extensive harms infants, toddlers, children or youth victims suffer. It does not detail the potential accumulative effects that a young victim may be burdened with in their adult life. Nor does this paper detail the extensive atrocities which pedophilic perpetrators inflict unto their young victims. We have attempted to briefly make visible the suffering of the young person, in the hope this will help society understand and empathize with young victimized persons and their need to have bystanders become involved. We see partnerships between adults who have been victimized as children and non-abusive others which focuses on exposing pedophilic atrocities, which focuses on holding structures like the Church accountable, and which challenges persons who have abused their positional power and public trust to cover up all forms of violence against the young as the prime solution for building a safe society for the children of the future!
In response to discussions we had with persons in Boston, who are working so diligently to have the institution of the Roman Catholic Church hold itself accountable for hiding endemic pedophilic abuse, this paper shares our general insights about pedophilic behavior, uses examples of convicted pedophile priest behaviors or of alleged pedophilic priests behaviors gathered from information reported in the media.
WHY DO THE “HARD-CORE” PEDOPHILES DO WHAT THEY DO?
To dominate & to express totalitarian power & control over their victim(s);
To satisfy their needs & desires for cruel & inhumane pleasure & entertainment; and/or,
For greed & money if perpetrators engage in the exploitation of their victim(s) via the “sex” trade and/or pedophilic pornography.
WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS?
Like-minded men & women, mothers & fathers. Other kin. Friends or neighbors. Persons from all walks of life. Persons who use positional power as a cover. The professional, cleric, or lay person.
INSIGHTS ABOUT PEDOPHILES: FROM THE VICTIM’S PERSPECTIVE:
Perpetrators their attitude of superiority:
Pedophiles frequently believe they are superior, for instance, in the case of priests they are groomed to believe they are next to god and statements made, this year, by the Pope stating priests have to be perfect people can reinforce a sense of superiority. Such like-mindedness creates a specific group philosophy which supports group think, group attitudes, and group behaviors which, when combined together, transforms into a distorted opinion of Self and a distorted opinion of (persons who do not belong to the group). For pedophilic groups this like-mindedness can be described as:
A perpetrator holding the belief that outsiders victims are inferior;
Having a belief that their victims are inferior makes it easier for the perpetrator to disregard the humanity of their victims and to treat their victims as objects this is called objectification;
Once objectified the child/youth is sexualized turned into a sex object; then,
To help excuse their pedophilic behaviors the perpetrator engages in blame-the-victim” excuses. The victim is blamed for what happened to him/her, for example, western society blamed the slaves for their slavery, the Nazis believed the Jews and other marginalized persons such as homosexual or disabled persons, and gypsies were inferior and thus deserving of the atrocities inflicted upon them. Similarly, pedophiles will blame their child/youth victim by saying the child/youth was being sexually provocative, was dressing or moving in a sexually-permissive manner, or instigated the sexualized behavior. Case in point, accused priest Shanley, making a speech at a Man Boy Love pedophilic conference, is quoted as saying that children are responsible for all sexual behavior with adults including incest and bestiality.
These ideological processes of making another group inferior, objectifying them, then engaging in victim blaming are processes perpetrators of human atrocities take to enable them to intentionally harm innocent persons without feeling guilt or remorse. As one pedophilic priest stated, “once I got past the `sin’ all I had left was the pleasure.” Our work suggests pedophiles that commit acts of pedophilic ritual abuse-torture also engage in these same processes which enables them to take cruel pleasure in harming their infant, toddler, child, or youth victims without feeling any emotional turmoil or remorse.
Victim blaming tactics:
Victim blaming can be consistent throughout every thought and act the pedophile performs, it serves to keep pedophiles from feeling any shame, guilt, remorse, or caring about their child/youth victim. Victim blaming is about blame shifting. Blame shifting tactics permit the pedophile to transfer responsibility for their acts of pedophilic abuse unto their child/youth victim. Victim blaming and blame shifting commonly transfers emotional shame, blame, guilt, and worthlessness unto the victimized child/youth who can then spiral into emotional Self-loathing. Self-loathing can manifest into Self-harming behaviors such as Self cutting, drug and alcohol misuse, criminal activity, “sex” trade activities, or suicidality as ways of coping with their over-whelming suffering.
Persons who are in positions of power can also use “blame-the-victim” tactics, as Cardinal Law did when he claimed Gregory Ford and his family were, in part, responsible for Gregory’s alleged abuse by Shanley. Such blame-the-victim statements, although an attempt to protect the establishment, do provide support to the perpetrator, and do harm the victim.
Pedophiles demonstrate an inability to empathize with their child/youth victim and will objectify their child/youth victim by referring to them as an “it”. Pedophiles treat the child/youth victim as a non-person, an object, or a possession. As a possession the pedophile can feel justified in doing whatever they please to satisfy their cruel “pleasures”. They can use and abuse their child/youth victim in whatever manner feels pleasurable because their distorted thinking supports their beliefs that their pedophilic acts are not harmful or hurtful for the child/youth. They may even believe that the pain is “good” for the child/youth “its makes you stronger than the outsiders.” These very egocentric and arrogant views and the oppressive views of children/youth are also rooted, in our opinion, in a historical and on-going social devaluation and hatred of children/youth. We have coined the word “childogny” to name this systemic hatred and devaluation. Childogny negates the child/youth as a person with human rights and responsibilities.
Demanding unquestionable loyalty and obedience:
Rigid rules such as “obey your elders” or fostering within children/youth the belief that authority figures are not to be questioned the priest’s, teacher’s, or Scout leader’s opinion is absolute can make children/youth unquestionably compliant and vulnerable to the manipulation of abusers. Creating an environment in the church or school system, for instance, where hierarchy dominates by maintaining unquestionable power and control, where positional authority is blindly obeyed and demanding of blind loyalty and obedience from others from the status quo parishioners or the students, for example can facilitate the pedophile’s ability to hide their pedophilic behavior. The secret of systemic pedophilia, such as has occurred in the Church, becomes well protected when unquestionable loyalty and obedience are viewed as virtues.
Abusing positional power:
Professional roles are accompanied by positional power. A pedophilic priest, nurse, doctor, or teacher for instance, can misuse their positional power as a tool to oppress and manipulate their child/youth victim. For instance, society and structures like the church have acted to believe and support the priest with his positional power versus the powerless child/youth!
Adulthood in itself brings positional power to the adult-child relationship. Adults are larger in size than young children, adults have developmental maturity and life experiences which children/youth do not have, and an adult’s positional power implies a trust and a dependency upon which the child/youth ought to be able to rely. When the pedophile uses the adult-child relationship to disguise their pedophilic plans, the pedophile is able to manipulate, intimidate, and “set-up” their child/youth victim. Should the child/youth try to tell of their abuse the pedophile’s positional power can easily override the child/youth victim’s voice, or the child/youth is very frequently not believed, or the child/youth’s parent(s) may even punish their child/youth for saying such “untruths” about a priest, for instance. Abusive pedophilic adult power comes disguised in many forms such as the family friend, a friendly neighbor, or the school volunteer.
The long term, short term, and crisis planning of pedophiles:
Pedophiles have many layers of intentional behavior as they deliberately set out to hunt their child/youth victims. Hunting tactics includes long term, short term, and crisis planning. For example:
Long term planning includes making career choices that will give the pedophile access to children/youth, for instance, becoming a priest, a pediatrician or pediatric nurse, a dentist, child care worker, teacher, or baby-sitter, etc. To reduce the possibility of discovery pedophiles may be selective of where they perpetrate. For example, a dentist will plan it so their child/youth victim’s appointment will be the last appointment in the day when staff has gone home and privacy is assured. Other perpetrators plan pedophilic acts during vacation or traveling to foreign countries where they are unknown and child exploitation laws are lax, as in Thailand.
Short term planning includes living in locations frequented by children/youth, such as near a school, a school bus stop, or a playground. It can mean moving to job areas that have little or no screening or reporting policies mandating the reporting of suspicions of child/youth abuse to the police. For instance, lack of mandatory reporting of allegations of child/youth abuse to the police has been the norm in the Roman Catholic Church. Short term planning for a priest may mean choosing to gain the blind trust of parent(s) who are devout and trusting Catholics before perpetrating sexualized violence against their children/youth; for others it may mean becoming a youth group leader, working with street youth, or becoming a scout leader or volunteer. Working with marginalized and vulnerable children/youth of single parent families, immigrant children/youth, or children/youth living in poverty also enables pedophiles to plan how to gain access to potential child/youth victims. Communicating with other pedophiles about “good” places or “how-to” gain access to children/youth by sharing Internet victim recruitment techniques is another way pedophiles gain knowledge about hunting for child/youth victims.
Crisis planning comes into effect when the pedophile feels their exposure is imminent. Crisis interventions can include moving or transferring suddenly, for instance, transferring to another diocese, or moving to another community or country, or to another job. It can mean disappearing quietly by claiming health concerns as the reason for leaving a position or community, disappearing by going on a sudden holiday, or by requesting an accelerated retirement.
Pedophiles commonly fail to take either responsibility for their actions or hold them-Selves
accountable, instead the perpetrator uses deceitfulness, chronic lies, half-truths, excuses, and denial to discredit the child/youth victim who is trying to tell and be heard. Additionally, pedophiles may claim the child/youth victim misinterpreted the events, is exaggerating, is telling lies, or is confused about cultural behaviors. Combined with the reality child/youth are very frequently not believed and that the pedophile’s excuses are most often believed, the child/youth victim can become and feel entrapped silenced! By using these tactics a pedophile can build a “box of entrapment around the child/youth victim.”
One example of how “cultural differences” was brought into a discussion by an alleged pedophilic priest is when, “Berthold [a priest] acknowledged … that he had kissed Sellars [alleged victim] … on the cheeks not on the lips. Having studied in France between 1969 and 1971, Berthold said he had become accustomed to kissing people on the cheeks.” Cultural differences ought never be considered an excuse for violating a child/youth’s boundaries nor is it an excuse for abusive and intrusive behavior.
Making excuses for one’s pedophilic behavior is another tactic perpetrators use. When Shanley, a priest, was arrested he made the statement that he was raped in the seminary. This statement is paramount to providing him-Self with an excuse it happened to me so I am not responsible for what I did for his alleged behavior of abusing children.
Persons in positions of power can also act in ways that are supportive of pedophiles, excusing the pedophile of their accountability for their sexualized violence. For instance, during the first weeks of the pedophilic scandal in the Roman Catholic church in Boston, Cardinal Law constantly asked for prayers for the priests accused of inflicting the abuse, he failed to mention the suffering of the victims until the public outcry became so loud he “chose” to speak of the suffering of the victims.
Associating with good people and good causes:
By surrounding themselves with good people pedophiles can hide their harmful and cruel intentions. They become even more invisible as they use the good intentions of others as a cover or join good causes such as groups that are for the protection of children/youth become a Block Parent or Big Brother for instance. Who would suspect a pedophile would join a good cause? This manipulative technique of using and fooling bystanders make it harder for bystanders to believe child/youth victims when they disclose their abuse.
Building community trust a goal for pedophilic hunters:
Pedophiles with positional power, teachers, priests, doctors, or nurses, for instance, can and do use positional power not only to build trust within adult-child relationships, they use positional power to build trust within their relationships with the parents of their potential child/youth victims, and with other adults within the community. By gaining the trust of adults and the trust of the community, the pedophile has unquestionable access to child/youth victims because the pedophile is perceived as a dedicated community worker. Trustworthiness camouflages their true goal of “hunting” for child/youth victims. The pedophile’s activities remains invisible and above suspicion. Pedophiles can and do develop such a “good person persona” they are often the last person to be suspected of abusing children/youth. Their ability to create an ideal image and their skill at leading a double life is crucial for a pedophile to succeed at their goal of hunting children/youth for their cruel pleasure of sexualized abuse or sexualized ritual abuse-torture of their child/youth victim.
The child/youth is often told by the pedophile, “you are special”. This statement is commonly reinforced when the child/youth’s parent(s), for example, also perceive or feel privileged that their child/youth is being treated with specialness that their child/youth is the “the chosen one” chosen or “blessed” to be befriended by a priest or a person with positional power, importance, and authority. Placing unquestionable value and importance on positional power can condition the child/youth to believe and feel important and special simply by their association with a person with positional power, for instance, feeling special because they are in an adult-child relationship with a priest, a teacher, or Cub leader. Specialness relationships can create opportunities for the pedophile to manipulate the child/youth victim and when significant others such as parents place a value on such specialness relationships this value can act as parental pressure that can lock the child/youth into not telling about their abuse. Healthy relationships not specialness relationships are safe relationships!
Abusive priestly-child/youth relationships which allowed priest to capitalize on their position of specialness and blessedness has a historical legacy, as shared by Will R. Bird in his writings of being a World War soldier in France. He told the story of the day he and other soldiers were sitting in a café and how he never forgot the people’s blind acceptance of the “priest’s rule”, which the waitress explained when:
Two of the soldiers whistled sharply and waved at the pretty girl walking by
and were told, “You waste your time …that is the priest’s girl … She is
his girl, she sleep with him. It is a great honour for her. And she has been
with him since January … He change every two or three months for a new one.”
Emotional abuse fear, terror, or horror:
By inflicting emotional fear, terror, or horror unto the child/youth victim the pedophile destabilizes and confuses the child/youth. Confusion interferes with their ability to clearly understand what the pedophile is doing to them. Their thoughts and emotions become chaotic. The combined impact of these high intensity and over-whelming emotions of fear, terror, and horror, and the confusion and chaos all interfere with the child/youth’s ability to make sense of the abusive adult-child/youth relationship. Confusion and chaos make it easier for the pedophile to convince the child/youth victim that the sexual abuse is normal behavior, that it is for their own good, and that it will help them learn about sexuality and sex. All forms of emotional abuse can create confusion for child/youth victims and if the abuse is on going, each specific time and each specific ordeal can become blurred the ordeals of repetitive victimization are fused together the traumatization, the suffering, accumulative.
Priests bring a unique religious-based spiritual component to an adult-child/youth relationship. To intentionally abuse their religious positional power and trust, to intentionally use their priesthood as a tool to help them commit pedophilic acts adds a uniquely shocking religious-based spiritual violation to the child/youth’s victimization and suffering. Furthermore, to use religious beliefs and practices, such as the taking of communion, as other tools useful in the commission of their acts of abuse adds another depth of violation. Religious-based spiritual abuse can cause on-going confusion, depressiveness, and a loss of religious-based spiritual faith that can last a lifetime.
Priesthood plus religious beliefs and practices can be made deviant and used as tools for pedophilic abuse, which allegedly happened when Martin Elli alleged that when he was being driven home from a Washington field trip by a priest and the priest urged Martin ” . . . to give him oral sex, blessing it as a way to receive Holy Communion.” Compounding oral rape by using deviant religious practices is the very literal act of using “priestly” acts for spiritual consumption via “seminal communion”. Using oral rape as a form of communion causes spiritual distortion and confusion for the child/youth victim who perceives they ought to believe in and obey the priest without question because the priest is next to god and all knowing. Spiritual confusion makes the child/youth even more vulnerable because spiritual abuse also attacks the fundamental developmental question of, “Who am I?” Am I a good person or a bad person? This is a question with an immense spiritual domain.
From our experience, the use of some form of deviant religious beliefs and practices in combination with sexualized violence is a common technique used by some pedophiles, whomever they may be pedophilic priest or a perpetrator of ritual abuse-torture who uses some form of christian-satanic, christian-luceriferin, or jewish-satanic beliefs and practices. Deviant religious beliefs and practices are used to enforce a sense of spiritual consumption unto a child/youth victim. Spiritual abuse, “being one with god or one with satan”, can make the child/youth feel totally and spiritually consumed by the perpetrator, giving the pedophile even greater power and control over their child/youth victim.
Sexuality and spirituality are intimately connected. Sexualized violence committed by a priest, minister, or rabbi, in their professional and spiritual role, adds a very deep and spiritually abusive component to the pedophile’s behavior and to their victim’s traumatization. Our experiences suggest the child/youth victim may have grave difficulty disclosing their abuse because they do not want to violate their spiritual relationship with god or satan or with god’s or satan’s representative the pedophile whom they perceive as having next to godly or satanic power. To tell on the perpetrator may also leave the child/youth victim feeling as if they are hurting their own spirituality because they may perceive their spirituality as being connected to their “spiritual” perpetrator. Thus, when increased Self-blaming occurs so too may be the risks for suicidality for the child/youth victim.
Absorption and consumption of the child/youth victim:
Perpetrators who attempt to absorb and control their child/youth victim’s spirituality may also attempt to consume and control their child/youth victim’s sense-of-Self or identity. Exerting powerful influences over their child/youth victim in an effort to mold their child/youth victim’s religious spiritual beliefs, for instance, can lead a chil/youth to have a sense of oneness with the perpetrator. A perpetrator may express this connection of “oneness” as “you belong to me, you are mine”. The pedophilic perpetrator consumes the child/youth victim and the pedophile will not differentiate between their harmful and abusive needs and desires and the human rights of the child/youth not to be hurt and abused. For example, in man-boy “sex”, the pedophile will profess that their sexualized pleasure is also pleasurable or “good” for the child/youth victim.
Planning the selection of their child/youth victim:
Pedophiles often and intentionally choose their victims according to their personal preferences, by specific age groups, by gender, or by specific physical attributes, for example:
infants and toddlers – victims who cannot talk can not tell and are too small to resist the abuse thus the pedophile feels safe and at low risk of being discovered;
birth-6 yr olds – growth and developmentally it is easier to distort a child’s sense of reality at this young age. These are the years when the child is developing their relationship with Self and a pedophilic adult, a person in a position of trust and on whom the child depends, such as a teacher, priest, or parent, can easily distort the child’s relationship with Self by normalizing sexualized abuse. An example of this would be a baby sitter, priest, or doctor who tells the child that he/she is touching the child’s genital as a way to teach the child about sexuality because, “You will be a woman one day so you will know what to do.” Because the child depends on these adult persons and has been taught to trust them the child ignores their own discomforting thoughts and feelings, even though the touch does not feel right, believing that these adults know best. The pedophile has succeeded in distorting the child’s relationship with Self, has succeeded in teaching the child to listen to the pedophile versus listening to them-Self. The child has been made vulnerable and is at risk for experiencing on-going abuse. Part of the solution lies in teaching children to listen to there own emotional feelings and thoughts, to develop their Voice, to tell when they feel unsafe, and for adults to listen;
3-12 yr olds – pedophiles may prefer this aged child’s prepubescent body shape, their lack of body hair, or small and developing breasts;
14-18 adolescents – pedophiles may select this age group because it is easier to blame the youth, stating the youth is responsible and was consenting to the “sexualized” acts;
18 yrs old and over – provides safety in the “so-called” consensual agreement, making it easier for the pedophile to totally hold the victim responsible for the perpetrator’s behavior despite the differential in power and position between the adult and youth within the youth-adult relationship; and/or
By specific gender preferences:
Some pedophiles prefer boys, some girls; some will abuse both genders depending on opportunity and accessibility of their potential child/youth victim.
By specific physical attributes:
A pedophile may choose their potential victim based on physical attributes, for instance, they may prefer a red-haired child/youth or a dark-skinned child/youth. Another example described to us by an adult, who had been forced as a child into the “off-street” sexualized exploitation “trade”, involved children being was made to hide behind a curtain then forced to poke their hands out from behind the curtain so the pedophile could examine the children’s hands. The children were made to believe that they were chosen as a victim because the pedophile liked their hands.
Pedophiles may let their child/youth victims go stop using and abusing them if the risk for discovery is too great, if the child/youth is at a point of disclosing the abuse, or when the child/youth’s development makes them “unattractive” to the pedophile. Pedophilic parent(s) may deprive their child/youth of food in an attempt to keep their child/youth’s body underdeveloped to insure their on-going pedophilic pleasures or to insure their child/youth remains “marketable” for the pedophilic pornography and “sex” trade.
Sexualized multi-perpetrator group processes:
Pedophilic activity can extend beyond the single perpetrator-victim relationship to involve a pedophilic group process that can include more than one child/youth victim. The presence of multi-perpetrators forces the child/youth victims into compliance simply because they are outnumbered. Multi-perpetrator group processes also offers the pedophiles more opportunities to manipulate their power and control, it increases the child/youth’s victimization and sense of guilt, and pushes them into believing they are a “bad person” to be involved in such horrible acts with many pedophiles.
If the group process involves more than one child/youth victim the pedophiles can manipulate some vulnerable child/youth victim’s needs for love and acknowledgement so the child/youth will attempt to be good, be perfect, to please their perpetrator, and to make their perpetrator happy in an effort to gain “specialness” over the other child/youth victims. The pedophile then manipulates this need to gain specialness by pitting one child/youth against another. Such manipulation ignites a sense of distorted jealousy and competitiveness between child/youth victims as they struggle to maintain their position of specialness within their relationship with their perpetrator in the hopes a specialness position will offer protection from other pedophiles, for example. Perpetrators use such manipulation to entrap the child/youth victim into silence.
Multi-pedophile groups can force or manipulate a child victim to victimize another child, for instance, “if you smear fecas on Margaret then you will not have to eat the fecas.” Perpetrators use this technique to burden the “victimizing” child/youth with horrendous blame, shame, and guilt because the child/youth is forced to perceive it was their fault, that they caused harm to another child/youth, and that they must be a very bad person. Perpetrators know these “no-win” over-whelming ordeals are a method of gaining protection for them-Selves because the child/youth victims are so burdened with guilt, blame, and shame that it can lock them into silence and secrecy forever. To reinforce the child victim’s silence perpetrator’s state, “no one will ever believe you if you tell!”
Family/group pedophilic rapes also means the children/youth are exposed to, are witness to, the sexualized violence inflicted unto other children as well as to the sexualized adult behaviors. These images, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical and emotional feelings compound the severity of the child’s victimizing and traumatizing ordeals. Other horrific acts such as bestiality cause further traumatization.
“Luring-in” techniques and patterns:
Pedophiles have and do use repetitive patterns and tactics to lure in their selected and potential child/youth victims, such as:
Building trust into their relationship with their potential victim by, for example:
Inserting them-Self into the child/youth’s everyday life activities,
Using non-intrusive touch to manipulate their potential child/youth victim into becoming comfortable with touching,
Gradually changing the touch into sexualized touch which will progress to pedophilic assault, and/or,
Telling the child/youth they are “special”
Isolating the child/youth, for instance, by:
Taking the child/youth places alone on trips, camping, to ball games for example at first for fun, then for pedophilic assault,
Using treats as a repetitive engagement pattern which makes the relationship appear normal, for instance, every Sunday the pedophile takes the child for an ice cream cone but the reality is once in the car the child is entrapped and victimized by the pedophilic hunter, and/or
Telling the child that “This is our special secret and you must never tell anyone.”
Acting in a role of educator by telling the child/youth that their role is to teach the child/youth about sex, which leads to pedophilic sexualized abuse, and/or,
Using familiarity, for instance,
By sneaking up on a child/youth victim in a place the child/youth perceives as non-threatening the pedophilic priest who uses the confessional, the rectory, or the basement of the church as a site for perpetration, or who invades the child/youth’s home, the child/youth’s bedroom, the child/youth’s own bed, or
Using a place that was geographically made familiar to the child/youth and that was previously made familiar in fun, such as a familiar hotel room, a previous summer trip to a cottage, a boating trip, or a youth camping trip, which suddenly turns into a site for pedophilic entrapment and sexualized violence.
Turning familiar places into sites for pedophilic entrapment and sexualized violence can cause instant and over-whelming emotional chaos and disorientation for the child/youth victim, which, in turn, increases the child/youth victim’s vulnerability. With control of the environment the pedophile can exert added power and control over the child/youth victim. Operating in familiar sites can also provide safety and security for the perpetrator, reducing the possibility they will be caught. On the other hand, to operate in a familiar site such as in the child/youth victim’s home, where there is a risk of being caught, adds a perverse thrill to the pedophile’s hunting and their pleasures of sexualized violence.
Bietighofer, a former pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, used some of the above techniques in his alleged sexualized abuse of boys. “He would allegedly pull young boys out of classes at Blessed Sacrament and take them to his rectory office or bedroom, where he would engage them in conversations about girls or relationships, and then pull down their pants and fondle them.”
Entrapment occurs whenever a pedophile abuses their adult position within the adult-child/youth relationship; however, when a pedophile takes the child/youth victim to a strange place the pedophile gains even more control over the child/youth victim because the child/youth victim is outside of their comfort and safety zone. Isolated from sources of help, the entrapped child/youth is forced to connect and dependent on their pedophilic perpetrator for their survival. Feeling entrapped in a life-threatening ordeal that increases the child/youth victim’s emotion fearfulness, terrorization, and horrification. Confused, the child/youth can experience a sense of captivity, powerlessness, and hopelessness and is over-whelmed. For some pedophiles seeing terror in the eyes of their captive child/youth victim “turns them on” so they will intentionally exert whatever forces are needed to fulfill their needs and desires to experience this specific thrill and pleasure.
Drugging their child/youth victims intentionally, using alcohol for example, decreases their child/youth victim’s resistance and increases their vulnerability to victimization. This technique of drugging can entrap the child/youth victim into Self-blame “I shouldn’t have drank, it’s my fault I got abused.” By creating a situation that shifts blame unto their child/youth victim affords the pedophile additional safety and security that their child/youth victim will not tell.
Using peer pressure to enforce silence and secrecy can occur when a perpetrator engages at least several child/youth victims in sexualized violence at one time. Should such a situation occur the victimized children/youth are confronted with not only telling on the perpetrator but also disclosing another child/youth’s secret telling on their peer(s). Perpetrators know that children/youth seldom want to tell on their peer(s) especially if they believe their pee(s) will be hurt. Using peer pressure to maintain a child/youth victim’s secrecy and silence is another technique some perpetrators can and do use to protect them-Selves from being exposed.
Threats and intimidation are behaviors pedophiles may resort to when the risk of detection goes up. For instance, the pedophilic perpetrator might:
Make threatening statements like, “I will kill you if you tell”; “I’ll kill your parent(s), sibling(s), pet(s)”, or “I’ll hurt your friend”,
Force their child victim to kill to drown their own pet,
Increase the degree of sexualized and physical violence they inflict unto their child/youth victim, at the same time telling the child/youth victim that it is all their fault, that the perpetrator has to hurt them because they were bad for trying to tell,
Force their child/youth victim to victimize another child/youth then tell the child/youth victim that they are abusers, and/or,
Use emotional blackmail to silence the child/youth victim by telling the child/youth victim that if they tell their parent(s) about the abuse it would hurt their parent(s) or cause their family to break up and that it would be the child/youth victim’s entire fault.
Acts used for punishment:
Pedophiles use punishment techniques on vulnerable children/youth in an attempt to control their child/youth victim, to keep their pedophilic victim(s) entrapped, and/or to derive perverse pleasure watching how punishment causes the child/youth to suffer. Punishment acts are:
withholding acts, for instance, the perpetrator will withhold treats, gifts, a trip, or a touch, for instance in a public setting the perpetrator will hug everyone but their child/youth victim, to relay a threatening message to the child/youth victim. For the child/youth victim who believes they need to keep their family safe these messages attack the child/youth victims already damaged relationship with their-Self. Withholding is a blame-shifting tactic which can send a message to the child/youth victim that they have done something wrong and sends the message that they have made the perpetrator angry and are at risk of being further harmed and abused.
taking back or destroying prized possessions such as toys or awards are acts which allow the perpetrator to deliver a message to the child/youth victim that they are unworthy of having possessions and for some unknown reason they are bad or did something wrong, Taking away possessions fosters within the child/youth victim a sense of mistrust, isolation, and aloneness because it becomes too emotionally hurtful, too risky for them to allow them-Self to feel attached to a toy or to any adult, including their parents. Breaking a child/youth’s ability to feel emotional attachment for anything or any person is an enormous life-threatening feeling that can lead to all-encompassing isolation, aloneness, suffering, and Self-harming behaviors.
shunning occurs when perpetrators use the “silent treatment”, that is, they will speak to everyone but the child/youth victim whom they will ignore. An example might be that a priest will speak to three altar boys in the group, ignoring the fourth altar boy the child/youth victim. Shunning can leave the child victim feeling invisible, like a discarded object, and worthless as a person. If such “priestly” shunning behaviors are observed, for instance, within adult-child relationships it ought to be considered an indicator that something is wrong, parent(s) need to ask questions, and the possibility of child/youth abuse needs to be addressed.
Punishment acts are used to exert power and control over child/youth victims, to force them into silence and compliance. These acts intensify the child/youth victim’s sense of emotional fear and terror and can push them into Self-harming behaviors in an attempt to cope with their over-whelming suffering.
Acts which can totally assault the child/youth’s senses:
“Party time” events which involve combining many of a child/youth’s favorite activities such as eating out and “special” treats with a fun-filled outing, a week-end adventure where they are bombarded with constant noise, such as loud music, and with invitations to try drugs and alcohol come together to create an environment filled with over-stimulation. Pedophiles intentionally use such events to manipulate the child/youth victim into a position of increased vulnerability, decreasing the child/youth victim’s ability to resist abuse. For instance, an intoxicated youth may not be able to resist being forced into the same bed with their “trusted” friend the priest, the teacher, or the mother of a friend.
Pedophiles manipulate and over-stimulate the child/youth’s physical body senses via masturbation, with vibrators, and/or with the infliction of pain on the genitals. If the child/youth victim has an erection or feels vaginal reactions this causes confusion and can distort the child/youth’s understanding of their body’s biological responses. Pedophiles can then manipulate the child/youth into believing their biological/physical responses are an indication that they are enjoying the sexualized assault. If the child/youth victim tries to control their biological responses by willing their body not to respond and their body “did not listen” the child/youth victim commonly feels “betrayed by my body” and may develop Self-hatred hatred of their body. The pedophile has successfully tricked the child/youth into blaming them-Self, into blaming their bodies for betraying them, and into hatred of their bodies. Self-hatred, body hatred, can lead to Self-harming habits such as Self-cutting, distorted body image, and eating problems as a way of coping. Child/youth victims may even disconnect or dissociate from their body, that is, they no longer feel their body.
Withholding food or water from the child/youth victim, keeping the child/youth victim up all night, depriving them of sleep, or withholding access to bathroom facilities are acts of deprivation pedophiles use to manipulate and control the child/youth victim into a sense of helplessness, powerlessness, weakness, fear and terror. The extensiveness of the deprivation, for example if the pedophile forces the child/youth victim to urinate or poop their pants, also affects the degree of degradation, humiliation, and de-personalization the child/youth victim suffers and increases the child/youth victim’s sense of powerlessness and maximizes the perpetrators control over the child victim.
By gradually intruding and invading on a potential child/youth victim’s personal space and boundaries the perpetrator aims to condition the potential child/youth victim to disregard or to mistrust their own intuitiveness, to disregard that they are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. These desensitization tactics is how the perpetrator begins to take control of the child/youth. For example:
By using physical touching and non-touching, non-invasive then invasive touching, engaging with and withdrawing from the child/youth victim, the perpetrator sends mixed messages to the child/youth victim who then begins to doubt him/her-Self. Self-doubt makes the child/youth vulnerable to the pedophile’s control.
Using mixed messages about touching enables the pedophile to manipulate the child/youth to disregard intrusions on their personal space. The child/youth victim may even begin to believe that they have no right to say “No” when their physical boundaries are violated so they may not be able to develop healthy boundaries about their body and personal space. These limitations can make them vulnerable to re-victimization because their abilities to read intrusive and abusive cues have been distorted by the pedophile.
Acts intended to cause degradation, humiliation, and de-personalization:
Pedophiles may engage in acts of degradation and humiliation to shatter the child/youth’s sense of Self-respect, their spirituality, and ultimately their relationship with/to their-Self. This can leave the child/youth victim feeling disconnected, disassociative and feeling like a non-person. Examples are:
Perpetrators never call the child/youth victim by name, or will refer to the child/youth victim as an “it”, a nothing, as an effective way to totally objectify, de-personalize, and degrade the child/youth victim,
Perpetrators force the child/youth victim to be naked and exposed, they then laugh at the child/youth victim which causes the child/youth victim extensive emotional feelings of humiliation and degradation,
Perpetrators may opt to smear body fluids, for example, urine, semen, vaginal blood, or stool on the child/youth’s body which causes degradation, humiliation, and de-personalization and can leave the child victim with an on-going sense of feeling physically dirty. Dirtiness sensations can linger for a long time triggering the child/youth victim into a need for excessive bathing and scrubbing in an attempt to remove their sense of dirtiness. Such violations can leave an imprint of smells in the child/youth’s memory which re-occur as sensory smelly flashbacks,
Perpetrators can force child/youth victims into bestiality that leaves a child/youth victim de-personalized and can confuse the child/youth’s sense of identity. The child/youth may harbor beliefs and feelings that they are a dog, for example, and the child/youth may even fear that they will have “doggie babies”, or
Perpetrators can forced child/youth victims to watch them-Self in an mirror experiencing sexualized assaults which is degrading, humiliating, de-personalizing, and spiritually shattering to the point of causing the child/youth victim to disconnect or dissociate from his/her-Self.
Acts which manipulate language:
Pedophiles can use a child/youth’s still developing knowledge and language to manipulate and distort the child/youth’s understanding of what is happening to them, or to trick the child/youth victim to believe they are not being abused by telling the child/youth victim the sexualized violence is normal. For example, the pedophilic priest may tell a ten-year-old child victim that the sexualized abuse is how they will learn about sex. If the child victim does not have healthy knowledge nor the words to describe their experiences they may misunderstand what really happened to them for years. Part of the solution lies in teaching children healthy sexuality.
The power of words, for instance, the title of priest as “father” can be twisted to make the child/youth victim believe the priest is like a father. “Father” can be stretched to daddy. For example, Christopher J. Sellars, alleged that in 1995 Father Berthold at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton Mass., “kissed him on the lips and said: “You can call me ‘Daddy, and I’ll call you ‘my little boy.”
To distort the harmful reality of sexualized violence pedophiles and society-in-general frequently use phrases which minimize and distort the reality of all forms of violence against children and youth. For instance,
“diddling” is a phrase commonly used to minimize finger raping,
a child who is taught to use the word “monster” to replace penis so that if the child victim states, “a monster attacks me at night” a bystander may assume this means the child victim is having monster nightmares and the pedophile’s activities go “unseen”,
the child victim who is taught to “suck on the lollipop” is a statement used to hide the pedophile’s activity of oral rape. Should the child victim make this statement publicly chances are bystanders would assume the child victim was referring to a sucker and not a penis,
“doing them” or “poking them” or “having their way” minimizes anal or vaginal rape; or,
“I’m doing this because I love you” or “it’s for your own good” replaces “I’m raping you.”
All of these distorted phrases aid the pedophile to successfully hide their activities by manipulating the child/youth’s language. Such phrases totally devalue the suffering of child/youth victims who have been or who are experiencing sexualized violence. As well, social phrases that distort the reality of child/youth abuse contributes to the devaluation of children/youth as persons and fosters an on-going acceptance of a culture of violence against children/youth childogny.
Combining the role of priest with the distortion and manipulation of language is another technique that hides the intentional behavior of a pedophilic priest. For example, it was reported that Geoghan told children’s parents he was going into their children’s rooms at night to “to bless them” when, in fact, he was using his “priestly” role to gain access to his child victims so he could fondle them under their blankets in a totally dark room. Victims said they were terrified in their own bed.
Pedophiles who use their counselor or confident role to inform a child/youth victim that the child/youth victim can trust them and tell them anything is a statement that the pedophile can easily use to manipulate any discussion into the area of sex. Using a discussion about sex as a door into initiating sexualized abuse the pedophilic professional can confuse the child/youth into believing the discussion and the sexualized abuse is about sexuality education. For example, a pedophilic teacher who was showing a street-proofing film to his students in his darkened classroom forced his eight-year-old child victim to sit on his lap. While watching the film the child victim was forced to fondle his teacher.
Exploitation via the ploy of work and/or roles:
A pedophile priest can gain access to children/youth victims by engaging them to do work, for instance having the child/youth run errands or do maintenance and yard work at the rectory or on church grounds. Pedophilic priests have used the church practice of engaging.
Pedophilic women and men also gain access to children/youth when they volunteer to be baby-sitters, to work as nannies, or seek out employment that gives them access to children and youth.
A pedophile that buys a new truck may entice a child to go for a thrilling drive in the new truck to help run errands. Once in the truck the child/youth becomes captive and easily victimized a scenario, which happened to a friend’s child.
Behavioral techniques that are used to distort, to cover-up, or escape truth and responsibility:
Lying, withholding information, deceitfulness, half-truths, saying, “I cannot remember or
recall”, or “I don’t know” ought to be considered standard behaviors of the pedophile,
Not putting information in writing so there are no records that can incriminate the pedophile is another tactic if you have concerns put it in writing and keep a copy,
Not responding to letters saying nothing or saying “no comment” are common techniques used in the hope that the complainer will go away,
Pedophilic priests can use the power of the church for support, for defense, or to hide,
knowing that the church officials can transfer them, say they are looking into the matter, or do nothing because the power of the church has been omnipotent,
Perpetrators know that when they put the responsibility for seeking justice onto victims the possibility is their victims will run out of stamina, support, or might walk away the perpetrator is free,
To shed responsibility and to gather pity perpetrators use excuses such as, they are too
old to stand trial, are suffering from poor health, are having financial difficulties, are having alcohol or drug problems, or that they themselves were abused as children or adolescents, all in the hope people will feel sorry for them and they will evade responsibility for their actions and escape punishment,
Using non-verbal communication, for instance, by shedding crocodile tears an effective ploy in evading responsibility, perpetrators hope to manipulate and pull people in both bystanders and victims to have pity for them, to feel sorry for them, or to believe the pedophile is sorry for the sexualized violence they inflicted,
Pedophiles can and do manipulate their verbal tones, for example, speak in a quiet, soothing, or small voice, a technique that disarms the child/youth victim making them vulnerable to pedophilic sexualized violence,
Perpetrators can use intimidating voice tones to distract or to make bystanders or parent(s) feel threatened causing them to withdraw from challenging the perpetrator,
Discrediting victims or portraying helpful bystanders as confused, crazy, incompetent,
unreliable, lying, or blowing things out of proportion are also ways the perpetrator deflects attention away from them-Self and their crimes,
Perpetrators may decide to use violence to silence their child/youth victim, using weapons
such as, guns, knives, everyday items, for instance broom handles to penetrate body orifices, belts for whipping, or bathtubs for submerging the child/youth victim’s face into and threatening to drown the child/youth victim if they tell. Even the pedophile’s adult body size can be life threatening,
Perpetrators can infantalize their child/youth using verbal and emotional abuse, by telling the child/youth that they are “good for nothing”, that they do not do not know how-to do anything right, that they are stupid, dumb, trash tactics aimed at diminishing the child/youth’s sense of capability and empowerment, which leaves the child/youth victim feeling vulnerable and feeling emotionally dependent on their perpetrator,
Perpetrators can network around the country and around the world enabling them to
move/transfer quickly when the risk of detection increases. Staying in like-minded company increases their accessibility to child/youth victims and increases their protective cover,
Perpetrators may admit that they have abused children/youth once they are outside the reach of the statute of limitations knowing they can never be convicted. For priest pedophiles they know the church may have to pay legal fees in the event of a civil suit or make financial settlements in order to prevent a church scandal, and/or,
When perpetrators know the evidence is stacked against them they may plead guilty in
court in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence.
There are many dimensions of pedophilia ranging from child pornography, “sex trade”, fondling, rape, and penetration with objects, torture, to ritual abuse-torture. To prevent and reduce pedophile access and abuse of children and youths we suggest these interventions:
Lobby to have the statute of limitations removed from the criminal code to allow adult victims to press charges against older pedophiles, which can deter their behavior, adult victims can/may sustain the rigors of the justice system better than children.
Teaching children/youth about a healthy relationship with Self, learning about personhood, equality, gender equality, and healthy sexuality. Sexuality should not be compartmentalized separately from relationships. Jeanne developed a mini healthy sexuality curriculum which was taught pupils in grades 3-5 which addresses the reality relationships exist along a continuum which can be healthy, or unhealthy, or illegal, or be an evil-based relationship (pedophiles which derive inhumane and cruel pleasure from the torture or ritual abuse-torture of the child). Children’s evaluations showed that they were surprised when they realized they have a relationship with their-Self. In our opinion, sexuality ought to be taught in connection with the concept that children/youth have a relationship with/to Self as well as with/to others.
Teaching children, youth, and adults about the actions of pedophiles – talk, talk, and talk.
Talking about and naming the reality and solutions to stop pedophile behavior has to be done “on the streets”. More need for talking, talking, talking.
Educate ourselves so we can listen to child/youth victims and adult survivors of pedophile violence, so the victim feels they need not be silent, that they will be understood. Listening heals not only the victimized person but, in our opinion, heals a society and its culture to move to stop violence against children/youth.
Develop an international registry of pedophiles in concert with developing international laws against pedophilia so pedophiles cannot move unto new victims by nation hopping.
Develop and use effective screening tools for all persons working with children/youth to prevent pedophiles from gaining access to children/youth.
Develop mandatory reporting legislation for all citizens in society (already law in Canada). And legal requirements ought to override other structural complaint reporting processes, whether they are professional and self-governing bodies, professional associations, or church processes that adhere to Cannon Law versus civil law. Be ready to hold citizens/professionals legally accountable, a position that seems to be developing in Canada given the number of inquiries investigating cases where departments failed to protect the child/youth from harm.
Open and transparent policies with clear reporting to the police guidelines regarding alleged pedophile behavior. Secretive in-house investigations are a definite no no! Cover-ups are very easy under closed systems/departments.
Boards have to have open honest annual minutes. Documentation ought to include information about any actions that were taken to deal with risks to the safety of children/youth or other vulnerable populations, i.e., investigation of complaints such as pedophile allegations. While reports need to be respectful of confidentiality and privacy and not give specific details that would compromise a criminal investigation, reports must not be part of cover-ups, silencing the issues, or making the issues and the risks invisible.
Abuse and non-political torture of children/youth must be viewed as a human rights violation under the UN Convention on the Rights of The Child. The U.S. has not fully ratified this Convention.
Staub, E. (1989). The Roots of Evil (pp. 13-34). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Conversation Linda had with a Criminal Justice system worker who had been in conversation with a priest jailed for his pedophilic crimes, September 2002.
Sara speaking to us during our kitchen table research project and discussing her experiences of ritual abuse-torture.
Kurkjian, S. (2002, May 15). The Boston Globe.
Bird, W. R. (1968). Ghosts Have Warm Hand (p. 57). Toronto: Clarke, Irwin.
Johanna McGary, J. (2002, April 1). Can the Church be saved? Time, p. 17.
Seminal is used here to refer, in a general sense, to all ejaculatory fluids.
Sara, a participatant in our “kitchen table” research project, told us of this, her experience.
Carrie’s description of her childhood experiences of ritual abuse-torture, told to us during our “kitchen table” research project.
Kranish, M. & Carroll, M. (2002, May 17). The Boston Globe.
Carrie told us that her father forced her to drown her pet cat and threatened that he would drown her if she ever told her mother about the ritual abuse-torture ordeals.
Kurkjain, S. (2002, May 15). The Boston Globe.
Makin, K. (1994, November 26). The man who loved children. The Globe and Mail.
Jeanne Sarson, RN, BScN, MEd.
Linda MacDonald, RN, BN, MEd.
Copyright © 2002
Revised November 4, 2002