We hear it all the time. . . “It just happened.” But can this excuse be used for people who were caught looking at child pornography? And more importantly, what risk does a child pornographer pose to children? The penalties are very stiff for people convicted of child porn. Sadly, for those of you who know someone convicted of child porn, you’ve heard the pleas for help, the remorse for what they’ve done, and you’ve likely bought the lie that they have never touched a child. The reality is that people convicted of child porn pose a huge risk to your kids and they should never have access to kids again. It’s a bold statement, I know, but here are some common themes that all child pornographers will tell you and how you can respond to the offender.
“It just happened.” No it didn’t. Child pornography is highly illegal. Highly. Someone has to go through a very tedious process even to find child porn. It’s not just “floating” out there on the internet. Someone who “stumbles” upon child porn has very intentionally looked for it and they also have put extreme measures in place to remain hidden from law enforcement. Saying that it just happened is as convincing as the drug lord who claims the drugs just jumped into his trunk. Don’t buy it. And don’t be afraid to call them on their lies.
“I never hurt anyone.” Yes you did. Actually, you hurt lots of people. Even if the child pornographer didn’t produce the porn, somebody did. And those of us who do not have dark, evil minds cannot fathom what child porn is. Our minds don’t allow us to imagine just how bad it really is. Lest you begin to feel sorry for the person convicted on child porn charges, let us define what child porn is. These are not images of clothed children hugging teddy bears. Child pornography conatains gruesome images of naked, prepubescent children who are forced to pose in sexually suggestive positions, forced to perform sex acts with adults on camera, forced to masturbate or insert objects inside themselves, perform on other children (often their siblings), and they are often locked in dog cages. These children are real children who are placed against their will in front of real cameras and are abused by real evil people. So yes, you did hurt children. And child pornography is unlike mainstream adult pornography. Because it is highly illegal, it is highly sought after. Therefore, images and videos are intentionally shot in series, beginning with more soft core images and moving to horrific ones. The pictures and videos are traded like baseball cards and are traded or sold in series. Each picture or video of an individual child in a series are numbered or given nicknames. The goal for the receiver is to collect each image of a child they like in the entire series. The goal for the sender is to sell each image in the series he or she has created. It is a game to them. Have you ever noticed that when child pornographers are caught in a sting operation, there are usually 30 or 40 who are arrested at once? Now you know why. In 2001, 100 were arrested in a sting operation with a company in Texas owned by a husband-wife team. Landslide Productions, Inc. were distributing child pornography for a huge profit. They grossed $1.4 million just in one month. Yes, real children are hurt.
“I never touched a child.” Yes you did. Research demonstrates that people who claim they only have fantasies of prepubescent children without hands-on victims don’t exist. Others are not willing to go that far and will claim that child pornographers who have no hands-on victims are extremely rare. Dr. Gene Abel in The Stop Child Molestation Book mentions a study he did for a sub group of pedophiles–those who have urges but have never acted upon them. In a massive study with lots of funding in a city of 7 million people, he found zero. There were several who claimed they never touched a child but when he interviewed them, discovered they had all had hands-on victims. They were abusers in denial. They all believed they didn’t have hands-on victims because the children they abused were not victims, but “willing participants.” I’ve mentioned before the Butner Study . It’s well worth a read for those who are interested in this topic. Child pornographers will almost always maintain that they never touched a child. Research demonstrates we should assume the opposite. And let’s assume for a second that a child pornographer has not touched a child sexually. They still went to incredible measures to find pictures of people who did. If they worked this hard to gain images, you can guarantee they are driven and committed to get what they want. If they have not touched a child yet, they will. Remember Jared Fogle who people thought just had images (which he traded, by the way, with his partner)? Turns out he had a bunch of victims as well.
“My intentions were pure.” No they weren’t. There is nothing pure about seeking out, viewing, purchasing, producing, or trading child pornography. Nothing.
“I don’t have these urges anymore.” Yes you do. And you always will. I know of no professionals who maintain that there is a cure for pedophilia. Can the urges be reduced with treatment? Yes. But they will never go away completely, especially in older men and women.
It’s important that people convicted on child pornography charges be kept from children. This may sound cruel, but it is more cruel to view, trade, produce, and sell images of sexually exploited children. It’s evil to look at a child through sexually graphic lenses. It’s irresponsible to place someone who does near children. And it’s cruel to the person who sexualizes children to place them near children.