"Why," many of us are asking ourselves, "didn't someone come forward with either their concerns" or, if they were a victim of Jerry Sandusky, "why didn't they tell somebody?"
Should former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky be guilty of sexually assaulting eight or more young boys, boys that looked up to him due to his position and his sheer physical size, designated "at risk" boys who may have had little before Sandusky took them under his wing in his charitably organization "The Second Mile," it would be highly unlikely that his alleged act of sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a Penn State Lions' practice center in 2002 was his first offense. Most know that a pedophile is someone who prefers children as their sexual objects. Pedophiles can be extremely narcissistic and many have a desire to have physical contact with a certain age and sex of child, someone called a "preferential offender or predator."
Where do they come from?
Pedophiles come from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is their desire to have contact with children, choosing professions or avocations that will place them in contact with children, positions like school teachers, priests, scout leaders, and in some cases, volunteering with organizations that deal with their preference in victims. For such an offender, being around children puts them in a "target rich environment," i.e., many potential victims from which to choose, and sufficient time to cultivate their chosen victim.
Unlike a kidnapper/rapist, the preferential pedophile will take his time in identifying and "enlightening" his victim(s), getting to know his latest target, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their considered victim, providing gifts, time and attention to the child, manipulating and confusing their victims until the child is, like the proverbial frog in a pot of slowly boiling water, but faintly aware of the ever threatening fate that awaits him.
A pedophile does not develop overnight but takes years to develop, usually beginning as a teenager and slowly developing and refining his skills, seeking positions of trust with children where the child will have no opportunity to say "no" to the pedophile's ever increasing requests for more and more physical contact. An arm around the shoulder, a touch to the knee, a hand on the buttocks, can easily lead to an assault in the shower. We do not know, of course, if these charges are true, but as time goes on there is a likelihood that more and more victims may come forward. But, as the victims were boys, many may simply be too ashamed to admit what was done to them.
Some close to Sandusky have said they always saw him around young boys and that he always had a young boy with him. Sandusky was, however, the adopted father of six children and the foster parent to a number of others. At lease one adopted son, identified by the media as 32-year-old Matt, had a troubled life, attempting suicide shortly after moving in with the Sandusky's, but to date, no one from that home has yet made any allegations of sexual abuse.
The seduction of children by a pedophile takes place in many ways. Again attention, gifts and praise are heaped on the targeted victim, while the child may be introduced to alcohol, drugs, and pornography in addition to "the good life" as a way to reduce his reluctance to becoming yet another victim of the serial predator. Gradually the child succumbs to the adult pedophile, becoming yet one more victim in what for many is a long, long list of victims. Pedophiles can have from several dozen up to thousands of victims. In 2006, 63-year-old Dean Arthur Schwartzmiller, suspected of being the worst child abuser in US history, was sentenced to life in prison after police found binders full of child porn and a list of more than 36,000 names, mostly young boys, with codes next to each name to indicate how he had sexually abused them over at least 30-years across three different countries. "He loved to hang out and spoil kids," said a friend.
The pedophile selects his victims from the many he hopes and tries to cultivate, relying on his skill at manipulation and the fear and shame of the victim to keep him from telling what the true cost of a relationship with the pedophile actually was. But if assaulted, or in the case of the boy in the shower, "raped," why didn't the victim come forward? What greater figure can there be to a young boy than a popular, well known adult who lavishes attention on him? How could such a child victim come forward and tell all while feeling, perhaps, that no one would believe him, or perhaps he was too guilty or too afraid to tell what a true, one-on-one relationship with the pedophile actually consisted of?
As indicated, pedophiles, the really "successful" ones, have taken years to develop their ability to overcome any potential victim's reluctance to his advances, and they have refined their "radar" to the degree that if rejected, they know when to persevere and when to move on to another victim. The pedophile is likely looked at as someone who makes children feel really special, and so he does...
What we can do
What can we do as parents and caregivers? Unfortunately we need to ask ourselves and our children questions about any adult that wants to spend too much time with them, that gives them gifts, that calls them on the phone and e-mails and electronically chats with them. If this person wants the child to spend the night, or wants to take the child on a trip, like to Disney for example, we need question the true motive of such a person. It's a shame, but we must question such motives to protect our child, fully realizing that we may not be able to give the child what he so craves and desires, the time and attention of an adult that cares, but in the case of the pedophile and predator, someone who cares too much!
For more information concerning personal and family safety and security, to obtain a free copy of our DVD "Protecting Children from Predators," and to find out the identity and location of sex offenders in your community, go to www.LiveSecure.org.