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Pedophilia: More Than A Moral Dilemma

Dean Fazekas, M.S.S.A., 
Adult Sex Offender Treatment Program, 
2103 Clark Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44109 
(e-mail: Fa-Ste@worldnet.att.net )


A difficulty that is often encountered in discussing the issue of pedophilia is that of language.

Both professionals and nonprofessionals use terms such as pedophile, incest offender, and child molester interchangeably. This can lead to a great deal of confusion in the discussion of this issue. An incest offender may or may not be a pedophile. Child molester is a pejorative term applied to both the pedophile and incest offender. One cannot be diagnosed as an incest offender or child molester.

Another problem often encountered is whether or not a sexual act with a child was consensual. 

Schmidt posits the question whether or not sexual acts between adults and children can ever be consensual. I say no. Consent implies that the individual is of legal age according to the jurisdiction in which they live. The age of consent is quite varied from one jurisdiction to the next. For an overview, one only has to visit the website www.ageofconsent.com

In a clinical setting, a client may state that they did not


"force" or "coerce" the child into the sexual act. The client equates the lack of force and coercion as consent on the part of the child. What the client is actually referring to is that the sexual act was mutual.

Are all mutual sexual acts with children harmful? 

Most pedophiles believe it is society that is wrong. In order to justify their behavior, they engage in cognitive distortions. They believe their sexual activity to be a positive experience for the child. It is true that the sexual orientation of the pedophile is deeply rooted and often poses a dilemma for the individual. What is implied is that all pedophiles act on their sexual attraction. 

There does exist a subgroup among pedophiles made up of individuals who do not act on their attraction with a child.

Schmidt rightly states that the harm caused to a child who is sexually abused is greatly debated among professionals. To say that all children are harmed in the same way, with the same impact, is similar to saying that all men who molest children do so for the same motivation. 

If molesting children causes them no harm, 

why do we spend so many resources in the treatment of men who sexually behave with children? 
What are we who work with sex offenders trying to accomplish if it is not in some way to prevent another child from being victimized?

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