Adshead, Gwen, & Mezey Gillian; Ethical issues in the psychotherapeutic treatment of paedophiles: Whose side are you on?; The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry; 4(2), 361-368
Abstract:
Although there has been some published literature addressing ethical issues in the chemical treatment of sex offenders (Bowden, 1991 ; Greenland, 1988) there has been relatively little discussion about the ethics of offering psychotherapeutic treatments of various kinds. This article addresses several ethical issues that arise in the context of the community treatment of sex offenders against children, based on the authors’ experience of working in time-limited groups with child sex abusers (Mezey et al., 1991a). We would suggest that the ethical issues that arise in the treatment of paedophiles are different from, and additional to, those encountered in the treatment of other types of offender. We address these issues under a number of sub-headings.
Conclusion:

As is common with ethical issues, more questions are raised than can be easily answered. This does not make discussion fruitless; rather it raises the quality of the debate. We argue that important ethical decisions are being made all the time in relation to the treatment of sex offenders. There is a real danger, however, that, like the original offences, such issues will be minimized, distorted and denied. We would suggest that workers need to achieve a balance of interests between the offender and the victim. To support one is not to harm the other.
Malón, Agustin; Adult–Child Sex and the Limits of Liberal Sexual Morality; Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2015 - 44 - Febr.
This article is a critical review of the most common arguments in the specialized literature about the moral status of sexual relationships between adults and prepubescent children.The intent is to reveal how the usual ethical analysis of these experiences, done from a general sexual morality, with a Kantian and utilitarian basis, very clearly shows us the limits and contradictions of contemporary liberal morality regarding sexual matters.
It leaves open the possibility that, under certain circumstances, these relationships may be morally admissible. Some shortcomings and contradictions in these liberal arguments suggest that it would be of interest to refer to other authors and ideas to value adult–child sex, approaches that are based on a specific sexual morality concerning the issue of sexual virtues and a more complex conception of human sexual desire. Some of the scientific implications of these moral issues are also discussed.

From the quotes:
- My intention is to show that, limiting ourselves to these three ethical criteria [*], it can be concluded that under certain circumstances sexual experiences between children and adults could be morally permissible.
[* (1) Consent (2) No instrumentalisation and exploitation (3) No harm]
- The adult’s exploitation of the child does not depend on the inequality in power, but rather on the use the adult makes of that power.
- The problem is precisely the fact that children are taught to be submissive with adults, especially concerning sexual matters, where they are kept in dangerous ignorance that makes them especially vulnerable. Giving the child more information and more power would mean they could reject, refuse and say no, something that then puts us in the dangerous position where they could also say yes.
- It has been argued that under certain circumstances these experiences are not only harmless, but are in fact even positive and beneficial for the child. When there is no violence, coercion, deception, concealment, etc., some state that the negative consequences attributed to these events no longer exist. In these cases the simple will of the child to participate in a relationship they find pleasurable is more than enough to allow it.
- Ultimately, based on the possibility of damage that even though it may be only hypothetical and sometimes caused by society’s reaction, makes it more plausible to opt for a cautious prohibition.
- I judge it to be the case that, even if only for prudential reasons, this general rejection seems to be justified, especially when social condemnation is so intense in the large majority of people.
- I have also taken the principal criticisms to these arguments into consideration, concluding that there are sufficient reasons, even of a prudential nature, to uphold the social rejection of sexual relationships between adults and minors under a certain age.
- My aim, however, was focused on showing how these arguments are incapable of justifying a definitive and universal rejection of these relationships, as they always leave the possibility open that some of them are or could be morally permissible.
Gieles, Frans; The tail end of a dachshund
In May 2011, the Martijn Association decided to set up an Ethics Commission. Ethics is concerned with the question of what is good and what is bad; with values, norms and guidelines. [...]
In this article, I aim to place these guidelines in a broader context, namely that of the debate which has taken place in the Netherlands – and far beyond its borders – since the 1990s. The commission does not come up with any revolutionary, new advice, but follows up on a long-standing discussion, like the tail end of a long dachshund.
It shows that, as long as people with paedophilic feelings are allowed to enter into serious discussion, far from ending up in ‘raunchy suggestions’ the end result is an actual ethical code – and a fairly strict one at that.
Brunoz, O.; On Boy-Love - Paedophilia: Historical and Scientific Perspectives
A text, published in 1960 (Dutch) and 1964 (French) now translated.

The purpose of this study was to bring to light various aspects of paedophilia, and to point out how difficult a phenomenon it is to assess. It must again be stressed that before we are able to discuss the moral aspects, it is necessary to agree on both the circumstances of paedophile relationships and the principles of sexual ethics as a whole. That is still a long way off.

Aside from the question of whether or not sexual activities between boys and men will ever win ethical acceptance, I believe, as expressed in the preceding pages, that paedophile relationships do exist which are largely or wholly lacking in favorable aspects and therefore destined to exert a bad influence on the boy. But I also believe that the importance of harm is exaggerated, and the bad effects very often are not the result of the usually mentioned causes.

It has surely been proven by various experts, from ancient Greece onwards, that there are paedophile sexual relationships which either totally, or almost totally, do no harm. If it becomes possible to accept these ethically as positive relationships or at least, making an analogy with pubertal masturbation, as a more or less harmless practice, then it is also possible to argue that they could be a source of happiness and benefit to both man and boy. I do not presume to answer the questions I have raised, or even to suggest the answers. I only hope that I have succeeded in opening the discussion.
Dannecker, Martin; Bemerkungen zur strafrechtlichen Behandlung der Pädosexualität
Gewaltlos pädosexuelle Begegnungen und Beziehungen sind, trotz der im letzten Absatz erhobenen kritischen Einwände, nichts Monströses. [...]
Die Pönalisierung verstärkt ferner die Schuldgefühle der Erwachsenen, mit denen sich das Kind identifiziert. Unbestreitbar führt das zu zusätzlichen psychischen Belastungen der Kinder, die eine sexuelle Beziehung mit einem Erwachsenen haben.

* Russian translation added.
Clark-Flory, Tracy; Meet pedophiles who mean well; Salon.com, Jul 01 2012
The goal of the organization is to offer support to pedophiles who want to live virtuously and to raise public awareness about the fact that such pedophiles exist.
Support is a major aim of the site, beyond even raising awareness in the outside world.
Edwards wants to shine a spotlight on the sort of pedophiles that don’t make the evening news.
“I hope people start to realize that virtuous pedophiles exist, [...] and “that many are no danger and shouldn’t be branded as dangerous without evidence.”
Gilbert, Frederic, & Outram Simon; Chemical interventions and ethical side-effects: from pedophilia to depression. Where are the ethical boundaries of treating mental illness by neurochemical means?
Increasing biochemical knowledge of sexual functionality and attraction has allowed researchers to tentatively deduce a chemical cause for pedophilia and initiate various biochemical treatments for this condition. The availability of such knowledge, along with the development of new pharmaceutical treatment options, opens up new legal and ethical questions regarding how to chemically treat sexual criminality and how we, as a society, should reflect upon the use of chemicals in the treatment for other forms of deviant behaviour.
[... D]espite the early evidence of effectiveness in treatment, it is unclear how SSRIs work in relation to the treatment of pedophilia. [...]
A further dilemma raised by the chemical treatment of pedophilia is the expectation of a permanent cure for this form of sexuality. Studies have demonstrated that pharmacological interventions do not change the pedophile's basic sexual orientation toward children. [...]
However, caution is required to make sure that we do not find ourselves dis-enhancing or normalising traits that are simply the tail ends of a normal range of personality traits
Association Martijn, Ethical Commission, The Netherlands; You would never want to harm a child, would you?, Mar 01 2012
Intimacy can be desired or undesired. Everybody is aware of this. It has become increasingly clear how serious and long-lasting the effects of undesired intimacy can be. However besotted you may be with a child, that does not make the child your property. The child belongs to the child. But... maybe it is possible for you to have a close relationship with the child.

The Martijn Association advises all its members to observe the law and to act in accordance with the following guidelines. Exercise integrity in all situations involving children while respecting:


  • Consent: the consent of both in every contact.

  • Freedom: freedom for the child to end the contact if desired.

  • Harmony: acting in accordance with the child’s development.

  • Openness: openness towards the parents, especially in the case of young children.

Rossman, Parker; Sexual Taboos and Moral Restraints, May 26 1976
"What one finds is that religion no longer has much impact on the moral struggle, with one important exception: when religious faith and moral standards are experienced as commitments to valued and supportive persons and are embodied in relationships with those persons. They may be relatives, friends, or members of a church which one experiences as a family. [...]
Restraint comes not through the authority of institutions or the power of ideas, but through the personal influence of people he loves and trusts."
Boykin, Sharahn D.; Don't 'be alone with other people's children'; Daily Times, Dec 07 2008
Many youth-based organizations have taken preventative measures to avoid situations in which sex abuse could occur, requiring youth workers to attend mandatory training sessions and submit to criminal background checks.
As a protective measure for both adults and youths, the Boy Scouts has turned such precautions into mandatory policies, said Jennifer Wright, marketing director for the Delmar chapter of the organization.
"No adult can be alone with boys."
Workers are cautioned to keep close tabs on their emotions. "Don't get caught up in the feeling that someone needs you or someone loves you."
Franklin, Karen; Will "revolutionary" Diana Screen End Pedophile Menace?
Anxious to mend its reputation and plug the money drain, the Vatican just announced a new fix: Candidates for the priesthood will undergo psychological screening to determine their suitability for the job. Painting a pseudo-scientific veneer on the campaign, the Vatican said "expert" psychologists will screen select candidates on a case-by-case basis.
Gene Abel is a psychiatrist who invented the controversial Abel Screen, which measures sexual proclivities based on how long men look at visual images of different types of models. Abel is promoting a new "pass/fail" test called the Diana Screen as a "breakthrough in technology" that can accurately identify men who have molested children.
In the blogosphere I bumped into a group of sex offenders discussing how easy it is to beat the test.
The author finds a false positive rate of at least 50 percent. Even if it is just a screening test, psychologists should be cautious in administering a test with such a high false-positive rate and no published, peer-reviewed data on its reliability or validity.
More fundamentally, this type of testing raises philosophical issues about how far society should go in the name of protecting children, especially when most victimization is done not by teachers or amusement park workers but by family members.
Leahy, Terry; Sex and the age of consent : the ethical issues; Social Analysis; 39, 27-55, Apr 01 1996
Based on the authors’ dissertation work, Leahy discusses common arguments against intergenerational intimacy and contrasts them with the interviewees’ interpretations of their experiences.