While there is no single characteristic that can help a person identify a pedophile, there are several things pedophiles and others do to gradually gain the trust of children and adolescents and their families; I like to call them “red flags”. These grooming techniques help the abuser gain access to a child or adolescent and then keep them quiet when abuse occurs.
Jason Felch, the LA Times reporter who investigated 1,600 of the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” last month, reported this morning that of the files revealed a pattern of grooming behavior shared by the suspected molesters.
According to the article, “In hundreds of cases, Scout leaders allowed the boys to drive cars, drink alcohol, or look at pornography. They gradually tested physical boundaries during skinny dipping, group showers, sleepovers, and one-on-one activities.”
By spending one-on-one time with a boy, giving him gifts, and allowing him to break the rules, the pedophile gains the boy’s trust and sets a tone of secrecy that will continue throughout the relationship.
To outsiders, the abuser seems like a great guy who loves kids or youngsters.
As the article also points out, after an abuser has gradually tested boundaries, they will use a boy’s inebriation from alcohol or their arousal from watching pornography as an opportunity to make their move and molest the boy or engage in other sexual activities with an adolescent.
For a youngster in these circumstances, it can be even more difficult to tell anyone about the abuse because they feel guilty or even compliant.
The LA Times also found a pattern among the alleged victims.
“The boys were often from troubled backgrounds or seeking approval from a father figure,” the article said.
Jeff Herman: “This is another sad reality that as a sexual abuse attorney, I see every day—the most vulnerable part of our population tends to be the most victimized by sexual predators.”