Thursday, October 4, 2007

Discussion: Definitions / Uses / Misuses of Sex Offender Terms, Posted By Robert Paisola

Special thanks to our friends at The News and Noteworthy Site for its help!

Discussion: Definitions / Uses / Misuses:

Accordingly, it is appropriate to learn the definitions of words and phrases, and to use them appropriately. Words and phrases associated with sex offenders are usually defined by the realm (community, industry or group) that uses them; often two communities will use the same word, and each having its own meaning (see sidebar "child"). Thus in this light, the realms normally defining and using these words are:

1) the Legislative & Law Enforcement Community (criminal justice);
2) the Psychological Community (mental health);
3) the Research & Statistical Community;
4) the Religious Community;
5) the Media; AND
6) the General Public.

Today the media and many folks indiscriminately use words and phrases, for sales effect, attention getting, in anger, or because they really don't know the correct meaning, or haven't taken the time to learn the meanings. Far too often these words are used in a libelous or slanderous manner to defame persons or put down this group of offenders.

They fail to consider that, it causes confusion, hysteria and even harms folks by applying unwarranted and hurtful labels. That harm is also transferred to persons close to the offenders. The general attitude has been, who cares. Society needs to care, because negative attitudes can backlash on society, constantly putting the class down could cause relapses; recidivism caused by overbearing laws and attitudes has been recently recognized by a federal judge!

Terms most used are Sex Offender, Child Molester, and Pedophile which ARE NOT synonymous, and sometimes Ephebophile, Hebephile or Gerontophile also not synonymous. It should be noted that the words "Child, Minor and Adolescent" are words that often have their own meaning depending on the State you are in, and the area of law being addressed (see sidebar "Child," "Adolescence," and "Age of Majority or Consent").

You may scroll down or click on a word to jump to it:

Choice of Words, Terms or Phrases:
Frequently, the media, public servants, in politics, and especially on the Internet, folks allow -emotions to control- their choice of words. Folks must be very careful choosing words, so that, they DO NOT add to the existing confusion and hysteria. It is usually easy to tell a person's focus (FACTUAL, EMOTIONAL or VINDICTIVE) by their choice of terms and the context they are used.

Further, there are words that are most often used in the context of the "medical field" that have been grafted to an improper negative connotation when used referencing sex offenders. i.e., "no cure," and "pedophile" are two.


Attractions and Desires:Some of the words we will encounter (ex: pedophile, ephebophile, hebephile and others) speak of attractions and desires, and until a person acts upon those -improperly- they are not an offender! Part of today's hysteria is, the automatic assumption of "offender" when a person's circumstances somewhat resemble known taboos.

We need to remember that, people are naturally attracted to certain things, example pets (ex: cats, dogs, fish, etc.) but that does not make them guilty of bestiality. A person's employment desires may reveal a preference or attraction to something as well; teachers to children, nurses to medical profession etc. The facts must be analyzed before jumping to conclusions or mislabeling a person.


Cannot be cured / Can't be rehabilitated / etc.Society has believed that sex offenses are committed by persons whose human condition is somehow sick or diseased. Hence, the medical term "cure" and the belief that their human condition cannot be cured (a factoid). Yet, for the rest of the people in the world, including those convicted of other crime types, there are shades of gray for their human conditions.

"Cure" is actually a defined medical term meaning "a remedy, a treatment" one that is a recovery or relief from a disease; something (as a drug or treatment) that cures a disease; a course or period of treatment (take the cure for alcoholism); a complete or permanent solution or remedy.

However, where sex offenders are concerned, society has narrowed that meaning of "cure" to, "a complete or permanent solution or remedy without the possibility of reoccurrence," and if that standard cannot be met then there is "no cure." .

The inherent problem lies in the without the possibility of reoccurrence extension to the definition of "cure," this is the sought after "magic pill" to make it go away and never ever return.

The reality is, when dealing with human conditions, nothing can be "cured" every human condition is subject to reoccurrence, excepting a condition where that part of the human body can be severed. Only then is that human condition cured.

Name the human condition, whatever it be, a doctor or psych will tell you, it is -possible- for it to return. There is no "magic pill" to "cure" any human condition, so that it will never return. Holding sex offenders to a "mythical standard" that is both illogical and unattainable in a "magic pill" sense, is unconstitutional!

The worst part of the "cannot be cured" mythical standard is, that every time legislatures redefine, sex offenses, or require a new group of offenders to a register, a whole new group of people become incurable. Many never knew they had a problem.

Note: If you were to replace "human condition" with "behavioral problem" then "cure" is even less applicable because "behavioral problems" are not cured they are managed, the same as medical conditions are managed. Cure is an improper term applied to this circumstance, unless the political winds need such for votes.
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This normally neutral word can take on a whole new meaning not found in dictionaries in the realm of sex offenders. Is it "grooming" for paedophiles to make toys to give to children? see "Scotland's most notorious prison in break for the modern age" 9-19-2004. The article shows they are in prison and the toys are sold to guards or given to adult family members.

"Grooming is the process whereby a child sex offender creates the opportunity to sexualise contact with a child and takes steps to prevent the behaviour being discovered or disclosed. Grooming may involve the offender identifying and exploiting vulnerability in a child." (England: The Lucy Faithfull Foundation and NCH, the Children's Charity)
England enacted a new criminal offense of "Meeting a child following sexual grooming," wherein the House of Commons defined grooming as "[the offender] must already have met or communicated with [the child] on at least two previous occasions," any form of communication, and required being convicted of another sex offense as a precursor. They were addresssing Internet and Sex Tourism issues.

Grooming is not limited to communications, it could be purchasing gifts, taking the child to movies or playgrounds, etc., and all sorts of other acts or communications. However, they must lead up to a victim, without which, they are nothing but innocent acts or communications, a distinction also recognized by the House of Commons.

However, in Scotland their proposed version of the English "Grooming" law is being heavily criticized. see "Charities denounce ‘knee-jerk’ grooming legislation" 9-26-2004:
"As part of the child protection package, the Bill proposes allowing chief constables to apply to the sheriff court for a Risk of Sexual Harm Order to restrict the activities of individuals who have displayed inappropriate sexual behaviour towards children - even if they have not been convicted of an offence. This means that potential sex offenders could be banned from contacting children or loitering near schools and childcare centres." see Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences Bill:
The slippery slope here is, who decides what is inappropriate, and what is the standard? Neither are defined within the proposed law.

Grooming can occur with either, a child or an adult victim, but always requires a careful review of what is being termed as "grooming" to prevent misconstructions.

Grooming Misconstructions: The belief that anything done by a previous offender is grooming! If a parent went into their child's bedroom to give them a kiss goodnight, and that parent is a previous offender, that doesn't make the kiss "grooming."

Adolescents regularly go out on dates with the opposite sex, should one of them become a sex offender, those previous dates cannot be viewed as grooming without some connection to the victim of the charge, and then a careful review of what is being called "grooming."

Sex offenders, like everyone else, can have platonic relationships, be friends, establish commeraderies, share activities, all can take place with a person of any age or sex.

When is the term "grooming" proper?
__Do grandmothers "groom" their grandchildren to spend vacations or holidays with them? __Do social workers "groom" children to testify in court? __Do politicians or the media, "groom" the public into believing all sex offenders are violent, or predatory, or all pedophiles?

The term "Grooming" has its proper place in the realm of sex offenders, but should not be misconstrued as applying to all social interactions of an individual or the entire class of offenders!


Non-Offenders / Victim & Offender In One Person:Our reference to "non-offenders" will probably generate more discussion than the rest of this work. So in explanation, every human being, males and females at varying points of their lives, are attracted to or desire the opposite sex, or the same sex (read carefully -attraction or desire- does not necessarily infer sexually), perfectly normal and part of being human. Improper actions make offenders!

Examples of non-offenders: Sometimes crimes are committed by multiple persons, yet within the major crime (lets say robbery) one of the offenders commits an additional sex crime, but his/her co-defendants did not take part in the sex crime. Under the laws of some states, all defendants are required to register as sex offenders, even though one was only present when the other committed the crime.

Further, in some cases there may be a plea bargain, where the initial charge was a sex offense and later, through the plea bargain, the defendant pleas to a different charge. The reasons vary, from lack of evidence, to the facts simply do not amount to a sex offense as defined by the law, etc.. In some states these folks must also register, but are not sex offenders.

Now, we all think that a victim is always a non-offender, but there are cases where the victim is both, a victim and the offender! Examples: Teenage girls who took naked pictures of themselves and in one case: "put it on the Internet"; and in another case: "Two girls sent naked pictures of themselves to their boyfriends (also underage) in an e-mail."

There is also a Wisconsin case, where minor teens, who had consensual sex resulting in a baby being born, and both were charged with crimes. See Right hand column of: "Teens who have sex charged with abuse: DAs are prosecuting even when both consent!"

In yet another Tennessee case, an 18-year-old and a 13-year-old were legally married in Mississippi with parental consent, and returned to Tennessee, the 18-year-old boy is being considered a sex abuser by the state. See "DCS lists teen dad-to-be as sexual abuser because of age gap"

Its not hard to see there are people forced to register that simply do not belong there.


Romeo and Juliet Cases:
Consensual sex when both parties are minors (under that state's law), -OR-, consensual sex where one party is a minor (under that state's law) and the other very close in age but considered an adult. The key here is that the parties had a consensual relationship going, and one or both parties were charged with a crime arising from the relationship.

The first factor with these cases is, the law says, minors cannot consent to sexual acts (the law either, presumes the minor to be coerced or forced into sex; -or- that the adult should have known the law). Accordingly, the adult party is charged with a crime.

Yet, there are cases where both parties are minors, and both are charged with a crime. In these cases the circumstances have been something unusual. A review of them will show that, the spirit of the law was ignored, over the technical wording of the law. In other words, the parties were convicted for unintended consequences of the original law, sometimes later modified by the legislature.

However, when it is the adult party being charged, it is usually because the parents of the minor want the person charged and the prosecutor goes along with that, because the law would support the conviction. Other times, if the girl is afraid of what her parents will think, or becomes pregnant, she may claim rape when it really was consensual. Finally, no consideration is given to the consensual relationship that the parties had, or any feelings that may be harmed, and sometimes these folks get married later on.

Miscarriages of justice abound in these cases. Further, there are folks who claim this is a very rare occassion, these are the same folks who fail to read the teen pregnancy statistics. In today's world to believe that teens are not sexually active, and each subject to being a Romeo & Juliet case, is to be blind to reality.

It is prosecutors who decide -who to charge-, motivated by politics, parents, or let the court figure it out, and fail to recognize that the very presence of unintended consequences found in laws, will convict someone and violate the spirit of the law.


Lolita and Gigolo Cases:In the book itself, "Lolita" is specifically the name of the girl, and "nymphet" is the general term for the type of young girl to whom Humbert is attracted. The name "Lolita" was made popular by the Story of Amy Fisher (dubbed: The Long Island Lolita) Effectively this is when the girl attracts an older adult into a relationship not permitted by the law.

A recent case was in Michigan (dubbed: The Sex Diaries Case) although it was never claimed to be a "Lolita" type case. Notice the victim's comment: ... the girl conceded that she was a predator and a victim: "I declare I am both. Yes, I'm a victim. I was a victim who was deceived by my own emotions and ignorance, of misplaced confidence, a victim of my own fantasies . . . Yes, predator for I chase people who themselves were victims of misplaced confidence."

A "Gigolo" case would be similar to the Lolita case, but the aggressor would be the male. We are reviewing a few cases that may fit the circumstances and will post them if appropriate.


Sex Offender:Sex offender is the broadest term possible. It is important to understand the distinctions between the persons whom this term may apply to, especially since it can mean the difference between a proper or improper labeling of a person which can cause significant harm to an innocent person and/or their family.

The broadest misuse of this term: Occurs when this term is used to describe, BOTH, persons who are currently offending, -and-, persons who have a sex offense in their history. Current offenders are not law abiding, while former offenders are law abiding and certainly deserve different treatment.

Persons accused of a sex offense: Persons accused, whether arrested or not, are usually labeled a sex offender immediately. This goes against our legal system which requires proof before conviction.

Persons adjudicated: Persons who are "adjudicated of a sex crime" (which is not a conviction) are usually called sex offenders. Adjudicated persons most often are juveniles, or were juveniles (or young adults) when the adjudication occurred.

Persons present when someone else committed a sex crime: Persons who were present when a sex offense was committed by another person, a co-defendent in another crime committed at the same time as the sex offense; often these folks are called sex offenders and required to register.

Sex Offender Registration:
When legislatures enacted these laws you will see they have used "Sex Offender" to refer to all persons, registered or not registered. This is the single biggest reason for the broadest misuse of this term. Legislatures have failed to distinguish between those persons. Registered persons are registrants, or registered prior offenders (RPO).

Registries includes offenders who have committed crimes against either, children or adults, and offenders who have committed crimes against NEITHER! In fact, registries include crimes where there is no human victim. i.e., some Internet crimes (entrapment - talking to police when person thought it was a child), urinating in the park type offenses, and several others.


Child Molester:
Child molester like "sex offender" is the broadest term. Given it uses contexts of both "child" and "molest[er]" (see sidebar), one can only tell if it is applicable to a specific offender, if the facts of that case are known, and the state in which the crime was committed.

However, we must address the word "Molest." Molest is a word having many meanings (see sidebar), some violate laws and some are mere annoyances (ex: he called me a bad name), for our purposes here we use it in the sense of someone who has violated a law. Whether the facts of any specific case, actually is or isn't a molestation, that is an issue for the courts.

A few subtle valid observations:
If an offender's victim were an adult, then that offender cannot be called a child molester. Registries do not distinguish between adult and child victims, therefore it is impossible to tell who the child molesters are. Sometimes based upon the state statute the offender was charged with, if shown, you can determine if the victim was a child, but that is not the rule.

OK, now registries also contain offenders who have not committed a crime against either a child or an adult, and registries do not indicate who the victim is. Ex: entrapment, urinating in the park, present at a crime when someone else committed a sex crime, and other such crimes, so none of these folks can be called a child molester, no child involved no child molester. If "would be" -or- "could be" were the standard, then everyone in society should be registered.

Another major concern, the definition of "child" between states. See Age of Majority (Consent). A child molester in one state may not be such in another state. In the same vein, is the age of majority (consent) between males and females; as of this writing note: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Also note, male-male and female-female sex, differences in age of majority in a few states. Registries abound with errors due to actual age of victims and state laws.


Pedophile (Pedophilia): History, Clinical, Legal, Public BeliefsHistory:
Let us explore where "Pedophile" originated from, two Greek words: pedo (child) and philia (love). This has been the general published origin of the word, but, as shown, it could mean a parental love for their child. So we must look deeper into the Greek meanings of love.

Ancient Greek, the language the Bible was first written in, distinguishes between the different boundaries of love. Greek used the words eros (romantic; adult sexual love between sexes), storge (affection, familial love. Parental love for their children), philia (love between friends. Hugging, kissing, handshakes, etc.), and agape (unconditional love - God's love for mankind).

Only two of those boundaries meant a physical love, eros and philia. Accordingly, to signify an improper physical relationship between a child and adult, "pedo" was combined with "philia" hence, pedophilia or pedophile.

Two important primers are relevant here: Dr. Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., John Hopkins Center for Sexual Health and Medicine: Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit; -AND- Frans E.J. Gieles, Ph.D., educator! He discusses the "Concepts and Definitions," and how the meaning of the word changed over time.

Another shocking fact, remembering that pedophilia is a psychiatrically diagnosed label, study the psychiatric criteria, specifically "Over a period of at least 6 months ...." What if a person has not had the criteria for a longer time frame, although once did have the criteria, do they still suffer from pedophilia or are they still a pedophile? The DMS-IV states:
"Severity and Course Specifiers (pg 2): A DSM-IV diagnosis is usually applied to the individual`s current presentation and is not typically used to denote previous diagnoses from which the individual has recovered. The following specifier indicating severity and course may be listed after the diagnosis: Mild, Moderate, Severe, In Partial Remission, In Full Remission, and Prior History."
If the public refers to a person's cancer as being "in remission," why is it that the public cannot recognize "the offender's pedophilia is in remission or is in his prior history," if we accept the psychiatric community labeling by diagnosis, then we must also accept its rules of diagnosis.

A shocking fact about the words "Pedophile" and "Pedophilia," generally states will not convict a person of being a "Pedophile" or having "Pedophilia." Why, because they are psychological terms and not a criminal charge (more recent we have seen some states changing the definitions of their crimes to include pedophile designation to cross the boundaries between law and psychology, actually that usurps psychology).

While folks may say that, many persons convicted of a sex offense are pedophiles, or suffer from pedophilia, these are labels indiscriminately assigned by the general public without knowledge of the person or the circumstances, only with a belief that a child is somehow involved in a sexual way. The problem with this is, the word has many definitions, often with more facts one learns that a person (first believed to be a pedophile) is really not such a person.

There are only two ways one can be given these labels, by a psychiatric diagnosis, -or- by the person him/her self by reviewing the psychiatric criteria for Pedophilia. A third party could, if all facts are known, perform the same review and be reasonably sure as well. However, merely a finding of the person having the criteria (feelings, desires & attractions), does not make that person a sex offender, no victim no offender.

The Media, Politicians and the Public Belief: The primary problem is, everyone thinks any accusation, arrest or conviction involving anyone under 18, is committed by a pedophile. This assumption is made without consideration of the above mentioned criteria. Hysteria and Panic reigns.

The media uses the word for headlines, the politician uses it to win votes, the general public follows the media and the politicians. Until the public forces the media and politicians to prove what they are saying, the hysteria and panic will continue.

The word "Pedophile" has become the "She is a Witch" phrase of the Salem Witch-Hunt days. No facts or proof is needed, and a mere accusation involving someone under 18, and the public is ready to burn the person at the stake. There is a way that this can be turned around, the folks that are indiscriminately using the word need to be required to provide information, more than boilerplate generalizations, to prove what they are claiming.

While the legislators write new laws to exclude (or isolate) those registered in every fashion possible, under the pretext of public safety, these are walls, and walls which not only exclude the prior sex offenders, but walls that encircle communities, corrals. These corrals prevent interactions between people, and society will become like the Indian tribes of yesterday, each having its own reservation and never the twain shall meet.

It is going to take folks with vision to stop the building of -Legislative Corrals-, remembering that they are caused by misinformation, and people misusing the information which was intended to protect the Public. Fences do not make good neighbors, and they do nothing to resolve the issue, they are nothing more than pushing the issue elsewhere!

Legislative corrals are a terrible example to set for children, and they long term effect on them will be disastrous. Children will grow up not facings issues, instead putting them off because that is what they learned from their parents.

A review of registries today, will show, they speak in the present day sense, and fail to tell the truth to the public. If registries showed the -date of first registration- along with -dates of any crimes convicted of- then it would be possible to know whether labels are appropriate or not!


Violent Sex Offender:
A term loved by many, but it means? Starting with what "violent" is commonly understood to mean (see sidebar), why should it be automatically combined it with "sex offender" without reviewing the facts of that person's case? Many legislatures (in spirit the voice of the people) (i.e., Michigan) have automatically labeled, specific or all, sex offenses as violent. When facts are ignored, then one must read them as acting on emotion or vindictiveness!

So, is it Legislative violence for the legislature to declare a person violent without reviewing the facts of his case, maybe not, but, that legislative act is at least a violation of the Separation of Powers Clause, because the jurisdiction of "the facts of a case" is with the Judiciary not the Legislature.

OK, so the media prints an article about a "violent sex offense" committed by XXX (ex: when XXX (18 yrs old) is merely in love with an underage girl (16 yrs old)). Therein is the catch, XXX is now a violent person to the public (by dictionary definition), when in fact, whatever he did is unknown, and he is only violent by legislative decree; the perception of violence.

True, not all cases are like our example, but far too many are considered violent without supporting facts. Finally, when the perception of violence is present, then the punishment is frequently enhanced by the court. The cycle is complete, and no clear definition is present, just a perception.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sexual Predator:
The premier term used to get your attention, and place your mind into fear-mode, all ears perk-up and listen. Do sexual predators exist, most certainly, but not to the extent that the media, politicians and others (web sites included) would have you believe. Lets look closer.

Start with the common definition of "predator & predatory," see sidebar. Hunts, preys, victimizes, all terms that infer multiple occurrences, usually used with respect to animals, but for this discussion we will accept the analogy to humans and to those who commit multiple sex crimes. Megan's law (the federal guidelines, 14071. Jacob Wetterling Act, (a)(3)(e)) has already established a definition for "predatory:"
Definition: "The term 'predatory' means an act directed at a stranger, or a person with whom a relationship has been established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization."
Can you automatically label a person as "predator" if they commit one-sex-crime, NO, at least not without knowing more as to how the crime was committed. A "predator" label can be attached to any crime type, example, stalking (hunting-preying) maybe of women for the purpose of stealing their purse, or car.

Predatory, by virtue of definition, requires a multiple factor. However, even when the multiple factor is present, that may be insufficient to attach a "predator" label: Consider crimes within the family unit (i.e. opportunity). Predator is mostly attached when the victim is a stranger. Even choice of victim (i.e.,child, adolescent, adult, male, female, elderly) alone is insufficient, other predatory characteristics must be considered.

Can you determine from a Sex Offender Registry, who is a "predator," -No- you cannot, unless that registry is one where a court has determined the person to be a predator. The court having reviewed the person and his/her criminal history. Sometimes the predatory label is attached by a state's sex offender board, or local police review, and even then it can be incorrect, consider a reviewer's biases and/or prejudices tainting the process, even faulty risk assessment tools.

Registries today have evolved into lists of persons who have committed crimes against, adults, children, no one (entrapment), urinating in the park, boyfriend-girlfriend (juveniles), streaking, and many other types of offenses; registries are virtually useless today, but they sound good, and are now Cottage Industries (income producing by charging registrants fees) for police and others.

When Sexual Predator is asserted, and you are placed into fear-mode, first, consider the source, are they selling you something or trying to get your vote, ask for the facts, then determine if that label is warranted. Remember, Federal Guidelines for Megan's law tried to establish a standard definition but states have perverted that!

Scapegoat:The word is more widely used as a metaphor, referring to someone who is blamed for misfortunes, generally as a way of distracting attention from the real causes. Another term for scapegoat is fall guy.

When used as a metaphor, a scapegoat is someone selected to bear blame for a calamity. Scapegoating is the act of holding a person, group of people, or thing responsible for a multitude of problems. This is also known as a frameup. Scapegoats can also be referred to as patsies or whipping boys.

Scapegoating is an important tool of propaganda; the most famous example in recent history is the Jews being singled out in Nazi propaganda as the source of Germany's economic woes and political collapse. Scapegoating is often more devastating when applied to a minority group as they are inherently less able to defend themselves. A tactic often employed is to characterize an entire group of individuals according to the unethical or immoral conduct of a small number of individuals belonging to that group, also known as guilt by association.

Coined Terms & Phrases
HALLOWEENITIS:Halloween-itis is a coined term used to describe a mental abnormality often occurring in public servants and politically aspiring persons who can pass this psychological disorder onto others, generally occurring around holidays and elections.

The disease is characterized by abnormal delusional visions of perceived horrific events creating an aura of public fear; these doomsayers get their rewards by painting a picture of "the sky is falling" and alienating the public.

Significant harm is caused by people so afflicted because the objects of their obsession are persons which society already looks down on (including their family members), and the collateral harm caused society is truly a tragedy.

Halloweenitis is a subset of offenderitis, and both are incurable social diseases because these people refuse to face reality, or facts and statistics which prove them wrong, they discount these facts and statistics because in their minds they only see horrific events in everyday life circumstances.

Those afflicted with Halloweenitis, fear based, focus on denial of civil rights of other persons under the pretext of public safety.

OFFENDERITIS:Offender-itis is a coined term used to describe a mental abnormality often occurring in public servants, politically aspiring persons, and others who can pass this psychological disorder on.

People so afflicted perceive that, others who may or may not have a previous criminal conviction are all highly dangerous to the general public. The disease is characterized by abnormal delusional visions of perceived horrific events creating an aura of public fear; these doomsayers get their rewards by painting a picture of "the sky is falling" and alienating the public.

Significant harm is caused by people so afflicted because the objects of their obsession are persons which society already looks down on (including their family members), and the collateral harm caused society is truly a tragedy.

Offenderitis is an incurable social disease because these people refuse to face reality, or facts and statistics which prove them wrong, they discount these facts and statistics because in their minds they only see horrific events in everyday life circumstances.

Those afflicted with Offenderitis, which is fear based, focus on denial of civil rights of other persons under the pretext of public safety.


--- Legislative/Law Enforcement Community ---

This community is comprised of those who make the law (Legislative), and those who enforce the law (Courts and Law Enforcement- Police).

Legislators may or may not define sex laws using the term "Child Molester." States have various reasons for their personal systems. States that use the term "child molester" in the definition of their sex laws, will have more sex laws than other states, because they are defining at what age a person is considered a "CHILD" for the purposes of criminal law. These states will have separate laws governing adult crimes.

For the purposes of our discussion, the law enforcement community is responsible for the apprehension, prosecution and imprisoning of offenders who commit sexual offenses. Then when the sex offender is released, law enforcement is responsible for maintaining sex offender registries.

The Law enforcement community uses "Child Molester" and "Sex Offender" in the course of their work. Rarely do you find that, those terms are defined, however, in the book, Child Molesters: A behavioral analysis for law enforcement officers investigating cases of child exploitation (PDF file), is a Definition of Terms section, in defining it states:

CHILD MOLESTER: "... For the purposes of this book, a child molester will be defined as a significantly older individual who engages in any type of sexual activity with individuals legally defined as children. When using the term child molester, no distinctions will be made between male or female, single or repeat offenders, or violent or nonviolent offenders. No distinctions will be made as to whether the child victims are prepubscent or pubescent, known or unknown, related or unrelated to the offender. Although such distinctions may have important legal and evaluation significance, they have no bearing on whether or not an individual is labeled a child molester. For law enforcement purposes, a child molester is simply an individual who engages in illegal sex with children. ..."
Their explanation clarifies why the Law Enforcement community ignores the distinctions between sex offenders. Law enforcement really has no need to break down those two terms any further.


--- Psychological Community ---

The Psychological community accepts the legislative / law enforcement general definitions. However, their focus is diagnosis and treatment, so they have a need to further define "child molester" and "sex offender" to be able to diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

Now, here is where things get a bit muddled, the psychological community uses --ITS OWN-- definition of ""Child and Minor," (different from the legal definition). Here they use physical ages of the victims because it is relevant to the course of treatment that will ultimately be provided.

While this is not a precise rule, generally a victim of 13 and younger is considered a "child," and greater than 13 to 18 is an adolescent. The offender of those victims is then either a "pedophile" or an "ephebophile" respectively. Further, victims of either type of offender are considered "minors" because of the age cutoffs.

Therefore, using the psychological community definitions, a child molester is a pedophile, but a ephebophile is not a pedophile. Remember, in the law enforcement community a child molester can be either, a pedophile or an ephebophile (blending psychological and legal communities). The age of the victim (i.e., definition of child) defines which is correct.


On a side note: Can pedophilia be caused by a brain tumor?
See Crime Times: Brain tumor leads to pedophilia.


--- Research & Statistical Community ---

Researchers follow no standard definition for the terms they use, but there is a very good reason why. These folks are usually delving into new areas and in that pursuit creating new definitions for words and term used.

Most researchers will use commonly accepted meanings for the terms they use, and will specifically redefine any which they are delving into as part of their research. So it is important to cite the research correctly so folks can see what the researcher meant by a phrase or term.

Statistical outcomes (e.g. recidivism rates) are based upon two things, what you start with (the target population) -AND- the calculation method used to arrive at the outcome. When statistics are created for one purpose they are sometimes misleading if used for another purpose. ex: Lets say, for bugetary reasons, a local jail needs to calculate "inmate space needed" for next year's budget. They would add the number of folks ARRESTED, say for the past 5-years, and divide by 5, giving them the AVERAGE "inmate space needed" for next year. Now, that outcome, good for its intended purpose, would not be good for figuring recidivism, because it is made up of two target groups, those who have committed new crimes, and those who have committed another crime (recidivists).

Target Population:

REARREST: Rearrest means, a person who was previously "arrested" is now "re-arrested." Simply because a person is arrested for a crime is no proof they were convicted of a crime. Further, rearrest does not necessarily mean for the same crime as previously arrested for. Statistics based up REARREST numbers yield the highest recidivism numbers possible. The presence of Megans' laws as a "suspect list" for police (RSOs will be first arrested in any sweep when there is a new crime), will cause REARREST numbers for sex offenders to be higher in the future, hence distorting recidivism rates for sex offenders!

RECONVICTION: Reconviction means, a person who was once convicted of a crime, is again convicted of another crime. Reconviction does not necessarily mean for the same crime as previously convicted for.

RETURN TO PRISON WITH NEW SENTENCE: This means that a person who was on parole, probation or supervised release committed a new crime and is being returned to prison with a new conviction. Again, the new crime, may or may not be, the same crime as previously convicted for.

RETURN TO PRISON WITHOUT A NEW SENTENCE: This means that a person who was on parole, probation or supervised release committed a technical violation (not a crime) and is being returned to prison to complete his/her sentence.


--- Religious Community ---

Pedophile Priests, a term coined by the media to refer to priests who have abused children. The fact is, this term is -at times- incorrect, and further confuses folks.

You have heard the Church say there are very few Pedophile Priests, then the media reports case after case claiming all to be "Pedophile Priests." With the media claiming the Church has made up words (ephebophilia) to effectively disclaim responsibility.

Well, in fact, the Church -is not incorrect- in their technicality when referring to ephebophilia and ephebopiles (and alternate spellings) instead of pedophilia and pedophiles. What the Church is looking at is, the age of the victims, like the psychological community, and from that deciding whether a priest is a Pedophile or an Ephebophile.

However, the media and others follow with, such a designation is not in the DSM-IV. While it is true that, these terms are not in the DSM-IV they have been around for many years, and we don't know why the psychological community does not include 'ephobphile' in the DSM-IV. However, there just may be an explanation in Greek.

If we look back at the Greek word ephebos (ephebo), then it meant, adolescents and young adults [Greek fighting men up to 20 years old]. This excluded children (pedo) but included men up to the age of 20. Mature adolescents.

Accordingly, it is our belief that, because the specific age cannot be ascertained, and the diagnostic criteria for ephebophilia is not as clear as for pedophilia, the psychological community could not include in their DSM-IV. Yet today, it is accepted that the upper age is 17, probably to keep it within what the legal community considers an adult; 18. Hence ephebophile, meaning offenders whose victims are between the ages of 14-17.


--- General Public ---
___ The Term "Sex Offender/s" ___

The general public hears the words "Sex Offender," "Child Molester" or "Pedophile" and simply goes wild with hatred. The public addresses ALL offenders from the mindset of rage, or the victim, and believes all victims are children or women. Fear and hysteria govern their actions because that is what they have been told through the media, by public servants and by politicians.

There is no doubt that the acts of actual sexual offenses should be hated, but there comes a time when reason must come into play so that folks can live without a cloud of fear. Society needs to sort out the facts and understand the terms associated with sex offenders, and be reasonably vigilant, and most of all remember that, not all sex offenders are dangerous, AND, not all sex offenders recidivate, AND, not all persons labeled sex offender, are sex offenders!

As we have pointed out earlier in this report the term "sex offender" is the broadest term, a catch phrase, encompassing everyone. However, worth mentioning is this, there are sex offender who are still victimizing, and there are sex offenders who are no longer victimizing. This distinction is necessary due to, who the public should be most concerned about, and the way statistics are compiled.

A) Offenders who are still victimizing: for the most part are not included the sex offender registries that exist today. Often, these are people who are close to you, trusted folks. See our Topic Report "Who should parents be more concerned about, someone they know and trust, or the registered sex offender?"

B) Offenders who are no longer victimizing: The term "sex offender" is also used to encompass all of the offenders who have been convicted of a sex offense, no matter what their sub-designation is. For the most part, these are 'registered sex offenders.' These are the folks who are trying to reestablish themselves in the community.

In this report we have had a chance to see the various meanings of the terms related to sex offenders. Each industry groups offenders based upon its own definition.

Accordingly, "Child molesters" pursuant to the law enforcement industry would be a larger group of offenders, than "child molesters" under a psychological industry definition. In reality this is true of a few other words as well.

Now, statistics, we have seen many many different recidivism rates of sex offenders, recidivism rates of child molesters, recidivism rates of pedophiles, recidivism rates of rapists, and so on. The point is, which industry created the statistic? Confusion, yes, the hysteria caused by the published recidivism rates is due to the fact that, there are no standards, in terminology or in calculation methods.

In this report we just want to point out how important it is to understand statistics as they relate to the terms used related to sex offenders. If this report makes you question statistics you read or hear about, that is something you should do before believing them.


--- Conclusion ---


Unfortunately the failure of folks to use proper words results in more community confusion and hysteria, misinformation is a powerful influence. Far too often these terms are used for some personal gain of the speaker or writer. Often the words are used with impunity in a libelous or slanderous manner.

Admittedly, at times it is a simple matter of not realizing the differences due to the industry or realm that is using the term. Definitions are critical to prevent maligning the folks involved. Libelous and slanderous uses seem to be the norm, this needs to change.

In a sad and ironic twist, Society in venting its anger of past sex offenses today uses words & terms in a hateful, harmful, libelous and slanderous manner, and is grooming those who have the potential for criminal acts, to commit them and possibly more violent acts, because they know their fate.


--- Resources ---

Over time we will update this list and report as we receive new materials.

DSM-IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth edition;

Black's Law Dictionary Sixth edition;

Psychiatric Dictionary Fourth edition - Hinsie, Campbell;

New Oxford Dictionary of English - Oxford University Press;

The New Oxford Thesaurus of English - Oxford University Press;

Merriam-Webster Online The Language Center;

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children - Child Molesters a Behavorial Analysis: For law enforcement officers investigating cases of child exploitation. (allows you to download a copy, if you do it is a 160 pg PDF file)

A special thanks to the folks at: Male Homosexual Attraction to Minors Information Center (MHMic) for clarifying the "attraction" and "non-offender" issues. See their pages: Attraction to adolescent boys -AND- Attraction to prepubescent children

Posted By Robert Paisola to The Sex Offender Chronicles- Have We Gone Too Far? at 10/04/2007 08:34:00 PM