Guard your children against pedophiles

You may recall that in 2001, Reno day-care worker Gary Hanneman pleaded guilty to molesting nine kids who were 2 and 3 years old. Police said Hanneman had admitted to molesting as many as 28 children.

Not long after Hanneman was sentenced to 14 consecutive life terms in prison, I had the opportunity to attend a conference on the subject, sponsored by federal law enforcement, for prosecutors, defense lawyers and social workers.

At the time I was a relatively new father, so the knowledge I picked up during that conference was seared into my brain.

At exactly 5:04 a.m., during a Saturday-morning edition of CBS’s Early Edition, my headache began. CBS’s celebrity lawyer Trent Copeland was opining about the possible ramifications of former child star Corey Feldman testifying about his relationship with the alleged pedophile Michael Jackson.

The 46-year-old Jackson is accused of molesting a 13-year-old former cancer patient after plying the kid with alcohol. Jury selection in the case continues as of this writing.

In the interest of public service and, dare I say, safety, I offer the following information from that conference for your consideration.

Most pedophiles who are eventually caught are middle-aged men who have molested an estimated 160 children.

Pedophiles can be anyone. There is no pattern of education, age, wealth, sexual orientation or race. However, they will always be found in places within or near steady streams of potential victims. They find ways to surround themselves with the objects of their desire. Many pedophiles are not the mysterious “stranger” that we warn kids to watch out for, but family friends, relatives or other adults who have the opportunity to spend unsupervised time with a child without raising suspicion. It is no surprise that so many pedophiles have been found to be priests, any more than that Hanneman was a day-care worker. Both occupations provide easy access to and a steady supply of kids.

Many pedophiles work especially hard to establish good reputations in the community as leaders, outstanding citizens or philanthropists. When Hanneman was accused, parents of the day-care center where he worked almost unanimously cited Hanneman’s character as an all-round good guy in maintaining his innocence.

Pedophiles often have a preferential age and gender of child they target. Some prefer younger children, including infants; some prefer older children, including teens. Many prefer boys, since the risk of a pregnancy or yeast infection and hence possible detection is less.

Pedophiles typically have hobbies that are child-like, such as collecting popular expensive toys, video games, exotic pets, or building car and airplane models. A pedophile will be conversant at the child’s age level in whatever popular culture appeals to his intended age and gender demographic. Often his environment will be decorated in child-like decor and will also appeal to the age and sex of the child he is trying to entice.

Pedophiles frequently seek out shy, handicapped or withdrawn children or those who come from troubled or under-privileged homes.

Almost all pedophiles have a collection of pornography nearby. Most will have an extensive collection of videos and may have a hobby in photography or videography to record their actions.

For more information, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at www.missingkids.com. Under the “Law Enforcement” link is a 160-page report published in conjunction with the FBI titled “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis.”

Remember, there is no such thing as a “reformed” pedophile. You can perform a search for registered sex offenders who may be near your home or school at www.nvsexoffenders.gov.