Tunnel Vision: Pathology of a Pedophile

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tunnel Vision - Pathology of a Pedophile: Experts Say Sexual Deviants Often Aren't Deterred By Consequences
John Zaremba, Patriot Ledger, Saturday, July 22, 2006.

Nine men had just been paraded in front of a judge and charged with trying to solicit children for sex online. Their faces were all over TV and the newspapers, and so were the prosecutors’ graphic descriptions of their conversations with undercover police.

To top it off, the district attorney made a bold statement that last weekend’s roundup should instill fear in Internet predators: The children they think they are courting may well be police officers.

The warning was ignored.

Within hours of the DA’s statement, men all over Massachusetts were logging on to their computers and falling for the same trap.

So what are the reasons given by experts that sexual deviants, such as paedophiles, aren't deterred by consequences?

Cognitive distortions

They have what’s called cognitive distortion. Some people call them thinking errors ... where they can basically rationalize or justify behavior.

Impulse over intelligence

Over the years, McLaughlin has used the same online screen name, and some have caught on. Several times, he has been online and a chat-room member recognized him and announced that there was a police officer in the room.

Even that didn’t stop people from approaching him.

‘‘Other people in the room would initiate chat with me and ask if it was true,’’ he said. ‘‘I would tell them it wasn’t, we would engage in conversation and I would arrest them.’’

McLaughlin is a detective involved in online sting operations and is a nationally recognized expert on crimes of child exploitation. When asked if he feels the publicity of the current stings will deter offenders, McLaughlin stated that fear will not keep these offenders away but that he will not give up this fight. He concluded the interview with this statement:

I would be willing to do an experiment. We’ll meet with these guys some place and on every entrance of the building we’ll put signs that say pedophiles arrested here. They’d drive right by the sign. They’d probably park under it.
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