Before the guilty verdict came in recently on the Jerry Sandusky case, I heard a well-known radio commentator ask this question: “If these accusations are true, how could his wife not know what he was doing?”
It was a good question. It doesn’t seem possible that Dottie could be so unaware of her husband’s behavior. Yet, she vehemently maintained his innocence when questioned at his child sex-abuse trial, despite arguments that Jerry molested boys in the basement of their home. One victim alleged that he spent 100 nights in that basement, even having meals in the home.
Often we think of pedophiles as dirty old men in trench coats offering children candy, a person we should be able to immediately spot. However, the actual profile of a child molester may surprise you. It is steeped in secrecy.
According to the Department of Justice and psychological experts, these are some of the characteristics that are common among pedophiles.
1) Usually male and married.
2) Prefers to be with children over adults.
3) Finds employment, opportunities, charities and volunteer organizations that involve children.
4) Usually is non-violent with no criminal history.
5) Seduces children he knows through subtle and persuasive tactics.
6) Goes to great lengths to conceal his activity and presents himself as an exemplary person.
7) Rationalizes his behavior, tells himself that what he is doing is not harmful, and lacks empathy for the children involved.
8) Can be any age and from any socioeconomic class, and can be religious.
9) Has deviant sexual interest (such as watching children dress).
10) May or may not have been sexual abused by someone else. (Dr. Marshal, a leading sex offender expert points out that the literature does not support the notion that all sex offenders have been sexually abused. Some have been, and some have not.)
There is no typical profile of a sex offender, so it is difficult to know who is doing the offending. Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of child abuse. He met his accusers through the very charity he and his wife founded.
Back to the radio commentator’s question, wouldn’t a wife know if her husband was sexually molesting children? Very often, the family is taken aback when they find out the truth. Because her husband isn’t a typical “criminal”, it is hard to believe he could be acting this way. Those close to the guilty are also surprised. Even when a spouse has suspicions, they are usually cast aside because the behavior is so well concealed. Denial is powerful when you have little reason to expect anything that would lead to such humiliation and disgrace.
CBN Note: Please pray for the children who were abused and their families as they heal from this trauma. Pray also for the Sandusky family.