Molesters Usually Don't Look Like Molesters

Ditch those images of trench coats: Bruni
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2011 12:47 PM CST
Molesters Usually Don't Look Like Molesters
Stranger on the train   (©oinonio)

Jerry Sandusky has not been convicted of anything yet, but the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State prompts Frank Bruni to note that the stereotypical image of a trench-coated molester hiding in the bushes is almost always wrong. Instead, a predator is more likely to be the compassionate-seeming gent down the street—or on the sidelines, or at the altar—who wins over kids gradually with patience, kindness, gifts, and trust, Bruni writes at the New York Times.

In fact, these molesters often don't think of themselves as evil. In their minds, they are "people whose affinity for children just happens to have a sexual element, the satisfaction of which they’ve convinced themselves isn’t such a big, harmful deal." And they seem like great guys. This could explain why, say, Joe Paterno didn't more aggressively follow up on a report of Sandusky's alleged abuse. "Maybe he just couldn’t envision someone like Sandusky—a distinguished professional, a seeming do-gooder—as a molester," writes Bruni. "But it’s important that we all do." (More Penn State stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.