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NCJ Number
School Safety Dated: (Spring 1994) Pages: 12-17
K V Lanning
Date Published
6 pages
Child molesters can be classified as situational (those who may not necessarily prefer children but who engage in sexual relations with children for other, complex reasons) and preferential (those with a definite sexual preference for children).
The four primary characteristics of child molesters are their long-term and persistent behavior patterns, preference for children as sexual objects, well-developed techniques in finding victims, and sexual fantasies focusing on children. Some factors which may predict child molestation include prior criminal record, difficulties in sexual relationships with women, a circle of young friends or associates, limited peer relationships, access to children, and engagement in activities featuring close contact with children. After a child molester is identified, his reactions will typically include denial, minimization, justification, fabrication, claim of mental illness, sympathy ploy, attacks, and pleading "guilty but not guilty." Often, after conviction, the child molester may claim to law enforcement officials to have information on other, more serious offenses against children, including child sex rings, pornography, abduction, and prostitution. An offender, particularly from a middle-class background with no prior arrests, is a high-risk candidate for suicide at any time after arrest or conviction.