In fact, there were some nights—but not too many—when I would dare to sit in my chair after my computer was turned off and imagine how it would feel to get arrested. Would I fall to the ground in the fetal position, would I throw up, burst into tears or perhaps even have a heart attack? When that day finally came for me, I did none of those. After the lead detective read me my rights and asked several questions regarding my computer, a strange calm washed over me. I knew my job as a local newspaper editor and my hobby coaching baseball had both come to an end. Yet the overriding thoughts in my head were not of my past, but more of my future. I knew that I was in a unique position to help others understand the bewildering life of a pedophile. I had never asked to be cursed with this sexual attraction, and I had never hurt a child. In fact, I was always a good role model as a coach, and an upstanding citizen throughout my days. It was the nights that were a problem.
Over the months that followed my arrest, my journalistic instincts took over. I wanted to know how a lifetime of lusting after young children could seem so normal to me on an emotional level, even though I knew rationally that it was a completely deviant lifestyle. I would spend my days longing to get back onto my computer, the way a gourmand anticipates a scrumptious feast. Yet when the computer was turned off, I despised myself for being so aroused while looking at pictures of young children whose lives had been destroyed thanks to their unwilling participation.
I spent much of my time in the days right after my arrested reflecting on my childhood. Was there some horrible trauma, an incident of abuse perhaps, that I had covered up which lead to my pedophilia. Was there some anomaly in my formative years that skewed my sexual development? I asked my sister, an experienced therapist, for her help, but she assured me that as far as she knew, nothing of that kind happened to me. I was the victim of an unhappy childhood and a psychologically disturbed father. I had all the symptoms of arrested development, which left me at the emotional level of a 10-year-old. But there was nothing remarkable or unspeakable about my childhood.
I decided to continue my journey by seeking the help of a therapist and doing as much research on the topic of pedophilia as I could, with the help of my sister and her computer. What I discovered was that for every small nugget of helpful information, there was a sinkhole of unanswered questions that remained. The main query that I am convinced will always be without an answer is why I am a pedophile. It is the equivalent of trying to determine why someone is heterosexual or gay. We don’t choose our sexual orientations. If we could, believe me, no one would choose mine.
The most important thing I've discovered in the 15 months since my arrest isn't the why, but rather what can be done to change the preconceptions and misconceptions that society has when it comes to pedophiles. Most people hear that word and think of the Jerry Sanduskys and abusive Catholic priests of the world. Fewer people think about the millions who grapple with sexual feelings on which they can never act. When someone hears the word “pedophile”, they immediately think of a child molester. Yet the majority of pedophiles do not molest, but instead spend hours looking at child pornography. And as those numbers grow, so does the number of child victims.