ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new video coming to libraries statewide shows the faces of four sex predators, men who became nightmares for parents after winning their trust and access to their children.
While parents fear strangers, trusted acquaintances are almost always the culprits, said Tina Stanford, narrator and director of state Office of Victim Services.
“As a former prosecutor and crime victim advocate who has dealt with sex offenders and seen the impact of their crimes on their victims, none of footage in this video surprises me,” she said.
Based on reported crime data, the FBI estimates one-quarter of U.S. children are molested, and about one-third of the victims will report it, but on average 15 years after the abuse occurred.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services produced the video under a legislative directive, releasing it Wednesday in an effort to prevent others from making similar mistakes.
The four pedophiles, all state parolees, discuss what they did. Division spokesman John Caher, who conducted the interviews, said common threads were absence of conscience and rationalizations for what they did.
The four individually were an uncle, a teacher and coach, a child therapist and a stepfather. They are identified only by pseudonyms.
The teacher got involved in junior football and basketball and focused on emotionally needy boys, sexually exploiting their need for affection.
“It wasn’t usually the athletes, it was the wannabes, the hang-arounds,” he said. “The athletes, they were self-sufficient usually. They had to have some guts in order to turn out for a team and play, but the kids that hung around I would make friends with.”
Dr. Edelgard Wulfert, professor of psychology at the University at Albany, said molesters are frequently manipulative, leading parents to disbelieve their own children.
Three adults who were victims as children also were interviewed: a girl molested by a teenage neighbor, a boy by a priest and a girl by her own father. Even after he got out of jail, the girl’s mother still disbelieved her and banished her from the house.
“I need closure from my mom more than anything,” she said. “I need her to say, ‘I am sorry for sticking up for your dad while I should have been a parent.’ That is what I need. My dad hurt me. But my mom hurt me more.”
“Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger” includes an online demonstration by FBI Special Agent David Fallon, posing as a 15-year-old girl in Albany, who enters an online chat room. Within 30 seconds, a 47-year-old man on Cape Cod starts trying to flirt, and within 30 minutes, seven potential predators have zeroed in.
Caher said they will distribute it to about 1,000 libraries, post it on iTunes and submit it to public access TV stations across the state and to police for training.
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