Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
When an adult male has sex with a female child, it is called child molestation and the attacker is assumed to be heterosexual. When an adult male has sex with a male child, it is called pedophilia and the attacker is assumed to be homosexual.
In light of the ongoing child molestation at Penn State University many people are asking if homosexual men are a threat to children. The reason for the concern is the fact that, in all of these cases, the boys were sexually molested by a male person and the same held true for many other cases such as the Michael Jackson scandal several years ago, and in the 2006 case in which Republican Congressman, Mark Foley, was forced to resign because of accusations that he sent emails to White House pages, boys, asking them for sexual favors. Another case was the sexual molestation of boys at the hands of priests in the Catholic Church. There have been other cases that took place in other houses of worship and in other institutions. This has only reinforced the false belief that the perpetrators were homosexuals and that, therefore, are potentially dangerous to children.
Research psychologist, Professor Gregory Herek, University of California, whose credentials can be found at the following URL:
Has found that there is no connection between homosexuality specifically and pedophilia. His lengthy paper that includes an exhaustive review of the research can be read at:
According to Dr. Herek, pedophiles are people who are attracted to children whether they are heterosexual or homosexual men. The likelihood of one or the other committing this offense is equal. He is also careful to distinguish between male to male molestation as compared to male to female molestation. In point of fact, pedophiles are less concerned about the gender rather than their attraction to children. Dr. Herek points out the child molesters do not really have any adult sexual orientation which is why the gender of the victim is unimportant.
Interestingly, the chance that a woman is a pedophile is extremely low. In actuality, it might be that, when a woman has sexual contact with a male child, that child might actually feel proud of himself and brag about it, especially when the child is an adolescent.
As Dr. Herek concludes at the end of his article:
“The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children. This is not to argue that homosexual and bisexual men never molest children. But there is no scientific basis for asserting that they are more likely than heterosexual men to do so. And… many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.”
There are real sexual predators out there and they are a real threat to our children. Distracting our attention away from those criminals in order to condemn people for being gay, does a real disservice to our kids. This distraction allows real pedophiles to remain undetected while people act with suspicion towards gay teachers, coaches, neighbors and others. Antigay sentiment serves political purposes but does nothing to help address the real issue which is how to protect our children from being violated.
Like all prejudice, whether it’s racial, religious or cultural, picking a scapegoat to blame is hateful and false.
Your questions and comments are strongly encouraged.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD