September 29, 2013

To spot a predator

9-29-2013 Texas:

How to spot a child molester, and signs your child may have been abused

With the arrest this week of 62-year-old Cotter resident William Leon Bardin on a charge of raping a child sending shock waves across the Twin Lakes Area, many people are discussing how to spot a child molester.

While experts agree there are no 100-percent, fail-safe signs that a person is a child molester, they do agree on certain character traits and behaviors that should lead people to be cautious.

There is one personality trait, though, that should be a major red flag, according to Andrew Lentz, director of education for the Children’s Advocacy Center in Rogers. The CAC is an organization that provides services to childhood victims of sexual abuse and their families, while also helping law enforcement officials investigate claims of sexual abuse.

“Sex offenders are manipulators, and that’s what they do, they manipulate,” Lentz said. “They manipulate adults to make them think they don’t have anything to hide, that they’re great with kids, and that they’re all-around wonderful people. They manipulate children, too. Sexual abuse is going to happen in privacy, and it’s going to be wrapped in deception and manipulation.”

Sex offenders choose victims who are known to them, more than 90 percent of the time, Lentz said. According to the Child Molestation Research Prevention Institute, stepchildren, adopted children and foster children are at the highest risk of being victims of sexual abuse by a family member.

Perpetrators try to isolate victims, finding ways to be alone with them. Offenders choose children who are close to them. Sex offenders purposefully put themselves in situations where they have constant contact with children, said Lentz.

“They (offenders) absolutely purposefully put themselves in situations where they have contact with children,” Lentz said. “They are going to manipulate the situation so that they can get one-on-one time with children. Ninety-three percent of sex offenders describe themselves as religious. I think that’s because churches are places where they can go where people will trust them, and they’re going to be able to work directly in an environment where they can work alone with kids.”

An adult who often bends the rules is someone to watch out for, Lentz said. Adults who break rules regarding being alone with a child, adults who stay late with a child, adults who work it out so they drive a child home alone are signs of a potential abuser.

“Those are important rules because they protect kids,” said Lentz. “They are always going to want to manipulate the rules.”

Accountability and responsibility, a feeling that rules don’t apply to them, are signs a person might be an offender, according to Lentz.

“People who have no accountability, they don’t take on accountability,” Lentz said. “They kind of think they’re above accountability.”

Sex offenders are generally narcissistic, according to Lentz.

“They’re going to say things like, I like working with kids because of the way it makes me feel, or kids make me feel special,” Lentz said. “Whereas someone I think who has a more healthy view of children is going to like being around kids because they like to teach kids, or they like serving kids. Someone who likes being around kids because of the way it makes them feel, that’s something I think is unhealthy.”

Adults who prefer having relationships with children over adult relationships is another warning sign Lentz says people should consider.

“If someone is saying things like they feel more themselves when they’re around kids, or they feel better about themselves when they’re around kids, that’s something that I think should be alarming,” Lentz said.

Sex offenders choose children who are vulnerable, who don’t have many friends, who have bad home lives. Offenders will move to isolate their victims from other people and potential support networks. When they choose a victim, offenders look to separate that child from others, will prefer that particular child’s company over other children, giving that child special attention. ..Source.. by JOSH DOOLEY

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