The Sickness of a Child Molester
Nearly 9 months after a jury found him guilty and after already being denied a new trial once, lawyers for Jerry Sandusky have filed a notice to appeal for a new trial. Sandusky, the former defensive coach for Penn State and founder of a charity for trouble youth, was convicted of sexually molesting at least 10 boys over a 15 year period. Even after hearing the heart wrenching testimony of his victims, who described how his abusive actions have had such a negative impact on their lives and the issues they continue to endure, he still doesn’t understand! The truth is that Jerry Sandusky is a very sick man. He is so sick that he’ll go to his grave thinking he did nothing wrong. In his mind, he loves kids!
Unfortunately, there are lots of people in the world who are just as sick. They regularly sexually abuse children with the thought that they are simply showing love to a child. With the knowledge and understanding of sexual abusers that we have today, there is no effective treatment for these individuals.
What is the difference between a person who is deemed criminally insane and is locked up for society’s protection and someone who rapes an 8 year old and sees nothing wrong with it? The difference is one is a determined to be mentally ill and the other is a monster criminal. Wrong! They are both mentally ill and both should be prevented from interacting with people outside of a secure facility. Yet, even with laws that allow the continued incarceration of high risk sexual predators, many are still let out of jail after they serve their time. Some we are so afraid will reoffend that we slap GPS tracking bracelets around their ankles so we can monitor their whereabouts. If we are so concerned, then why let them out at all!
Part of the problem is that we tend to paint anyone who molests a child with the same brush. In reality there are several different levels of sex offenders. There are those like Jerry Sandusky who are so delusional that they don’t comprehend that sexually assaulting children is morally reprehensible. There are some who given the right situation, even though they know it is wrong, would sexually victimize a child if they thought they could get away with it. They may do it more than once, especially if they get away with it the first time. These people may be able to be helped if put in the right environment. They might be able to control their actions even if they still have the desires. Then there are those who may have experienced these thoughts, but would probably never act on them. These individuals pose a small threat and if treated would never act out on these desires.
We have to start thinking about sex offenders in a different manner. Every “normal” person you ask would say someone who sexually victimizes a child is sick. So why not treat them as someone with a mental illness? Those who need isolation for the protection of the general public should be committed to a secure facility and those whom treatment may have an impact and allow them to control their actions they should be mandated to receive it.