What could compel a married man to sexually assault a child and then kill him? I was thinking about it, standing at the board with a pen in my hand and playing with my key ring. Daniel sat on the other side of the flipchart, leaning forward, listening to Nigel. Each man considered how their crime fit Finkelhor’s model of prerequisites in sexual offending theory.
This model assumes that four preliminary conditions must exist for a person to commit such a crime. It was Nigel’s turn and he concentrated on rolling another cigarette, his yellow fingers and crooked, dirty nails working reflexively. This was the first time I heard the details of his crime and I had to help him understand why he did it. My mouth was parched and my tongue was constantly sticking to the roof of my mouth.
It may be due to one factor or a combination of all
I had the first prerequisite written on the board: Motivation to commit a sexual offense. As we learned during the training, it consisted of three factors. First, emotional compatibility, which means that the adult feels more comfortable with the child than with other adults. This may result from the need to feel power or from difficult emotional development.
Secondly, deviant sexual arousal, perhaps caused by defective sexual development based on: exposure to pornography, inappropriate modeling of sexual interests (both particularly important during adolescence, when hormone levels are high) or traumatic experiences in childhood.
Thirdly, blockage, which – as sociologist David Finkelhor claimed – may develop on the basis of fear of mature relationships or intimacy, problems in relationships or poorly developed social skills. The motivation to commit a sexual offense may result from just one factor or a combination of all three.
Prison psychopath. In a cell with murderers and sex offenders press materials
The group looked at Nigel, who lit a cigarette, took a deep breath, and held on to the frame of the chair. Nigel explained that he had always felt more comfortable around children. He didn’t think he was attractive to women. His wife was his first and only girlfriend. He admitted that he was more attracted to younger, teenage girls, but he wasn’t sure why. He was never sexually abused.
The group sat and listened as Nigel formulated his thoughts under his breath while I wrote down his answers on the flipchart. Kyle rolled his eyes at the mention of teenagers and then sat down with his back to Nigel, crossing his arms with a ‘bored’ look on his face. Occasionally one of the group members would ask a question and Daniel or I would praise them if it made Nigel think and helped him get the answers on the board.
The second prerequisite is Overcoming internal inhibitors. In this way, the person overcame the socially ingrained message that having sex with children is wrong. External factors such as stress, alcohol, or exposure to pornography may have contributed to a person’s inability to control deviant sexual desires. Internal factors are excuses that people make for themselves to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay. Their cognitive distortions allow them to interpret a given situation in a sexual context.
They made faces and shook their heads
We discovered that Nigel had convinced himself that one of the swim lesson participants liked him. She wouldn’t come to the janitor’s den if she didn’t like him, right? Nigel really believed it. This was not the place to question such statements. There will be time for this later, during the “active settlement” session, once we have deciphered these distortions. Meanwhile, I was writing down all his excuses on the board.
- She likes me.
- He wants me.
- Young girls need to be educated about sex.
- I won’t do anything bad to her.
- She’ll like it.
This wasn’t right. Of course she didn’t like him. Why would a young student be interested in a suspicious-looking older guy? I saw that other members of the group thought the same. They made faces and shook their heads.
Another prerequisite is Overcoming external inhibitors. It’s about creating an opportunity to commit a crime – either by planning or by taking advantage of the opportunity. The victim must be found and isolated. Nigel wasn’t sure how he did it. “Tell us how you ended up alone in the boiler room with her,” Jeremy asked. He was smart, he knew how to ask questions, and he wanted us all to know it.
“I offered her some sweets and said I could give her a cigarette,” Nigel replied with a sigh. – But she didn’t have to come. She could have refused.
– Isn’t that an excuse? Could this girl really refuse? – Jeremy inquired. He was starting to do the work for us, and that was the goal. They were supposed to work in a group and our role was to make it easier for them. I wrote everything down on the board. – Thanks, Jeremy, those were great questions. You really helped Nigel, I assured him, but he didn’t answer me.
The last prerequisite in the model is overcoming the victim’s resistance. This may take the form of “grooming” – the gradual building of trust and dependence, often through gifts or rewards. It can also be done through threats and violence or by incapacitating the victim using drugs or alcohol. “Well, I definitely wasn’t aggressive,” Nigel insisted.
“You killed her, man,” Kyle interjected, placing the can of tobacco on the back of the chair.
“Let’s try to remember the agreement and respect for others, Kyle,” I reminded him, and he looked at me and turned to Daniel. – All right. Can you turn this statement into a question, Kyle? – asked Daniel. I must admit that he really kept his cool in such situations. “No,” Kyle replied. – What about sweets and cigarettes? Frank asked, looking at Daniel to reassure him. “Great question, Frank,” Daniel said, and I saw Frank smirk to himself.
Violence came later
We talked about how Nigel had spent some time building the trust of one particular girl by offering her contraband chewing gum and strange sweets, promising more of them if she came to his office for them. Finally, he suggested that she bring a friend so they could try a cigarette together. One day he planned to meet in the boiler room after swimming lesson, and she came alone because her friend had to go home.
During our conversation, it seemed that Nigel was beginning to regain consciousness. He understood how and why he was there. He did not use physical violence to take the girl to the boiler room, but for some time he persuaded her to do so. The violence came later because he tried to cover up the crime. Without going into details – I left it for later, to be discussed in the group – I felt sad and sick at the same time. I stopped thinking about the victim as a person. I didn’t want to hear her name because it made her more real. I couldn’t afford to think of her as someone who had a family, a life, and a whole future ahead of her. I had to focus on the man in front of me and do my job.
Bruce is a talented author and journalist with a passion for entertainment . He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the industry.