Dear Reader:

I was writing in response to a letter from Ross Pavlac [December 1], who seemed to misstate information regarding statistics and other matters in relation to child molesters.

Of course a comment like “the Boy Scouts, a group that has done more good for America than 99 percent of the organizations in the country” is mere opinion and has no basis of any kind in any objective fact or scientific research.

It is interesting that Ross considers homosexuality to be such a highly correlated trait with child molestation when, in his own words, 35 percent of pedophiles are homosexual. One need not be a mathematician to realize 65 percent therefore are not gay, and that 65 is a bigger number than 35. His comment “Given that . . . 2 percent of the general population” is gay is not well established at all. The best guesses range between possibly 1 and 10 percent, but there is no “given.” He concludes that because 35 percent of a 2 percent subpopulation are alleged pedophiles, that they should all be banned from working with the Boy Scouts of America in the interest of protecting children.

Ross’s misguided fear of gays–for whatever reason–and his use of statistics to support his opinion follow a long history of propaganda manufacturing. He should note, however, that between 10 and 15 percent of children and adolescents have been abused by an adult in a sexual manner. Interestingly for Ross, according to psychological research done by Conte and Berliner, most pedophiles ranged in age from 20 to 40, many being married or divorced, with children of their own. Guess he missed that study!

Finally, he misquoted a study by Abel, Becher, and Cunningham-Rathner, by stating that heterosexual pedophiles molest a mere 20 children before being caught while homosexual pedophiles molest an average of 150 victims. What the study actually states is that in a survey, pedophiles who preferred boys averaged about 150 victims while those that preferred girls averaged 20 victims. Note that they preferred one sex of victim to the other, but that does not necessarily relate to their sexual interests with other adults. Many heterosexual men (i.e., attracted to women) prefer the victimization of male children or both male and female children.

I don’t know what Ross’s background is in–maybe religion or family values?–but his letter provided some interesting interpretations and nicely calculated oversights to support what is essentially bigotry and fear.

Doug Holmes

MA Psychology