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Child, Please!

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JERRY SANDUSKY
www.nytimes.com

There's never been a shortage of ersatz experts struggling to establish some sort of correlation between homosexuality and a propensity to inflict harm upon children. Most often, this perceived association takes the form of a simple equation: homosexual = pedophile. My initial awareness of this came back in 1977, when former Miss Oklahoma and orange juice spokeswoman Anita Bryant was crusading to repeal a Dade County, Fla. ordinance that prohibited anti-gay discrimination. She named her organization "Save Our Children" and warned that "a particularly deviant-minded [gay] teacher could sexually molest children." Despite a lack of any scientific evidence to support her claims, as well as her failure to mention that a particularly deviant-minded heterosexual teacher could, potentially, do likewise, Bryant's efforts were successful.

This past November, that bastion of robust, all-American masculinity known as college football was rocked by the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach. Sandusky faces a multiple count indictment on charges that, over a period of years, he sexually abused boys he met through The Second Mile, a children's charity he founded in the late 1970s. Perhaps the most shocking allegation against Sandusky was that, in 2002, he was discovered, by another assistant coach, anally raping a 10-year-old boy in the locker room shower of the football building on the Penn State campus. Ever since Sandusky's arrest, the scandal has become a cause célèbre for right-wing extremists, who are practically tripping over each other in the stampede to place the blame in the hands of the gay community. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said, "Sandusky has to be -- he's a gay guy." Never mind that Sandusky has been married to the same woman since 1966. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, stated on the organization's website, "There IS a long history connecting homosexuality to pederasty [sex with young boys]." Joseph Farah, editor-in-chief of the ultra-socially-conservative World Net Daily, claims that gay rights advocates are creating "an environment conducive for predators of children."

Then there's Dr. Judith Reisman, Ph.D. While discussing the Sandusky case during a recent interview, Dr. Reisman said, "The aim of homosexual males ... is not to have sex with other old guys and get married but to obtain sex with as many boys as possible. That's the reality. I wish it weren't, but it is." Reisman has also, in the past, claimed that the techniques employed by homosexuals to recruit children rival those of the United States Marine Corps, and that the gay rights movement in Germany led to the rise of the Nazi Party and, subsequently, the Holocaust.

On the other hand, Dr. A. Nicholas Groth, has this to say about the connection between homosexuality and pedophilia: "The research to date all points to there being no significant relationship between a homosexual lifestyle and child molestation. There appears to be practically no reportage of sexual molestation of girls by lesbian adults and the adult male who sexually molests young boys is not likely to be homosexual."

Dr. Groth has also drawn the conclusion that male pedophiles do tend to victimize boys more often than girls, but for reasons that really have nothing to do with homosexuality. Groth opines that pedophiles are drawn to children sexually in that they identify with the child and appear to want to remain children themselves. This would explain Jerry Sandusky's description of the alleged locker room shower incident as "horsing around." Groth further stresses:

These same individuals are uninterested in adult homosexual relationships. In fact, they frequently express a strong sexual aversion to adult males, reporting that what they find attractive about the immature boy are his feminine features and the absence of secondary sexual characteristics such as body hair and muscles.

Two different doctors with two entirely different perspectives -- whom to believe?

Dr. Groth is a trained psychologist and pioneer in the scientific study of sexual offenders against women and children. Over the course of two decades, he treated more than 3,000 child molesters. Groth is also the author of Men Who Rape: Psychology of the Offender, a work widely regarded as a textbook on the psychology of sexual violence. Dr. Reisman, conversely, has a Ph.D. in communications from Case Western Reserve University. She is also a visiting professor at Liberty University, which was founded by the vehemently anti-gay Reverend Jerry Falwell.

I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that Dr. Groth has infinitely more credibility than any of the other "experts" mentioned in this article. He formulated his ideas based on his own observations and exhaustive research, as any responsible, trained professional would do. The others seem to simply make up a bunch of crazy shit based on their bigoted agendas, and pray that no one has yet to figure out how to use Google. Thankfully, the days of being able to pull an Anita Bryant are long gone.

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