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Molesters Usually Don't Look Like Molesters

Ditch those images of trench coats: Bruni
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2011 12:47 PM CST

(Newser) – Jerry Sandusky has not been convicted of anything yet, but the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State prompts Frank Bruni to note that the stereotypical image of a trench-coated molester hiding in the bushes is almost always wrong. Instead, a predator is more likely to be the compassionate-seeming gent down the street—or on the sidelines, or at the altar—who wins over kids gradually with patience, kindness, gifts, and trust, Bruni writes at the New York Times.

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In fact, these molesters often don't think of themselves as evil. In their minds, they are "people whose affinity for children just happens to have a sexual element, the satisfaction of which they’ve convinced themselves isn’t such a big, harmful deal." And they seem like great guys. This could explain why, say, Joe Paterno didn't more aggressively follow up on a report of Sandusky's alleged abuse. "Maybe he just couldn’t envision someone like Sandusky—a distinguished professional, a seeming do-gooder—as a molester," writes Bruni. "But it’s important that we all do." (Read more Penn State stories.)

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