Norman Scott of Portland Oregon, age 66, has been convicted on six counts of third degree sexual abuse and harassment. He was accused of inappropriately touching six 12 year-old girls on the same day when he substitute taught a gym class at Gardiner Middle School in Oregon City. Scott had a 36- year career teaching in Portland Public schools. In 2009, he put on a bizarre display in front of a 10th grade sex education class at Grant High School, in which he wore a condom on his head, and red underwear with a hole in the middle over his pants.
Can you think of a better job for a pedophile than teaching a middle school gym class? (Technically, Scott is probably a hebephile, as he demonstrated a preference for peri-pubescent girls). Where would you expect to find hebephiles or pedophiles working? Sexual predators lead dual lives. They may appear to be the proverbial tax paying, law abiding, upstanding members of the community, while keeping their deviance hidden. A commonly held myth is that sexual offenders are creepy, google-eyed weirdos who stalk victims in parks while wearing raincoats. This is a Hollywood fueled, nonsensical distortion. Predators use camouflage to get close to their prey. Duck hunters use blinds, bow hunters wear camouflage, and the military uses pixelated uniforms. The stripes or mottling of tigers and leopards allows them to blend into the background of savannah grasses. Sexual predators use the camouflage of normalcy. They are married or have girlfriends. They have a nice but humble home, and drive a nice car. They dress well, are clean shaven, and smile. And they are very friendly. They are nice. Parents and other members of the community will be aghast when they are revealed. Granted, Scott’s reported behavior in the aforementioned Tenth Grade sex ed class was very strange, but not indicative of sexual offending. He apparently went undiscovered for 36 years. It is highly doubtful this is the first time he offended; rather it is the first time he got caught.
There are many adults who are genuinely interested in teaching and mentoring young people with no dark or ulterior motives. Young people benefit from the expertise and life experience of teachers, coaches, and spiritual advisers. Paranoia about anyone who shows an interest in your child is not the answer. A close and trusting relationship with your child, and open communication is critical. They should be able to disclose anything to you, and not keep toxic secrets. Statistically, sexual abuse goes unreported most of the time. It is a secret that can be held for a lifetime. And as a parent, you need to lean the signs of sexual abuse, and listen to your children.