Samuel T. Burris, age 44, allegedly exposed himself to a six year-old girl at an Oregon Dollar Tree store in September, and then exposed himself and touched two other girls, ages six and seven at a different Oregon Dollar Tree store in October. He was arrested and charged with two counts of First degree Sexual Assault, three counts of Public Indecency, and one count of Resisting Arrest. It is not stated if made bail, which was set at a quarter of a million dollars. He has a prior conviction which requires him to register as a sex offender.
Pedophilia is a deviant desire for pre-pubescent children. Those who act on these aberrant desires by viewing, collecting, or trading images or video, or having physical contact of a sexual nature with children have committed a crime.
The causes of pedophilia are unclear. It can be speculated that pedophiles experience arrested psychosexual development. Interest, curiosity, and attraction to your peers as a child is normal. But typically as one ages, this attraction becomes transferred to progressively older peers, until there is indifference toward younger peers, and a focus on older peers. Pedophilia can be viewed as a sexual orientation, meaning that there is no such thing as a cure, as the psychological and psychiatric communities are in agreement that sexual orientation is immutable and not amenable to change through psychotherapy. Through a combination of psychotherapy, medication, social pressure, and legal leverage, a pedophile may be able to suppress their desires, and not act them out behaviorally, but at their core the desires will still be present. It can be said they are bound with thread. Anytime they want, they can break the restraint of therapeutic methods, public shaming and social rejection, and threat of incarceration and indulge their deviance through sexually victimizing a child.
The rates of recidivism of sex offender in general, and pedophiles in particular is unacceptably high, yet there are weak laws in place which indulge sexual predators, rather than keeping them confined. There is the National Sex Offender Registry database, accessible by both civilians and law enforcement, but there are limitations, including those who refuse to register and are not caught, those who give false information, offenders who are not required to register as they pled out to a non-sexual offense, and sex offenders who are still operating in the community and have not been caught yet. When viewing the sex offender registry and feeling alarmed at the number of registered sex offenders in your area, multiply that number by anyone’s guess, as there are likely more offenders than you see.
The effectiveness of psychotherapy is uncertain. There is conflicting research. Individuals who are ashamed, humiliated, and who fight their desires may be amenable to treatment. Those who are without remorse, who openly embrace their deviance and celebrate what they do, are highly unlikely to benefit from treatment. Treatment professionals cannot afford to be naïve about their chance of successfully treating child sexual predators, and must be part of the team, e.g., Parole and Probation, that monitors, and contains and holds offenders accountable.
In this increasing anything goes, open-minded to the point of falling in society, there is the disturbing trend of people who defend pedophiles, and there are organizations such as NAMBLA who openly advocate sexual deviance with children. Do something. Write your state representative, and push for legislative change to get sexual predators off the street permanently.