Who Is This "Predator" Who Sexually Assaults Children? Part III

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

There is much confusion about what a child molester is and what a pedophile is. In many arenas people believe they are the same individuals, but just a different word to describe those individuals who sexually assault children. Others believe they are distinct individuals and have different individual characteristics. Whichever definition you believe, the connotation seems to be the same. These individuals sexually assault children for the purpose of sexual gratification.

There are different labels for child molesters who sexually assault children depending on the child victim’s age. Generally speaking, the break-down is as follows:

1.      Pedophiles seek children from 11 and under.
2.      Hebephiles seek adolescents from 11-14 year old pubescent’s.
3.      Ephebophilias seek mid-to-late adolescents 15-19 year old.

These individuals have different sexual preferences for many reasons:

Pedophilia is a paraphilia in which a person has intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children and on which feelings they have either acted or which cause distress or interpersonal difficulty. The current DSM-5 draft proposes to add hebephilia to the diagnostic criteria, and to consequently rename it pedohebephilic disorder to cover the physical development overlap between pedophilia and hebephilia.

Hebephilia refers to the sexual preference for individuals in the early years of puberty (generally ages 11–14, though onset of puberty may vary). Girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11; boys at age 11 or 12. Hebephilia differs from ephebophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for individuals in later adolescence, and from pedophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent children. While individuals with a sexual preference for adults (i.e., teleiophiles) may have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals, the term hebephilia is reserved for those who prefer pubescent-aged individuals over adults.  The term was introduced by Glueck (1955), who later credited it, without citation, to Paul Benedict.

Ephebophilia is the sexual preference of adults for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.  The term was originally used in the late 19th to mid-20th century, and has been more recently revisited by Ray Blanchard. It is one of a number of sexual preferences across age groups subsumed under the technical term "chronophilia". Ephebophilia strictly denotes the preference for mid-to-late adolescent sexual partners, not the mere presence of some level of sexual attraction. In sexual ethics, it may be defined as a sexual preference for girls generally 14–16 years old, and boys generally 14–19 years old. Some authors define ephebophilia as a sexual preference for pubescent and adolescent boys.

Law enforcement officials need to learn the characteristics, preferences, and method operandi of these three types of child molesters. If the law enforcement investigator understands each of these individual’s traits the investigation will take a positive turn for the investigator. If the investigator is investigating a case where the individual is a known ephebophile and he is alleged to have molested a pubescent boy, this will assist the investigator in knowing that the possibilities are greater that the ephebophile did not commit the sexual assault.

The investigator must be careful about labeling and pre-judging the individual because some pedophiles, hebephiles, and ephebophiles do not sexually assault children or adolescents. They may fantasize about the children who interest them, but they generally don’t sexually act out. Clearly this is a contradiction in terms. The investigator will need to remain objective and evaluate the circumstances at hand before making a critical judgment.

As a parent, they have a choice to allow their child to be associated with an individual who has the above characteristics. Although it is very difficult to identify what sexual preference an individual has, as these individuals do not broadcast their perverse sexual addictions to the general public. There is no set of obvious characteristics which a parent will be able to immediately recognize and then identify and then assume the individual is a threat to their child.

It is important the parent learns who each individual is; in which their child has contact with. Too often the parent does not take the time to identify and ask the proper questions about who these individuals are who are hanging out with their child. A red flag should be raised when the parent finds out that their child is now hanging out with an older man or woman. This red flag should be pursued to ascertain who this individual is and why they are hanging out with their child. More than a three year age gap should raise the awareness of parents that something isn’t right.
In this article you have learned who the top three child molesters are, who are a threat to your child. Further, law enforcement officials need to realize who these individuals are and how understanding their characteristics and traits can be a benefit to their investigations. Some investigators have the attitude that the individual is a child molester therefore he/she committed the act. This type of ignorant and naïve belief will only cause the investigator to stumble; and the investigation will greatly suffer.

There are a multitude of characteristics, categories and other relevant data about child molesters, rapists and sexual addicts in, which a law enforcement investigator needs to ferret out from the moment the investigator receives the case assignment.

Tomorrow, the “Predator” series continues. The more you, as a parent learn about these sexually perverted individuals, the more you, as a parent, can do to limit access to your children. Knowing who these individuals are and taking proactive steps to protect your children is an intelligent and protective opportunity to assure your child’s safety.


u.a. (2012). Wikipedia. Downloaded from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia on January 22, 2012.

Lawrence W. Daly
253-852-6702 B/P
253-852-6704 Fax
Kent, WA

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