Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Understanding the Psychology of Child Molesters: A Key to Getting Confessions

Understanding the Psychology of Child Molesters: A Key to Getting Confessions
By Tom O'Connor, Chief of Police, and William Carson, Captain, Maryland Heights, Missouri, Police Department
The Police Chief
December, 2005

If a complaint came in to your agency alleging that a popular school teacher, a youth pastor, a Little League coach, or a previously convicted predator like Duncan had been molesting children in your community, are you confident that your investigators have the training and skills necessary to interview that suspect and get a full confession? These can be intense, high-profile cases. The suspect might be a prominent citizen, a pillar of the community. The reality is that in most child sexual abuse cases, the offender is someone who is known and trusted not only by the victim but also by the victim's family.

Child sexual abuse exists in every community and at all levels of society, but allegations of molestation can sometimes be divisive for a community. Some people refuse to believe that the accused is capable of such a crime. It is not unheard of for parents, friends, and coworkers to rally in support of the suspect, proclaim his innocence and even post his bond.1

These can be extremely difficult cases to investigate. Often there is little or no physical evidence and no witnesses, only a child's allegation that molestation has occurred. With these cases, the suspect interview can be the most critical stage of the investigation. The outcome of the interview can mean the difference between a successful prosecution and the release of the suspect to continue molesting other innocent children. There is nothing that solidifies a case and quiets the dissenters more than a detailed written or videotaped confession from the sexual abuser. . . Click here to continue


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