At the Barbican: bums and barbarism


We don’t expect anything much to happen at 9.30 on a Sunday morning.

It’s a time when usually I would be mooching about with a cup of coffee and looking forward to another coma-inducingly complex Brexit analysis on the Andrew Marr Show, where we are no longer, it seems, stuck on the “backstop” (that’s the ordinary backstop), or even the “backstop to the backstop”. We have made great progress. We have moved on, so that instead of failing to come to any agreement on backstops we are now hopelessly mired on the “transition”, and even the “transition from the transition” – and no, for those of you who haven’t been following closely, I am not talking about trans persons or any aspect of sex or sexuality.

But I soon will be, as you will be relieved to hear.

So. Sunday. No comforting coffee or mystifying Marr. Just an empty platform in a quiet London Tube station as I make my way to the start of a conference. With only the sound of my own footsteps for company I make my lonely way to the exit. As I turn a corner onto a staircase I see my first humans. A couple. Or so I think, as the stocky man and slim woman appear to be walking together side by side some distance up ahead of me.

So when he gives her a firm spank on the backside I guess it must be a relationship thing. You know, playful. Pert enough posterior, I must admit, barely covered by hot-pants of a provocative shortness I haven’t seen for decades in my own sartorially challenged thigh of the woods. The young lady was about 30. Had she been only 20 years younger I would certainly have envied her “boyfriend” or “partner”.

Expecting some lively banter between the two, I was quickly disillusioned. Without a word, and without looking back or in any way acknowledging the man, she quickened her pace up the steps. As the distance between spanker and spankee grew it became apparent he was drunk, lurching from side to side. I gave him a wide berth as I overtook. Not that I thought he would spank my elderly male backside (no hot pants there, I assure you!) but I didn’t want any sort of confrontation.

That same morning, though, I found myself voluntarily confronting about a hundred people over this incident when I raised it as a question in a conference session at the Barbican Centre titled “Consent classes: from school to parliament and beyond”. By the time I spoke, several of the feminist platform speakers had come on strong in various ways (no surprise), suggesting that teaching strict rules for consent to schoolchildren or students is vital but not enough; basically, the consensus was little short of “All men should be castrated”.

In this atmosphere, I confess, I didn’t have the balls to suggest that even young children can consent – I might not have kept them for long had I tried! In any case, I was curious to sound out opinion on the Tube station spanker.

“A funny thing happened on my way to the conference,” I began. Well, not really: to me it had been “funny peculiar” but no way did I want anyone to think I meant “funny ha-ha”. I was also acutely aware that many women complain of sexual harassment such as uninvited spanking on an almost daily basis. So I took pains to emphasise that in all my many years I had never before actually witnessed such an incident in front of my very eyes.

“What should I have done?” I asked. “Should I have intervened in any way?”

It was pleasant, I have to say, to find myself in a good-guy role for once, the role of the Concerned Bystander. OK, so I hadn’t actually done anything good. A proper “English gentleman” might have taken the scoundrel by the scruff of the neck and given him a damn good thrashing, but that would have been far too aggressively masculine to win the approval of this conference session.

No, just thinking vaguely the right thoughts in an ineffectual way was apparently good enough for this surprisingly easy-to-please audience. One of the sterner panel speakers, law professor Susan Edwards, author of Sex and Gender in the Legal Process, seemed to think it was important that my consciousness had been raised. Alisha Lobo, a university students’ “community officer”, said she would have intervened herself, but only to go and ask the woman if she was alright. As a man, though, could I have done this without raising worries about my ulterior motives?

A guy in the audience pointed out that everyone, including the perpetrator, knows that spanking a complete stranger in a Tube station is bad behaviour. Consent classes would make no difference.

The best answer came from panellist Joanna Williams, author of Women vs Feminism and associate editor of Spiked. Instead of getting all worked up over “someone touching someone’s bum on a Sunday morning at Barbican Tube station”, she said, women should be celebrating their freedom, gained not so long ago, to go out in the world as independent people. The present emphasis on victimhood through “harassment”, “micro-aggressions” and the like, risked sacrificing spontaneity, freedom and intimacy. The Tube spanker’s behaviour was definitely unpleasant but the cost of trying to eliminate such incidents through ever greater vigilance and sex-negativity was far too high.

I am happy to say she got a very vigorous round of applause.

The conference was the excellent annual Battle of Ideas chat-fest on topical controversies, from #MeToo to Brexit to climate change, organised by the Institute of Ideas, whose director, Claire Fox, will be known to many heretics as a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. Those with an elephantine memory will recall that I wrote about this gathering a couple of years ago in “Are we (or they) driving kids crazy?

With Steve Freeman, my successor as chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), barbarically incarcerated on an indeterminate sentence of “imprisonment for public protection” (IPP) for the last seven years for child porn offences , I thought I should also attend the session on the policy of offender rehabilitation in prison, and whether it works.

Much of the session was focused, reasonably enough, on the lack of funding for getting offenders back on their feet when they leave the prison gate. Instead of getting the help they need they are left to wallow in unresolved problems, especially as regards drugs and alcohol, and a lack of skills that would enable them to gain and hold down a job. As a result, they soon find themselves back inside after re-offending: it is known as the revolving door syndrome.

I would have preferred a session given over entirely to the horror-story that the IPP system has become. The idea was supposed to be that “dangerous” prisoners, including sex offenders,  should only be released when they are no longer considered dangerous. In theory this need take only as long as necessary to successfully complete a treatment programme aimed at rehabilitation – which might mean a matter of months rather than years. In practice, staffing and other difficulties have meant that the required courses have often been long delayed, and the Parole Board has been reluctant to release anyone labelled “dangerous” for fear of the media shit-storm that would ensue in the event of any further offending.

Also, there has been a huge problem for heretics. In order to “pass” the Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) the offender has needed to convince the assessors running the courses that he (it’s usually a male) has changed his beliefs and no longer has an “offence supporting attitude” or a so-called “cognitive distortion” that makes him think consensual sex with minors is OK. A lot of us would struggle with this test, wouldn’t we?

Then, last year, came the shock news (no surprise to me but it was to the authorities) that the SOTP doesn’t actually work, and that those who have successfully completed the courses re-offend at a higher rate than those who do not! Logically, then, if you cannot “cure” offenders who are too “dangerous” to release, they must remain locked up.

So it’s a nightmare scenario for the remaining IPP prisoners, who find themselves stuck in a legal limbo that neither the parole authorities nor the politicians dare tackle. It has become a gulag system, much like the endless “civil commitment” faced by many sex offenders in the U.S. i.e. continuing detention behind bars long after their sentence has ended, waiting for a “cure” that does not exist. Note that the IPP is officially a life sentence, although the offence leading to it can be relatively minor, with a minimum term (sometimes called the “tariff”) that might be under a year. In Steve’s case it was two and a half years and he has so far served seven.

Nobody at the Barbican even mentioned sex offenders until I raised the subject.

Wouldn’t it be a far better use of resources, I asked, now that the SOTP is known to be useless, to spend the money instead on practical post-release help, making sure ex-offenders have somewhere to live and so forth? Whether the remaining IPP prisoners should in justice be released immediately, after completing their tariff, was a follow-up question I had in mind, albeit the session was too short to take it.

The panel included Jerry Petherick, previously a prison governor responsible for HMP Dartmoor and now the director in charge of all the G4S prisons in the UK, including HMP Rye Hill, where all the inmates are sex offenders. To my surprise, this guy from the hard-nosed capitalist business of making money out of locking people up came across as surprisingly pleasant and well-meaning, notwithstanding the terrible mess his company has made of riot-stricken HMP Birmingham, now taken back into state control.

And judging by the answer he gave me he is pleasant and well-meaning but with little to offer but waffle and bureaucratic bullshit. He spoke of the “demise” of the SOTP, saying it had caused “real uncertainty as to how and how effectively it will be replaced”. How indeed. He didn’t get much further.

In the chair was Pamela Dow, a former director of strategy with the Ministry of Justice. She claimed the SOTP had worked well in its early phase when it was in the hands of experienced clinical psychologists, but when it was rolled out over the whole prison estate it was not given enough funding and was delivered by poorly trained staff.

I totally believe her. But again unanswered was the question of what comes next?

Nobody mentioned the new Kaizen programme, perhaps because there is some embarrassment over this fancy-sounding rebranding of the SOTP, re-launched with a few untested tweaks. This is designed to be a more “holistic” (great buzzword!) course for supposedly high risk offenders such as Steve,  incorporating “biological, social and psychological factors”, whatever that means. There is also the Horizon programme for lower risk offenders. As a blog associated with the journal Sexual Abuse pointed out, these courses may be evidence-informed but they are not evidence-based. Citing forensic psychologist Ruth Mann, the bloggers suspect that we can see “the evil twin of evidence-based policy-making” at work in this case, namely “policy-based evidence-making”.

But there may be some faint hope for better policy. The holistic approach (soothingly served up to me by Mr Pecksniff, sorry Petherick, when I button-holed him at the end of the session) could actually have something going for it. In the damning academic evaluation of the SOTP, one of the possible reasons given for the programme’s failure was its one-size-fits-all nature, with violent young rapists considered just the same as gentle and often elderly kind inmates.

I could have told them this. In fact I did, in an article published in the house journal of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) a few years ago. Maybe someone has noticed at last. My main point was that heretics like us do not take kindly (pun intended!) to having it dinned into us that we must have “cognitive distortions” and lack empathy. Either of these failings could be a factor (as one would expect when children are manipulated or coercively molested) but it ain’t necessarily so. And if it ain’t so we won’t buy it. We will instead either be in open revolt against the objectives of the course or seethe in quiet resentment. Either way, the programme will fail.

Far better, I said, would be to have programmes that respect the individuality of the inmates concerned, giving participants the opportunity to discuss their beliefs freely, and any evidence they know of that supports them. Resistance to the prescribed ideology should not on its own be taken to indicate that an inmate is still dangerous when a fair and intelligent evaluation of their expressed views would suggest the opposite.

Steve could pass that course, and rightly so.

As the U.S. fights over judging a judge…


With the United States tearing itself apart over sexual allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s pick for a vacant place as one of the Supreme Court justices, today’s guest blogger, veteran NAMBLA activist Peter Herman, gives us his take on dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee public hearings in which the stakes are huge. The outcome will potentially tilt the balance on the court in a way that could have massive implications for the future of gender relations and sexual mores in America – and even the wider western world – for a generation or more. Peter watched at length the testimony given by Kavanaugh’s main accuser, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, and the embattled judge’s self-defence.



“What goes around comes around.” Those are words that Brett Kavanaugh used in anger as he lashed out at some of his questioners during Senate confirmation hearings. Though he meant these words in a different context, they have further significance, which I will come to.

As of this writing, no one knows whether the candidate for one of the highest judicial posts in the United States will get a pass. In either case, it will be bad for him. As with Justice Clarence Thomas, who was also accused of sexual misbehaviour, the taint will always remain.

I have strong feelings against Kavanaugh; but as for whether his appointment to the US Supreme Court will be a good thing for the country, I cannot predict. Again, I will come to that.

I watched almost all of Ms Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony, and it would seem that almost any reasonable person witnessing both accounts cannot but see that the judge is either lying outright or lying to himself. Most telling was his refusal on several occasions to agree to an FBI investigation where at one point there were several seconds of silence as he could no longer rely on the canned responses he had been giving to these requests.

Of course, the FBI has done a lot of underhanded things in the past, especially under the tutelage of Edgar Hoover, but with the glare of responsible news media it is unlikely the agency would prevaricate. It is almost impossible to believe that Kavanaugh did not fear the uncovering of very uncomfortable events in his life.

He could not hide his past heavy drinking, but what he could try to hide was the strong likelihood of his belligerent demeanour while drunk and his inability to remember his behaviour while drunk. People who drink know that there are “mean” drunks and “mellow” drunks. Under the influence of brain-altering chemicals, there is no way of choosing the type of behaviour you will succumb to. Such people most often have no or little memory of their actions while drunk. It is a real life Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation.

What is most likely is that Kavanaugh did have some memory of what he did but was so horrified of behaviour he would not otherwise do while sober that he could not face the reality. As an adolescent, he had to deal with a strict Catholic environment and parents who had high ideals for him. This may be why as a jurist he has employed a large number of women all of whom report exceptional kindness on his part. It may be that he is like those Calvinists who, faced with a predetermined choice by the God they believe in, lead virtuous lives to prove to themselves that they are indeed the ones whom God has determined to save.

This is why I earlier said I could not predict whether, in my own view, Kavanaugh would be good for the country. Like the composer of Amazing Grace, a sinner can, when facing his own terrible sins, make amends. Kavanaugh, in his testimony, said very partisan things that would show him not to be the impartial and measured jurist needed for the highest court in the land; but that could have been a desperate move to save himself from the precipice of shame. Though no one can predict what kind of Justice he would be, I personally would not take a chance with him.

There is great irony in the predicament that Kavanaugh finds himself in. For decades now, lawmakers at all levels have whipped the flames of hysteria regarding sexual behaviour, and judges have obliged by imposing outrageous sentences. As awful as Kavanaugh’s alleged act against Ms Ford was when both were teenagers, a more understanding culture would have provided a way for the perpetrator to apologise, somehow make amends and not be labelled for life. This did not happen then, and it is surely not happening now. How long will it be until sufficient chickens come home to roost?

There is a further irony, at least for those who love boys and are persecuted for it, in that we may side in this case with the “Me Too” movement. Too many women who have been truly abused have erroneously projected their hurt onto those truly loving and consensual relations between men and boys. The answer to those who are therefore hostile to undifferentiated feminism is that we, male and female, boys and girls, men and women are one species and often subject to irrational conclusions.

Anger, confusion, shattered lives… and love


Footage of a disgraced teacher’s banishment to a bleak, cramped, lonely existence in an isolated caravan in the middle of nowhere after an offence of downloading “child sexual abuse images” provided a 90-minute Channel 4 TV documentary this week with the perfect visual symbol.

Alex, a teacher for 15 years and father of two young adult daughters, found himself exiled from a six-bedroom, well-appointed family home in the face of his wife Kate’s anger, bloodcurdling online abuse and frosty hostility from the neighbours in their respectable suburban location.

It is with these neighbours that Married to a Paedophile begins. Or rather their houses. We see Kate braving an outing to her front garden to give the film makers a quick briefing on what had become mainly enemy territory. Pointing to the house opposite, she said the lady there had been “lovely” to her since the news of Alex’s downfall. The other houses were a different story: This one: nasty. That one: horrible. Over on the right: enemy. Across to the left: enemy.

Then there were the social media messages: “Gotta wonder about the wife. She’s gotta be a whore.” That was just one of the milder ones.

None of this will be at all surprising to my fellow heretics here at Heretic TOC. It is an agonisingly familiar scenario, even if most of us haven’t had a female spouse’s point of view as our starting point. Reading this, the first thought coming to many here may be that Channel 4 did a comparable doc not so long ago called The Paedophile Next Door, from Testimony Films. With the honourable exception of a fine contribution from our own Ed Chambers, it turned out to be a dreadful compendium of shock-horror clichés.

But really there is no comparison. The latest offering is from a different outfit, Brinkworth Films, and is of vastly higher quality in every way: the time and care taken over its production, the presentational style, the absence of clichés, the refusal to be judgemental. It is a work of integrity that enables its participants to express themselves at length and in depth, giving breathing space to the issues, doing justice to their complexity.

Director Colette Camden’s achievement owes much to the fact that she focused on just two families in which the husbands were convicted of downloading and followed what happened to them for 18 months, from the wives’ immediate reactions to the arrests to longer-term repercussions over this lengthy period, as the shock-wave spread to children and grandchildren.

As for the husbands, their views and feelings were also explored. My reaction was in large part to see them as co-victims of brutally oppressive and unnecessary police and legal processes, but realistically we must suppose that most of the audience will take a different view. That’s fine. I am just happy the programme doesn’t thrust any particular interpretation down our throats.

It shunned that easy resort, the holy wrath of an outraged presenter; it even spared us the tears that our emotionally incontinent times seem to demand at every turn, not just from the recently bereaved but from those who have simply won a tennis championship, or a singing contest, or even merely earned some praise for baking a cake. The participants in this particular programme really do have plenty to cry about, God knows, and we may be sure there has been no shortage of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But what we see is calm reflection. We know, as any sensitive audience would, that these have been traumatic times for all concerned. It needs no emphasis. What we see instead is the longer term reality: the unavoidable stoicism of just having to get on with things; the mental struggle of coming to terms with the bald fact that nothing will ever be the same again; and the gradual rebuilding of shattered lives.

A key innovation that enabled people to speak and be shown freely was that the participants did not appear in person. Instead, their names have been changed and their actual spoken words were lip-synched by actors, who did a superb job: I would not have known they were not the actual families if I hadn’t been told. It also meant that everyone could be represented visually, including the little grandchildren of the second family, without them being hideously defiled by censorious pixilation.

As for that “perfect visual symbol” I mentioned at the start, I suspect a lot of artifice went into its depiction. Just as actors have been used as stand-ins for the people, stand-in locations have also been deployed, so that the families cannot be identified by their houses or neighbourhoods. So what we get is supposed to be similar to the original but not identical.

In the case of the caravan, my hunch is that artistic licence was taken. But any “cheating” was in a good cause: rather than taking us away from the truth it compels our interest in it. The beat up little old van is just a tad too humble; and its picturesque isolation, not on a caravan site but set in a scene of otherwise unblemished rural loveliness, at once blesses the eye and burdens the heart. How, we cannot help but ask, can it have come to this?

What, then, do we learn? What do these dramas tell us?

It would be unwise to generalise too much based on a sample of only two families but some clear points of interest emerge that our own prior knowledge will surely tell us are widely applicable.

Broadly, the story on the wives’ side is of mixed emotions: lingering loyalty to the partner they loved, but also anger and a deep sense of betrayal. As for why this had happened to them, there was very little to be seen but puzzlement, confusion and incomprehension. Lucy and Jes, Alex and Kate’s daughters, were far more sympathetic towards Alex than Kate was. Lucy, especially, made a valiant attempt to explain away her father’s transgressions in terms of mental illness and depression.

Kate took umbrage in a far more personal way: her partner had committed a criminal offence, she insisted. Worse, he had insulted her.

“I’m really angry that he would want to look at that stuff when he had me,” she protested. “What was wrong with me? Why not stick to what was right, what he should have been looking at, which was me?”

It would have taken a paedophile to explain that she need not have felt bad on that account. A paedophile could have pointed out that sexual attraction to children is an ever-present and powerful orientation, not a trivial seeking after novelty; nor does it imply lack of loyalty towards a sincerely loved adult partner.

Sadly, no such paedophile was available to say this. There was Alex, of course, but he turned out to be in deep denial. Kate tells us the first thing he said when he was arrested, and kept repeating, was “I’m not a paedophile. I’m not a paedophile.” Same with the husband in the other featured family, Robert. According to his wife, Helen, he too insisted he had no sexual interest in children. He told her he didn’t watch the videos, he just liked collecting them!

The fact is that both of these guys had been caught bang to rights with multiple images showing children, some of them very young, sexually engaged in “pretty much everything”, as Kate put it, while some of Robert’s images were clearly very extreme. Mere curiosity? A magpie-like collecting compulsion? I don’t think so. Alex got off relatively lightly with a 12-month community service order, whereas Robert served a prison sentence and was behind bars for 16 months. Both men, I think it is sensible to conclude, were definitely paedophiles.

It is more than understandable, of course, that they felt unable to admit it to their wives and families. As Alex dryly admitted, “You can see why people can go off you.” Clearly a man of easy charm, he reminded me of former politician Neil Hamilton, disgraced in the parliamentary cash-for-questions scandal back in the 1990s. One senses that, like Hamilton, Alex will bounce back. Even by the end of the programme he was able to talk of finding a certain happiness, despite all the heartache his family had been through: life is simpler now, he said philosophically.

Robert, by contrast, is in prison when the programme starts and we hear about him through his immensely loyal wife, who visits him inside frequently and is ready to meet him at the gates on his release date. “I’ve loved him for 44 years,” she says, “you can’t just switch that off.”

Ultimately, though, as time moves on, so do Helen’s sentiments. She has her little pre-school grandchildren to think about, and her daughter-in-law has strong feelings on the matter. Also, a nice new man, Richard, comes into her life. She’s still friendly towards Robert but is haunted by the knowledge that one of the images in his collection was particularly extreme, showing a man masturbating over a baby’s face…

It is a triumph of the programme, I suggest, that it is content to present Robert as a much loved and plausibly lovable man despite this damning revelation. His little granddaughter, we hear, was angry because no one would explain to her why her beloved granddad had gone to prison and why she couldn’t see him again. The kids, of course, are usually the last people to have their views taken into account…



Has anyone seen this documentary, just out, called American Circumcision? It is available through a range of outlets on a paying basis but there is a free trailer. It is getting good customer reviews at Amazon, such as this one, from Dave JP, on 31 August:

A highly informative documentary exposing the myths (or lies) about the alleged “benefits” of the elective surgical mutilation of male babies that goes back only to the late 19th century in the USA, done for a variety of changing rationales but until recently (whatever the irrational pretexts) solidly embedded in the cultural milieu to the point that it had become sheer routine custom. The film explores the revulsion and anger of men who were damaged physically and emotionally, as well as the regrets of parents and health care professionals for their complicity in perpetuating this tragedy, which is still dismissed by some with offensive comments such as “Get a life”. Fortunately, as the film shows, people are waking up, questioning, protesting, and even suing the practitioners who engaged in this barbaric non-therapeutic ritual.

M.A.D. policy on children is truly disturbing


The myth that children are asexual and “innocent” is crucial for those would crush us (and the kids). But the reality is now proving harder for them to escape thanks to the social media.

Appallingly for the haters, but thrillingly for heretics, primary school kids are now encouraging each other to watch online porn; they are making sexy selfies and also involving their friends in sexually explicit films. British children’s charity Barnado’s has told parliament that “self-generated child sex abuse images” (kids “abusing” themselves!) have shot up fourfold, with children as young as five involved. In evidence given to the House of Commons science and technology committee, the organisation said three-quarters of referrals for “child sex abuse” are now internet-related.

The Daily Mail’s report unsurprisingly tried to spin this by dragging in talk of “grooming” by adults. But Emily Cherry, of Barnardo’s, said young children are “increasingly becoming perpetrators as well as victims”.

In the good old days, of course, kids did not need to go online. They could roam freely and find hot action with each other in all sorts of locations, from behind the bike sheds to in the long grass – or even within Dr Barnado’s Homes. Barnardo’s was set up in 1866 to provide residential care for orphans and other needy children. In order to facilitate their better welfare, founder Dr Thomas Barnado was not above kidnapping the young housemates! Nor has the organisation been entirely free from sexual scandal.

If these reflections on the history of Barnado’s offer a hint of the hypocrisy that often goes hand in hand with moralising about child protection, a couple of other recent news stories reveal it in spades.

A prime example came up in the case this week of former pop impresario Jonathan King, after a judge blasted Surrey Police for multiple failings in an historic sexual abuse case they brought against him. King’s trial was aborted in June. It was the fourth he had faced, including the only one in which he was convicted, back in 2001, a conviction he is now seeking to have reversed.

The reasons for the fiasco in June were not reported until this week, when Judge Deborah Taylor finally set out in detail what had gone wrong.

Also held back until now was the verdict in another trial of a big name from yesteryear, radio DJ Chris Denning, who at one time worked for King’s company UK Records. While King’s latest trial was still in progress, Denning was cleared of an historic sexual abuse case against a 14-year-old boy. The verdict could not be reported at the time because it was feared the result might improperly influence the outcome of King’s trial. I was delighted for Chris because he is a great guy, as I knew from being a fellow inmate with him in HMP Wandsworth over a decade ago. Sadly, though, he is still in prison, serving two 13-year sentences handed down some time ago in relation to other cases dragged up from events decades ago, so he will not be released until about 2020.

I knew Jonathan King as well through a mutual friend I had also met inside, but let’s not get too diverted by that.

I feel pleased for Jonathan, too, but he is not the main character in my story today. Instead the focus should be on Mark Williams-Thomas, former detective turned “investigative journalist”. Remember him? It was his dodgy documentary for ITV on Jimmy Savile that finally set ablaze the dry tinder of rumour about the late entertainer, who never seemed to have an adult partner but flirted with young girls quite openly on his TV shows.

Williams-Thomas relied for his revelations on the word of a woman who has since been credibly dismissed as a serial fantasist. The BBC, presented with similar gossip, quite rightly turned down the opportunity to screen a similar documentary made by one of its own producers.

Whereas the BBC soon found itself vilified for cowardice over its refusal to trash the late star’s reputation on a slender basis, unscrupulous chancer Williams-Thomas was the hero of the hour.

Now, though, he has been put in the dock himself, metaphorically at least. This follows his role as a police detective in an investigation of the King case that followed perceived failures in how Surrey Police had handled things at an earlier stage.

It has been revealed that in 2014 Surrey Police learnt that Williams-Thomas was said to be offering to sell information on King’s alleged victims, and even introductions to them. This put a massive question mark, to say the least, over the ex-detective’s integrity. Judge Taylor said it meant King should never have been charged on evidence taken by him.

So much for Williams-Thomas. As for Surrey Police, they have been forced into an apology for a litany not just of blunders but of acts that would seem deliberately designed to rig the case, if the Daily Mail report is correct. That account shows the judge making numerous swingeing points of criticism, including the claim that officers misled the court and hid evidence that would have undermined alleged victims’ stories.

After the jury was discharged back in June, we are told, Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Hayes, the senior investigating officer, went off sick due to “mental illness”. Prosecutors have now announced that they will not be seeking a re-trial.

Judge Taylor said the case had not even been driven by concern over getting justice for any victims. Instead, it was all about Surrey Police trying to repair the reputational damage they had incurred through their previous failings, in their investigations both of Jonathan King and Jimmy Savile.

You want more evidence of police hypocrisy? You want further proof that even the higher realms of government plainly don’t give a toss about kids’ welfare despite constantly banging on about it?

How about the recent disclosure that British police and intelligence agencies have been deliberately exposing children to the danger of extremely violent physical reprisals by using them as spies in covert operations against terrorists, gangs and drug dealers? A committee of the House of Lords revealed the practice while raising the alarm over government plans – yes, this is Her Majesty’s Government we are talking about – to give law enforcement bodies more freedom over “their use of children”.

The committee expressed alarm over proposals to extend from one month to four the period of time between each occasion that child spies go through a re-registration process. In other words, the plan is to allow the authorities to embed kids within criminal networks for a lengthy period. How bizarre is that? As Richard Littlejohn would say, you couldn’t make it up.

Neil Woods, a former undercover police officer who investigated drugs gangs around the country, told The Guardian, “It’s going to rack up the violence because as soon as gangsters think that there are more spies in their ranks then the classic arms race reaction is to increase the amount of terror, to make sure that those people are more scared of the gangsters than they are of the ramifications of the police.”

I found it particularly shocking to learn that this use of child spies is overseen by the investigatory powers commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford. A Home Office statement said, “Throughout any deployment and beyond, the welfare of the young person is the paramount consideration.”

Really? Really? I find this official complacency quite stunning. Many years ago Adrian Fulford and I were fellow members of the NCCL gay rights sub-committee. He struck me as a pleasant and decent person, a man of integrity. It just shows, perhaps, how compromised establishment figures can become, tainted as they inevitably will be by being forced to ponder, in many awkward contexts, whether the end justifies the means.

Or perhaps, though it seems unlikely, he takes the robust view that kids are more capable than we think and that their lives will be massively enhanced by being entrusted with such an excitingly grown-up role. Many of us heretics, indeed, might see some romance in the thought of a junior James Bond getting the better of a sinister, cat-stroking, international criminal mastermind, or foiling a dastardly jihadi plot for a new 9/11.

Well, sure, but there are limits. As with child soldiers or chimney sweeps, this undercover kids scheme goes way beyond them in terms of acceptable difficulty and danger.

Still on the theme of hypocrisy over serious child abuse – and of undercover work – I wonder if anyone saw an amazing edition of Dispatches on Channel 4 last month called “Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network”?

For an investigation of Facebook’s methods, a reporter worked undercover after getting a job as a moderator with the social media behemoth’s UK operation based in Ireland.

About ten minutes in, there is footage of a woman saying she reported seeing on Facebook a video of a man repeatedly kicking and punching a little boy, aged about three. She was told it would not be deleted as it did not violate Facebook’s terms and conditions. The undercover guy is heard asking his supervisor about such material, for which they have a policy aptly called M.A.D.. This is their shorthand for stuff the moderators are supposed to “Mark As Disturbing” rather than remove.

The supervisor explains this by saying that if there is too much censorship “people lose interest in the platform… It’s all about making money at the end of the day”. In the first two days after it was posted, we are told, the video with the little boy was shared more than 44,000 times.

We also see a sign on the wall of the moderators’ office giving an instruction to mark certain categories of material as disturbing (but not to delete), including videos showing an adult “inflicting burn or cut wounds” on a child”, or “tossing, rotating or shaking of an infant too young to stand by their wrists, ankles, legs or neck”.

Shockingly, we are told via the programme’s voiceover that unless they are streamed live, “in our experience videos of child abuse are not usually reported to the police”.

In the case of the little boy mentioned above, though, it was discovered that the video originated in Malaysia. The child had gone to hospital. The culprit was his step-father, who had been arrested and jailed for a year. The video went on Facebook in 2012 and was still there six years later when the Dispatches programme was being made. It is used by Facebook as an illustrative example to train new moderators on what is acceptable as M.A.D. content.

Mad indeed.

Not that there is never a case to be made for showing violence, including violence against children. I have in mind a classic newspaper photo from the Vietnam war showing a little girl running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back in a napalm attack. She was later identified as Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The photo shocked the world. Its publication did not end the war but certainly helped build up public sentiment against it.

The justification for perpetually showing images of extreme violence against children on Facebook is much more tenuous though. Arguably it might be possible to identify a perpetrator by doing so, but if Facebook had a track record of success in this regard I suspect they would be telling us about it.

As for child nakedness, that would of course be far too horrific to show – unless the child was being horribly burnt at the same time!



My attention has been drawn to a recent Boychat post by Queer Furry headed “IMPORTANT: a threat we should respond to”. He writes:

The DSM Steering Committee considers changing the DSM entry about pedophilia by omitting the sentence “Pedophilia per se appears to be a lifelong condition”.

This would likely encourage even more doctors to “cure” MAPs by making them submit to electro shocks or other inhumane treatments. And yes, such treatments are still in use and have been used on MAPs who are minors as well. Parents can literally force their children to this kind of torture.

We need to respond to this. And fortunately, we can. There is a 45-day public comment period which ends on August 29. Here you can submit your own comments. Here you find more information about the proposed change.

I completely agree with Queer Furry over this. DSM is the bible of American psychiatry and its influence extends far beyond the United States. Those who are seeking this change are clearly reluctant to accept what scientific research has confirmed in recent years, namely that paedophilia is a sexual orientation. As such, it is not amenable to change through therapy. Attempts to bring about such change are bound to fail, as with now discredited “gay reparative therapy”, and typically result in nothing but misery, disappointment and psychological trauma.

Queer Furry cites an important paper on this by Allyson Walker and Vanessa Panfil, titled “Minor Attraction: A Queer Criminological Issue”, published last year in Critical Criminology. The official link to this paper is here. A very relevant quote from it can be seen in QF’s BoyChat post.

In a recent comment here, I wrote: “As with party politics, there will be some occasions when it makes sense for kind radicals to work with those who are usually opponents. I will be talking about one such occasion in a blog coming up shortly.”

What I had in mind was the Virtuous Pedophiles, who posted their own draft response to the proposed DSM change on SexNet. I am happy to say they did an excellent job. While there is no need to work jointly with them on this in a direct way, it is worth saying that we see eye to eye on this issue, so we can support the same cause at the same time.

Mutual support aimed at self-acceptance


Support for those who are sexually attracted to minors and who feel lonely, depressed and desperate on account of their orientation is not conspicuously available in most countries. All that is offered is brain-washing aimed at bullying so-called “offenders” and presumptive “ticking time bombs” into cowed submission to the law.

At least in the Netherlands, though, there is an alternative. It has been pioneered by an old friend of mine, Dr Frans Gieles, who is well known in the kind community as the long-time leading light of the  organisation Ipce, which has run a discussion forum and annual conferences for many years and is now of global significance thanks to its superb online library of scientific and other scholarly resources. In today’s guest blog Frans put us in the picture regarding the humane – law-abiding but non-judgmental – mutual help groups he has organised and developed over several decades, with individual therapy offered as an alternative or supplement.

Frans, a true “wise old man” of our movement, was born in 1941. A grandfather now, many years ago he used to be a house-father and a staff member in children’s homes and a foster father at home. A qualified therapist and expert in education, his PhD thesis was on conflict management and meta-methodology.  Frans has his own website.



Looking back …

… to the 1980s: we then had 18 self-help groups in the Netherlands, mostly under the umbrella of the NVSH, the Dutch Association for Sexual Reform. This organization is unique, with nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. Early in its history it played a pioneering role in the encouragement of family planning. Supporting openness about sexuality and the acceptance of sexual diversity, the NVSH offers counselling and support for minorities. This has long included paedophiles as well as gays.

Now, all that is left is a single self-help workgroup that organizes two “encounter groups”, one for the eastern part of the country and the other for the west. These offer individual counselling and therapy. The term “encounter groups” comes from the work of psychologist Carl Rogers, who developed the idea of non-directive therapy. Participants in the groups are encouraged to share thoughts and emotional reactions that arise in response to their fellow participants’ actions and statements. The emphasis is on sharing emotions, rather than on judging people.

What happened?

Internal conflicts, conflicts with the local NVSH board, misbehaviour of members or simply lack of members or leadership. Within society, the climate changed from around the mid-1980s onwards.  Relative tolerance towards paedophilia turned into rejection and hostility, so people became afraid to join groups associated with it.

A major development in 2014 cranked up this environment of hostility, when pro-paedophile organisation Vereniging Martijn (the Association Martijn, usually called just “Martijn”) was banned by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. Martijn had advocated for the societal acceptance of paedophilia and the legalization of sexual relationships between adults and children. The court reinstated (following a successful appeal) an earlier ruling in a lower court that the association’s actions and statements were in conflict with the accepted norms and values of Dutch society and that the ban was needed in order to protect children. In 2015, an appeal by the association to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) was rejected.

Who survived?

The NVSH Workgroup, called “JORis”, a name which stands for “Youth-Adult Relationship, intimacy, sexuality”. This workshop survived under the umbrella of the national NVSH Board, now with two encounter groups: JON (= JORis East Netherlands) and West.

Especially after the end of the Association Martijn in 2014, more people became members of the JON group, who started a second encounter group in the West in 2015. New members kept coming in and continue to do so, so that there are now about 50 members. Regularly, both groups have to split themselves into two subgroups.

JORis and society: bridges to build

In the Netherlands, we have several institutions for “ambulant” forensic-psychiatric care. “Ambulant” means you get there under your own steam. You go along for an appointment at an office in town rather than being treated residentially in a clinic or other institution. Most of the clients are referred on a mandatory basis, sent by the court; but the care centres are also open for people going there voluntarily, most of them referred by health care institutions. But those who go voluntarily often complain that they are treated simply and solely as potential offenders, especially if they are obliged to join group sessions. So they leave.

These forensic-psychiatric institutions and the JORis groups used to exist in two almost entirely separate worlds. JORis, for their part, accepted the work of those institutions and their methodology, but the respect was not mutual. The institutions did not accept the existence and methodology of the JORis groups. Frequently, the institutions often forbade their clients from having contact with anyone else who admitted to paedophilic feelings: this made it impossible for them to join the self-help oriented JORis.

This has changed in the last couple of years.

At least, a bridgehead has been built. The forensic and mental health institutions have begun to refer clients to coordinators and therapists working with the JORis. With these professionally qualified figures seen as responsible intermediaries, clients are now being allowed to join the groups. Bridges not yet built are those over the gap between probation/rehabilitation officers and the JORis groups, and also between JORis and the closed forensic-psychiatric institutions.

The methodology: encounter groups

What kind of social setting works best for these help-seekers?

The encounter groups are primarily self-help groups. There is no “therapist” with “clients”: people help each other if they need help. Often, they are helped simply by the opportunity to speak openly.

The main methodology is narrative. Members are asked to tell their own, authentic personal story. They are asked to listen carefully, without expressing any kind of judgment or giving unwanted advice, and also without interruptions such as “Oh, in my case …” or “In my opinion …” They are stimulated to ask questions, to try to understand each other, and to acknowledge others’ contributions in their replies. Sometimes, a metaphor may be helpful: “Your story tells me you have been like a tortoise hiding fearfully under your shell; but now you are venturing out of it.”

Themes for the conversation are seldom set beforehand; rather, they should emanate from the group discussion. Sometimes, a theme will emerge in response to a topic that is clearly one of lively concern among the members.

We see this methodology working if members are asked to tell their narrative again, e.g. if a new member enters the group. We then hear that the narrative has changed, has developed itself, and thus that the person is developing himself. For instance, the first narrative is often something like, “I blame society for …” and “They” are held responsible. Later on the word “I” appears in the narrative instead of “they”.  Also, the first story is often “I am afraid of …, so I avoid …” or a story of fear, isolation or obsession. Later on, a kind of courage may appear, a kind of knowing how to live and to act – or how not to live and not to act.

The theme of “self-acceptance” is especially important and basic. Only with at least the beginnings of self-acceptance will people be able to search for ways of living that are legal, social, and maybe even happy. The members are mostly men, ranging from 18 to 81, so to say. Most questions come from our members in their twenties. The older ones may be a model for the younger ones, but also the younger ones for each other.

Also, downloading pictures is regularly a theme – not with the question “How can I do it?”, but “How can I stop it?”

The ethics of the group imply avoiding sexual contact with children, at least  in future. Most members do not even want such contacts; they want contact with children, not sex with children. Some say “I might want this if it were ever to become legal, but in reality I actually avoid sexual contacts”.

The group conversation is quite strictly led along these lines. This is to prevent the conversation from running in all directions, in which case members might complain “my head is getting overloaded”. This is an especially important consideration for members who are on the autistic spectrum but it applies to others too. They will say, “This group and what I am hearing here confronts me with myself. This is heavy. My head is quickly full.”

In the individual contacts, self-help and the narrative method is the first form. In some of the contacts, if these are more or less therapy, other methods may be used as well. The first is the non-directive way, but sometimes a more directive or cognition-led way may be better.

Our methodology is described in more detail here.

How does the group work in practice?

In 2015, the structure of both groups was changed. Both groups have a small team of coordinators, together with one central coordinator who is also the conversation leader of both groups: that person is me. Both groups have professional therapists connected to the group. We are able to give therapy to those who ask for it. I am a qualified therapist with a PhD.

The possibilities offered are:

  • Participating in one of the two encounter groups;
  • or in a smaller subgroup;
  • individual contact with one (or two) coordinators and/or active members;
  • individual contact with a professional counsellor or therapist, within JORis or without JORis;
  • partner interviews with (a pair of) professional counsellors.

All combinations are possible.

The individual contacts, offered in connection with group attendance or instead of it, were started because some members felt the group sessions were often “too heavy”. The individual sessions or subgroups allow the full groups to be lighter in tone.

Both groups meet each month on a Sunday from 3pm to 9pm, including a long pause and a dinner; these breaks provide opportunities for mutual contacts and for speaking about whatever one wishes.

Membership is free. Members are asked to make a donation towards the costs of running the group and for the dinner; their travel costs may be subsidised or fully covered. From last year onwards the NVSH has been providing a subsidy and a modest degree of financial recompense for the otherwise entirely unpaid voluntary work of the coordinator/therapist.

Whoever comes along to the groups makes their own personal introduction to the central coordinator. This introduction must be truly personal in the sense that their full identity must be given: that is, with their real name, address and photo ID, such as a passport. The coordinator listens carefully to the new person, without any judgment. The types of help on offer are described and there is a discussion as to what would be the best option for the newcomer. Using a nickname to participate in the groups is allowed, as long as the coordinators know the real data.

There is often anxiety over going into a group. In those cases, individual contact with the central coordinator, or a small subgroup, is offered. Such contacts can be lengthy, even lasting several years, before the person dares to enter a group – if ever.


Some important themes are:

  • Fear
  • Parents
  • Self-acceptance
  • “There is a monster within me”
  • Diagnoses
  • Isolation

These themes are mentioned with an explanation in our Report 2016 A.

  • “A group is scary and heavy”
  • Again: Self-acceptance
  • Therapists
  • “Downloading”

These themes are mentioned with an explanation in our Report 2016 B.

Secondary Problems

A number of people arrive with a history of problems, including “helpers” who failed to help. So they often have plural diagnoses and are on medication. There are also secondary problems: depression, suicidal thoughts, (severe) autism, neuroses, attachment problems, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, addiction – and more.

These problems are not inherently connected with paedophilic feelings, but, in our current society, they may occur in combination with it and so are said to be co-morbid. We do not know what causes what. It is hard to distinguish cause from effect. Causality could even run in both directions, or the association between different types of problem could be random.

Young people

Recent research confirms quite exactly our experience with young people.

The mean age for becoming conscious of one’s paedophilic feelings is 15. The mean age of “coming out” for the first time is … 22. To whom? Usually to one’s mother or a friend.

Note that between the mean of 15 and the mean of 22, lies a mean of seven years: seven years of lonely worrying and puzzling.

How many people in their teens or twenties are left facing all this anxiety on their own? We must reach out a hand to them.

Sooner or later they may reach the point of self-acceptance, and gradually find a manageable, and perhaps even happy, way of living sociably and within the law. Members in their thirties or forties, maybe in their mid-life crisis, as well as older people have also found that way.

They are not “offenders” and they surely do not want ever to become a perpetrator. They do not recognize themselves as in a “treatment” programme that approaches them only as a potential offender. They need to be approached as “non-offenders” – thus they need a methodology and an underlying theory quite different to that of current offender treatment.

Their narrative, and that of the JORis groups, is given above and in our annual reports.


Here below: (a) the recent research report just mentioned, (b) again our methodology described, (c) our three most recent (half-)annual reports, followed by (d) my website about “Helping People with Paedophilic Feelings”, in which I combat the current offender treatment methodology and offer alternatives for it.

  • (a) Cash, Brian Martin; Self-identifications, sexual development and well-being in minor-attracted people: an exploratory study – A Thesis – August 2016 – Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University.
  • (b) The narrative that may be told … in the self-help groups JON and JORis West.
  • (c) JON report 2016 a.
  • (c) JON report 2016 b.
  • (c) JON report 2017; and:
  • (d) Helping people.



Proudly sticking out my double CHIN!


When Dave Riegel kindly offered to host a link to my CHIN paper recently published in Sexuality & Culture, he was more alert than me to the need for an explanatory summary to go with it – a double CHIN, as it were – or an edited highlights version. As he wrote along with the link:

This paper comprises some 15,000 words and 33 pages. While composed with the academic or professional reader in mind, it can be read profitably by the layperson who puts his mind to the task, and who follows the logic carefully. For those who feel the sheer size is overwhelming, it is suggested that they begin at the “An Alternative Ideal” section.

Good advice! And at Dave’s request I am now taking a couple of steps to provide a reader-friendly introduction to the article. One of the steps, for visitors to Dave’s SafeHaven site, will comprise a short piece to go with the link there. The other step, for heretics here, appears below. It aims to encapsulate the paper’s main themes.

Before starting, I will just note that as I write, less than two months after CHIN’s publication, the paper has been downloaded 2,200 times from the official Springer site, a figure that I feel more than justifies splashing out, as I did, to pay for Open Access, making the paper freely available to all. Heretics here have donated generously in response to my appeal aimed at raising funds to cover the fee but I am still considerably out of pocket. So please consider making a donation if you have not already done so: see Donate button near the end text of the right-hand column or email me ( to ask for my international bank account number.

So, here we go.

It may help to begin with how CHIN came about. This has roots going back seven or eight years to a meeting in a London pub with psychiatrist Richard Green, whose record of pioneering support for gay and trans rights will be familiar to many here and who has recently published a memoir of his involvement in these issues. At Richard’s instigation we were joined for lunch by Agustin Malón, a Spanish specialist in sex education, whose views seemed agreeably liberal. We got on well, and in the years that followed I read a number of his academic papers with growing enthusiasm.

He was never a committed heretic, but his writing always showed understanding and goodwill. Many years ago, he wrote in the preface to his doctoral thesis:

Those who love children – and who very rarely attack them – undoubtedly lead a complicated existence; especially those who are attracted to prepubertal children, since society is not likely to allow them to live out these experiences in relative liberty and tranquillity. We have a lot to learn – as do they – about how to permit them to live out and express those desires through channels that are more acceptable, and that cause fewer problems for both minors and society.

This clearly indicates empathy but it is hardly a radical position. There is nothing to suggest he ever thought child-adult sex could ever be allowed. So I was agreeably surprised when a paper of his appeared in 2015 in a leading academic journal. The introductory Abstract noted that such relationships might indeed be morally permissible under some circumstances, based on his understanding of general ethical principles. What he was saying, in effect, was that the usual “anti” arguments, such as the idea that children cannot give valid consent, are weak: they do not stand up to close scrutiny.

Excitingly, it looked as though Malón was finally getting on board with true radicalism. But that turned out to be wildly over-optimistic. Seeing only a glass half full, I was overlooking the half empty perspective. His article was planned as the first of two. The first would throw out the weak case against child-adult sex; but the second would bring in some new, much stronger, “anti” ideas to replace them! So we would be left not with a radically libertarian analysis but a beefed up conservative one!

This could have been very deflating, but when the second article appeared, in 2017, I soon began to see it as an opportunity. Malón’s new paper was grounded in virtue ethics. And just as he had seen the weakness of the usual “anti” arguments, it seemed to me his “virtue” approach was also full of holes. All I had to do was point them out. Also, without placing any great store on the virtue concept as a basis for deciding whether any sort of behaviours should or should not be permitted, answering Malón’s case appeared to offer a marvellous platform for talking about active child-adult sex as potentially something that could be seen positively, as part of a virtuous adult’s life.

Malón’s appeal to virtue ethics is part of a revival in recent times of a very old sort of moral philosophy, going back to ancient Greece. The person of good character, in this way of thinking, is one who lives life well in the sense that their behaviour tends to promote their own well being and that of their society, and may even be considered good for human flourishing in general. Virtue ethics these days is often referred to as “neo-Aristotelian” moral philosophy, as Aristotle was one of the key figures in the field among the ancients, following Socrates and Plato, and a good deal of his writing has survived.

It makes sense to ask, as these great philosophers did, what sort of life a good life is, and what makes for good character. One problem with this, though, is that you tend to get very different answers depending on when and where the question is posed. Different cultures have widely divergent views. Life could be harsh in ancient times and that was reflected in what was seen as morally acceptable. Aristotle, for instance, defended slavery.

Perhaps that is why Malón doesn’t mention him! His approach may be neo-Aristotelian but the figure he draws on for inspiration is a leading public intellectual of our own times, Sir Roger Scruton, knighted two years ago for “services to philosophy, teaching and public education”. The official citation emphasises his promotion of “freedom and Western values” in Soviet-era Communist Europe, but in Britain he is better known for his love of fox hunting, his distaste for homosexuality and his ferocious hostility towards anything he considers to be perverted or obscene – including, of course, paedophilia. He once argued that gays have no children and consequently no interest in creating a socially stable future, so it was justified to “instil in our children feelings of revulsion” towards homosexuality.

His ideas on sexual morality find their fullest expression in his 1986 book Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation, which is undoubtedly a hugely sophisticated and erudite work, running to over 400 pages. Unfortunately, Malón appears to have been over-impressed by it and uncritically blown away. In my article, as a result, I found that really I had to regard Scruton as my primary opponent. The first part of CHIN is in effect an attempt to demolish Scruton’s thinking, and I hope readers will feel I have succeeded.

After that I found myself gloriously free on the open philosophical road, able to put my foot on the gas, driving the article hard towards my own vision of “An Alternative Ideal”. Dave Riegel is quite right to propose this section as a possible starting point: it avoids the unfortunately necessary negativity of the early sections, allowing the reader to get straight to what I hope will be considered more inspirational material. In fact, with this in mind, you could perfectly well begin and end with this single section.

Those who want to take that advice are free to do so. What I think may be useful in the remainder of this blog is to give a guide to the overall structure and main contents of CHIN.

Abstract and Introduction

The Abstract and the Introduction were written with the academic reader in mind and will perhaps feel rather perplexing and unhelpful to a wider audience. As Dave says, though, a careful, attentive reading should reap rewards.

The Illusion of Sexual Exceptionalism

This section is one to skip unless you are keen on philosophy. It tackles the idea that human sex of any sort is unlike other aspects of morality and needs a different kind of ethics. This view is at the heart of Scruton’s book, which takes a “phenomenological” approach focusing on human “intentionality”, a tricky concept which takes him 15 pages to “explain” in an appendix that leaves the head spinning. Basically, it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors that enables him to claim, unpersuasively, that where sex is concerned the birds and the bees may do it but human sexual desire is on an altogether more elevated plane, such that ethical discussion essentially has to be inward looking:  we must contemplate our feelings for other people without reference to the wider world of nature, or indeed without delving into what science can tell us about our own sexual natures and how best they might be enabled to flourish.

Virtue Ethics and Child-Adult Sexual Relations

Malón’s particular contribution with regard to child-adult sexual relations sets out by identifying three potential lines of argument against paedophilic behaviour made available by the virtue approach. They are considered under these headings: (a) perversion and obscenity; (b) the sexual bond; (c) erotic neutralization and “extended” incest. CHIN responds to each of these three approaches.

Perversion and obscenity

Malón invokes childhood “innocence”, but he does not defend the concept against the charge that it represents a state of ignorance in which children are deliberately kept by adults in order to control them. Instead he seeks to justify the tradition in which a high value has been placed on virginity, a valuation challenged by feminists as being at the heart of patriarchal control of female sexuality.

It has also been put under scrutiny from an evolutionary perspective, and here I draw on the work of psychologist Darcia Narvaez. She suggests that we have been wrongly “projecting onto the past a scenario like today’s of sexual restriction and competition, assuming sexual competitiveness for virginity, and emphasizing the timing of first sexual behaviour”. Evolutionary psychology, she says, has wrongly assumed “mate competition and male desire to control female reproduction to ensure genetic dominance”.  Among the small-band gatherer-hunters of the past, in contrast, “sexual relations are widespread with experimentation at all ages”. Also, “As with our bonobo cousins, individuals do not wait for the right fertile mate. Sexual relations are more about pleasure than control.”

With this in mind, I raise the possibility that it might be beneficial to practise intimate relationships well before the time when there could be reproductive consequences. I note that childhood and adolescent sexual experiences with adults have been reported in very positive terms in the research literature as relationships characterised by warmth, pleasure, affection and humour.

The sexual bond

Malón argued that the child’s capacity for intimacy and to be emotionally connected to another person would be damaged by a sexual relationship with an adult. He did not even claim there was any evidence for this in the case of consensual encounters. I decided to stick with a single really good counter-example, that of the psychoanalyst and theorist Heinz Kohut: he claimed his sexual relationship at age 10 with an admired tutor was life-saving for him when his parents’ marriage was deteriorating.

Erotic neutralization and “extended” incest

It is difficult to argue in favour of sex with children in a nuclear family setting simply because behind closed doors it is hard to be sure kids have real choices: no one wants to see them become sex slaves of their parents. This has nothing to do with the danger of producing deformed or otherwise genetically damaged offspring in an incestuous union, as young children are physically incapable of becoming fathers or mothers. And, despite his use of the word incest, “blood” relations have nothing to do with what Malón is saying. He talks about so-called extended incest, by which he means any adult-child contacts that show some of the same psychodynamics as family relationships, especially via the quasi-parental authority invested in teachers, sports coaches, scout leaders, etc.

His argument is not against such authority, quite the reverse. Rather, he thinks that having a sexual relationship is likely to undermine legitimate authority. Good parents, after all, teach their children good values and try to set an example through their own good behaviour. An implicit assumption is that unless they are firmly in control, they will not be able to keep their children on the right path. By revealing their own sexual needs, by “surrendering” to passion, they become vulnerable to the child’s power; and in a consensual relationship the child can withhold willingness to meet those needs.

The argument is a strong one, but I argue that it puts excessive emphasis on the value of hierarchy. I give examples of role reversals that can be valuable for children and adults alike, where the younger party is in command.

An Alternative Ideal

Please simply read this section: it is easier going and arguably more important than some of the other parts.

Some Further Misconceptions

Intellectually, this section is a minor mopping up operation after zapping all three of Malón’s main arguments but it contains some interesting evidence you are unlikely to have seen elsewhere: use the search terms “Bemba” and “Nyakyusa” for some fascinating material on pre-pubertal consummation of marriage in African tribes – as researched by intrepid female anthropologists in the mid-20th century.

A prudential argument

This short section deals with the argument that child-adult sex may be harmless or even beneficial at the time but damaging in the long term on account of the social stigma attached to such encounters. Some give this as a reason not to permit them. I cite philosopher Stephen Kershnar’s powerful counter-argument.


The paper concludes with a plea to look at the evidence rather than just assuming that child-adult sex is harmful; it is also pointed out that relevant research has been systematically blocked and censored in recent times.    

A crisis that could be an opportunity


A daring young new breed of heretical activists has been making its mark lately, reaching a wide audience through YouTube, and catching the attention of vloggers through high-profile interviews. Amos Yee has been a trailblazer. Inspired by Yee’s work in Singapore and the U.S., and now making his own distinctive contribution under the “Youth Liberation” banner is a British born and educated BL. His style – direct, frank, unapologetic – owes something to Yee while his content focuses on good, solid well researched information, drawing on earlier generations of pioneers, notably the Dutch trio Edward Brongersma, Frits Bernard and Theo Sandfort. In a guest blog today “Leon” introduces himself at a time of personal crisis. Motivational speakers are fond of saying that in Chinese the word for “crisis” also means “opportunity”. I don’t know about that but I sure hope this blog will provide an opportunity both for our guest writer and at least one other heretic here to take their lives forward in a positive way. You will see what I mean.



Dear readers, allow me to introduce myself and to tell you why I am working for youth liberation. I want to thank Tom for giving me this platform. We’ve all come here on different paths, in many cases with personal struggles along the way, for sure. And yet, whatever route we have taken, we have all been driven by an idea we have in common – a prevailing sense that something is wrong with the societies in which we live.

It’s difficult to explain to you who I am, when I’m not quite sure of that myself. In some respects I am an empowered individual; I show qualities of a radical who stands up for the oppressed and advocates freedom for people. And yet, truth be told, I am frightened and still look out to the world from behind the eyes of a lost little boy. Confused, at why things are the way they are; hoping to do good but so often failing.

Have you ever had the feeling that your life’s path is far more out of your own control than would be expected? At this point, at age 25, I can’t shake the feeling that everything has come together perfectly to bring me to this position here and now. No matter how imperfect things might seem. Two major things which keep me going: I believe we all have a purpose, and that deep down, regardless of the pain we cause others or the suffering we endure… everyone just wants to be loved. Sometimes I want to give up; at other times I know I must take responsibility for creating a loving world; to be the change I wish to see.

At this point I think it’s wise to introduce you to what I’m doing now, in regards to activism. I run a YouTube channel entitled “Youth Liberation” – please do take a break from reading this and see the video links below; also take a look at the channel later. As you will see, I began hosting video clips in support of intergenerational relationships between adults and youth. At first with the comfort of anonymity. I contacted the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (NVSH) to translate from Dutch to English clips of the late Dr. Edward Brongersma speaking on paedophilia. I created videos that explain about cultures around the world with more permissive sexual attitudes than ours, or feature famous men who were boy-lovers.

This was a way to express myself, and to help others learn what I knew. I have now put my face to them, speaking straight to camera. A coming out video, as someone attracted to the young. And other videos which criticise the age-of-consent for sex and what I see as the general oppression of youth as well as discrimination against adults who are youth lovers. In my most recent video I explain this: studies which conclude that sex between youth and adults is always harmful use samples of the population that are unrepresentative of the whole; this includes rape victims, criminal cases and psychiatric patients. Other studies which find correlation with harm use both consensual and non-consensual relationships. Wording such as “victim” and “perpetrator” is used to influence the outcome of these studies. In unbiased studies (see the work of Theo Sandfort and Dr. Frits Bernard) which examine gentle and consensual sexual relationships between children and adults, no significant harm is found but positive results are (as a result of both the sex and the wider aspects of the relationship such as learning and emotional support).

To the logical person, this should make some sense. But the general public react in an emotional, unthinking fashion. Yet I must accept that it’s not their fault. My own life is very strange. If I didn’t have a personal stake in the issue, would I ever have sought truth? It’s not going to be possible in this blog to give you a full overview of my life. I was born in the UK, I went to school where I felt different from my peers; I still managed to maintain some friends. For a while I found fighting and aggressiveness to be an outlet for my underlying frustrations. One day, as a teenager, in short, I witnessed a younger boy imitate my actions. And it broke my heart when I realised I was one of the people who had influenced this boy’s behaviour, particularly when he was later sent to jail for stealing and other crimes. And I felt a deep love for him.

Like many people reading this blog, I’m sure, coming to accept my true nature was a long process indeed. In my later teenage years I isolated myself somewhat (thank God for the internet) – it was on Twitter I first confessed my love for a boy and received an “I love you too” in return. His name was Garrett; we had a shared interest in cannabis, animals and the American counter-culture. And Harry Potter now I think about it. I was around 18 and him 14; he used to send me his poems. I think he longed for someone to confide in. We spoke regularly over a few months; we were even going to visit Scotland together at one point, once he was able to travel there on his own. After those few months we parted ways. He had decided to leave the Twitter community we were a part of. But not before introducing me to Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman. I hadn’t realised that Allen featured in the NAMBLA documentary I showed him soon after. Garrett agreed with what I was beginning to figure out: “It’s just another form of love”

Anyway, I must move on. I have known and cared for many boys since then, although now I’m not fortunate enough to be able to associate with any. I have a firm conviction that the men who love boys can have a significant and important role in their lives, and without such boys, these men aren’t able to be half as valuable to the world as they can be. So this is partly what influences my activism. To see such a thing compared to the greatest evil? No. I won’t stand for it. Wiser people than myself have told me what I’m doing is reckless. Perhaps even detrimental to the cause. It will take decades to change they say; let the sexologists, psychologists and policy makers take the lead. Wait until the former loved young people speak out. No one cares to hear the plight of the paedophile.

Others have claimed I am a hero. This I am most certainly not. What I am, is fed up. You see, were the people in the Western world kind to paedophiles and supportive of them but with genuine reason to stop them engaging in sexual activities with the young (let’s say these caused genuine harm). Then I’d be the first to say we must conform to their wishes, meaning never attempt to change age-of-consent laws. In truth, though, the masses are ignorant, and choose to remain this way. And seem to take pleasure in being in the dominant power group. I have confirmed this with the discrimination expert Mrs. Jane Elliott, creator of the blue-eyes brown-eyes exercise. She isn’t for breaking the law, but she is aware that the pendulum of societal change is ever swinging.

Furthermore, were it just me who had to miss out on emotional bonds, or who had to hide his true nature, that would be bearable. But my past is filled with other stories and pain; I have an exceptional ability to see the cause of problems. The anger I felt, when I saw a large 18-year-old boy, who our society labels as a drug-dealing thug… when I saw him break down in tears after all of those years suppressing his homosexual attractions; unable to communicate this to any of the so-called upstanding citizens. Fearful of being treated differently. Using combinations of alcohol and illegal drugs in high amounts with the hope of it killing him because he didn’t have the (in his own words) courage to do it himself. What am I to do when I know that it’s the fear of sex itself, and of all sexual minorities, that causes this type of thing to continue? No matter how many rainbow posters we put up in schools.

What do I do, after I (understandably) denied my own sexual orientation after being asked about it in front of a group of young people, but then later one of the brightest boys, the best artist I’ve ever seen, at age 16 took his own life? In part because of being ashamed of his homosexuality. I don’t presume to know this was the main reason. I believe it was in part because his father died some years before. But his friends reported that he was struggling to accept his sexuality. Critics would claim I attempt to take advantage of these tragedies to advance my own cause. But I’ve read enough to know that all forms of discrimination are connected; as society loses some scapegoats, we just mistreat other people more. And regardless, no-one can deny that there are teenagers who have an attraction to children who feel like they’re living in hell right now. No-one can convince me that homosexuals will be welcomed entirely while paedophiles aren’t.

I can’t live a normal life. I can’t do it. I can’t go to work and pretend to agree with what other people say. I can’t sit back while communities attack innocent people. I have this overwhelming passion to heal the world, and make it a place where everyone can be accepted for who they are. In my attempts, I admit I make mistakes. Sometimes I forget that in the past I was as ignorant as other people. At times I want everything to happen too fast. But one thing that can’t be said is that I do nothing. So I speak to you not knowing what outcome I want or expect. Just hoping that these words can do something to make even the smallest change in this horrible situation.

Because of my choice to be open on this issue, I’ve put people who have raised me at great risk. I’ve ruined any chance of blending in and doing behind-the-scenes work. And I’m unable to support young people, which I could have if hiding my true being. So maybe I am a fool. But then again, is it really so bad to stand up and demand change when I know I’m right? When you strip everything back to basics and acknowledge that consensual sexual relationships between any two people are a human right? I don’t know. I really don’t. But I can’t change what’s happened. I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Amos Yee. Once I saw this brave and logical young man speaking out, he somewhat inspired me. We are now good friends and in regular communication. I know he is proud of me and that makes me feel good.

Now you know a little bit about me; you’ve seen my work and this text, I conclude with the reason Tom has allowed me to use this platform. I presently have no permanent place to live in the UK. As an emergency measure I will be going abroad for a while to live in cheap hostel accommodation.   My outspoken political opinions are the direct cause of this. I send this out in the hope that someone might consider a house or flat share with me in maybe two or three months from now. All I need is somewhere basic to sleep, shower and prepare food (which I’m able to provide for myself). This would be a huge weight off my shoulders and I hope there is someone reading this who would actually prefer to share with someone like-minded rather than living a solitary life. I would also be continuing to record, edit and upload videos online.

It’s clear that this is a major stage in my life. On the one hand, I might be on the path to great things. Maybe I will be the spark that brings light to this situation which, in truth, is no good for anyone. Too much fear and suppression. Far too much. I think the lack of communication is the main problem. No human capable of empathy is a monster. If we could discuss the situation as a community we could make some progress. Giving the young a voice especially. Unfortunately because of being so vocal I’ve been left in a position where the masses will see me as a threat instead of someone to sit down and talk with. Anyway, I’m pleased to communicate with readers of this blog regardless of what happens.

Please contact me through YouTube if you can help, and support the channel if you want to. If you have a place I can stay, or can put me in contact with relevant people, and if you’d prefer to use e-mail…Tom will be able to provide you with my e-mail address.

Youth Liberator.


Children’s Positive Sexual Contacts with Adults

5 Stages of Power Loss (End of Persecution)

On Adults Who Love Youth



Well, not a dictionary, exactly, but Ed Chambers has given us a splendid new glossary of terms encountered at Heretic TOC, most of them acronyms, many of which may be unfamiliar to newbies and some of them a mystery to all but the more technically minded among us.

For the newest of newbies, I should introduce Ed by reference to his guest blog at the start of this year: A wild ride towards self-acceptance.

The real Chambers Dictionary may not be all that familiar to heretics of the millennial generation, who probably use (as I do these days) whatever comes up online when you Google a word plus “meaning” or “definition”.  Chambers, widely used for crossword puzzles and Scrabble is also noted for its humorous definitions, and our Ed’s contribution continues the tradition, as you will see. Or he might have been inspired by the first great dictionary of the English language, that of Dr Samuel Johnson, which has a number of definitions with a distinctly piss-taking nature, mainly with the Scots as the butt of his humour, such as his definition of “oats”:  “a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.”

Further definitions are invited, for other terms used on these pages that might have been overlooked.



.onion designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via the Tor network
AOC Age Of Consent
ATSA Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers
BL Boy lover
CP Child pornography / cheese pizza
CSA Child Sexual Abuse
CSE(OP) Childhood Sexual Experience (with an Older Person)
DDOS Distributed Denial Of Service
DOS Denial of service
DSM Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
FUD Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
GL Girl Lover
HTOC Heretic Tom O’Carroll
Kind Collective noun for child lovers; also works as adjective, like “gay”
LEA Law Enforcement Agency / Agent
MAP Minor Attracted Person
MOWE My Own Worst Enemy –
NAMBLA North American Man Boy Love Association
NOMAP Non Offending Minor Attracted Person
NONCE Not On Normal Courtyard / Communal Exercise
PC Politically Correct
PIE Paedophile Information Exchange
PPD Prevention Projekt Dunkelfeld
PSC Pedo Support Community (TOR website)
SJW Social Justice Warrior
SOR Sex Offender Register
StopItNow Similar to STOPSO
StopSO Specialist Treatment Organisation for Prevention of Sexual Offending
TAILS The Amnesic Incognito Live System
Topic Links The MAP community hub on TOR
TOR The Onion Router
Virped Relating to the unenlightened
VOA Visions Of Alice (website)
VPN Virtual Private Networks



Gratifyingly, the appeal launched last time, aimed primarily at recouping the cost of Springer Nature’s fee for publishing my recent paper in Sexuality & Culture on an Open Access basis, has made good progress, with over half of the outlay already recovered. Accordingly, my heartfelt thanks go to those who have donated and to several who have pledged to do so in the near future.

It may be remembered that the fee including VAT came to £2,311. As of this morning, heretics here had contributed £1,357. So at the moment I am out of pocket by “only” £953. As the quote marks are meant to emphasise, this is still a large sum, which strikes me as a good reason to urge those who have not yet responded to please now do their bit.

As before, all you need to do is use the Donate button on the right-hand side-bar (nearly the last item down, between the Follow button and the Search). This will enable you to contribute via PayPal using any major currency.

Some donors, however, have told me they prefer to pay directly, by making a transfer straight from their bank to mine. If you prefer this method please email me ( ) to ask for my international bank account number (IBAN).

A number of you generously responded to my request for a three-figure sum if you could afford it. For the most part, however, this message unfortunately seems to have been interpreted as meaning smaller sums are not needed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is far healthier, in my view, to have many small or medium contributions, rather than just a few chunky ones. I would like to see every regular here pitching in with some sum, however modest: it is in the best interests of our heretical community that everyone should feel they have a stake it, including the very nearly 300 who are signed up as Followers. If everyone could find just £10 each it would see off the remainder of the Springer fee with enough left over for me to carry on working for Heretic TOC for at least another year or so. Without any such surplus I will ultimately need to switch to fee-paying commercial work instead.

Mercifully, though, that decision is not an urgent matter, so let me turn to more positive news about the paper itself, titled “Childhood ‘Innocence’ is Not Ideal: Virtue Ethics and Child–Adult Sex”, or CHIN as another veteran campaigner, Dave Riegel, has dubbed it for short. Dave, who has a number of peer-reviewed papers to his credit, has magnanimously agreed to host CHIN here on his SafeHaven Foundation site. Also, as some will have noticed in a recent comment at HTOC, Thomas Leske has undertaken to produce and publish a translation of CHIN into German for his Thomas Leske Editions publishing venture.

The decision to go Open Access, making CHIN freely available online and with free PDF download is also definitely paying off. There have now been over 1,200 downloads of CHIN from Springer’s site, plus over 100 others at ResearchGate. Furthermore, many influential figures have been made aware of CHIN through a posting I did on Sexnet. The philosophers Peter Singer and David Benatar answered the emails I sent them about CHIN, the latter kindly saying he looked forward to reading the article. Obviously, I hope Prof. Singer, one of the most famous living philosophers in the world, will also read CHIN and at some point find himself able to cite it with approval.

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