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It has now been 10 years since two self-confessed paedophiles boldy set up a support group for people who are attracted to children.
The aim was to revolutionise how we judge those who have sexual thoughts about kids but don’t act on it.
A decade later and the volunteer group – called Virtuous Paedophiles – is celebrating its tenth anniversary while continuing to help law abiding citizens with similar sexual inclinations.
And last week the group tweeted an email they had recently received – something they hoped demonstrated the positive work they do.
It read: “I’m a family member of a paedophile, so this kind of thing means a lot to me.
“I firmly believe that if we helped paedophiles deal with their attractions instead of expecting them to suffer alone in silence bearing the burden of trying to not act on their innate attractions then we’d be doing society a much bigger favour than if we keep treating paedophiles and child abusers as the same thing, with the associated stigma.”
Virtuous Paedophiles was established in 2012 by Nick Devin, a married man with four adult children, and Ethan Edwards, a married man with three daughters.
The pair stress they are against child sex and child exploitation and on the website, Ethan wrote: “I am also a paedophile.
“My strongest attraction is to girls as young as four. I'm also attracted to older females, though the attraction drops off sharply above age 30.
“I'm very fortunate in this regard, because I've been able to form loving relationships with adult women. This wider range of attraction also let me deny the reality of my paedophilia until I was about 50.”
Writing just as honestly, Nick added: “I did not choose my sexual orientation, and there is nothing I can do to change it.
“I cannot be evil simply because I have sexual feelings that I didn’t choose and can’t change, so long as I don’t act on those feelings.”
The duo – along with volunteers – now say their mission is to “improve the lives of paedophiles, but never at the expense of the welfare of children”.
They also strive to help paedophiles so they will never actually abuse kids or break the law.
One of its moderators is Todd Nickerson – a “non-offending paedophile” who believes paedophilia would be better understood as a sexual orientation.
Graphic designer Todd, now approaching his 50s, said in 2016: “I am a paedophile. I’m not a monster. I have the attraction but I don’t act on it.
“I have never ever sexually abused a child and I never will. I do not look at child porn, I never will.
“I obey the laws, I respect the laws, I respect society’s position on this. I understand it and agree with it.”
The Tennessee man went public about his urges in 2015 – and received a barrage of abuse online.
He explained: “You get the people who tell you to kill yourself and say you should be castrated and all of that kind of thing.
“Publicly, there was a lot of backlash but privately it’s been very different.
“I got hundreds and hundreds of emails from people who were very supportive, a lot of which were from people who were survivors of abuse."
Todd works as a freelance graphic designer and wears a pincer-style prosthesis after being born with one hand.
According to American website Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention, one in four adult men anonymously acknowledged some level of sexual attraction to prepubescent boys and girls.
The website also claims one in 20 adult men could qualify for formal diagnosis as a paedophile.
And according to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.
Two years ago one British wife, Tabitha, hit the headlines after saying she would stick by her hubby after he confessed to being an "ethical paedophile”.
Her lover, Gary Gibson, is a member of Virtuous Paedophiles and is aroused by girls between six and 12-years-old.
And the father-of-three, who lives in Oregon, US, said in 2019: “When they pass 12 they tend to get into themselves, start to make themselves look older, and I like things natural so there we are.
“When they start wearing lipstick and stuff like that I don’t find it very appealing.”
Gary set up the aforementioned Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention – and believes paedophiles do have the ability to restrain themselves.
He said: “There are heterosexuals who chose not act on (their urges), there are homosexuals who chose not act on it.
"There are people who choose to be celibate and paedophiles can chose that too."
As of April 2021, more than 6,000 people had accounts set up on the Virtous Paedophiles forum.
- In the News
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