Darkest Secret: Do child predators have a profile?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The United States is now the world’s largest creator of child pornography, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The illegal material is shared daily in our communities.

News 2 sat down with Dr. Donna Moore to try and answer the question: Do pedophiles fit a profile?

“I have seven groups that I see every week of sex offenders. Ten men per group” said Dr. Moore, a psychologist with Moore Psychology Services PLLC.

Dr. Moore provides evaluation and treatment in Middle Tennessee for people who have deviant sexual behavior disorders – including sexual interest in children, which typically rises to the criminal level.

“Men who commit sexual offenses are a heterogeneous bunch. There’s so much diversity, and that’s why there’s not a profile,” explains Dr. Moore. “There’s nothing really that separates them from anybody except their sexual behavior, and we don’t know that until after it’s happened.”

For the past 28 years, Dr. Moore has observed offenders who prey on children often concealing their darkest secrets in plain sight.

“They tend not to have a criminal history. They tend to be more educated. They tend to be married,” she continues, “And again, they’re the ones who are able to hide because no one suspects anything from them.”

Dr. Moore says criminals in possession of child pornography typically hold white-collar jobs that require time spent on a computer making it easier to hide illegal behavior, which often escalates to in-person sex crimes.

“Generally speaking, there’s a high number of men with child pornography charges that do have contact offenses, because they’re looking at what they’re interested in and they like,” she says.

Their personalities have similar traits. “A lot of the times, their behavior is selfish and distorted, and they have difficulty in their marriages, difficulty with co-workers,” Dr. Moore adds.

“They believe something they want, they should be able to get that.”

A common misconception is those who act on this inappropriate attraction were victims themselves.

“Some may have been perpetrated against when they were younger, but we don’t see that as much in the men. The women we do see that,” says Dr. Moore.

Women act upon their illegal desires for different reasons, explains Dr. Moore. “I’ve never had a female convicted of a child pornography offense, never.”

She expands, “Adult men will pretend to have a relationship to get the sex… woman will have sex with teenage boys, but they really want the relationship.”

But, there is something almost all who commit sex crimes against children have in common. “While they know it’s wrong, they’ve made it right in their mind to do it,” says Dr. Moore.

News 2 investigates the alarming crime trend now coming to light in Middle Tennessee after the COVID-19 pandemic. In a special report, Darkest Secret, learn more about the fight to stop child pornography and what it truly entails – Click here for our special reports.

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