There May Be a Pedophile Gene: Could We Prevent Child Molestation?

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playgroundAs we write about horrible sex crimes committed against children and teenagers day after day we just can't help wondering -- what is up with that? Why would you even want to... ? It's impossible to muster any empathy for adults who sexually molest children. But new research suggests we may at least have an explanation: There may be a pedophilia gene.

According to an Italian study, pedophilia may be caused by a genetic mutation. The Italian researchers gave a 50-year-old man who showing pedophile behavior toward his nine-year-old daughter anti-psychosis and antidepressant medications, and his behavior stopped. So the implications are hopeful: If scientists can prove that there is a pedophilia gene, they might be able to treat it -- before the patient acts on it.

I can see already how such a finding could go wrong. People could be discriminated against if they're found with the gene. Specifically they could be prevented from getting teaching jobs. I think a lot of us would be totally okay with that, but from a human rights standpoint it would pose a problem. (Also -- is anyone else wondering what pedophile behavior you can show toward a child without getting locked up?)

But that aside, I think this is mostly a good thing. More information is almost always helpful -- if you use that information thoughtfully. What if people knew they had that pedophilia genetic mutation? Would they maybe choose different careers? They could get treatment. It could save countless people pain and misery, and I'm including the victims and the perpetrators.

Do you think fewer children would be abused if it were proved that pedophilia is caused by a genetic mutation?


Image via Diego3336/Flickr


in the news, sex crime


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kelti... kelticmom

I am very leary of this. If it's true, when do you test for the gene? As a parent, would you want to know that your precious baby has the gene? When do you start treatment? Does this mean that more criminal behaviors are genetically related? What about the molesters that abduct, molest, then kill the child? That goes a little beyond genetic disposition. I prefer to believe that sometimes evil people are just that. Evil.

the4m... the4mutts

If they can fix/treat it, then that's great! But then you go to the question of medication. Is it optional? What if someone stops taking their non-pedo meds? Can the government force you to take meds if you've never even thought of harming a child, but carry the gene?

Too many questions right now.

MamaM... MamaMay007

50 years ago being gay got you locked up in a mental health ward... We now think being gay is genetic too.  If this does turn out to be genetic what does that mean?  Does it mean that these people will want to be allowed to live our their sexual orientation unemcumbered?  I hope not.  Will it mean that if they are caught doing something to a child they can cry," my genetics made me do it!" And get off Scott free?  There is always free will.  You can choose to do something you know is wrong or you can choose not to.

Rae.302 Rae.302

Oh...this sounds mostly bad to me. I believe its very likely that there is a "pedophile gene," but testing for it and medicating and such...? Slippery slope. I can see it being a defense in court cases. And genetic testing before conception, then what else do you test for?

Remember the movie Gattaca?

Also, I dont see what the case above has to do with the "pedophile gene." Antidepressants kill your libido. I think everyone knows that.

Felip... FelipesMom

"If further research confirms the initial results, the sexual attraction of some adults to children might be considered a disease that can be treated. " - sorry, I think we should ALREADY be treating this as a disease. I would rather prevent the sexual abuse of children than punish it. (Punishment comes AFTER the fact, you know - prevention comes BEFORE!) And I would like to find ways that we can support people who suffer from sexual attraction to children but do not act on it. At the moment, we never hear from/about them, because there is no way for them to get help without becoming criminalized. 

Felip... FelipesMom

MamaMay007, there is one BIG difference between a pedophile and a homosexual: pedophiles want to have NONCONSENSUAL sex! A child, by definintion, cannot consent to sex. 

People who propose that any rights extended to homosexuals will then somehow end up being extended to pedophiles too are simply trying to use scare tactics to prevent homosexuals from being treated as human beings. There is NO WAY that an intelligent person can compare homosexuality to pedophilia.

Homosexuals, on the other hand, simply want to have sex with another adult of the same sex. Most of them - like most heterosexuals - want it to be consensual.

tuffy... tuffymama

MamaMay, homosexuality doesn't victimize people, pedophilia does.

I fail to see why they would jump to the conclusion there is a gene that causes the release of the hormone in that one man. It could simply be a hormonal imbalance or glandular disorder/damage that causes the secretion if the hormone. I have a sluggish thyroid. That doesn't automatically imply a genetic disorder. In my case, it is caused by damage to the gland. Also, genetic or not, a grown adult who is not COMPLETELY INSANE knows right from wrong, and knows it is wrong to rape, abuse, fetishize, molest, exploit and victimize children. This isn't like being black, white or Asian. These scientists are standing at the crest of a very slippery slope here, and I hope they apply sound reasoning and moral judgment before proceeding.

nonmember avatar Jenna

There are genetic mutations for people who are more likely to get diabetes. Doesn't mean they'll get it if they take preventative steps. I just hope that if there is a gene for people who want to harm children, they don't use that as an excuse for why they did it. Because there isn't one.

nonmember avatar Darein

There is a genetic reason in most cases for everything we do. Some people are more genetically inclined to be athletes and others to be scientists. Genetics determine everything and the fact is that if we can isolate a gene then there is fact that one day we can eliminate a genetic sequence all-together and that does paint some very startling scenarios, if they can mandate pedophiles to have genetic treatment one day when the gene is detected then whats to stop them from isolating the gene that causes some fo the homosexual and others not and trying to weed out the 'gay' gene. Its one of those things that reminds you of bygone days and the Nazi experimentations in Eugenics.

nonmember avatar sarah

Just bc someone has a gene doesn't mean they would act on it it could skip a generation like some diabetes or even downs i think ppl would b targets even if they didnt ever act on it

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