It may not be possible to eliminate child molesters from society, but it is possible to take certain steps to protect children from child molesters. These FAQs can help you identify risk factors that make children vulnerable to being sexually abused. These FAQs will also give insights into the behaviors of volunteers and employees in youth serving organizations like churches and schools that should be of concern in these organizations.

If you or someone you know has been molested, please contact our offices today. You deserve justice.

What is Grooming?

Grooming is a process a child molester initiates with his or her victims. The goal is to gain control over that victim before the molestation begins.

How Do Families Fit Into the Picture?

Families are often groomed just as victims are because it helps the molester maintain control of the family and helps create a positive image of the molester in the family’s mind.

Is Grooming Violent?

Grooming is never a violent process, and it rarely involves threats. Instead, it’s a chance to build trust on all sides so the molester can begin to assault the child.

What are the First Steps in Grooming?

Grooming typically begins with simple conversations with the child. The molester works to reach out to his or her victim, creating a bond of trust between the two of them. As it continues, the molester works to pay an increasing amount of attention to the child.

How Does Grooming Advance Into Abuse?

Grooming moves from paying attention to the child to giving the child small presents, like a pair of sneakers. From there, innocuous touching begins like rubbing the child’s shoulders or tussling the child’s hair. When the child doesn’t object, the molester advances into abuse or assault.

How Does Sexual Abuse Become Normalized?

Sexual abuse becomes normalized when the grooming has done its job. The child begins to believe that the abuser wouldn’t be touching him or her if it wasn’t right to do so. Thanks to the grooming process, the child believes the abuser is someone he or she can trust completely.

Why Don't Children Report Sexual Abuse?

Children often don’t report sexual abuse because they believe the abuser or molester is someone they can trust. They also often believe the abuse is a result of something they did or a sexual preference they have expressed. For example, when a male abuser molests a young boy, the young boy sometimes assumes the abuse is taking place because he is gay.

Were the Perversion Files ever known by any other names?

The files were called at first the “Red Flag Files,” then they became called the “Confidential Files,” then the “Ineligible Volunteer Files,” also known by the phrase “IV.”

When were they created?

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in the United States around 1910. Within ten years, the Boy Scouts knew they had a problem with adult leaders joining Scouts to molest them, and so they created these files to keep track of problem volunteers.

How many Scouts were molested?

It’s hard to estimate how many total Scouts have been molested, but according to these files, at least in the period of 1965 to 1985, that number was about 50 Scouts a year.

Why are these files so important?

We understand these files to be the largest repository of knowledge pedophiles that any one youth organization has ever maintained. Importantly they also form the foundation of the Boy Scouts knowledge of sexual abuse by Scout masters and adult leaders.

What was the typical profile of a Boy Scout leader who abused Scouts?

Most of them were single men without boys in the troop. These leaders also demonstrated an inordinate interest in certain boys in the troop. They also offered the scouts to come to their homes to work on scout-related projects.

Where did the abuse most often occur?

Abuse, according to these files, often occurred when a Scout leader was left alone with a boy in the course of troop activities or merit badge activities. Often the leader would befriend the Scout and his parents, and that would give him additional time with the boy – picking him up from school, babysitting for him, and generally being involved in his life. The abuse most often occurred on camping trips and in the scout leader’s him. Molestation at weekly scout meetings were infrequent – primarily because of the presence of other adults.

Where were these files stored?

These files were stored at the main Scout office. First it was in New Jersey through the late 1970’s, but now it’s located in Irving, Texas.

What kinds of behaviors are typical among child molesters?

Child molesters who work or volunteer in youth programs go out of their way to be with your child. Your son or daughter’s teacher or Boy Scout leader may show up at your home to take your child to a music lesson or shopping for clothing even if you didn’t call them. Ironically, they are the person you can always count on to show a great interest in your child, buying presents, taking them out for special dinners, etc.

Is the ability to recognize a child molester part of knowing more about the grooming process?

Absolutely. The signs of a child molester are often the signs of the beginning of the grooming process, and recognizing that can help keep your child safe.

Are all child molesters violent?

No. There are basically two kinds of child molesters. There are child molesters like the guy sitting outside a school or outside an arcade who draws the kid in with candy and then gets the child and violently molests the child. These are almost always strangers to the child. Then there are those who know the child from some activity or organization in which the child participates. These folks pay special attention to your child in a youth-oriented setting like school or Boy Scouts. They develop a special relationship with your child, then use that to their advantage.

My child's coach wants to take him or her out for dinner after a game. Does that mean he's a child molester?

Not necessarily. You need to very closely monitor the situation. Make sure you get to know all those adults who are part of your child’s life. Make that adult know you are watching and that you care about your child very much. If you start to see a pattern emerging, such as paying too much attention to your child or buying your child presents on a regular basis,it could be that you’re dealing with a child molester.

Won't I know a child molester when I see one?

Absolutely not. Child molesters disappear into the fabric of the culture they’re living in. They often just seem like eager people, ready to help with a single call. You may have a queasy feeling about someone in your child’s life that you can’t ignore, though. When people are interviewed typically after these cases are over, they say, “You know, I always saw that so-and-so, he always wanted to be around my kid, but I thought he just was being nice about it because my kid never complained.” It’s often that person who you just weren’t sure of at the outset, so it’s important to monitor your child’s relationships with other adults.

How prevalent is sexual abuse in children?

It’s likely at least one child you know has been a victim of abuse. One in four girls have been sexually abused. One in six boys has been sexually abused.

What kinds of kids are at risk?

Vulnerable children are at a higher risk for being sexually abused. These include children with low self-esteem or those who get inadequate attention from their family or those who are otherwise disenfranchised. That’s not to say, however, that kids from good homes are at risk of abuse. Child molesters are very good at what they do and once they identify a potential victim, there are few children who will not be trapped.

What makes child molesters so successful?

Child molesters are able to molest because they are master manipulators of children and adults. Simply put: Child molesters know what they are doing and are very good at their job. Child molesters spend their lives gaining the skills they need to perfect what they do.

Why aren't kids afraid of child molesters?

Child molesters spend years learning what children want and need. They have the ability to form a close bond with children before the abuse even begins. In most cases, the grooming process takes months, and it must be complete before the abuse begins.

Why don't people notice child molesters?

Most child molesters have worked hard to avoid suspicious behaviors, so they often walk away when a parent asks too many questions or a child resists the initial touches because there are plenty of potential victims available.

How many victims does a typical child molester have?

Often a child molester will abuse dozens of children over the course of his or her life.