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Dr. P: When a Football Coach May Be a Pedophile


Dr. Pranzarone

Gerald Sandusky, an assistant football coach and favorite heir-apparent, under legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State University, was arrested accused of sexually abusing 20 boys over a 15-year period.  At least one case of the abuse occurring at Penn’s locker room showers was brought to the attention of Joe Paterno, who reported the alleged incident to his Athletic Director Tim Curley who told Vice-President for finance and business Gary Schultz.  No one did anything more about the problem which was reported in 2002, but nevertheless Paterno continued working with Sandusky.  Yesterday the Penn State Board of Trustees fired all the men listed above including the President of the University.  Additional arrests are pending.

Some have said that Paterno had a moral obligation to bring the charges to the attention of the police and thereby protect young boys from Sandusky. While coaching, Sandusky had established in 1977 a “charitable” organization for troubled and high-risk young boys “The Second Mile” through which he could meet hundreds of boys.

What is curious about this case is the prolonged silence and inactivity of Paterno and the Penn State U. administrators, and also the recent student “riot” in protest after news that Paterno was fired and would not coach the last games of the season. It is probable that in the minds of Penn State staff and students fund raising and good football takes priority over child protection and responsible reporting of child sexual abuse.

Contrast this to the recent conviction for manslaughter of Michael Jackson’s physician.  Several letters to online blogs defended the doctor as being rather a hero who killed a pedophile and thereby protected young boys from Jackson. Where was the evidence for this belief?  Jackson was acquitted.  True Michael was atypical and androgynous in appearance and conduct—suspicious and unacceptable, whereas Sandusky was a large, rugged, macho football coach—and very socially acceptable.  Jackson looked like a pedophile and probably was not, whereas Jerry did not look like, but may probably be a pedophile.

Pedophilia is defined as erotosexual attraction to or love of children, specifically those between 5-years of age and the onset of puberty around 12 or so.  Ephebophilia, or teen love, is the attraction to and love of youth who are between puberty and 18-years-old.  An attraction to and love of infants, up to about 4-years-old, is called nepiophilia.  There is also gerontophilia, or the attraction to aged individuals, and probably 20-, 30-, and 40-ophilias.  These last usually present no problem for our criminal justice system.  All are types of chronophilia in which the factor causing erotosexual attraction and love for the chronophile is the specific age range of the subject of attraction.

Chronophilias, as paraphilias occur in oppositional pairs or polar opposites, with the chronophilie often only desiring to be the age that is found so attractive.  Jerry Springer has featured on his TV show adult men who manifest auto-nepiophilia (self-infantilism).  They wear baby caps and clothes, curl up in large cribs, want to nurse on bottle or breast and have their wet diapers changed by a caretaker.  We find this ridiculous, but for the auto-nepiophile it is a tremendous turn-on.

In many cases the chronophilias occur in individuals who never act out their paraphilias in overtly erotosexual activities.  These persons are asexual, sexually inhibited, repressed, or self-controlled.  As a culture we separate love and lust.  For them there is a dichotomy between the body and the spirit.  The attraction is there but it has become sublimated from a nasty corporal sexuality to a pure spiritual appreciation and affection.  For these people, it is not acceptable to be sexual, but wonderful to care for and be in love with the subject of their attraction.

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) was an Oxford clergyman, mathematics professor and an “artful” photographer of little 6-, 11-, and 13-year-old girls (often nude, with their mothers giving permission or being present).  While 31-years-old, he was in love with and wished to marry 11-year-old Alice P. Liddell, the girl for whom he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  He thought, unsuccessfully, that the book would placate Alice’s mother who began to suspect his motives.  He proposed when she was 17 but was rejected.  Some of his photos still exist and the sultry waif-like poses of Alice are not what you would expect in an innocent Victorian girl.  We may not know his fantasy life, but Carroll apparently never crossed the line into paired erotosexual activity.

Sir James Matthew Barrie, playwright and author of a serialization Peter-Pan and Wendy, wrote these from the stories he told to the five young sons of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies.  His short marriage was never consummated as he suffered from impotence and his wife soon took a lover.  There were speculations that he preferred the company of young boys and was a pedophile, but again there was no evidence of this.  What Barrie did in his private time alone we cannot know.  Nevertheless, he was a benevolent champion of children and donated his Peter Pan copyright and royalties to a children’s hospital in London.  Johnny Depp played the role of Barrie in a semi-biographical-fictional account of his life Finding Neverland.  “Neverland” was also the name of Michael Jackson’s home.

Lord Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell, British soldier and founder of what became the world-wide Boy Scout movement, was supposedly a repressed homosexual pedophile.  He was devoted to the moral and physical development of newly pubescent boys.  At his Scout’s camp in Epping Forest, he enjoyed watching the boys swim naked thinking it healthy.  He also appreciated photographs of nude boys taken by an old male friend A.H. Tod.  While glorifying the youthful bodies, the line apparently was not crossed and Lord Baden-Powell remained physically chaste.  It is ironic that avowed gays are not now permitted membership in the Boy Scouts of America.

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), the writer of the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn boyhood adventures had a curious habit later in his life of befriending a dozen young teenage girls in his “Aquarium Club.”  He called the girls his “Angelfish” and they were expected to adhere to the rules of membership requiring correspondence and field trips to concert halls, museums, his Redding, Conn. estate, and ship cruises to Bermuda.  Once the girls reached age 16 they “graduated” out of membership.  Such activity by an older man today would draw suspicion, just as Jackson did with his entertainment of youngsters at his fabulous “Neverland” ranch.

Charlie Chaplin, the “Little Tramp” so beloved by classic comedy movie fans was no doubt a cinematic genius, but this was accompanied by his proclivity of being the lover of his teenage co-stars—usually just under 18 years of age.  His second marriage was to 16-year-old Lia Grey, whom he had met when she was 12.  They had two children.  In May 1943, the 54-year old Chaplin was in a paternity suit brought by a 23-year-old actress Joan Berry.  Two weeks later, his fourth marriage was to 18-year-old Oona O’Neill.  For this and other reasons he was then compelled to leave the United States.  This marriage lasted 34 years and produced eight children.

The saintly Mahatma Gandhi although married traditionally at 13 to a bride his age, later vowed sexual abstinence when 37 years old.  Nevertheless he was fond of prepubescent and early adolescent girls—all virgins or young brides from his entourage—whom he took to bed at night to cuddle with nude for their warmth to control his “shivering fits.”  According to historian Vern Bulloch, there was rivalry as to who would sleep with him, and reportedly some of his bed mates had difficulty restraining their sexual impulses since they were aroused by the body contact and his touches.  Understandably, his protective staff kept these activities secret to prevent negative public reaction.  Whether it was to test the resolve of his vow, or for his chill, Gandhi continued with this pedophilic interaction (without intercourse) until his assassination.  In the United States Gandhi would have been indicted as a child molester.

Michael Jackson shared behavioral characteristics with the above described luminaries in history.   All maintained curiously suspicious affiliations with young people. Michael Jackson, like Peter Pan, never grew up and was manifesting auto-pedophilism; a “Peter-Pan syndrome,” namely thinking and acting like the boys to whom he is attracted.  For Jackson the attraction, friendships and activities were most probably platonic and asexual.  He stated that the last thing he wanted to do was to harm his buddies.  He also realized that being in the public eye and being so closely scrutinized by staff and others, he could not “cross the line”—even if he were so inclined.  His last thought before his death was that he would realize his dream of building an enormous charity and research hospital for ill children.  He loved—platonically—children.

In every case of these creative individuals, their attraction to and relationships with youngsters went beyond what we would consider normative.  They apparently, in most cases manifested their chronophilias only as privately experienced affective states and not in overtly erotosexual behaviors.  Any evidence of overt harm done to their young friend-companions (except for Chaplin’s paternity) was not to be found.

The situation with football coach Gerald Sandusky is clearly different.  There are now too many accusations to permit a reasonable belief that actual sexual interaction did not occur with some of the youngsters he was supposedly benefitting through his charitable organization.  A trial and the evidence brought forward will soon reveal the truth.  Things are getting interesting.

Pigskinally yours,

Dr. P



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