Hiding in Plain Sight: How to Spot a Child Predator


Hiding in Plain Sight: How to Spot a Child Predator

There is a lot of misinformation and presumptions out there about child sex predators, usually in relation to the appropriate bathrooms that transsexuals should use. Just as a by the way, transsexual does not equal pedophile. If they did, there would only be the one term. As a survivor myself and as a parent of a child who was molested, I can tell you one thing for certain: your typical pedophile isn’t going to be a guy standing behind the fence at a school or playground wearing a dark coat and hat and playing with himself. Pedophiles love to see the spread of this myth, as it takes attention away from themselves. They are people you really wouldn’t suspect.

Sexual predators walk among us.  They are both men and women, they are both young and old, and they are from all types of occupations, economic classes, and demographic backgrounds.  Perhaps you think your family is safe because you checked the appropriate websites to verify there are no registered sex offenders living near you.  That is a good start; but registered sex offenders are perpetrators who have been caught and convicted of a qualifying offense.  How do you detect those who have not been apprehended, or even detected?  Here are some clues. 

Types of Sexual Predators

Sex offenders are often portrayed as impulsive individuals, unable to control their thoughts or behavior. Some are; but research indicates this is not always true.  A study by Maria Francisca Rebocho and Rui Abrunhosa Gonçalves (2012) entitled “Sexual Predators and Prey: A Comparative Study of the Hunting Behavior of Rapists and Child Molesters” revealed that many sexual predators are in control of their faculties, and are rational decision makers.[i]

Rebocho and Goncalves classified sexual offenders into three types: manipulative, opportunist, and coercive. They found that child molesters are more likely to be manipulative, targeting known victims with whom they already have a relationship, as opposed to strangers.  

The goal is to avoid forming a relationship with a child predator to begin with.  Unfortunately, some predators are already employed in jobs that involve working with children.  But not all of them.  Many predators intentionally befriend parents with children within their target age range.  You want to be able to spot these offenders before they sweet talk their way into your life, and the lives of your children.   

Spotting Predatory Behavior

You cannot identify a sexual predator by looking; they are hiding in plain sight.  In your neighborhood, your workplace, your child´s school.  While you cannot identify them visually, you can sometimes detect them through their behavior.  In pursuit of establishing inroads to access victims, predators will push the boundaries of interpersonal relationships both physically and emotionally.  Here are some red flags to be aware of.