New research is exploring the idea that sexual attraction to children may be a "deep rooted predisposition" that is present before birth.
LA Times story here:
A few quotes from the article..."In 1999, Christiano was caught buying child pornography. Now 36, he said
he has never molested a child, but after five years of state-ordered
therapy, the attraction remains.
"These people felt they could snuff out the desire, or shame me into
denying it existed," he said. "But it's as intrinsic as the next
In the laboratory, researchers are coming to the same conclusion.""Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem
from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it
as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or
homosexuality.""Other pedophiles are "good people who are struggling," said Dr. Fred Berlin,
a psychiatrist who heads the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors
Consultation Unit. "They're tortured souls fighting like heck not to do
this. We do virtually nothing in terms of reaching out to these folks.
We drive it underground."""Scientists at the Toronto center have uncovered a series of associations that suggest pedophilia has biological roots.
Among the most compelling findings is that 30% of pedophiles are
left-handed or ambidextrous, triple the general rate. Because hand
dominance is established through some combination of genetics and the
environment of the womb, scientists see that association as a powerful
indicator that something is different about pedophiles at birth.
"The only explanation is a physiological one," said James Cantor, a leader of the research."
"In one case, a 40-year-old teacher in Virginia with no history of sexual
deviance suddenly became interested in child pornography and was
arrested for molesting his prepubescent stepdaughter.
The night before his sentencing, he showed up at an emergency room with a
bad headache. An MRI revealed a tumor compressing his brain's right
When the tumor was removed, his obsession faded, according to Dr.
Russell Swerdlow, a neurologist on the case. A year later he again
became sexually fixated on children. The tumor was growing back.
Swerdlow and others said the case suggests that the man's attraction to
children may have always been present — the tumor simply took away the
man's ability to control it.
Strong impulse control may help explain why some pedophiles never break the law."