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OP-ED: Geriatric Pedophiles

The plague of sexual abuse in American Samoa is slowly penetrating through our carefully guarded and tended religious and cultural boundaries. Revered faces are replacing faceless gossip and stories whispered behind hands. Also revealed are the silent struggles of victims to be heard and demanding justice.

The next shock to the core of who we are as civilized people, are the increased reports and prosecutions of sex offenders who are older men ages 50 and above, even men in their golden years of 70 plus. Many of these are elders of good standing in the community; employed or retired, they have raised families, hold chiefly titles and appear to be living normal healthy lives surrounded by their families.

This issue in particular is not only distasteful but it cuts deep for me also. As long as we remain silent, defensive, in denial and covering up these types of criminal acts, we perpetuate the crime and set the climate for future generations. This is also is a reflection on how effective our professionals are in awareness education, reporting, apprehending, and prosecuting these cases.

It saddens me to watch these elderly gentlemen in their golden years being paraded into the courtrooms, either they are limping, shuffling, leaning on canes or wheeled in. More so is to watch them struggle with short attention spans, memory lapses, hearing impairment, trying to understand what they are being accused of or trying to articulate their defense.

As they go before the judges, some offenders adopt a sweet grandfatherly, dignified and penitent posture, while some are defiant. Their distinguished grey and silver hair shine like halos. It is difficult to not feel there should be special considerations for these elderly gentlemen.

Are they suffering from selective behavior, dementia, senility, Alzheimer’s or some chemical imbalance or alcoholism? Or are they just plain perverted, wicked, evil and masters of deception and manipulation?

Despite the defense attorneys claiming these elders as “first time offenders” with no prior criminal record of any kind, a statement embellished with “being of previously blameless character”, never the less, these sexual acts against children are horrendous and heinous. How long do you think they have been doing this before they were finally caught?

The sexual crimes these revered paternal figures are being prosecuted for are calculated.

The timing and secrecy of the crime being committed is astounding. They know they have the advantage of their blood relationship, fatherly and grand fatherly appearance which also allows them easy access to children. Who would question their hugs, kisses, massaging, rubbing or concerned visits in a child’s room? But most of all they are the image of wholesome trust and safety.

These sex offender opportunists have established the entrance and exit floor plans for their crimes. They especially know how easy it would be to explain, deny or reverse accusations back to the child with moral convictions and outrage. It is also known how these sexual acts are easily suppressed by families handling it ‘INTERNALLY’.

As one elderly incarcerated sex offender suggested “ you can dominate a child to where you can make them feel like it’s all right, and convince them, what they are feeling is good.”

Joe Paterno, of the Penn State scandal, had an opportunity to save all the children that were raped with impunity by god-like-coach Jerry Sandusky, but Joe chose to turn away. How many of us are in the same situation as Joe Paterno?

Don’t be an enabler — save a child. Place a child’s safety and well being before family and community shame.

Don’t turn your face away, SAVE A CHILD.   Call DPS-911,   DHSS Crisis Line 699-4211