How to Determine if Someone Is a Child Molester

If you are raising children, it is a scary world. The world is filled with pedophiles, lurking all around us, blending in with the population around us. Pedophiles may be hard to identify. They appear as upstanding citizens, and there is often no apparent reason to suspect them. At the same time, there are many more adults who are completely innocent who care about children, and their outward behavior may be identical.

Child molesters come in all shapes and forms. Some molest regularly, others occasionally or even just once. Some harm numerous victims, others focus on just one child. Some are attracted to children of a particular age or age range; others are indiscriminate and will stick to the same child(ren) over the course of many years as they grow. Some stick to children of one gender; others do not discriminate by gender. Some plan their attacks well in advance and can be more sneaky; others are more impulsive and act on opportunity. Regardless, all child sex offenders are equally dangerous and must be kept away from your children.


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    Take notice of the subject's honesty. This is the first sign. Molestation, by definition, is a deceptive behavior. Do you see any signs in the person that they are deceptive in any way? Does the subject's personality seem fake in any way? Is the subject a smooth talker who knows how to say all the right things to impress? Do they dodge telling the truth when one expects it or make excuses to put off doing so, giving a seemingly legitimate reason? Have you ever known this person to get caught in a lie? Are you suspicious about anything in the subject's life?
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    Take notice of the type of people one likes to hang around. A pedophile by definition is attracted to children. Is the subject hanging around children when inappropriate to do so?
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    Take notice of how one values children. Does the subject view children for their individuality and intellect? Or does the subject express interest in their bodies? Also take notice as to how the subject views adults.
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    Observe if the subject desires private time with children without the supervision of their parents or another adult, or to take children on special outings normal considered reserved for parents or other relatives.
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    Observe if the subject has interest in a particular child to the level of obsession, seeking more than just incidental or normal interaction with a particular child. Observe if they are an obsessive person in general who does not want to part with another person.
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    Observe if the subject is giving any special treatment to a specific child to strengthen a bond, such as buying them toys or ice cream. Take notice of this, especially if it is abnormal to do so in that type of relationship.
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    Check the local sex offender registry, if one exists. All 50 US states and many other places around the world have sex offender registries. This will show if one whose address or zip code you know has been convicted of any sex offenses. At the same time, many child molesters have never been caught and are nor registered, or were convicted of offenses that occurred before the registry was established and are therefore not legally required to register. The registry can be a tool to help identify one as an offender. But the lack of one's presence on the registry does not mean the subject is in the clear.
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    Be aware that pedophiles have a selfish ulterior motive for their behavior. While one who simply cares about children is just that, a pedophile cares about oneself and any exposure they have to children is for the purpose of satisfying their own needs.
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    See How to Protect Your Child from Molestation for information on that topic. Much of the information in this article overlaps with information in that article, but that is for your good, serving to doubly warn you.


  • Many pedophiles are very patient in achieving their goal of one day molesting children. Often, they study for many years to enter a career that allows them trusted access to children. Once around children, they take their time studying different children to determine who is most vulnerable and is least likely to speak out.
  • At the same time, most pedophiles are living a double life. They have a seemingly normal life with a partner along with the abuse or their victims. In some cases, their partner actually helps them conduct their abuse.
  • Child sex offenses are not limited to physical sexual assault. Another category of sexual offenders are statutory rapists, who could have either a single or multiple victims. When statutory rape occurs, intercourse may take place in a consensual manner, though according to the laws of many places, the "consent of a minor" is not valid for an adult to accept, and an adult who engages in such an act is subject to prosecution.
  • Be aware that molestation is not the same as homosexuality, and the two are not related. Homosexuality is the sexual or romantic attraction to members of the same gender, who are typically of legal age. Though frowned upon by the religious or political beliefs of some, homosexuality is legal in most countries. A person who is homosexual, bi-sexual, transgender, transsexual, or is a cross-dresser is not any more likely to be a pedophile than a common heterosexual.


  • Child molesters are unlike other criminals. Their condition that leads them to this behavior does not deprive them or a work ethic. Most child molesters work for a living and are fully devoted to their jobs. Though not always the case, many work or volunteer in a setting where they are exposed to and in many cases can have private time with children. This includes, but is not limited to: teachers, tutors, babysitters, camp counselors, sports coaches, boy/girl scout leaders, youth advisors and counselors, physicians, nurses, and clergy.
  • Every case varies, so the information provided in this article may not accurately reflect every child molester. This is just a general overview. In fact, it is possible that a child molester may read this and other web pages and books on the subject and intentionally avoid the very signs child molesters are said to have in order to avoid detection. Such behavior as not uncommon of child molesters by their very nature.
  • In most cases, the perpetrator is one the victim's parents fully trust with the victim, including those mentioned in the above list, family friends and acquaintances, neighbors, and often one's own relatives.
  • Most child molesters are steadily married or in marriage-like relationships with adults, often with children of their own (who often are victims themselves). In some cases, their spouse knows and even subtly helps them commit their acts or stay ahead of the law. The fact that a pedophile is married may give the appearance to the public that they are safe people.
  • Most molestation occurs in private. But molestation in public is not unheard of. Molestation has been known to occur in places like parks, stores, malls, in classrooms full of children, and more. Even in a crowd, some pedophiles have committed their acts unnoticed. The act occurs in a manner in which others do not realize it is molestation.
  • Child molesters can be men, women, or teenagers. They exist in equal proportion in every race, religion, nationality, and social class. Typically thought of to be men, about one-third of molesters are female.
  • Not all molestation is full-blown rape. Molestation comes in a variety of forms. This includes sexual penetration, masturbation on the victim's body, touching of the victim's genitals, French kissing of the victim, looking or photographing at the victim's genitals, exposing oneself to the victim, and other similar actions. No matter what, all of these acts are very damaging to a child.
  • Child molesters do not stand out in appearance. They are normally just as well dressed and groomed as everyone else, and take full pride in their appearance, careers, and accomplishments.
  • Many victims do not realize that an act that has been committed against them is molestation. Many perpetrators take advantage of situations where it is normal to touch their victim, but they do it in a manner in which they receive gratification. Some examples are a physician, who may claim to be doing some type of exam, but is really committing an act of pedophilia, or an airport security screener who says they are doing a required pat down.
  • Many child molesters study a lot of children to determine which ones would be best for them to victimize. They choose their victims on the basis of vulnerability and likelihood of not reporting. At the same time, they develop close relationships with other children they do not molest. If ever accused, the children they do not molest are then able to stand as character witnesses.
  • It is a given that parents will take measures to protect their children from stereotypical dangers. But most pedophiles can be described as 'the monster within.' They are typically granted unchallenged access to a child because it is normal and expected in this society. Less than 10% of child molesters are complete strangers to their victims.
  • Many child molesters have no criminals record. Since they are experts at staying off the radar and keeping their victims from reporting them, it is not uncommon for a child molester get away with their behavior for decades. Some child molesters live long lives and go to their graves without ever seeing a pair of handcuffs, being viewed as honorable members of society during and even after their deaths.

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Categories: Criminal and Penal Law Procedure | Pedophilia and Child Molestation