David, a 21-year-old college student in the United States, knows he is attracted to children between the ages of 4 and 11. He’s one of many pedophiles who knows it is wrong, but believes he was born this way, and that with treatment those urges can be controlled.
But to get that help, people like David have to seek it. And in the United States, that comes with huge risk due to mandatory reporting laws that require therapists to report people they deem a risk to children to the police.
Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, is one of few researchers in the U.S is focusing on preventative measures to help pedophiles.
“Even if you’ve never offended, if you are sexually interested in children and you reach out to a therapist for help, they may decide that you still represent a threat,” Letourneau said. “And that their concerns meet the threshold for a mandatory report.”
That’s not the case at Berlin’s “Project Dunkelfeld,” one of the only places in the world that offers treatment for pedophiles.