These ‘child lovers’: it’s time to change the law (19.08.83)

The Standard, 19th August 1983


  1. Kate MacDonald said:

    THESE ‘CHILD LOVER’: IT’S TIME TO CHANGE THE LAW (The Standard, 19th August 1983)

    The story of the small boy found wandering half-naked, cold and incoherent, his bare chest soaked with his own tears, is horrifying not just for the bestial cruelty involved but for a chilling extra dimension: the gang element.
    Harming a child so outrages every basic human sensibility that even those who do molest children—sometimes in a single moment of madness they regret for ever—are conscious of an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
    Yet here were three adults who deliberately and cold-bloodedly conspired together in a vicious sexual assault on a six-year-old. There is, say police, a possibility that a child pornography ring is involved.
    While an outstandingly tolerant society such as ours may be prepared to try to help—and perhaps to some degree sympathise with—the solitary disturbed individual, we can have only loathing and contempt for those who deliberately treat children as nothing but raw material for their lust.
    Yet a society dedicated to just such an aim exists. Still exists, I should say.
    For despite widespread but intermittent public outrage through the years, despite a case five years ago when the judge involved, Mr Justice King-Hamilton, said: “I am horrified by what I have heard about this organisation and its aims; I can scarcely find words to describe it,” the Paedophile Information Exchange is alive and well and living in East London.
    How can this be? How can an organisation dedicated, in its own words, to “proving the value of paedophilia,” with the avowed goal of a committed sexual relationship with a child, be allowed to remain in existence? It is not just horrifying—it is amazing.
    “The Paedophile Information Exchange is a campaigning self-help group,” says its journal PIE. “Paedophiles are men and women who are sexually attracted to young people. Paedophile love is as natural and beneficial as parental love and, like adult heterosexual and homosexual relationships, is based on the free and happy consent of both partners.”
    Do they really expect us to take this unsavoury special pleading seriously? There is no way in which meaningful consent to anything can be given by under-age children: hence the hedge of protective legislation against any form of exploitation, be it emotional, financial, legal, medical—or sexual.
    The Paedophile Information Exchange is of course aware of this.
    “Changing your address?” asks one issue. “Obviously it is in your own interest that PIE mail addressed to you should not go astray. If for any reason you do not wish PIE mail to be posted to your home for a period, a number of alternatives are available on request. Please do not allow yourself to lose touch with the organisation simply because you regard your address to be unsafe.”
    It is true there are “only” 150 members who receive the society’s monthly newsletter; and it is equally true that members, while stressing their aversion to child-molesting or raping, claim they approach only “willing” children, and that the ensuing relationship “does the child no harm”.
    Nor is it relevant to speak of the changed sexual climate today, of the schoolgirl mothers or schoolboy lovers whose tea is sugared with more than sympathy.
    For it is little children who attract those who belong to the Paedophile Information Exchange. Members admit to a dramatic falling-off of interest when girls or, more particularly, boys (the focus of desire for 70 per cent of members) reach puberty—even though 13 or 14, you might think, is just the age when sex, however unlawful or ill-advised, becomes a genuine possibility.
    Notes the magazine disapprovingly: “That popular children’s TV puppet Basil Brush has been recruited to front a police film for circulation around Kent primary schools—to frighten children against talking to ‘strangers.’ Such underhand propaganda methods are calculated to exploit the suggestibility of a captive audience” (my italics.)
    As for the claim that members of the Paedophile Information Exchange “truly” love children, there is only one answer: what kind of love shows itself in so furtive a manner that its practitioners have to band together in what is virtually a secret society?
    However much they claim adherence to the principles of love and altruism, paedophiles are basically motivated by sexual attraction—and in their less guarded moments will always admit it, says Dr Glenn Wilson, whose book The Child Lovers (a study of Paedophiles in Society) was published earlier this year.
    Says Dr Wilson: “While all self-confessed paedophiles would claim that rape or assault of a child is as abhorrent to them as rape of a woman by a man is to the average heterosexual, this is in my view irrelevant to the main issue.
    “What we are talking about is the potential for the abuse of power.”
    The Paedophile Information Exchange’s own policy is unambiguous. Any society whose declared aim is to see sexual relationships between adults and children made legal is asking for the right to abuse the very thing that makes a child a child: its unquestioning trust in the benevolence of the world around it.
    We have no hesitation in condemning adult misuse of a position of power or trust, as in a doctor-patient, pupil-teacher, or worker-boss relationship. Yet how much more heinous is the same thing when one of the parties is weaker not only physically but also socially, morally and emotionally. Where children are concerned, we are all in a position of trust.
    Says Dr Wilson: “Children are trained to respect and obey all adults, not just their parents, and this results in such an imbalance of social power that exploiting it, whether or not the child is physically harmed, is in my view totally wrong morally.”
    Over the last few years the sexual face of society has not so much continued with a process of change as become distorted—rather in the way a stone thrown into a pool ripples a reflection out of all recognition.
    Bisexuality is the new liberation (homosexuality is, rightly, no longer an issue). Violence, child pornography, the current video “nasties” storm are, to say the least, blurring the sexual boundaries. Ambiguity—as anyone who saw the “Is it a boy? Is it a girl? No, it’s Boy George and his friend” pictures a couple of days ago will agree—has become the sociological norm.
    Such a climate of ambivalence could be custom-tailored for the Paedophile Information Exchange, with its undercover activities, its words of reassurance for all who need moral ratification for their sexually predatory attitude to children.
    It is all too easy for lines of demarcation to be fudged, for phrases like “Love takes many forms” or questions like “What is wrong in becoming a loving friend to a child?” to twist and distort the basic truth that sexuality has no place between child and adult.
    It is unbelievable—more, it is absurd—to imagine that there can be no connection between an attitude in this country that allows an organisation to spread the names and addresses of fellow “child-lovers” and information about children and a vicious attack like the one near Newhaven.
    The answer is clear. If present legislation is not sufficient to outlaw a society with the infamous aims and attitudes of the Paedophile Information Exchange, then the law must be changed. Immediately.

    • Kate MacDonald said:

      Title should be corrected to:
      THESE ‘CHILD LOVERS’: IT’S TIME TO CHANGE THE LAW (The Standard, 19th August 1983)

  2. Is this the Brighton Beasts story? the one where no one was interviewed or arrested when in fact there was ie Ralph Alden was brought in for questioning on this case at Catford police station
    Ted Beach an asociate of his was also suggested to have been an accomplice in this assaults on this poor boy

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