Originally Published February 28th, 2020
Most people have always thought that sex offenders and pedophiles are the same and often used interchangeably. However, it should not be, and it is crucial to know the difference between the two. If not, you can immensely damage one’s reputation.
WHAT ARE PEDOPHILES?
Pedophiles are those who are diagnosed with a psychological disorder called pedophilia. Pedophilia, as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), is a mental illness where a person has an erotic desire to pre-pubescent children or those who are under the age of thirteen.
ARE PEDOPHILES SEX OFFENDERS?
The term pedophile applies whether the person has committed a crime or not. Even in cases where the person has not acted upon its desires to children are also considered pedophiles.
So, are pedophiles considered sex offenders?
Not all pedophiles are sex offenders, and not all sex offenders are pedophiles. Sex offenders are those who have been convicted of a sex-related crime, regardless if it involves a child or not.
It’s easy for most of us to forget that pedophilia is a mental illness. But we should know that pedophilia only becomes a crime when acted upon. And what most of us don’t know is that many pedophiles hate their desires and do not act on them for moral reasons.
Condemning pedophiles will only create stigma, which makes it harder for them to ask for help and seek treatment. And failure to seek treatment is one of the reasons why sexual abuse happens.
PUNISHMENT FOR PEDOPHILES CONVICTED WITH SEX-RELATED OFFENSE
Although punishment will vary from state to state, lewd and lascivious acts on a minor can result in two to forty years in prison. If there are prior sexually related convictions, some states will impose a life sentence on the defendant. A sex-related conviction will also require the defendant to register as a sex offender for at least ten years to life.
ARE THEY LIKELY TO RE-OFFEND?
According to the task force of New South Wales, up to 17% of child sex offenders are likely to re-offend within two years. Most pedophiles who already acted upon their desires genuinely believe that they are not doing anything wrong and only showing “love” to the children.
While these actions are morally wrong, we have to understand that not all pedophiles are sex offenders. Being wrongly accused of sexually abusing and preying children, requires professional help to an attorney. Criminal sex charges can have a devastating effect not only on your career but for the rest of your life as well.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.