Putting Children Last, Again

“Berlin authorities placed children with pedophiles for 30 years.”

At first, I couldn’t believe this was a real headline, let alone a true and somewhat recent story. I assumed it was some dark satire, riffing on the absurdities of the most extreme manifestations of today’s culture war.

Sadly, that was not the case. This is how I learned about the “social experiment” executed by a well-known sexologist named Helmut Kentler, one funded and overseen by Berlin’s governing authorities.

Stories like these seem quite removed. Like echoes of the distant past, when the barriers between childhood innocence and perversion were razor thin, and a lack of safeguarding was . . . normal.

Today, we are quite confident that our measures of protection are better. We look at something like the Kentler experiment and insist we’d never let such a thing happen today. We’d never let predators try to weasel their way into positions of power for the explicit purposes of normalizing their sick desires.

But we do.

Lately, we’ve seen the term “groomer” thrown about on social media—a word used often in conjunction with ludicrous seeming TikToks of blue-haired school teachers gleefully explaining pronouns to a gaggle of 5-year-old students.

And while, for many, this behavior is deeply concerning, it doesn’t even begin to breach the reality of what the institutional normalization of pedophilia looks like.

The further I looked into creatures like Kentler, the more I understood that he and his contemporaries—Kinsey, Money, Berlin and Sigusch—had once set their own stage for the destigmatization of pedophilia. Through higher education, they shrouded their unnatural interests and attractions behind the veil of “research.”

All these years later, one salient truth persists: this trend never ended. Pedophilia apologistics has been an issue in academia for some time. And if you think the theories of Kinsey and Kentler are relics of a time long behind us, you’d be very wrong.

In late 2021, Allyn Walker, an assistant professor at Old Dominion University, was forced to resign after bizarrely coming to the defense of  “minor attracted people” and attacks on their “dignity.”

After coming into the spotlight for participating in a podcast interview with a particularly nefarious charity (described by many as “pro-pedophile”), more of Walker’s opinions on the subject came out; including hypothesizing that “high quality child pornography” could prevent pedophilic child abuse.

And while Walker faded into the darkness for a short time, only a few months later, in early 2022, she was picked up as a Fellow by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse—an affiliate of John’s Hopkins University.

This development was not widely acknowledged or publicized. I was not the only person who wanted to know why a child safeguarding center would hire someone who advocated for eroding protections between children and adults.

While many wanted to treat Walker in isolation, she is not alone in the promotion of these ideas, nor did she invent them. They have a long history, and are shared by countless researchers and professors around the world.

In April 2022, an academic research paper made its way through the peer-review process and was eventually published in the Journal of Qualitative Research. The paper, written by Swedish-born academic Karl Andersson, outlined an “experiment” he undertook in which he masturbated to a form of cartoons depicting young boys in sexual situations with predominantly other boys and sometimes adult men.

Because this is widely considered a form of fantasy child pornography, shota, as it is known, is illegal in many countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The revelations about Andersson came on the heels of a viral video of Professor Stephen Kershnar, who argued it “wasn’t obvious” to him that sex with a one-year-old child was wrong in all cases.

Kershnar, who continues to work for the State University of New York at Fredonia, also said: “Imagine an adult male wants to have sex with a 12-year-old girl. Imagine she’s a willing participant. There’s a widely held view that there’s something deeply wrong with this . . . It’s not obvious to me that it’s wrong, I think it’s a mistake.”

Further, a widely-cited former professor at the University of Amsterdam has also written in support of pedophilia. Gert Hekma framed pedophilia and bestiality as “sexual variations” rather than inappropriate attractions. In an interview with a pro-pedophile organization, he once referred to children as “sexy.”

The sad reality? It doesn’t stop there.

There is not enough time, nor enough space in this article to list the amount of professors in Canada, Norway, Germany, and the United States who continue to argue that pedophilia is an innate sexuality that should be destigmatized, rather than criminalized.

Worse still is the relationship between academic institutions and individuals who turn to pro-pedophile organizations such as Prostasia and B4-U-Act as a basis for their research and arguments. These groups operate under the guise of protecting children. In reality, much of what they promote undermines their gender safety and wellbeing.

And now, I am reminded of an old adage: “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” 

Well, we seem to be absolutely doomed when it comes to child safeguarding, at least. It appears that no amount of forewarning stopped us from following the same pattern concerning normalizing pedophila in academia. And while you and I might be fully aware of how evil and abhorrent this all is, it’s clear those in a position to do anything about it either aren’t as bothered, or are entirely complicit, just like during the Kentler experiment.

The question now becomes: Where do we go from here?

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About Sydney Watson

Sydney Watson is an Australian political commentator, writer and journalist living in Texas.

Photo: iStock/GETTY IMAGES