The Boogie Man Is My Friend

The boogie man is real. The worst day in your life would betide if your child came to you and said, “The boogie man is my friend.” Actually, it is highly unlikely he or she would do that. This kind of friendship usually builds over time and it is a secret. You might not know until it is too late.

Why? It’s complicated.

The boogie man could be anyone, even family.

The Police Problem

Just the other day a friend of mine sent me an article from The Daily Wire where a British judge denied victim compensation to child sexual assault victims because they consented. My head spun around backwards. Mystifying results; the judgements make no sense. The U.S. is not alone-obviously global issues abound with child crimes.

Nothing should really surprise me. During my career as a detective, parents told me they believed their 4 year old was promiscuous and led the perpetrator on with her sexual advances. That was common to hear coming from the offenders, but never the parents. I also witnessed a judge strip custody from a teen mother and hand it over to the convicted 44 year old man who sexually assaulted her. Furthermore, I have had discussions with citizens who do not accept children tell the truth when they disclose sexual assault. The perpetrations continue unaddressed.

Score one for the bad guys.

My detective days began when child forensic interviewing was in infancy and not yet widely accepted in the courts. The hunt for the boogie man involved constant investigation and continuing education. As acceptance of the process developed, I could appreciate how progressive my local justice system became in battling child crimes. Yet, it still has a long way to go.

The mind of a child offender is deep and complex. There are multiple layers of bad going on and rapidly developing in that person’s mind. I think at times even for police officers it is extremely troublesome to fathom the acts and think about the victim turmoil. We do not want our minds to go there. Early on in my law enforcement career, I recognized a victim’s pain can be forever. This fueled my need to be a better cop.

Consequently, investigators cannot let one case go dormant from lack of attention. Those files do not get to sit on our shelves and must be promptly received. Every complaint should be examined thoroughly. There is only one way to handle these criminal cases: act now.

If law enforcement were to ignore child crimes, it would create a huge risk to public safety. For example, I had many cases in which suspects violated multiple victims. It happened more often than you think. Some child perpetrators had 50-100 victims over time. Equally alarming is the fact that each victim often gets violated multiple times. If one offender can violate 50 children, imagine if you have a town of 50,000 population. Let us postulate you could have 293 sex offenders. It is that prolific. Take 293 multiplied by 50 and you have 14,650 victims. While this is a fictitious exemplar, it exposes the exponential aftermath. Even one child victim is bad.

The Boogie Man Is Real

As a cop, you have to slip into Pandora’s Box and arm yourself with knowledge about these crimes in order to extract the truth. It messes us up, really. We understand this somewhat before the undertaking, but it is one of those areas we are willing to sacrifice our mental well-being to help others. Frankly, police officers advocate for the best interest of any and all children.

We go into dark corners and may even comfort the offender during an interrogation. It is fake. We trick them. None of us accept nor grasp their problem. However, it is crucial we understand the psychological behaviors associated with the disorder of pedophilia and the ramifications of the child sexual assaults.

These cases have many spectrums: battling society’s disbelief, educating parents, weak penalties, and extinguishing the pedophilia epidemic in our communities. For police, the proof is the difficult component to gather. Relentlessness digging for evidence is the key to convictions combined with exceptional interview and interrogation skills, attention to details, and significant sleuthing capabilities. Child offenders are very good at covering their tracks and deflecting guilt on others.

The most beneficial tool I found in honing communication skills was forensic interviewing. I used it everywhere and in everything. Why? It draws out the truth. It was designed for child victims, but I found many components work for all persons. Child molesters want to tell you their dirty deeds because it brings back a thrill. In the back of their mind they know they will go to prison, but it is self-gratifying for them to brag about it and relive the acts.

You might shudder at those thoughts. But it is how they operate. The best line I can offer detectives to use is: “Tell me about that.” And then listen. Get more. Then go in for the details. With all the different masteries we pick up in police training, your own style is the best. We tend to combine the expert techniques to create our own delivery. It sounds natural that way. It works best to be you.

Cops must know how to extract the truth and corroborate it with evidence. To hear these violations be told with flippancy makes us all weary and it can be very horrific information. Cases of criminal acts against children tax our resources and have numerous impacts to our mental well-being. Despite all this, they are high priority investigations. We want them solved, the bad guys arrested, and the victims protected from further harm. Ultimately, we wished these crimes never existed.

Parent Vexation

So, what do you need to know as a parent?

First, you need to understand the problem. It’s a disorder. You can’t fix or erase it. You can treat it which may or may not provide a strict structure to contain urges, but there is no successful cure. These are not nice people making bad choices. Child predators are the boogie man. The hunt is called grooming. The kill is the act.

Most child offenders I have interrogated admitted they cannot control these appetites. It sounded like a broken record over time. Child perpetration feeds their hunger for power and control. It is not a sex problem, it is a mind problem.

To simplify their deviance: they only care about getting the next fix. That’s it. You need to remember this. He or she may be all friendly and fluffy on the outside, but inside they are dangerous. Their seemingly kind manners and helpful ways are a front. It is like any other addiction in the sense of desired cravings and the draw to the acts, but it is much more sinister. Sometimes the fix is briefly satisfied by visual stimulation or other means. Eventually they must do the physical act to reach gratification.

Child molesters desire to perpetrate pure evil on your child. I cannot assuage the matter. Predators do not have any virtuous behavior before, during, or after their perpetration. They are not nice. Their deeds are ill intended.

Pedophiles relate better to children than adults. They have preferences. Consequently, they often like to be around kids whilst planning their sick agenda to prey upon them. Over and over scenarios go on inside their heads while on the outside they are grooming you and the children, drawing you closer. Kind of sounds like the story of Hansel and Gretel, doesn’t it?

We might envision the bad guys to be grungy, ugly people who lurk in the park behind bushes trying to lure children into the woods with a puppy or a lollipop. There are those. Countless investigations have dispelled this as the common imagery and narrative. Most of them could not be spotted even if they sat next to you. The pool of predators derives from all walks of life and any socioeconomic class.

Our parents taught us to be nice and show kindness toward everyone, even strangers. Then along came teachings of “stranger danger.” This created conflict with our moral compass. For the most part, we should be amiable and courteous. Tutelage and humanitarian instincts steer us that direction. Nonetheless, we should be cautious with concerns regarding our children. We can close the doors on opportunities exposing them as prey.

Not everyone is a potential bad guy. Well, unless you are raised by a cop. Then you have a mistrust of all persons. We might be overbearing but we would rather raise strong and healthy children than repair broken souls. Police parents need to find a balance of protection normalcy as well.

Despite the fact we strive to be perfect parents, the bad guys may still be out there waiting to pounce. We must do the best we can. Mothers and fathers have the duty to envelope their kids with security in hopes they grow up having never been abused, injured, or violated. You can’t afford to deal with these real social concerns in the avoidance mode.

So how do we find a balance?

You can protect your child through communication. Out of all the parenting skills, communication is the top priority. Talk to them about strangers, safe touches, and body matters. Above all else, be a real participant in your child’s life.

Enjoy recreation and home time as a family, not separated in your rooms connected only by electronic devices. Be mindful of online predators and how they contact our children. Know who your children hang out with and their associations. Be there for their sorrows and rejoice in their victories. Monitor their activities. Listen to them.

Avoid denial. Watch out for those creepers-the boogie man is real. No childhood is perfect, but it can be happy, healthy, and safe. These components build internal strength for their adult life.