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The challenges of diagnosing and treating pedophilia

by AirTalk

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Assistant coach Bernie Fine of the Syracuse Orange looks at the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach was accused of sexual molestation of a 13-year-old boy years ago. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

You've seen the headlines: "Jerry Sandusky Accused of Sexually Assaulting 8 Boys"; "Another Accuser Steps Forward in Penn State Scandal"; "Eight of Sandusky’s Alleged Victims Will Testify Against Him" (at a preliminary hearing next week).

Then came Syracuse: "DA to Address Sex Abuse Claims Against Former Coach Bernie Fine"; "Excuses Don't Fly in Syracuse Sex Abuse Case." And this recent headline, which wouldn’t require such high profile scandals to be timely: "Silence Common in Child Sex Abuse Cases."

Ok, so we know sex abuse of minors happens. But why? As difficult as it is to understand and talk about, experts in the field say it's imperative that we try. Without level-headed, informed discourse, it might be impossible to develop solid treatment approaches, support services and sound policy that keep our communities safe.


So what do we know about the root causes of sexually abusive behaviors? What's the difference between pedophilia and molestation? What are the different types of treatment? Is pedophilia chronic and incurable, as some experts believe? If so, are any treatments effective?


Dr. Hy Malinek, Ph.D., Clinical and Forensic Psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills; certified by the California Superior Court as a professional testimony expert; he also consults with U.S. Attorney’s Office in cases of sexual molestation and risk assessment and California’s Department of Mental Health in civil commitment of high risk sex offenders

Dr. L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, Ph.D., Clinical Researcher and Forensic Psychologist with over 30 years experience dealing with sex offenders of all kinds and genders; helped develop the MEGA risk assessment tool (Multiplex Empirically Guided Inventory of Ecological Aggregates for Assessing Sexually Abusive Children and Adolescents Ages 19 and Under)

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