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S/O red flags and child predators


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I'm wondering what The Hive thinks about a situation like this:

 

At a church we used to attend, there was a man who worked with Sunday School kids. My son was in his class and this was when ds was probably around 6 or 7. I never saw him do or say anything inappropriate to my son or any other kid. But he set off my instinctive "creep-o-meter." He just had a demeanor that seemed snakeish and abnormal. In this particular case, it was soon moot because we were planning to find another church and so I didn't really need to resolve my hesitation to have my kid in class with that odd guy. But I do wonder what others would do.

 

I don't think it would be fair to pull my child out of the class or tell others that, though I have no evidence of anything sketchy, I just plain get a weirdness vibe from the guy and, based on that, I'm pulling the kid out. I think that goes too far towards the "every guy who volunteers to work with kids is a creep" suspicion. But I do lean towards the tendency to honor my instincts and when I can avoid someone who sets off my creep-o-meter, I do. What do you think?

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Many/most pedos likely WON'T set off a creep-o-meter.

 

:iagree: This is where I feel like the whole de Becker thing breaks down. The teacher in the linked article clearly was not setting off anyone's creep-o-meter, and neither was Sandusky, at least until after the fact. How many times have you heard the neighbors say, "Oh, he seemed like such a nice guy" when they're interviewed?

 

I don't know what I'd do in that scenario. Personally, I'd probably keep sending my child while also talking to them about what to watch for, making sure they had no opportunities to be alone with the guy, etc. But I think that would depend on how crazy my creep-o-meter was going and whether I had a valid potential excuse for pulling my kid from SS.

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I'm wondering what The Hive thinks about a situation like this:

 

At a church we used to attend, there was a man who worked with Sunday School kids. My son was in his class and this was when ds was probably around 6 or 7. I never saw him do or say anything inappropriate to my son or any other kid. But he set off my instinctive "creep-o-meter." He just had a demeanor that seemed snakeish and abnormal. In this particular case, it was soon moot because we were planning to find another church and so I didn't really need to resolve my hesitation to have my kid in class with that odd guy. But I do wonder what others would do.

 

I don't think it would be fair to pull my child out of the class or tell others that, though I have no evidence of anything sketchy, I just plain get a weirdness vibe from the guy and, based on that, I'm pulling the kid out. I think that goes too far towards the "every guy who volunteers to work with kids is a creep" suspicion. But I do lean towards the tendency to honor my instincts and when I can avoid someone who sets off my creep-o-meter, I do. What do you think?

 

I pulled my daughter out of a SS class when she was little (3-4 yo) because the gentleman teaching it made me feel uncomfortable. I had no evidence that anything untoward had happened, however I was not about to take chances with my little girl. We put her back in when she graduated to the next class, which incidentally also had a male teacher.

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That's a tough one because there are lots of people that I think are creepy or wierd but aren't child molesters. DH games with a few people that I don't like because they are odd and I'm uncomfortable being around them BUT they are really nice people. I just think they're strange as can be. I don't think they're going to harm anyone or molest my kid. If it was a situation like church or dance where I thought the instructor was strange or I just didn't like their personality then I would probably wait until a logical break and switch instructors or where we went.

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IME, trusting your instinct is always good. If you have an instinct about someone you will really regret not following it. I had a bad instinct about someone that I did not follow and my whole family paid dearly. But that said, whether he is different or creepy varies from person to person and some people send out poor signals.

 

I personally don't think that weeding out "weirdos" is going to keep kids safe. Many perfectly wonderful people creep other people out, while many hideous people are so charming that they are trusted when they should not be. Unfortunately, as I stated in the other thread, my son was targeted by a local community leader that everyone thinks is wonderful and charming. I had a bad feeling about him but did not follow it and he did something rotten to my son. So, by all means, protect your kids from anyone you don't feel is quite right, but poor social skills are a different thing entirely, and I would be careful about where you draw that line, because you would not want to send the message to your kids that shunning people who are different is okay.

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I'd go with my gut feeling. I'd want to be able to leave my kids with someone with whom I felt comfortable. Fwiw, when I was around 11 I went to a new pediatrician who totally creeped me out. I never wanted to go back to him and thankfull never did. About 5 years later he was arrested for molesting patients. I listen to my creep o meter although I definitely recognize it is not an accurate measure if personality.

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That's such a hard one.... creepy and odd are two different things, but I can't explain it very well. Ds has Aspergers and has had people think he was both. He would never hurt a fly. It nearly breaks my heart to think people would pull their children out of a group that he was helping with due to his AS issues (as in they're thinking creepy/odd). He does help with things like VBS (not his favorite thing but I insist he be a part of the world). Yet I've had the momma radar go on before, so I know it's not easy separating the two.

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Go with your instincts.

 

Although it is not PC these days to dislike people for arbitrary reasons, we still have the right to do so. If you don't like loud-mouthed redheads, then by all means, avoid them. You don't have to like everyone.

 

If someone sets off your creep-o-meter, take the appropriate steps and avoid them. End of story. You don't have to have a valid reason or any particular evidence. I do feel that you also need to keep your mouth shut if you have no valid reason. It's okay to tell close friends that you get a weird vibe from that person, but don't slander them without evidence.

 

The second part of this is to admit that you are not infallible (I mean the collective "you" here which includes me). I read once that a con man's favorite victim is the one who fully believes that they will never be taken in. They are so convinced and impressed by their infallibility that they drop their guard and are easy prey.

 

And finally, pray for discernment and realize that you might be the one person who will see a predator for what they really are while others see only the kind, compassionate, helpful individual that wants to get kids on the right track. Strive to be the family mentioned in the New Yorker article that gets weeded out early in the predator's selection process because the parents are too alert, too suspicious, too involved, and too unwilling to allow an outsider to become too close to their children.

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:iagree: This is where I feel like the whole de Becker thing breaks down. The teacher in the linked article clearly was not setting off anyone's creep-o-meter, and neither was Sandusky, at least until after the fact. How many times have you heard the neighbors say, "Oh, he seemed like such a nice guy" when they're interviewed?

 

I don't know what I'd do in that scenario. Personally, I'd probably keep sending my child while also talking to them about what to watch for, making sure they had no opportunities to be alone with the guy, etc. But I think that would depend on how crazy my creep-o-meter was going and whether I had a valid potential excuse for pulling my kid from SS.

 

I disagree on both counts. I don't believe that the de Becker thing breaks down. de Becker's info, if known, would have identified Sandusky and that teacher much, much earlier.

 

I also am certain that people's creep meter was dinging, but muted due to the culturalization we are reared with.

 

"Be nice"

"Don't make a scene"

"He's just a nice man"

"It's a shame every man is suspect now"

 

"He seemed like a nice guy" is common because of the culturalization that disempowers people.

 

The whole dynamic and mechanism denies the creep meter - but the creep meter is *accurate*.

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I disagree on both counts. I don't believe that the de Becker thing breaks down. de Becker's info, if known, would have identified Sandusky and that teacher much, much earlier.

 

I also am certain that people's creep meter was dinging, but muted due to the culturalization we are reared with.

 

"Be nice"

"Don't make a scene"

"He's just a nice man"

"It's a shame every man is suspect now"

 

"He seemed like a nice guy" is common because of the culturalization that disempowers people.

 

The whole dynamic and mechanism denies the creep meter - but the creep meter is *accurate*.

 

So, what would you do, Joanne, if this was a SS class and your son was in it? Would you quietly have your kid not in the class? Would you point out to anyone else that the guy is bothering your creep-o-meter?

 

It's possible the guy just had poor social skills. His demeanor, if I can paint a word picture, was that of a submissive dog. He had a nervous, hand-wringing type of body language. He avoided eye contact. He was animated when talking to the children, but didn't speak to parents in a confident adult-to-adult fashion; he would look shifty and submissive. Even if I saw him in the halls, he would look like this, rather than saying, "Hi, CW's mom!" He always looked like he was shying away from adults.

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It's possible the guy just had poor social skills. His demeanor, if I can paint a word picture, was that of a submissive dog. He had a nervous, hand-wringing type of body language. He avoided eye contact. He was animated when talking to the children, but didn't speak to parents in a confident adult-to-adult fashion; he would look shifty and submissive. Even if I saw him in the halls, he would look like this, rather than saying, "Hi, CW's mom!" He always looked like he was shying away from adults.

 

Some of what you describe is how my son with Aspergers is... He can be quite animated with younger kids, but will NOT look you in the eye. If he does, he is very uncomfortable (which could be misconstrued as "shifty"). He would probably NOT say anything to you in the hallway unless you spoke to him first, and then, unless he knew you very well (as in, I hang out with you), all you will get is a brief "hi".

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So, what would you do, Joanne, if this was a SS class and your son was in it? Would you quietly have your kid not in the class? Would you point out to anyone else that the guy is bothering your creep-o-meter?

 

It's possible the guy just had poor social skills. His demeanor, if I can paint a word picture, was that of a submissive dog. He had a nervous, hand-wringing type of body language. He avoided eye contact. He was animated when talking to the children, but didn't speak to parents in a confident adult-to-adult fashion; he would look shifty and submissive. Even if I saw him in the halls, he would look like this, rather than saying, "Hi, CW's mom!" He always looked like he was shying away from adults.

 

Have you read PTG? In it, you may (or may not) find other signs/clues/behavior that point to predator.

 

Honestly, I wouldn't want my kids to have this man as a model, anyway. I think it's a fine standard that if you supervise or teach my kids, you also need to be able to hold a mature conversation with me.

 

I'd quietly keep my kid out. I'd tell my kid why, depending on their age. And I'd watch for signs that might speak to "creep". If more developed, I'd share with the leadership decision makers my concerns, backed by content - and fully prepared to hear some form of "we can't suspect every male, he's a nice guy, why do guys who like working with kids automatically get suspected".

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That's such a hard one.... creepy and odd are two different things, but I can't explain it very well. Ds has Aspergers and has had people think he was both. He would never hurt a fly. It nearly breaks my heart to think people would pull their children out of a group that he was helping with due to his AS issues (as in they're thinking creepy/odd). He does help with things like VBS (not his favorite thing but I insist he be a part of the world). Yet I've had the momma radar go on before, so I know it's not easy separating the two.

 

This was my first thought too - that many people who set off our "creep meters" are people on the autistic spectrum or with other conditions.

 

If it was my kid, I would watch things, maybe purposefully be the parent volunteer, check in with the second teacher, etc. In the end, I wouldn't be afraid to follow my instincts though.

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This was my first thought too - that many people who set off our "creep meters" are people on the autistic spectrum or with other conditions.

 

If it was my kid, I would watch things, maybe purposefully be the parent volunteer, check in with the second teacher, etc. In the end, I wouldn't be afraid to follow my instincts though.

 

Maybe because I recognize and can diagnose AS, I don't confuse the two. Creep and "odd" are distinct.

 

Creep meter, in my body and mind, is very specific. I've met FAR more odd people (for one reason or another) than creep. Heck, my husband qualifies as odd for medical reasons.

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Maybe because I recognize and can diagnose AS, I don't confuse the two. Creep and "odd" are distinct.

 

Creep meter, in my body and mind, is very specific. I've met FAR more odd people (for one reason or another) than creep. Heck, my husband qualifies as odd for medical reasons.

 

I have worked in my career with many kids with Aspergers, so I wouldn't confuse those either personally I think - but others might. And I am thinking of an instance where someone I met did raise my creepy meter a bit and it later turned out he had minor brain damage from an accident of some sort.

 

I don't know... Putting aside the creep vs. odd terminology, I just think when someone tells me that someone seemed "off" that it's much more likely they have something else going on than that they're a pedophile.

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Maybe because I recognize and can diagnose AS, I don't confuse the two. Creep and "odd" are distinct.

 

Creep meter, in my body and mind, is very specific. I've met FAR more odd people (for one reason or another) than creep. Heck, my husband qualifies as odd for medical reasons.

 

You can but most people don't have the knowledge you have... but those who are not around many people with AS do tend to confuse someone on the spectrum with someone who is creepy because they are simply creepy. I've had people pull their kids out of my son's group when he was younger because my son's odd (NEVER harmful) behaviors "bothered" them... If someone pulled their child out of a group he was helping with at VBS, because of his Aspie tendencies, I'd be devastated.

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I always trust my personal creep-o-meter. Period.

 

I don't go around accusing people of anything, or gossiping about them to others, but if someone seems odd to me, I keep my ds away from that person.

 

Maybe this isn't the politically correct response, but my feeling is that I would rather be safe than sorry, and I'm not willing to take a chance on my son's safety just to be the tolerant mom who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.

 

I don't consider myself to be paranoid, but if something seems "off" about a person, that individual will not be around my kid.

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I disagree on both counts. I don't believe that the de Becker thing breaks down. de Becker's info, if known, would have identified Sandusky and that teacher much, much earlier.

 

I also am certain that people's creep meter was dinging, but muted due to the culturalization we are reared with.

 

"Be nice"

"Don't make a scene"

"He's just a nice man"

"It's a shame every man is suspect now"

 

"He seemed like a nice guy" is common because of the culturalization that disempowers people.

 

The whole dynamic and mechanism denies the creep meter - but the creep meter is *accurate*.

 

:iagree: I trust my instincts. We had a gymnastics teacher that set off my creep-o-meter. Then dh met him and said that our kids would never go back. Dh never gets the creeps, but this guy was an exception. He might be the nicest guy in the world and 100% innocent, but I don't want to take that chance with my children. Something I wish my mother also would have done when I was younger.

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