An Oregon man who describes himself as "virtuous pedophile" because he has never acted on his impulses is trying to change the way the world thinks of adults who are sexually attracted to children, the Mirror is reporting.
Gary Gibson, 65, admits that he has "maybe done some things I shouldn't have," but insists he's never had sexual intercourse with a child, nor does he intend to.
Gary Gibson's wife Tabitha Abel pictures https://t.co/QZlxoB2hLx pic.twitter.com/ENrf40V6uVGibson was forced to "come out" to his British wife, Tabitha Abel, some number of years ago when a foster child developed "false memories," he claims, of him having penetrated her. He denies any wrongdoing, but says the incident forced him to own up to his impulses
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His wife has chosen to stick by him.
The married father of three has 10 grandchildren. The first time he realized that his sexual attraction to children was going to be a problem for him came one day years ago, the first time he changed his infant daughter's diaper..
"The first time I remember changing my daughter's diaper - 'Am I going to touch her or something?' - but I made the decision right there that that was not going to happen. Life went on - children, grandchildren."He's clear that his fantasies and desires with regard to children aren't about violence or rape. He says that he has always envisioned more of a "romantic" and sexual relationship with children, such as what adults would have with one another.
Gibson suspected that he was not alone. In 2014, according to Opposing Views, he started a support group for other men and women such as himself, people who are sexually attracted to children but don't want to act on those impulses. The Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention International (ASAP) is a non-profit group designed to provide support to non-offending pedophiles and, when available, help them get treatment. However, he admits that it's hard for pedophiles to get treatment before they offend, because therapists are hesitant to treat them.
"90 percent of therapists don't want anything to do with pedophiles. They fear will they be stigmatized...They are afraid they will be outed as helping pedophiles."Further, Gary is also a member of an online support group, "Virtuous Pedophiles," for others who are attracted to children but who haven't offended and don't intend to offend.
Gary's wife, Tabitha, is supportive of her husband. As a retired nurse, she believes that pedophilia is a mental illness and not a criminal act (at least, until the pedophile acts on that attraction). Speaking to The Sun, she says that she has problems with the term "pedophile" because it insinuates that someone likes to hurt children, even if the person is conscientious about not acting on their impulses.
"I don't consider him to be a pedophile because like most people I consider a paedophile to be a child molester – which he isn't. It was a slow dawning. Pedophilia doesn't mean that your a child molester, and I think that's where people are caught out."Gary's three children from a previous relationship, aged 38 to 42, have all "come to terms" with the fact that their father is a pedophile, although what that means is far from clear. Gibson did not say whether or not he has any contact with them, or whether or not they allow him to be around his grandchildren.
Now 65 and retired, Gibson reflects on how his condition has affected his life, and looks toward his remaining years.
"Overall my life has gone fairly well. I feel very comfortable."[Featured Image by Volha Vasilevich/Shutterstock]