Paedophiles are born - not made - and nothing can change them, study finds
"All the evidence suggests that paedophilia begins in the womb," says neuroscientist Dr James Cantor, who came to the controversial conclusion after studying scans of paedophiles' brains
By Chris Kitching
20:12, 3 NOV 2019
Updated21:20, 3 NOV 2019
Paedophiles are born - not made - and nothing can be done to change them, a controversial study has found.
Neuroscientist Dr James Cantor arrived at that conclusion after studying the brains of convicted paedophiles.
He said: "All the evidence suggests that paedophilia begins in the womb."
Discussing his findings, Dr Cantor revealed that his research found that paedophiles are products of nature, not nurture, and a majority of them do not want to act on their urges.
He told the Australian TV programme 60 Minutes: "A person does not pick it. And despite every kind of treatment that has been attempted over a century, nothing has been shown to be able to change these people from paedophiles into non-paedophiles."
Man racks up £200 sex line bill before fatally stabbing woman 19 times Dr Cantor, director of the Toronto Sexuality Centre in Canada, said society needs to rethink the way it deals with paedophiles by making medical treatment and counselling more readily available to them.
He studied MRI scans of adults convicted of sexually abusing children.
The programme said he found a dramatic cross-wiring in the connective tissue of their brains.
The network isn't connected properly, he said, adding: "It's accidentally identifying things in the environment that should evoke a parental nurturant instinct, but instead it's provoking a sexual and erotic instinct."
Most paedophiles discover their urges when they are in their teens and they are attracted to children who are as young as eight, the study found.
The expert said it is important to understand the mind of a paedophile, adding that he does not defend their behaviour.
While reporting on the study, 60 Minutes visited a caravan park that was set up to house registered sex offenders.
Dubbed Pervert Park, the site in St Petersburg, Florida, has been called a "village of the damned".
The offenders who live there claim living together is their best chance to keep children safe.
One of the men, Bobby, 79, was convicted of possessing child abuse images.
He told the programme: "I enjoyed it. I don't see anything wrong with it."
A number of studies have found that paedophiles are usually in their teens when they discover that their sexual preferences have not matured like everyone else’s, the New York Times reported in September.
There is growing consensus that the origin is largely biological, the report added.
Dr Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic in the US city of Baltimore, told the newspaper: “People don’t choose what arouses them - they discover it.
"No-one grows up wanting to be a paedophile.”
In 2016, a study found that the brains of paedophiles who have never attacked a child are different from those who have.
The finding was based on MRI scans of 40 child abusers and 37 paedophiles never convicted of sexually assaulting a child.
The brain of 40 “healthy non-offending” people were used as controls during the study led by Dr Christian Kaergel from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.