Child Porn Addicts - Who Are They Really?

A story hit the news yesterday out of Mt. Pleasant, NY. It seems that their police chief was arrested for possession of child pornography. During questioning, 54-year-old Brian Fanelli admitted that he had become personally interested in child porn after having to delve into that world professionally (he claims it was research for a sex abuse class that he taught to elementary and middle school students).

This is yet another wake up call to parents who would prefer to believe that the typical child porn addict, molester or sexual deviant is, as one investigator in the story put it, "an unemployed pervert living in his mother's basement." Brian Fanelli is the perfect face of a child porn addict…upstanding citizen in a role that gives him authority. People who abuse children sexually, whether it is via the internet or with direct contact, do not wear it on their sleeves. The story doesn't mention Mr. Fanelli's family status, but a "typical" abuser is married and has his own children.

What is particularly disturbing in this case is the fact that he was actually trusted to teach children about sex abuse. Who wouldn't want their police chief to teach children about sex abuse? It's a no brainer, or it should be in a perfect world. We at Revved Up Kids have been teaching children about predators and sexual abuse since 2010, and we have NEVER needed or wanted to look at child porn. Hopefully the prosecutors will also question that story line because it's laughable.

Where's the lesson for parents in all of this? Trust your gut. Don't ever believe, just because a person is someone of authority, or politically connected, or highly regarded in the community that he can't also be a child porn addict. Even if the outside seems perfect, if your gut is giving you a message that this person isn't to be trusted, then do not trust him with your child under any circumstances. Also, do your due diligence when it comes to the people who have access to your children and the safety policies of the organizations where your children participate in activities. Make sure that one of the policies is "open door" or "two deep" meaning that there is a level of transparency in the organization that prevents situations where an adult is able to be isolated with a child or group of children.

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