USA Today is under fire after publishing an article which appeared to suggest that the belief that pedophiles are a danger to children is based in "misconceptions." Utilized in the article as a source for those claims is a psychologist who has affiliations to pedophile-sympathetic charity Prostasia.
Published on January 10th, the article inciting backlash was initially titled "What the Public Keeps Getting Wrong About Pedophilia." After a wave of concern about the sympathetic nature of the piece, the outlet hastily changed the headline of the article to "The Complicated Research Behind Pedophilia."
Initially, the article had also been accompanied by a thread on USA Today Life's official Twitter, one which asserted that pedophilia was innate, and attempted to distance the word "pedophile" from being synonymous with "child sexual abuse."
Along with the original headline, the thread was quickly deleted, and USA Today immediately went into damage control to try and quell the outrage, publishing a multi-part thread attempting to explain the original posts, which the outlet claimed "lacked context."
But while many netizens directed their ire towards the headline and the outlet's original posts, many glossed over the fact that the gushing article relied heavily upon information provided Dr. James Cantor – a Canadian psychologist known to work with pedophilia-sympathetic charity Prostasia.
4W has done extensive investigations into Prostasia in the past, finding that the organization condemns anti-pedophile sentiment as harmful “Nazi-like” rhetoric which requires mass censorship across social media.
The organization’s efforts have dedicated themselves to crusades against child pornography bans, letter-writing campaigns to state representatives demanding child-likeness sex dolls be legalized, and funding research into “fantasy sexual outlets” for pedophiles.
Cantor is prominently featured on Prostasia's official site with a dedicated profile.
Prostasia claims pedophilia is no different than any other sexuality, a sentiment shared by Cantor on his personal Twitter account. In 2018, Cantor sparked backlash for suggesting pedophilia be added to the LGBT spectrum.
In response to a post by Virtuous Pedophiles – an organization of adults who admit they have a sexual attraction to children but claim to be "chaste" – Cantor wrote: "Speaking as a gay [man], I believe we SHOULD include the P. To do otherwise is to betray the principles that give us our rights."
In another one of its campaigns, Prostasia argued against the necessity of the sex offender registry, and published multiple articles against the tracking of convicted sex offenders written by another one of its contributors, Guy Hamilton-Smith.
Hamilton-Smith, a lawyer in the state of Kentucky, wrote several times for the Prostasia blog that measures to keep registered sex offenders away from children, such as school-zone bans, were ineffective and unnecessary.
A quick search in the publicly available database of registered sex offenders found that Guy Hamilton-Smith has previously been convicted of possession of child sexual abuse material.
The USA Today article also makes reference to Allyn Walker, the now-former Old Dominion University instructor who recently resigned from her post after sparking backlash for defending "minor attraction." The article states that there is growing support for Walker's perspective that better treatment and destigmatization of pedophiles would prevent offending.
Walker's PhD thesis included apparent support for exploring the possibility of supplying pedophiles with "ethical" child pornography.
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