CONSENTING BOYS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS ARREST, U.S.A., 1970S, BY PARKER ROSSMAN
The following is one of the sections of the eleventh chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (USA and London, 1976), which he entitled "The Consenting Boys" since, as he explained in the introduction to it, most of the three hundred boys he interviewed had taken the initiative and most of the rest had already imagined themselves ready and willing. The experiences described would seem all to have been then recent ones in the U.S.A.
Attitudes Towards Arrest
We cannot draw firm conclusions from the limited number of boys we interviewed who had been involved one way or another in arrest cases, but what they said does suggest the value of further study. When a boy is “molested” or “interfered with” against his will, he is more likely to report the incident to parents and police. Of seventeen cases we investigated, involving the arrest of men for sexual involvement with boys between the ages of 12 and 15, only one boy had reported the incident to the police himself. In that incident the boy did so in anger, to get even with a man who (out of real affection for the youngster) forced him to return to his parents when the boy kept running away. The other sixteen cases broke down as follows:
5 CASES: Parents solicited the help of police to find a missing boy who had run away or stayed out overnight without permission.
2 CASES: Neighbors reported a boy being at the house of a single man at unusual hours of the night.
1 CASE: A pederast reported to the police that his car had been stolen, not knowing it had been taken without his permission by a boy he was fond of.
1 CASE: Police checked a boy playing pinball machine in bus station at 2 AM. and found he was from another city and was traveling with a man his parents didn’t know.
1 CASE: Police discovered a pornographic film showing the man and boy.
1 CASE: A jealous older brother told his parents and police.
1 CASE: Police stopped a car for speeding and found a runaway boy inside.
1 CASE: Boy caught in theft and address on his forged credentials was that of his “uncle.”
1 CASE: Parents tried to blackmail a pederast who was involved with their son.
1 CASE: A boy told his friends of the fun he was having, and one of his friends told parents.
1 CASE: An aunt found letter from a man in her nephew’s desk.
In fifteen of these seventeen incidents the boy involved was reluctant to admit anything to the police and did so only if tricked, beaten, or threatened with a jail sentence on other charges. For the most part the boys’ attitude was: “What we did is nobody else’s business. Why don’t they leave us alone?”
It would be useful to study the attitude of adults today to the sexual experiences they had with men when they were adolescents. Discounting the reports of pederasts themselves, we are left with only a few incidents in this study of males now over the age of nineteen who reported on their present attitudes toward the man and experience they had as youngsters. Three incidents in which the pederast was arrested are very different. In the first of these, one young man has recently purchased a car as a gift for a clergyman who was arrested as a result of an incident that happened when the young man was thirteen or fourteen years old. He did so out of bad conscience, feeling responsible for the arrest. He said: “There was absolutely nothing wrong with what we did, because we liked each other.” In a second incident, after getting out of the Marines an older teenager beat up the man he had been involved with in earlier days, but not for the reason most persons would expect. When the pederast had been arrested, the boy had held his tongue, but then the man had confessed, thus humiliating the boy - who felt betrayed because the man had talked. In a third incident, in which a boy had sobbed for weeks after the arrest of the man he loved, a psychiatrist helped the boy resolve his emotional tension by developing strongly anti-homosexual attitudes, so that as an adult the former boy now speaks of the man as “that damned fag.” However, he still cherishes the pederast’s photograph.
Among the pederasts who were not arrested, it was possible to meet a dozen of their ex-boys. It is obvious that they are more likely to keep in touch with those boys who continue to be friendly; in fact their statements tend to bear out the thesis of Goodman in Chapter 6 that friendship often remains after sexual interest passes. One young man said: “I’m going to name my first baby after him.” Another said: “I would trust him with my own young son as soon as I would my own father.” The intention in reporting such comments is not to justify the sexual relationship, but to show that these young men, along with younger boys themselves, tend to view the sex acts as relatively unimportant incidents in a friendship of larger value; or else they consider themselves not as victims but as co-conspirators in any sex play that took place.