ACTIVE ADAM, ENGLAND CA. 1950-79
“S.12: Adam”, a 39-year-old Englishman was one of the ten people interviewed in 1978-79, in his case 1979, by London psychologist D. N. Cox for his book, jointly written by G. D. Wilson, The Child-Lovers: A Study of Paedophiles in Society, published by Peter Owen, London in 1983.
Though the authors describe Adam as a “paedophile” in conformity with the secondary title of their book, they implicitly used this term inaccurately as one of convenience to encompass anyone attracted to those below the prevailing age of consent (for girls) of 16. As a man exclusively attracted to boys of 10 to 14, Adam was more of a hebephile and his liaisons appear “Greek” in character.
Besides their interviews of child-lovers, Wilson and Cox provided “a summary of each person in terms of the unique features of that individual’s lifestyle as perceived by the interviewer, recognising that this represents a subjective impression rather than objective data.” Here is that of Adam:
What was most obvious about Adam was his enthusiasm in discussing his paedophilic interests. More than any of the others interviewed, he seems to have declared openly his love for children, and he does not hesitate to express it when the opportunity arises, as it did in this situation. Subsequent to the interview, Adam contacted us to let us know that criminal proceedings had been brought against him and if we did not hear from him by a specific date then we should assume that he had been convicted and sentenced to prison. We did not hear from him again.
When Adam was initially contacted to arrange the interview the telephone was answered by a young boy whom he described as one of his young friends. During the call I heard another boy in the background and Adam interrupted our conversation several times to talk to them. He was unable to be interviewed on a Wednesday evening, as I first suggested, because he had ‘a young friend who stayed over that night’, so we arranged the interview for Wednesday afternoon. Later he phoned to change this arrangement, saying he had forgotten that it was term break and he had promised to take the ‘kids’ out for the day. Subsequently, he called again to say that Wednesday afternoon would be suitable after all, since one of the children was sick and the other was being disciplined. Through these interactions it seemed to me that Adam was an active and ‘successful’ paedophile and that he was very keen to be interviewed about it.
Adam came to the interview from work and was wearing a badge on his jacket lapel which proclaimed the desire of a charity organisation to ‘make children happy’. He was extremely relaxed throughout the interview and willing to discuss all aspects of his life as a paedophile. He sees himself as a committed exponent of the paedophilic lifestyle and accepts that his next conviction, which will be his fifth, will result in him being imprisoned for a long period. That this will eventually happen he feels is inevitable. He seems to be extremely happy in his present circumstances, expresses no desire to change and indicates that he could not imagine his life being other than as he experiences it. His enthusiasm for paedophilia is somewhat overwhelming.
Adam initially indicated that he was exclusively homosexual in his paedophilic interests. Sometimes he has sexual fantasies concerning young girls but it does not go beyond this. The age range that he finds ideal is 10-14 years with 11 being the optimum, although ‘I can take boys at ten because then you can build a relationship with them over a period of time’. Eleven is described as ‘a magical age’. ‘Most boys are either well-advanced at eleven (the ones I’m interested in) or if they’re slow starters, by the time they are eleven they know enough to make the relationship interesting for both of us. To me, boys have got to respond to what I give them.’
With respect to the psychological qualities of children that he finds attractive Adam says: ‘It is difficult to explain. With children - with boys - I can talk easily. I can talk to them at their own level. I can boss them. I can be bossed by them. I can be part of them and they can be part of me. But with older people I just can’t communicate. I can talk to you here about this. I’ve had relationships with gays, but my only topic of conversation has been boys. . . . I just like talking about boys.’ Adam feels that he is on the level of the child.
When it comes to physical qualities, Adam admits that, although some children might be physically unattractive to him, he might have sex with them anyway as ‘you don’t have your ideals all the time’. The opposite may also be true, that a physically attractive child might not be sexually attractive. Specific features that he finds attractive are two large front teeth, a small nose and short hair. Body hair is disliked and once a boy reaches puberty and starts to grow body hair sex is no longer of great interest, although the relationship will continue. In this context Adam described a relationship that continued as a friendship until the boy was eighteen. ‘My interest in him sexually had died. He would perhaps want sex now and again but it would be up to him to decide when he wanted it. I wouldn’t be any longer chasing him for a sexual relationship. . . . If he were younger, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, then I’m hunting him all the time.’
Referring again to body hair, Adam said that he finds it ‘obnoxious and horrible’. Even the contemplation of it ‘is pretty grim’. He has had drugs in the past that have stopped hair growing on his body and it is only recently that it has begun to grow again, which he does not find appealing.
An unbroken voice is another important marker of an attractive boy. ‘Kids whose voices haven’t broken and have no body hair, they’re terrific.’ When the suggestion was made that these qualities are attractive because they make a boy more like a girl, Adam countered by maintaining that he doesn’t like boys to look feminine, as might happen with long hair. ‘I don’t like it, they look like girls. I like boys to look like boys. The tougher they are, the more masculine they are, the better I like them.’
The possibility of having sex with adult women was raised and Adam indicated that it would mean nothing to him. In fact, he is not sure that he could obtain an erection in order to have sex with a woman. A young girl might be more attractive to him, although penetration would seem unlikely. His only hetero-sexual experience was with his sister when he was about thirteen and she was eight. He sees himself as having been paedophilic since he was fourteen or fifteen. He is now thirty-nine. He has had homosexual relationships with adults, although these are described as being the consequence of friendship which has gone to sex in order to maintain the friendship. He has not derived much satisfaction from sex under these conditions.
Adam lived at home with his parents until he was thirty-eight, and only moved the previous year. He describes his mother as being domineering and interfering in all aspects of his life. His paedophilia was a separate little world I kept well away from my parents’. Adam has had four convictions for paedophilia, the last being in 1973. After this last one he received a letter from his mother which indicated that a further conviction would ‘probably kill them both’. For about five years he limited his paedophilic relationships, which he found difficult, until he moved out of home to ‘break away from all this domineering of my mother’. His mother wrote him a letter because she was unable to discuss sex, and specifically his paedophilic interests, with him in person. His father is described as being quiet, mild and gentle and ‘he never swore’. The impression was that he was very much dominated by the mother. Returning to his mother, Adam described her as a disciplinarian who dominated his life, bossing him and being ‘very hard’ on him. In spite of this he says that he loves his mother because of her domineering qualities and because she has worked very hard and ‘has really done something with her life’. His father is described as a ‘ghost’ who just wasn’t there. He apparently shared very little with his father as he grew up and their relationship seems to have been quite minimal. Sex was a topic that they never discussed and he appeared to be embarrassed by the subject. He says he has ‘never really known his sister’. She is now married, and when she last visited the parental home at Christmas Adam’s mother accused him of getting too close to her children and indicated that he should not come again the next year. Following his last conviction his sister had written him a letter stating that she did not want to hear any more of him and that she no longer considered him a member of the family.
Adam’s first conviction resulted in six months’ probation, a fine and voluntary treatment. The second involved a three-month prison sentence which was altered on appeal to twelve months’ voluntary treatment and a fine. On his third conviction he was committed to a hospital for twelve months, following which he was treated as an outpatient for fifteen years. Over this time he was on a drug programme, Stilbestral for twelve years and Androcur more recently. About six months ago he stopped taking these drugs and feels much better for it. He has also stopped seeing the psychiatrist who has been treating him for many years and now attends the Albany Trust where he receives counselling which he believes to be beneficial. In the past, he admits, he submitted to psychiatric care, not because he wanted to change his behaviour, but rather as a back-up when, and if, he was brought before the courts for paedophilic activity. He stopped the sessions with the psychiatrist, whom he saw every six weeks, in 1978. The counsellor he currently sees is concerned about his having sex with boys, although he seems to accept that Adam will remain a paedophile and will never develop normal sexual interests. Adam’s stated purpose in attending the sessions every two weeks is to make his relationships as a paedophile more satisfying and ‘better for the kids as well’. ‘I have faults, I know. I hound them too often. I have a very high sex drive and I have great difficulty in satisfying that sex drive.’
Adam revealed that at the present time he is involved with one boy who stays at his house two or three nights a week. At present he prefers to be involved sexually with one boy at a time, although other boys may be around his home. He feels this is necessary for the proper development of the relationship. When it was put to him that it must be very apparent to the neighbours that a large number of children frequent his house, Adam described a ‘Junior Club’ he runs that attracts children to his place. ‘A lot of the parents know that the kids sleep there at night-time; a lot of other people do as well. It doesn’t bother me. One of these days I’m going to be caught and I’m making the best of it while I can.’ He seems to have accepted that he will eventually be convicted again. ‘I think it quite likely that with my past convictions I will be sent to Broadmoor and I will probably get ten years.’ He admits he is very indiscreet in his enthusiasm for paedophilia. ‘I came out last year and ever since I’ve come out I’ve had this horrible tendency to talk to anybody and everybody about paedophilia, about boys, about kids, about me, about my relationships with them. . . I don’t know why. For thirty-eight years I had it locked up in a little world of my own.
Asked if a paedophile might be involved with children only on an emotional level rather than sexually, Adam said that although this might be adequate for some it would not do for him. ‘I am an extravert, I get out... I go out and find boys. I mean there are thousands of kids all over London just waiting for an adult to come along and say, “Hello, hold my hand, let’s go for a walk. . . .“ Kids want adults, kids want to have a relationship with an older person. Whether it’s sex or anything else they don’t really mind as long as they can have an adult they can turn to, somebody they can confess to.’ Although Adam claims to be intensively involved with one boy only, he gives the impression of grooming several others, and sometimes does have sex with them. Nevertheless, much of his activity with children would appear to be non-sexual in motivation and intended to make children happy or assist in their development. ‘If you just want sex with a kid then I don’t think you’re a paedophile. I like to think of myself as a person who could help kids grow up ... a teacher, a mentor, someone he can come to for advice. A person who just wants sex with kids I regard them, I’m afraid, as “dirty old men”. All my kids have one word they can use with me, “no”, and if they say “no”, that’s it, and they know this. They can use the veto if they want to.’
At this point Adam described the circumstances surrounding his third conviction which occurred when he was a youth leader involved in taking children on camping weekends. He admits to having had active sex with nineteen boys in this context, including ‘deep relationships’ with five of them. He slept with two of these boys in their own homes in circumstances in which it appeared that the mothers were aware of the situation and did not object. In the case of the boy he is currently involved with it appears that the mother is aware that he stays at Adam’s house and again she does not appear to object: ‘If the parents know that you are having this relationship, they say, well, they know it’s not a good thing, but we will do more harm to him if we break it up.’ He went on to describe a situation in 1963 in which a mother seemed to support his relationship with her boy. She allowed him to sleep in the boy’s room when he visited and would leave him in the house with the boy until very late at night while she and her husband went out. He is very sure that the mother of the boy he is currently involved with knows that he is a paedophile.
Asked what kind of relationships he has had with boys, Adam replied: ‘I have tried everything. I really leave it to the boy to decide what he wants. In 1964 there must have been seven boys that I was actively having sex with. Each one of these seven wanted it a different way. . . . One wanted anal intercourse with me, several of them were quite happy to have 69, several only wanted mutual masturbation, others were more into kissing and fondling. I left it more to the child to develop his sexual preference. I was quite happy to follow along because anything sexually with a child I’m happy with.’ Adam claims that when he is involved with a particular boy he would be hesitant to go outside of the relationship to have sex with another boy, although he might nevertheless do so if he felt the situation was appropriate. He says it is very easy to know when a child is leaning towards a sexual contact, particularly through bodily contact. If the child shies away then it is clear that he does not want any further involvement and Adam thinks that this is as far as things should go.
Discussing the role of fantasy in his sex life Adam describes his fantasies as images which he can conjure up and which relate to a very specific incident with a boy. The physical qualities of the boy are remembered in great detail. Adam believes he can do this with all the boys he has had relationships with. He describes it as a reliving of the experience. However, he much prefers the ‘reality’ of the experience to the subsequent fantasy. While he was taking drugs Adam found that he very frequently had sexual dreams about boys but the frequency has decreased since he has stopped taking them.
It was noted that Adam has accepted the likelihood that he will be arrested for his paedophilic behaviour at some time. However, he admits: ‘I do worry about it.’ When something happens between him and one of the boys, or they are being punished by their parents, he worries that they may say something that will result in trouble for him. He says he has indicated to the boys that if they feel they have to confide in their parents he would never hold this against them. What he does ask them is that they should never talk to the police, but rather let their parents go to the police if necessary. The police are described as ‘very awkward people who don’t like paedophiles’. Apparently his flat was raided by the police as part of an investigation of P.I.E. members. A recent murder of a child was discussed in the context that it creates a tremendous strain in the paedophile fraternity. Adam declares that this is not in line with the paedophile ideal since paedophiles are people who love children and the person who committed such an act does not belong in this group.
Adam characterises himself as having been something of a predator prior to his moving out of his parents’ home and developing his present relationship. He used to travel around visiting places where children might be found, including ‘cottages’. However, he emphasises that when a child indicated that he did not want any involvement with him he would accept this and not pursue the child any further. Some men, he thinks, may be unable to stop themselves when the child indicates that he does not want to continue and may become violent with the boy at this point. When asked how many boys he thinks he has been involved with Adam estimated that he has been involved in 490 incidents with about 180 boys since he realised he was a paedophile. He says he is completely happy with his lifestyle and has no desire to change. ‘I would hate to be anything else; I wouldn’t want to be cured.’
Adam went on to discuss some of his experiences in prison. He feels himself fortunate in not having been harassed by prisoners and although treatments like aversion therapy and implants were discussed in his case, such therapies were never imposed upon him. He also described in more detail some of his ‘cottage’ relationships in which he would meet particular boys regularly in certain public lavatories. He discussed in more detail how one of these relationships developed with a boy whom he considers the best boy I have met . . . the sex we had together was everything’. He eventually ended up going home with this boy to meet his parents. He now feels it is too dangerous to attempt to pick up a boy in this manner and that a better place is the swimming baths. He identifies the crucial factor in meeting a boy as the ability to speak to the child. If you cannot do this then he feels it will always be very difficult to develop a relationship.
When asked if there was anything else he would like to contribute to the interview Adam said he would like to see P.I.E. more as an organisation that has the needs of children at heart and that it should be less sexual in its orientation. An effort should be made to de-emphasise the nature of the paedophile as one who has sex with children and to promote his image as a lover of children: ‘people who are interested in children as children’. The right of a child to have sex with an adult should be recognised in conjunction with their right to say no if they wish. ‘It’s children-adult relationships.’ When the issue of the vulnerability of the child was raised Adam agreed that young boys aged ten may not know what they want in a relationship and should not be forced if they are not willing. He admits to having pushed one of the boys who currently visits him towards sex before the boy was ready, so that he had to stop this aspect of the relationship.
Adam then returned to a discussion of the rules that exist between him and his boys concerning what either may or may not do and what he describes as ‘the veto’. He produced a copy of the rules operating between him and the boy he is currently most involved with. The first of these is ‘You can never touch me - only if I say so’. The second: ‘Whenever I sleep I take turns; one night I sleep in the spare bed and one night in your bed’. The third: ‘You must spend at least 20 pence a week on us’. Another rule, which had been crossed out, was ‘You must let me have one fag when I go to bed’. More than rules, these seem to be conditions which exist between Adam and the boy, and which have been laid down mainly by the latter.
At this point Adam produced a large amount of material which was his ‘research’ on paedophilia in the area. He appears to have investigated through local newspapers the incidence of child assaults in the South London area in order to look for patterns, e.g. geographical or sibling involvement. One of his conclusions is that the men involved in paedophilic relationships move away from the area, particularly if they have been convicted, whereas the boys continue to live and grow up in the same area. During this presentation of his ‘data’, Adam revealed that as a boy he had been involved with a number of men, the first three being one-off sexual experiences, including anal intercourse with his uncle. He had also had a much longer relationship which he found very satisfying even though it was non-sexual. He feels that his paedophilic interests were already developed even at this young age, as he had numerous sexual relationships with other boys that he enjoyed very much.
Adam thinks that the cause of his paedophilia may lie in the absence of his father, who was involved in military service during these early years. It is his experience among the boys he has been involved with that those who enjoy sex with a man often do not have a strong father, whereas boys who have a good relationship with their father do not appear to derive as much satisfaction from the sexual relationship. Of the approximately 180 boys that he has been involved with, Adam thinks that only about two have developed a homosexual lifestyle. This belief is based on evidence obtained by following many of them up through different registries. He maintains that the aspect of ‘sharing and giving’ developed in a paedophilic relationship may enhance a male’s ability to function in a heterosexual relationship when that occurs in later life.
 It emerges from the interview that his third conviction was at least fifteen years earlier and no later than 1964.
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