The news that a small group of mental health professionals held a conference with an organization intent on normalizing pedophilia surprised many people who are unfamiliar with the activist pedophile community. What will be more shocking to readers is the long history of pro-pedophilia activism that some of these “mental health professionals” have been involved in previously, and more shocking still is the sordid history of the organization that arranged this conference.
B4U-ACT is an advocacy organization for “minor attracted adults” who they claim are being discriminated against by society. On their site they claim to want to help child molesters get the therapeutic help they need to not act on their impulses, but this is a lie they use to keep their 501(c)(3) status and remain eligible for grant money they receive from the state of Maryland.
The truth of B4U-ACT is made plain by the online activities of those involved in the group. In May of 2009 a “Richard K” working on behalf of B4U-ACT posted the following on a now defunct child molester forum called Boylove.net:
For those of you who don’t know, B4U-ACT (www.b4uact.org) is a 501c3 non-profit organization started by Mike Melsheimer, an out BL [boy lover] who posts at Boychat. The goal of B4U-ACT is to promote communication between BLs/GLs and mental health professionals so they can learn about us and start to work with us to counteract stereotyping, stigmatization, and hatred.
We also want to help them develop *humane* and ethical ways of working with those BLs who want therapy to deal with society’s hatred, or other issues related or unrelated to being BLs. (B4U-ACT does *not* believe BLs are “sick” and need to be “cured”.)
I now work with B4U-ACT, and was part of the planning committee for this workshop that was held last Thursday. The following is a report of what was discussed at the workshop
That report can be found here and is disturbing as it details the “sympathetic” treatment the mental health professionals gave these child molesters. The “Richard K” posting to a forum that advocated raping children was none other than the supposed Dr. Richard Kramer who appeared in The Daily Caller’s piece about this most recent conference.
The late Mike Melsheimer who started B4U-Act was a convicted child molester, first caught in 1984 when he was the director of Pennsylvania YMCA. He befriended the two young sons of a Nicaraguan immigrant and began producing child pornography using the boys. In 2002 Melsheimer made the news in Maryland by publicly demanding the state provide him lists of comprehensive mental health services for his pedophilia. At the same time, he was a frequent poster on pro-child rape forums using his own name or sometimes the handle “Lek” where he spoke at length of the time he spent in Thailand. In one 2009 discussion on a forum called Boychat, Melsheimer is taken to task by other child molesters for B4U-ACT’s claim they want to help stop “minor attracted adults” from offending. Melsheimer’s final answer is this:
The report was dated 2007. It is part of our history, but the passage that offends you is no longer relevant to our site today. I can’t change what is in our history and would be dishonest to try. It would be like BC editing their archives. Our site changed in December 2008 because of the statement you quoted.
Be assured you will find no current reference to prevention of offending. You can take that to the bank.
He goes on to say this:
My organization is not going to say to offend.
I am a BL without regret and will always be a BL without regret. My life as a bl has been terrific. No one could ever make me say otherwise. This is even considering that I spent time in prison.
Our line in the sand has historically defeated us. We need to think about a new one.
These comments were posted around the same time B4U-ACT had their first meeting with these mental health professionals. The “BL” above stands for “boy lover” which is how pedophiles that target boys refer to themselves. Ones who target girls refer to themselves online as “girl lovers” or “GLs.”
Melsheimer appeared nowhere in public without Dr. Fred Berlin, who as it turned out was Melsheimer’s therapist. Berlin continues to be affiliated with Melsheimer’s group and was featured at this most recent conference. The Daily Caller points out that in the 1990s Berlin was in trouble with the Maryland authorities because he refused to alert law enforcement when child molesters under his care were actively abusing children. He is also a well-known and vocal opponent of sex offender notification laws. What is less well known about Fred Berlin is that he was, for decades, the expert the Catholic Church relied on for advice on how to deal with pedophile priests.
In a 2008 deposition by Archbishop Emeritus Rembert G. Weakland we learn that Berlin counseled the Church to not defrock pedophile priests. He claimed it would be better to keep the priest around for the Church to monitor, something he claimed society at large wouldn’t do. Odd, since thirty years later he is lobbying against monitoring sex offenders. In a 2006 Forbes article, Berlin said this about efforts to monitor sex offenders:
“We’ve basically dehumanized these people with words such as ‘predator,'” said psychiatrist Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic in Baltimore.
“Every decent human being wants to protect children,” he said, but even suggesting that criminals who have done their time are entitled to rebuild their lives can tarnish a politician.
“It’s close to heresy,” Berlin said.
Heretical indeed. His two contradictory positions both lead to the same end — protecting the child molester from the consequences of his criminality. Berlin told Church authorities that throwing out pedophile priests would endanger the community at large because the pedophiles need monitoring — yet here he claims that pedophiles shouldn’t be monitored and don’t pose enough of a threat to society to merit keeping a database.
It’s no wonder Berlin is B4U-ACT’s favorite “mental health professional” since his ultimate goal seems to be using his position to decriminalize sexual abuse of children — a tactic he tried in court when he was called as a defense witness for 76-year-old Charles Friedlander. A fellow “mental health professional,” Friedlander was caught in a sting by Tampa area police who arranged a fake meeting with a man who was willing to let Friedlander beat and rape his 11-year-old son. Though he wrote at length about his desire to beat little boys and discussed raping the decoy’s child, Friedlander was diagnosed by Berlin as NOT being either a pedophile or sado-masochist. He therefore, according to Berlin, was just engaging in “fantasy” on the Internet and was never going to abuse a child. The court did not accept this defense.
Berlin, however, was not the only presenter at this conference. B4U-ACT also invited a graduate student from the London School of Economics and Political Science named Jacob Breslow to give a presentation titled Sexual Alignment: Critiquing Sexual Orientation, The Pedophile, and the DSM-V. Breslow, who blogs under the name Queerrupture, was extremely excited to present this paper because it fit in with his dissertation. Here’s how Breslow describes his academic interests:
I want to complicate binary sexuality as well as the binary between adult and child in a way that examines the racist and heterosexist ideologies at play in the policing of youth and pedophiliac sexuality — doing so both from a state/society level (sex offender registries, sexual health education, the “crisis” of predatory sexual abuse, the racialization of childhood innocence etc.) and from homonationalist and racist discourses of sexuality within the current LGb”T” rights movement.
Through my research I challenge the normative construction of binary sexuality as a means of exposing mainstream LGBT activism to its own (seemingly) contradictory manifestations of oppression: racism, ageism, national exceptionalism, classism and homonormativity.
In other words, Breslow wants gays to accept raping children as part of “queer” identity and any who don’t are racist, sexist homophobes. For a group that claims they want to help “minor attracted adults” get the help they need to deal with their feelings in a healthy way, this seems like an odd stance to support. But Breslow’s presentation does go well with John Z. Sadler, MD’s presentation titled Decriminalizing Mental Disorder Concepts – Pedophilia as an Example. In that presentation the ethics professor presents B4U-ACT supporters with their first baby steps toward normalizing child sexual abuse:
My basic prescription for the DSMs is that all DSM disorders should be PRIMARILY based upon nonmoral negative values: pain, suffering, disability, impairments, and incapacities of various kinds, consistent with the rest of medicine.
Categories such as Pedophilia are problematic because the diagnostic criteria describe little in the way of nonmoral negative values; once trangressive molestation of minors (in fantasy or action) is removed from Pedophilia diagnostic criteria, there is almost nothing left of the disorder phenomenology in the current diagnostic criteria. Such impoverishment of the Pedophilia phenomenology raises at least two questions: (1) Should Pedophilia be considered a mental disorder at all, if it is based primarily upon fantasied or actual criminal conduct? (2) If Pedophilia and related categories are to be preserved as legitimate, nonmorally value-laden disorders,then they require a preponderance of nonmorally-value-laden diagnostic descriptors in their diagnostic criteria.
There are people who claim the push to normalize the sexual exploitation of children is a hidden current underneath various “liberal” movements and attitudes, but that’s not true. The push to normalize pedophilia has been open and visible for decades, but has been ignored by mainstream commenters who underestimated this fringe movement’s reach and organization. The B4U-ACT conference is a wakeup call that illustrates for us how far this movement has already come. Not only do child molesters publicly organize in forums, with their allies in academia and the mental health fields they have infiltrated our social, political, and academic institutions. For years groups like Perverted Justice and their online allies have warned of this danger and been called vigilantes by liberals, libertarians, and all those people who now pretend that that this is the first time they’ve encountered pedophile advocacy.
This was not the first time this sort of advocacy has happened and it won’t be the last. The question now is what do we do to counter this?