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L.A. Now Live: Is pedophilia a pre-rooted disposition?

January 15, 2013 |  7:56 am

Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or homosexuality.

Times reporter Alan Zarembo will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss his article on pedophilia and what some researchers now believe.

It is a deep-rooted predisposition -- limited almost entirely to men -- that becomes clear during puberty and does not change, researchers say. The best estimates are that between 1% and 5% of men are pedophiles, meaning that they have a dominant attraction to prepubescent children.

Paul Christiano said that as a young boy, he loved the world of girls. In adolescence, as other boys ogled classmates, he was troubled to find himself fantasizing about 7- to 11-year-olds -- desires that remained stuck in time as he neared adulthood.

"For having these feelings, I was destined to become a monster," he said. "I was terrified."

In 1999, Christiano was caught buying child pornography. Now 36, he said he has never molested a child, but after five years of state-ordered therapy, the attraction remains.

"These people felt they could snuff out the desire, or shame me into denying it existed," he said. "But it's as intrinsic as the next person's heterosexuality."