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“Response to Community Censure” is the twelfth chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience between Men and Boys (originally published by Association Press, New York, 1976), one of the only three book-length general studies of Greek love in English.

Despite being a general study, it will be seen that this chapter is mostly concerned with American pederasts, with a little about Europeans.

Response to Community Censure

How is it possible for so many pederasts to survive and in many cases even to thrive in the face of society’s overwhelming disapproval? Earlier we reported how the practicing pederast receives considerable support from adolescent society, especially from subcultures which are rebellious and secretive. Even among adolescents who disapprove of deviant sex play, many keep a friend’s secret because they believe sex to be a personal and private matter, and they disapprove of society’s official policies and laws. In this chapter we will examine other reasons why it is not necessary for practicing pederasts to withdraw completely into a criminal underworld. For when the pederast looks into the eyes of the community - and, as with all persons, his self-interpretation is greatly dependent on what he sees there - he frequently discovers more support and encouragement than would be expected.

Sunday People (London), 25 May 1975

In principle, Western society considers itself to be in unwavering opposition to pederasty, with strict laws and firm punishment.[1] The trend in most countries throughout the last century and up until now has been to tighten the laws against homosexual involvement of adults with youngsters, even when those laws are being relaxed to tolerate consenting homosexual activity among adults. When exposed to arrest with resultant newspaper publicity, a pederast frequently loses his job and reputation. Public opinion frequently forces him to seek a new life somewhere else, even when he is not convicted; and not infrequently the threat of arrest and publicity leads to suicide. The pederast faces the continual danger of blackmail. When he is arrested he may be beaten up by the police or placed in a jail situation where the authorities know he will be beaten up by disapproving prisoners. Younger pederasts are frequently beaten and raped in jails. In the face of all this and more, one should not be surprised to find the self-view of most pederasts to be self-condemnatory, deeply troubled, or profoundly defensive, and such is true of many who are arrested. Those who have not been arrested, however, - many of whom believe that only one in a thousand ever faces arrest and trial - tend to look upon potential disaster with the same fatalistic optimism which imbues the Californians who lead tranquil lives on an earthquake fault. This is not to say that strict law enforcement does not have an effect. Many pederasts scrupulously avoid places and situations known to be dangerous, and practicing pederasts frequently move to large cities, or even to other states or foreign countries, to avoid arrest. The pederast who believes he has about a one in a thousand chance of being arrested does not rest his optimism on a growing climate of sexual permissiveness - few have any real illusions about that. The current sexual situation provides a sort of jungle in which the pederast at times can hide, or at least a jungle of ideas he can use in rationalizing; but his survival as a pederast rests upon support he receives from unexpected places: the result of a selective process of avoiding persons whom he knows in advance will be disapproving; and a tendency to relate to persons in the underground, who give him supportive interpretations of reality and events.


The Establishment’s censure of pederasty is intended to be devastating. From the Church and public morality he hears himself condemned as a sinner and he responds with feelings of guilt which are at times inescapable. From the law and public opinion he finds himself condemned as a criminal and he responds with feelings of fear which at times are overwhelming. In the eyes of the medical profession he knows himself to be condemned as sick, as mentally ill perhaps, which leads him at times to seek treatment. He knows that those around him consider him a “queer” or “fag” even though gay homosexuals themselves usually reject him, at best calling him “stupid.” At worst his anxieties and fears can destroy him, and at best he finds himself split into two persons, unless he withdraws completely into an underground where he can be open and truthful with himself and others. He tends to react to the community’s censure in one or more of four ways:
     1. He may seek to revise his religious and moral convictions, as we will discuss in the next chapter.
     2. He may struggle for a new self-understanding, also to be discussed in the chapter following.
    3. He may tend to become cautious and selective in revealing himself, seeking out the minority of persons who will sympathize with him and give him support.
   4. He may withdraw from time to time into the pederast underground to obtain help and support in integrating his experience.

He Looks Only Into Sympathetic Eyes

“The typical pederast does not talk about boys with persons who would disapprove,” one interviewee reported. “He gets encouragement and support from conversations with others. I realize this once in a while when on a train or plane I hear an angry remark by someone who is reading about a pederast arrest in the newspaper. His angry tone of voice actually astonishes and surprises me.” Many pederasts receive support from persons who are simply tolerant of eccentrics. Another pederast said: “I was surprised, after being arrested and receiving some rather sensational publicity in the press, at how many sympathetic telephone calls and letters I got from complete strangers, who said they did not feel that what I did should be considered as so serious a crime. For example, two persons, one of them prominent in the community, asked what they could do to help me, admitting that they had barely escaped a similar plight when younger.” Another said: “I never hesitate to show my affection for Alexi around my business associates, when I take them hunting or fishing. Once in a while one of them will make a joke about my sleeping with the boy, since they know he isn’t my son, but none have ever expressed any disapproval. I find I can talk quite frankly with some of them.” Other pederasts report sympathy or tolerance from their parents, brothers or sisters, wives, and children. One reported: “My parents know all about it. They once asked me to go to a psychiatrist, and when I did and kept them posted on what happened, all they asked after that was for me not to bring boys around to their house. Actually they are even tolerant of that now, as long as I have permission of the boy’s parents.”

Pederasts have found some support from women - a recent newsletter of one underground group quoted supportive opinions from many women in the left wing of the women’s movement. One pederast said: “I was frightened when I found that this social worker suspected the sexual relationship I had with the son of her client. However, she said: ‘Better for a kid like that to be loved by you than be frozen out of life’.” Another pederast had a similar experience with a woman schoolteacher who considers herself avant-garde on “children’s liberation.” Several pederasts reported friendly support from young lesbian activists and from some European gay organizations. Another pederast said: “I have a cabdriver friend who is tolerant of my affairs with boys, simply because, as she says: ‘Everyone has her kink.’ “

Support From Some Parents

Some parents are permissive, some tolerant of homosexuality - such as the civil rights attorney who told a pederast: “Because my son loves you, you can sleep with him as long as you do it only at our house.” One would least expect pederasts to find encouragement from policemen, yet one pederast reports tolerance from a parent who is a police officer: “Dan’s parents were very permissive. They gave him money to take trips alone when he was fourteen, and let him hitch-hike to the Coast when he was fifteen. His father said he preferred for the boy to be involved with girls, but that at that age ‘a little fooling around wouldn’t harm the kid if it didn’t become habitual.’ I asked him if he was worried about the men who picked up his son on the road, and he replied: “Dan can take care of himself, but if he’s going to fool around with a man I’d rather it was someone I knew like you.”

Photo by William Gale Gedney, Kentcky, 1972

Another pederast said: “I have hidden nothing from Alexi’s mother. She has no illusions about my relationship with her family, unless it is a vain hope that I would divorce my wife and marry her. She knows that I’ve been a better father to her boys than their own father ever was, and that I have a great affection for her and her lads. She is very dependent upon me emotionally since her husband died.” Another said: “Dill’s mother is quite frankly glad when I take him somewhere overnight so she can better entertain her men friends at home.” Another said: “His mother told me she knew her 14-year-old son was sneaking girls to his room and she didn’t care what he did sexually with them or with me as long as she didn’t have to know. She said that he had been stealing money from her, and if I wanted to take him to live with me it would be a good riddance.” Another said: “From the time I first rented a room at her house she tried to push the boy off on my by saying he needed a man’s discipline. Her only reaction when she found him sleeping with me was to ask if she could move his things into my room so she could rent his room to another boarder.” Another said: “She told me she was very liberal on sex matters and she was very permissive in letting me take him on trips, until it was clear that I had no intention of marrying her.” Another said: “His mother told me she wasn’t worried about me taking sexual advantage of the boy, since he was only eleven and wouldn’t be old enough for that sort of thing for another year or two.” Another pederast reported: “They weren’t that sort of family, yet they took it for granted he could sleep at the motel with me whenever I was in town, which was one week end out of every five or six. They couldn’t possibly have been so naive as not to know. When one week end he brought a friend along, his mother asked me if another time I wouldn’t take his 12-year-old brother along for the ‘fun.’ When I asked his father what to get him for Christmas, he suggested I take him on a month-long summer trip, ‘since he enjoys sleeping with you so much’ ”! Such incidents could be reported for many more pages, but the main point is that nearly every pederast interviewed had at one time or another in his life encountered a parent who knew of and permitted or tolerated the sex play. Such experiences can easily become deceptive to the pederast, who tends to avoid contact with the overwhelming majority of persons who disapprove of his behavior.


Los Angeles Police Lt. Lloyd Martin with seized pornography in 1977. Earlier he was stated in court to have had the two "dangling over a cliff" boys taken from their mother with the threat that they would only be returned if she ordered them to testify

Between the persons who are tolerant or permissive, such as parents who belong to sex freedom groups, and the sympathetic persons a pederast meets in the underground, an increasing number of persons - both professionals and less well educated working people - are reacting negatively to the excessive brutality and insensitivity of many police and law-enforcement officials in dealing with sex deviants. A mother who might otherwise have cooperated with a police investigation was horrified and angered to discover that police officers - in an effort to force her 12- and 13-year-old sons to give evidence against a man they were fond of - had held the two youngsters dangling over a cliff, threatening to drop them if they did not provide the requested information.[2] In another instance, friends, neighbors, and relatives became incensed when they learned of a situation in which police officers had harassed and threatened an entire family - including two children aged six and eight who could have known nothing - for an entire night to get them to pressure a 16-year-old boy into testifying against his will against a man the whole family loved, a man who had influenced the boy to go back to school and rebuild his life after a bad drug scene. The methods used by some police to get information from minors and their families, and their consequent humiliation in police stations and courts, is a fitting subject for another study. The point we make here is that in neighborhoods where such methods have been used, people become less willing to cooperate with the authorities. One older teenager said: “I’d tell on the man who is involved with my brother if I thought the police would get him help, but they would just beat him up and ruin him. It isn’t worth that.”

A university professor said much the same thing: “I went to the director of the camp and reported to him confidentially that a member of his staff was fooling around with my son. I told the director that after talking to my son we had decided that the incident wasn’t important enough to be reported to the police, if the pederast would seek treatment. The camp director agreed not to rehire the man another year, and to make sure there were no more incidents if he stayed. None of us wanted to have a hand in destroying such a fine, sensitive, creative person, as police action was sure to do.” A pederast reported: “Someone in the district attorney’s office tried to send me a warning, before it was too late, about the investigators who were trailing me and the boy. He did not approve of the ruthlessness and political goals of the DA, who was not trying to prevent crime, but to get sensational headlines to advance his political career. My family decided I should leave the country, as the publicity would be horrendous and would hurt innocent members of my family. Some of the police were themselves so disgusted at the DA’s abuse of youngsters in getting his headlines that they were closing their eyes and not making certain arrests.” Again, the law-enforcement authorities, harassed a mother whose sons had not been involved with a pederast, to force her to make false statements against him. First they threatened to put her 9-year-old son in a reform school, and when she complained at the improper language they were using in the presence of her children, the investigators secured a court order to have her children taken from her and placed in a foster home until she agreed to cooperate with the investigation, justifying their action by saying, “Anything is justified in getting the queers.” Such treatment of young children is an illustration of the sort of overkill which leads many persons to close their eyes to some illegal sexual behavior, believing that the situation would be worse if the police were involved. Many persons would persuade a relative or friend to turn himself in, if they were convinced that he would receive help and therapy without publicity to harm his family and other innocent persons. In the present situation, the excessively brutal treatment of pederasts in many police stations and prisons is therefore in some instances a prejudicial element in his favor.


The pederast who withdraws to the underworld - in contrast to the underground - may soon find that protection has a sting to it. One pederast said: “I chose deliberately to live in a high-delinquency neighborhood where most people have something to hide. Everyone, therefore, ignores his neighbors as long as they keep their noses out of his business. For a while I had a boat at a marina, but my boys attracted too much attention there, since it was a middle-class yacht harbor, and not an upper-class one. But here in this neighborhood no one notices young boys coming and going. If there were not a drug problem here I’d face no difficulties at all, except that my apartment gets broken into all the time.”

Underworld parents may also have reasons to be tolerant or permissive: “His mother was frankly a prostitute. She was always glad to have me for a baby-sitter.” Another said: “When my house was burglarized, the police found my stereo at the boy’s house and arrested his father, who screamed at the police that I was a fag who had molested his son. The cops said they would be glad to press charges against me if the evidence justified it, but that it was no excuse for burglary. The cops found that the father had taught his son to hustle as a means of getting into apartments for burglary.” Another said: “They seemed like ordinary people, a well-knit family, and both parents had good jobs, but they offered to have their lads be used in pornographic films if the pay was good, and even gave signed releases.” In another situation: “It came out later that their father had trained his sons in homosexual techniques in order to seduce me for purposes of blackmail. They were very nice people, and I had done so much to help him when he was unemployed that I couldn’t believe him capable of a trick like that.” Another pederast said: “The boy threatened to run away if I didn’t take him with me when I moved to another state, so his parents said they would give their legal permission for me to take him. The father didn’t come right out and say so, but he was glad to get the boy out of his hair, especially since the boy kept getting in trouble, which risked calling police attention to the fact that the father was a dealer in narcotics.”

Police corruption and underworld dealings also often provide assistance to the pederast: “The cop told me of my rights before completing the arrest, then hinted that a hundred dollars would fix things up. I paid it gladly to avoid arrest since I was from out of state.”[3] Another reported: “The best collection of man-boy pornography in this city belongs to a policeman who has taken much of it himself.” Another pederast reported this experience: “I was clearly in serious trouble. They caught me parked on a country road, in a rented car not in my name, with a young boy, half undressed, whose family didn’t know where he was and didn’t know me. When we got to the police station about 2:00 A.M. it was largely deserted, and the officer in charge asked if I knew anyone I could call. I telephoned a friend in the syndicate and asked him to bring all the money he could. After we paid them off, all the police did was follow us to make sure we let the boy off at his house. Then they stopped my car again and suggested I stay out of their county. I had to pay my syndicate friend back at the rate of 200 per cent.” Another reported an incident from the early 1960’s: “It seemed like a very nice place, a non-alcoholic soda bar where boys came after school and early evenings, with no sexual hanky-panky allowed on the premises - the management assuming no responsibility for what a man and boy who met there might do later. I discovered, however, that the place was corrupting in an entirely different way than I would have thought. One boy had received a thousand dollars for allowing himself to be planted in the bed of a civil rights militant as a means for white racists to destroy the man, who presumably was not a pederast at all. Another boy got five thousand dollars for a similar episode with a prominent Southern politician, who I presume was also innocent. Evidently a ring of gangsters who operated the bar were not blackmailing pederasts, but were involved in many incidents of framing non-pederasts in cases that for the most part were never known. I thought of this when I saw that scene in the movie Godfather II, where the Senator was framed by the placing of a dead prostitute in his bed when he was drunk.”

Our concern here, however, is not with the blackmail of politicians - pederast or not - but with the shield to deviant practices that is possible in a climate of general corruption, when police and other officials do not or cannot deal with the large and frequently powerful criminal underworld, which unintentionally or deliberately provides support for pederasts.


In contrast to this criminal underworld, what does the pederast find when he turns to the underground for friendship and support? There are a few militant organizations such as the “Gay Pederast Liberation Front,”[4] but for the most part the underground consists of a silent fraternity of men, many of whom know only a few of the others. The persons a pederast meets in the underground, however, are for the most part far different from those in the criminal underworld:

Signe de Piste 68

Lawyers. “I discovered he was a corporation attorney whose annual salary runs to six figures. I met him in a bar in Acapulco, when our tongues loosened a bit late one night, far from home, and we discovered we were both attracted to the same boy waiter.” Another reports: “I received a telephone call from a stranger I had never met - a pederast in the district attorney’s office - warning me of steps I should take to avoid arrest and to dispose of evidence, since authorization for a search warrant against me was in the works. Actually no one ever came.” Said another: “Many lawyers believe such anti-sex laws are wrong and will be changed.”

Doctors. One pederast reported: “There is a whole coterie of pederast physicians in this town.” Another said: “I know a doctor who is most generous in contributing his services to a social settlement and charity camp, because he has had across the years as a result a series of lovely relationships with boys.” Another pederast writes: “A well-known physician here has just been arrested after thirty years of sexual involvements with members of a boys’ choir which he has served as physician.” Another said: “Whenever I come home from a vacation overseas my doctor insists on VD tests. He’s been a pederast himself since he was a teenager, although I don’t think he has ever been involved with boys in our own community.” There is no reason to extend such quotations, for the point is that many pederasts find sympathetic counsel and support from selected members of the medical profession. In Western Europe there are at least two underground groups of physicians who advocate for themselves and for others “pedofilie as healthy and good for youngsters.”

Clergy. Two separate studies have shown that a higher percentage of clergy are arrested for pederastic offenses than are any other vocational group.[5] It may be that a higher percentage of pederast clergy are arrested because they may tend to be more naive and innocent in unintended offenses. A recent study of theological students - both Catholic and Protestant - revealed, however, that (1) a large percentage had been involved sexually with an older boy or man, at least occasionally, when they were young teenagers, and (2) those who were so involved - as in a similar study of younger schoolteachers - tended to be tolerant of pederasty. The pederast who seeks supportive counsel can usually find a clergyman who will be more than helpful if he shops around. One pederast said: “I’ve talked to many pastors, sometimes admitting I had a problem, sometimes asking advice for a ‘friend.’ I find they are for the most part sympathetic and helpful when it comes to arranging therapy. Many of them are reluctant to involve the police - for the sake of the youngster involved - and are unwilling to condemn a lad who gets involved in homosexual acts. They tend to feel that arrest is no way to solve the problem, especially for a person who is willing to undergo therapy. When I point out that therapy doesn’t seem to work in many cases or when I ask what is wrong with sex play, anyway - especially among the unmarried - the clergy are usually unable or unwilling to help. They do not know how to handle pederasty - and this goes even for those who are now trying to be helpful to gays - because of the range of taboos and their uncertainty about age of consent. I have, however, found several pastors who were pederasts, at least to the extent of being aware of desires and temptations, who were willing to give counsel to or meet with pederast groups.”

Another said: “I have collected information on over one hundred arrested clergy. For example, a parish priest in New England was so popular with the men of his parish that he was protected and defended by them. There is a Catholic priest in Pittsburgh who, after his arrest and conviction on dozens of counts of sexual involvement with boys in his parish, continues to serve as a parish pastor. I suppose he was put on probation in care of his bishop if he would undergo continuing therapy. The number of pederast clergy must be large, including even bishops, if one judges by their names on mailing lists. One group of pederasts in Europe consists of clergy who meet informally once in a while. Another clergy pederastic group consists of militant-on-sex-reform types who get together to discuss theological issues on sex. A group of priests in America, older men now, many years ago banded together with a pledge to limit their pederasty to fantasy and photography. They have on occasion reached out to help and warn younger priests who, they felt, were not aware of the extent to which they were walking on ice.” Another pederast said: “There are in the ‘church’ - a common word among pederasts for the underground - many pastors who, like Horatio Alger in his day, had to move into other kinds of work because of pederasty. More often, like Henry Ward Beecher, they try to be helpful while keeping their own proclivities secret.”

Teachers. A noted educator has written candidly about the pederasty of teachers, including his own, in his autobiography,[6] seeming to agree with a frank pederast who said: “If they cleaned the pederasts out of the schools all the best teachers would have to go.” Another said: “My own school, when I was there, had to develop a rather strict policy that no teacher and boy could be in a room alone with the door closed. Today that school handles the problem by enlarging the co-educational direction of its programs. From talking to boys who attend my school now I’d say it definitely is helping, in that there is less sex play now among the boys. At the same time the boys are freer to do what they wish sexually. The big thing is still to do whatever is forbidden. Most fourteen-year-olds therefore try at least once to smuggle a girl into their rooms. They are all frank to say that what gay boys do is nobody else’s business.” Another wrote: “The very sexually permissive schools that grew up in the middle of the century were never tolerant of pederasty. Teachers and pupils were encouraged to hug, touch, and express natural affection, but only in Germany[7] perhaps did any prominent educational philosophers suggest that eroticism between teachers and pupils might be put to educational use. Privately many educators have admitted to me that eroticism in education is going to become an explosive issue, as illustrated by new sex education materials in Europe which take the position that adults should be tolerant of adolescent sex play - even pupil-teacher, man-boy activity - as long as it is affectionate and non-exploitive. A far more conservative booklet was confiscated in France, and the author was suspended from his teaching post. There are, however, a growing number of books in the children’s liberation field which advocate self-determination for youngsters in sexual matters, some of them written by responsible educators.[8] While these materials - and the increasing number of novels[9] about man-boy sexual involvement written for young adolescents and published by responsible publishers - do not intend any endorsement of pederasty, this literature does remove some of the sting of society’s disapproval for many pederasts, and provides ideas for others to use in rationalizing and justifying their sex play.”

Photo by Daffo, Signe de Piste 73

Police. One pederast said: “This very nice pederast cop came to my house to warn me I was going to be arrested. He explained who was making charges and said he had been mixed up in the same sort of thing as teenager. He advised me to leave town immediately to avoid arrest.” Another said: “If I had stayed there on the corner any longer I might have gotten into trouble, but this cop walked by, winking his eye and shaking his head to suggest that I move on. When he came back by, I realized he was warning me that I was under surveillance.” Another pederast said: “When I got acquainted with him on this holiday abroad, I didn’t realize he was a police chief. He probably hadn’t intended to tell me, but later he introduced me to a local officer, also a pederast, who advised us where to go to find boys who would like to sleep with us.” Another wrote: “I am in close touch with a police officer I got well acquainted with through my playground job. He will let me know when it is safe for me to return home.” Another pederast reported: “A boy from my neighborhood said that he had regular sex relations with a night guard while in reform school, and when he was released from the institution that guard introduced him to a policeman at home, with whom he lived for a year.” Another said: “A policewoman I know pointed out to me a shivering, hungry, runaway lad and suggested I buy him something to eat. ‘I know you’ll try to help him,’ she said. ‘And otherwise they’ll return him to the detention center where older boys keep raping him.’ “ In another situation an officer said of an arrested pederast: “What he did didn’t sound so awful to me. Sex laws divert police energies from solving important crimes, and from protecting people who want help.” In a European court the arresting policeman asked the judge to return a 14-year-old boy to the pederast’s care, saying: “I don’t care whether or not they’ve been sexually involved. The boy has been sleeping with various men for two years without any affection, and it would be much better for him, no longer virgin in any case, if he had the love of this man who would protect him and care for him. To separate them, and punish this man, would simply inspire this youngster to hate society and the police to such an extent as to make him a criminal.”[10] In another case: “When we were arrested, jail officials arranged for my boy and me to have time alone almost every day, although we were incarcerated on separate floors.”


The Genesis Children, the 1972 film described by its oil-heir producer as "a nude ballet"

Pederasts frequently justify their own behavior by referring to prominent men who are pederasts. For example: “The truth is learned about some of us only after death, such as the founding president of Turkey or General Gordon. For most well-known people succeed in hiding such episodes in their lives. There is more likely to be published gossip about a recent Pope,[11] than about Z, who was high in the Eisenhower Administration; or about Y and X, who bear the names of major American industrial families; or of ex- Senator W, sports hero V, or certain stars of TV, films, or rock music, or the heir to one of the country’s leading oil fortunes.” Since that statement was made to us, the oil heir has been indicted for making pederast films. His identity was perhaps not so secret in any case as the above quotation suggests, since his picture appeared in a 1972 film magazine,[12] along with scenes from the film he called “a nude ballet” in the magazine interview. The average person hardly notices the notes about the pederasty of well-known people, since they frequently appear only as footnotes to scholarly books, or in back-page reviews of films, opera, ballet, novels, and so forth. But pederasts who seek support from such sources can find a new item nearly every day - a note saying, for example, that Shakespeare was a pederast, or Kafka or Walt Whitman, or one of the Krupps from the German industrial family. Perhaps, even more important, the pederast who travels and seeks out such persons for conversation can meet them in one or another of the overseas resorts where pederasts congregate. If not, his ears are quickly filled to overflowing with gossip about what such-and-such a well-known person did or said when he was there earlier in the season. For example, the European film producer’s girl friend who said she didn’t dare refuse to sleep with him during her monthly period, because whenever she wasn’t in his bed she could be sure some newsboy or delivery boy would be.

A publisher said: “It is too easy to forget the law and public opinion at home, when one spends much time overseas associating with persons who find my pederasty merely amusing. I don’t associate with pederasts very much. However, I have prominent friends who are strictly heterosexual themselves, but who are always introducing me to boys they think I would like. In Sri Lanka, for example, I often visit a home where my host is scandalized if I sleep with low-class or servant boys. Why should I so lower myself, he says, when he can introduce me to so many young boys from good families who are eager to have a bit of fun in bed?” Similarly, Michael Davidson tells how Indonesian Government officials provided him, at public expense, with boys to sleep with while he was employed there on a special project.[13] Because they keep their proclivities secret, except in such situations, many pederasts experience more incidents of support than they do of disapproval and condemnation. One said: “The law intends to make it difficult, but nearly everywhere one meets people who ignore and circumvent the law - the hotel keeper in Spain who deliberately employs the most handsome 13-year-old bellboys he can find, ‘because it helps business’; the cabdriver who offers to bring along either a ‘niece’ or a ‘nephew’ if one will employ him for an all-day expedition; or the businessman who is glad to encourage and abet bizarre sexual encounters if a large-enough contract is in the offing.” More than one orphanage has solicited large gifts from pederasts, who have then been allowed to “adopt” a boy, taking him on week-end trips and so on.

Peter Glawson, star of The Genesis Children and earlier nudist films, to which he was introduced by an uncle

The pederast’s emotions of guilt, fear, or anxiety are therefore tempered by experiences which continually tempt and reassure him, alongside the condemnation which society intends. On the forge of the human dialectic, social forces tug a pederast apart, forcing him to absorb and integrate widely divergent attitudes and experiences. Torn between his own desires and self-justification on one hand, and the censure of society on the other, the pederast enters the underground as a place for rethinking his religious and moral point of view, and for help in finding an identity and self-understanding that will make it possible for him to integrate, and thus come to terms with, the deep conflicts that are present in his experience.


- Although the pederast underground rarely seems to exist so concretely that one may point to specific places or organizations, it is nevertheless real as seen in the selective behavior of pederasts in tending to associate with, and listen to, those persons who are supportive of their behavior and attitudes. Such supporting persons may be only a small percentage of professional persons, for example, but they also may constitute the total conscious world of a pederast.

- The number of parents who tolerate man-boy sex play may be very small, but nearly every practicing pederast interviewed had experienced at least one such parent.[14] This not only provided him with support for his pederasty in that instance, but fed his dreams of finding other parents like that - which the French novelist Montherlant[15] said is the “dream of every pederast.”

- Not much has been said in this chapter about society’s most visible disapproval of pederasts, as seen in the arrests, trials, newspaper stories, and imprisonment, because this study centers for the most part on pederasts who have not yet faced such experiences. Even when they seek to help a pederast friend in jail, the pederasts we interviewed tended to view the incident as an accident that happened to someone else, with little bearing upon their own actions. Insofar as society is successful in jailing pederasts, and withdrawing them from such activity after incarceration, the pederast underground does not much feel the continuing impact of arrest and imprisonment, as those persons are absent and therefore are invisible.


[1] This is an example of how Rossman generalises too much from the USA. Depending on what is meant by the hopelessly woolly term “Western”, his assertion here is at best an exaggeration. For example, the law in Italy since 1890 had allowed consensual sex between men and boys over 14. Though lower ages of consent tended worldwide to become legal fiction in the 21st century through the implementation of other restrictions, this was certainly not yet the case in Italy when Rossman was writing. See, for example, the film Pianese Nunzio, 14 anni a maggio (1996), where the plot hinges on the willing boy being just under 14. Italy is of course in the eastern hemisphere (underlining the twisted logic behind the term “Western”), but the trend in westernmost Europe was then very much in the direction of legalising pederasty. For example, in January 1979 (before the publication of the British edition of Rossman’s book from which the text here is taken), Spain repealed its laws against homosexuality, leaving the age of homosexual consent for boys there at 12. This too was a legal reality, demonstrated by acquittals thereafter of men whose sexual acts with boys were found to have been limited to willing boys of 12.

[2] This refers to revelations made in the trial of fourteen men who were acquitted on 14 December 1973 in Los Angeles of charges of sex with boys. The following account is from The Advocate, San Mateo, California, 30 January 1974:

One youth testified he had been dangled over a cliff on Angeles Crest Drive last Spring [1973] by two policemen who, he said, wanted him to admit to engaging in sexual acts with men. [...] One of the boys stuck to his story [...] that he was driven to the edge of a cliff on Angeles Crest Drive north of the city [of Los Angeles, California] last Spring and was dangled over the side by two policemen demanding that he name men who had allegedly engaged in sex with him.
     Deputy District Attorney Grodin, the prosecutor, admitted both to Dave Glascock of the Gay Political Action Council and to the court that the incident may have occurred. But in this instance it appeared that neither Los Angeles police detective Lloyd Martin nor any other undercover vice cops could be blamed, since the youth stated that the police were uniformed [sic.] In his summation to the jury Grodin conceded that one of the prosecution witnesses may have been held over a cliff, but added, you sometimes have to go to extremes because these kids are afraid to tell the truth. He added that statements which the youth may have made at the time were not part of the trial testimony. […]
     The younger boys' mother (Patricia Prue) said, "It's been a terrible harassment. We've been subpoenaed and subpoenaed. That cop is on an ego trip at the expense of others' lives." She said that two days before the trial of the second defendant began, she was visited by a policewoman "who said she would have me declared an unfit mother for the boys." After the trial she said, "Something terrible is happening in America. These people (the police) think they can do anything they want to, and they're getting away with it. I think they're sick.”

[3] See, for example, William Aaron, Straight: A Heterosexual Talks About His Homosexual Past (New York: Doubleday, 1972), pp. 40-41 as typical of autobiographical references to police payoffs by pederasts. [Author’s footnote]

[4] See Frits Bernard, Pedofilie (Bussum: Aquarius, 1974), p. 119. [Author’s footnote]

[5] This research by a clinical psychologist is not yet released for publication [Author’s footnote].

[6] T. C. Worsley, Flanneled Fool (London: Alan Ross, 1967) [Author’s footnote].

[7] See Erich Ebermayer, Gustav Wyneken (Frankfurt-am-Main: dipa-Verlag, 1969), H. Jantzen, Jugendkultur und Jugendbeiwegnung (Frankfurt-am-Main: dipa Verlag, 1969), G. Wyneken, Jugend (Frankfurt-am-Main: dipa Verlag, 1963.) [Author’s footnote].

[8] For example, see John Holt, Escape From Childhood (New York: Dutton, 1974), Wendell Pomeroy, Boys and Sex (New York: Delacorte, 1968), H. Fleischauer-Hardt, Show Me (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1975) [Author’s footnote].

[9] For example, see Holland (1974) [presumably meaning Isabelle Holland, Man Without a Face (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972)], Peter Davies, Fly Away, Paul (New York: Crown, 1974) [Author’s footnote].

[10] E. Brongersma, “L’Homophilie à visage couvert,” Arcadie, Jan. 1974, p. 28 [Author’s footnote].

[11] See Roger Peyrefitte, Notre Amour. Paris: Flammarion, 1954 [Author’s footnote]. The author is confused: Notre Amour was not published until 1967 and did not mention the homosexuality of a modern Pope;  it was in 1976 that Peyrefitte, in a magazine article, famously accused the reigning Pope, Paul VI, of having had homosexual affairs with youths.

[12] Viola Swisher, “Generating the ‘Genesis Children,’ “ After Dark, Sept. 1972 [Author’s footnote]. The man in question was Bill Byars (born 1936), producer of the film The Genesis Children (1972), indicted in 1973.

[13] This is a distortion of anything Davidson wrote in either of his memoirs. The nearest approximation is his identical description in both his memoirs, The World, The Flesh and Myself and Some Boys of a stay in a resthouse he paid for in a hamlet called Selatt in Bali in 1950, “where, after gently making known to the Mayor one's amorous preference, one's desires were mysteriously fulfilled. Nothing was said; nobody appeared during the evening's supping and drinking; but when one went to bed one would find, wistfully smiling from the gloaming of the room, a tender brown creature who took it for granted he was staying the night. There would be no question of payment: the Balinese weren't interested in money; but if one made a present of a new sarong there would be abounding and touching gratitude.” Davidson was there on his way to visiting a friend.

[14] Bernard (1975) [Author’s footnote; the reference could be to either of two articles of 1975 by Frits Bernard listed in the bibliography].

[15] See Peyrefitte (1970), p. 20 [Author’s footnote; no book of 1970 is listed among the many in his bibliography by Peyrefitte].




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