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UAlbany Psychologist Examines Pedophilia Cases, Lends Expertise on Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Predators 

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 View the Video: Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger 

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ALBANY, N.Y. (January 07, 2011) -- UAlbany Professor of Psychology and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Edelgard Wulfert discusses the compulsive behavior of child molesters in a recently released video designed to help parents protect their children from sexual predators.

UAlbany psychologist Edelgard Wulfert

In the video, UAlbany psychologist Edelgard Wulfert helps parents protect their children by understanding the manipulative behavior of child molesters. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

In the video released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), Wulfert walks viewers through the disturbed minds of pedophiles and notes that the compulsive nature of their behavior has parallels with severe drug addiction. She offers insight into how child molesters operate and gain access to children by befriending families or seeking out professions or activities that allow them contact with children, and she explains why, in some cases, parents refuse to believe their own child.

The video Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger will be available at libraries across the state. It features interviews with four paroled child molesters. The offenders include a trusted uncle, a teacher and coach, a child therapist who treated sex abuse victims, and a stepfather.

The video also features three adult survivors who discuss what they wish their parents had known or done to prevent the abuse. It tells the stories of a woman who was molested by a 17-year-old neighbor when she was about six years old; a man who was abused by his priest when he was a teen; and a young woman who was molested by her own father.

The video is narrated by Tina M. Stanford, director of the New York State Office of Victim Services. Stanford noted that children are almost always molested by someone they and their family know and trust, not a stranger.

"This video serves an important purpose because it illustrates the manipulative tactics of child molesters and helps parents recognize early warning signals," said Wulfert, who joined the University at Albany faculty in 1988. She served as director of the Clinical Doctoral Program from 2001-'03 and was chair of the psychology department from 2003-'07 before being appointed dean.

"A child molester is every parent's worst nightmare," said Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne of DCJS. "I hope that this video will raise awareness and prevent children from suffering the devastating and often life-long impact of childhood sexual abuse." 

The video was produced by DCJS as a result of a law signed by former Gov. David A. Paterson directing the agency to create a video that would instruct parents on how to protect their children from sexual predators.

 

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