POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 9:21pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 29, 2012 - 9:19am
EL PASO, TX — Child pornography is something that experts say it's a growing trend in The Borderland.
Very often on Newschannel 9, we have to report another arrest, somebody led away in handcuffs for having illegal child pornography on their computer.
What causes El Pasoans to participate in this crime?
In the last few months, we've reported school district employees and even an 18-year-old high school student with a full ride to Princeton being arrested for child pornography.
We spoke to an expert who has evaluated more than 1,000 pedophiles to find out why offenders say they cross the line.
Norma Reed has been conducting mental evaluations on sexual predators since the 1980's.
She says with growing technology, illegal pornography featuring children is a bigger problem now than ever.
"It's that ease of access. So, when a person is alone in a room with their computer and the pornography is so easily accessed, they can do that repeatedly,” said Reed.
Police have arrested several suspected child porn offenders in The Borderland including EPISD employee Jose Miranda, an employee for a Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande contractor Joe Tapia and 18-year-old El Paso High student Armando Garcia.
Reed says most offenders start by watching so called "normal" pornography, but eventually grow bored and want something else, and they turn to images involving people under the age of 18.
"They no longer get a thrill or sense of accomplishment out of viewing that level of pornography, then it's like they tend to want to see a little more,” said Reed.
Reed says pedophiles tell her that they get into child pornography out of curiosity and not always because they are sexually attracted to children.
“What might be surprising is that at least in the beginning, not all people who look at child pornography, are sexually aroused to children. It's across the board. I can get people who on objective measure do not have sexual arousal to children, and yet they've been caught, arrested and convicted of possessing child pornography,” said Reed.
She says pornography, in general, gives the viewer a false sense of power and that some users are battling anxiety and loneliness.
Viewing this illegal material Reed says, is a gradual process because the offender typically knows that crossing the line is against the law and can carry severe penalties.
"It's kind of like the old illustration of, if you put a frog in a bowling pot of water, the frog is going to jump out, but if you put the frog in a cool pail of water, and you heat it gradually, the frog won't jump out. It will cook,” said Reed.
Reed says some people who actually produce sexually explicit material featuring children aren't viewers themselves, and instead are in this black market because of big financial profits.
According to Reed, studies show pedophiles who view child pornography don't typically physically molest kids.
"That happens sometimes, but there is not a big correlation with that. So, a lot of people will stay with the child pornography, as oppose to doing actual, what we call contact offenses,” said Reed.
As for the victims, Reed says it takes a lot of work on part of the victims to face what happened to them as a child in order to live a healthy life as an adult.
"They have to do the work of letting go. Not for the offenders benefit, not in any sense of the way of excusing the offenders behavior, but letting go of that on their life,” said Reed.
Reed also says if people see themselves heading down the wrong path with a pornography addiction, there are services in The Borderland to help reduce the urges, but she says very rarely do people admit they have a problem before it's too late.