Despite the numerous reports about sex offenders, we rarely get to see inside their minds. We certainly hear about how warped and disturbed they are, but we usually do not get to hear what the professionals do. We do not see how these women and men view themselves or their actions. A recent article about Graham James provides some of that missing insight.
The article covers an expert report on James discussing what he thinks of himself, his actions, and his feelings towards his victims. According to the article:
A meeting between James, 59, and a forensic psychologist in Montreal was arranged by his lawyers last September. He revealed plenty about his criminal past and his uncertain future, including why he found himself attracted to the young hockey players he coached.
“In the boys he abused, he admired their youth, their athletic beauty, their strength. They were bold, funny, intelligent,” the doctor’s report said. A court-ordered ban prevents the Free Press from naming people who were consulted about the James case, including the specialist.
“Mr. James felt that he was in love with the boys. He was very aware that they were not gay. It was an emotional thing, and, long after they refused his approaches, their friendships remained dear to him,” the doctor wrote. […] Mr. James, all these years, remained in the closet as far as his sexual orientation was concerned. He stresses the fact he did not go into coaching to have access to young people but he did definitely enjoy the company of these young athletic boys,” the doctor wrote. “He started gradually approaching them physically. He became emotionally attached to one, and then to another, very rarely two at the same time. Even at the end of an eventual sexualization of a relationship, Mr. James remained friends with most of them, often for many years.”
James apparently compared himself to historical figures who had male lovers. The doctor noted that James thought these men were accepted by society while he was not.
Technically this is true. Many old and ancient societies valued physical relationships between men and boys. There are thousands of poems, stories, statues, and pieces of art about those relationships. Some societies considered such relationships a necessary part of becoming a man.
Of course, those societies frowned on pursuing boys solely or specifically for sex. The suitor was expected to take care of the boy’s education, finances, and needs, as well as guide him to manhood. Depending on the culture, either the boy pursued the man or the man pursued the boy. In both cases, the boys were allowed to refuse the suitor without reprisal. Certainly suitors were not supposed to do this:
“The victims he targeted were boys who he perceived as being disadvantaged and would step into a parental role,” the Crown’s expert concluded. “At the same times, James groomed their parents by using a career in professional hockey as a reasonable outcome if he could relocate them from their home town under the guise of hockey development. Mr. James reminded his victims that a simple action, on his part, would end their prospects of a career in professional hockey — a dream of most, if not all, his victims.”
If you truly love someone, you would never threaten their chances to fulfill their dreams. So as much as James may profess he was in love with the boys he abused, the truth is likely that he was in lust with those boys. That would explain this bit:
“Mr. James believed at the time his approaches toward the young hockey players on his team were not, in his eyes, an abuse of power. On the contrary, he felt feeble and powerless and dependent on their benevolence to have some type of an emotional or sexual life. Mr. James says that before his therapies, he never realized that he created an unsafe environment for the boys that were sent to his team by their parents,” the doctor wrote.
While the article does not show the complete report, the snippets make James sound like someone who really will not stop. It has less to do with his preferences than what he seems to think of himself. He appears to view himself as a victim, and that type of person is not likely to understand why other people, particularly their victims, might have a problem with his behavior. Let us hope that the authorities will keep an eye on him.