Of course I don't judge him for the sexual objectification of children. If you're sexually attracted to children, there's little that you can do about it. And there is no evidence he ever acted on it. In fact, it's odd that we criminalize possession of child pornography -- seemingly the only outlet for this inclination that doesn't directly harm children (assuming there is a sufficient amount of child pornography in the world such that we do not need to continue making it anymore). Overall, I am pretty empathetic, which is why I haven't been able to stop thinking about the parallels between me and him. I've been talking nonstop with a mutual friend trying to suss out what exactly happened, looking for but hoping there are not further parallels between us and this idea of living separate public vs. private lives and eventually being outted and ostracized.
It's a raw deal, being a convicted sex offender, and his judge doesn't sound like he's sympathetic. Once he gets out of prison, he is basically human garbage, as far as everyone else is concerned. The Woodsman is a really good film that deals with some of these issues. Also this article:
I would like to point out one other thing: our natural resistance to believing the worst of someone. And "child molester" is the worst. It is literally the most horrible thing you can do in our society; morally, the child molester sits above only the child molester/serial killer who rapes and kills children. That makes an accusation of child molesting an extraordinary claim. And as the saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Imagine that your best friend was accused of stealing office supplies from his company. Now imagine that he was accused of molesting a neighbor's child. The first one isn't very hard to believe; almost everyone takes a pen or two home occasionally, and most companies go through printer paper much faster than they produce actual documents.
[Y]ou wouldn't need much evidence to believe [your friend] steals office supplies. Nor would you care much if he did. . . .
Now if a kid said that your best friend touched their genitals . . . well, if it's true, and he did it deliberately, you're pretty much going to have to end the friendship. His life will, of course, be completely destroyed. And you face knowing that this person you thought was your best friend did something indescribably evil. You're going to want quite a bit of proof. And if the action is ambiguous--like maybe his hand accidentally grazed the area in question while doing something quite innocent--you're probably going to err on the side of believing your friend (although you might also supervise your kids more closely when they're around him.)
The problem with this sort of wholesale rejection of a person based on one characteristic is that if you really did have a best friend who was a pedophile, there's really no one that he can talk to about it. My friend thinks that, consequently, my pedophile work friend must have been living a completely double life. Whereas my life, he says, is just "complicated:
"I think you have a lot of confliciting issues, a lot of things pushing and pulling you but a double life involves total deception. Like maybe you could have become something like him if you didn't find people who love and accept you as you are because you would've felt a need to hide it and secret indulgence is the most cancerous."
Because I do have friends like this that know pretty much everything about me, because my family is relatively accepting of how I think and what I choose to get up to, because I have found relatively pro-social ways to indulge and incorporate my predilections into a pretty normal life, am I immune to having my life absolutely collapse and being labeled human garbage? I hope so.