Ken Lanning's college-age daughter recently suggested to him that something good may come out of the Penn State University scandal in that more people will be made aware of how acquaintance child molesters operate.
He told her he was a bit too jaded to believe that.
Lanning, a retired FBI profiler who wrote the analysis many police use in investigating child sex offenders, has seen all the big cases come and go.
Yet each time a new one surfaces, it floods the media for a while and everyone seems shocked.
"But this eventually will fade off the pages," he says. "This, too, shall pass."
Two other major child-sex scandals, both involving proud institutions and similar allegations of cover-ups, are playing out in New York and South Carolina.
In Syracuse, N.Y., authorities are investigating claims that former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine molested boys.
At The Citadel, a venerable military college in South Carolina, authorities are investigating Louis ReVille, an accused child molester and former summer camp counselor.
Those who study these kinds of offenders say they typically get away with abusing children for a long time because of a confluence of elements:
First, the molester is good at what he does because he's had years of practice, typically dating to his own adolescence.
Second, his victims -- usually boys -- are often compliant.
And third, the adults around him either aren't paying attention to the signals or don't want to believe the truth.
If the charges against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky are true, he is the prototypical acquaintance molester -- grooming vulnerable young male targets over time, building a rapport with boys on the cusp of their sexuality, making enough mistakes to raise suspicions but not enough to be prosecuted.
Lanning, a Virginia consultant who wrote "Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis" as an agent at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, says he doesn't want to comment directly on the Sandusky case because all he knows about it is what he's seen in the media.
But the behavior outlined in the Sandusky grand jury presentment, he says, "is consistent with the patterns I've seen with this type of offender. This is the most persistent and prolific type of molester that we know of."
The serial acquaintance molester is skilled at communication and manipulation and seduces children over decades.
He's the nice soccer coach who takes the team to the out-of-state tournament, the friendly teacher who invites the kids to his house after school, the kindly uncle who puts on the magic shows.
Every so often, they get tripped up by their own desires and end up caught. They make errors, Lanning says, because they are driven by sexual needs that override their intellect.
But there is another element in these cases that helps the molester remain hidden: the compliant victim. The kids may be getting gifts, trips and attention from a molester, but in some cases they may also like the sexual interaction.
Michael Seto, a clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto and author of "Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children," says victims display a wide range of behaviors, just as offenders do.
"Sexual abuse is complex," he says. "Some victims comply because they are forced or threatened with force. Some comply because they are manipulated or tricked by the perpetrator. Some comply because they have positive feelings about the perpetrator, who may be one of the few adults to treat them with affection and caring. This in no way takes away the responsibility of the adult in this situation."
As children age, hormones kick in at 12, 13, 14. Boys are exploring their own sexuality and are easily aroused. The skilled molester uses that to his advantage. Some victims will reject those advances, but others will not.
Another reason they don't tell -- or tell incomplete stories -- is shame.
Victims may focus only on what the molester did to them and omit or lie about their roles because they don't want to be stigmatized as gay -- the ultimate insult in the world of many young teen boys.
"The problem is that kids tell you this politically correct version of what happened," Lanning says. "That is the dilemma that law enforcement is faced with."
(Contact Torsten Ove at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more stories visit scrippsnews.com)