Appendix E: Interviews with Three Boys

The purpose of the first interview was to talk to Ferdinand.  This interview took place at Ferdinand's home.  The interview was tape recorded, although a transcript was never made.  While conducting the interview of Ferdinand, the boys, Johnny, Stephan with his girlfriend, and Peter, dropped in to visit, one after the other.  This made it impossible to continue.

A second interview was arranged with Ferdinand several weeks later.  It was Sunday evening and when the interviewer (B.R.) arrived, Johnny and Peter were present.  This had not been agreed beforehand; the boys had come in casually as before.  Ferdinand explained the purpose of the interview to the boys, and added: "It's OK, you can tell him anything you want."  Johnny immediately began to attack the police with vitriol.  Peter, in a more restrained manner, agreed with him.  At that moment (and later by telephone with Stephan) appointments were made to interview the boys separately and at the home of the interviewer.  The interview with Johnny was more difficult to organize since he was still at school during the day, so it was agreed to meet in Ferdinand's home, during which time Ferdinand left the house at the interviewer's request.

For the interviews, a list of questions was compiled.  To avoid bias, the boys were explicitly given the opportunity to mention the positive as well as negative aspects of the following: (1) their meeting and friendship with Ferdinand, (2) their participation in making child pornography and (3) their contact with the police.  The interviews with the boys, which were conducted in Dutch, were transcribed and translated by the interviewer.

Through Ferdinand's barrister we were able to get a photocopy of the entire police dossier, including the statements made by all the children involved in the cases against all three defendants.  As our analysis in Appendix D shows, the quality of the statements made by Ferdinand's three friends stood out.  After interviewing the three boys three more interviews with Ferdinand took place.  His account of the events did not differ from the statements found in the dossier, and did not differ from the statements made by the three boys during our interviews.

Despite the attempt to obtain a balanced description of the events, a remarkably black and white picture emerged.  The boys described their friendship and feelings for Ferdinand in glowing terms.  On the other hand the attitude towards the police is unequivocally negative.  The simplest explanation, of course, is that the boys experienced their relationship with Ferdinand and their contact with the police in these terms.  The opinions given in these interviews may reflect the truth.

However, all relationships are difficult and there arise conflicts of interest from time to time.  The uncompromisingly positive attitude of the boys towards their adult friend seems strange, even given that the relationship had been a good one.  Several factors might play a role here.  We see in all three cases, evidence of less than ideal family backgrounds.  It appears that Ferdinand provided an important emotional support for the boys throughout their youth and continues to do so.  This factor alone may be sufficient to explain their attitude.

Professor Walter Everaerd, University of Amsterdam, Department of Psychology, suggested that the interviews may reflect the macho image the boys wanted to give of themselves.  Boys are socialized to be tough about sexual things, making it difficult to admit that they were abused, he argued.  The claim that they "joined in for the fun"' and that they liked the sex with Ferdinand could be their way of protecting themselves against the implicit charge that they had allowed themselves to be exploited and abused.  However, except for the pornography sessions, these boys did not talk primarily about sexual adventures, and when they talked about the pornography, all three boys said that they had been exploited by Fred.  They talked about a long-term relationship in which they claimed to love their adult friend.  Stephan asked for the tape recorder to be turned on again at the end of the interview in order to underscore this point.

Boys are not socialized to claim that they love an adult homosexual pedophile.  Indeed, it may require some considerable courage for young men, all of whom regard themselves heterosexual, to say these things to a stranger, regardless of how "safe" the stranger might appear to be.  It is more likely, in this case, that in spite of the image threatening nature of the admissions, the boys felt strongly enough about their relationship with Ferdinand to make these claims.  Professor Everaerd's explanation also does not account for why the boys, years after the sexual relationship had come to an end in two cases, and despite the strong social disapproval and difficulties it has led to with the police, still visit Ferdinand regularly.

Because the first meeting between the interviewer and the boys took place in Ferdinand's home the boys may have felt that they were talking to someone who was in some way "part of the family."  In fact, they did not know exactly who the interviewer was.205  This does not necessarily mean that the information was less accurate.  It may mean that the boys felt free to say what they thought.  It must be noted in this respect that the thrust of the boys' statements was similar to those made by them in front of the police, as was confirmed by the police dossier.

When the interviewer returned with the transcripts, the attitude seemed to have changed somewhat.  One of the boys made it clear that he did not want to discuss the matter any further, though he was happy to have given the interview and was pleased with the transcript.  One boy wanted to add a paragraph to his interview and one made some minor corrections for the sake of clarity.  Requests to contact the parents of the boys was rejected by all three, although Johnny's mother had also supported Ferdinand during the crisis and written to him while he was in jail.206

Another explanation for the delineation the boys made between Ferdinand and police may have arisen from of the contrast between their experiences.  The boys' contacts with the police were, indeed, very negative.  Against this backdrop their feelings towards Ferdinand and recollections of the good times with him, may have become recast in an exaggerated relief.  This may be an example of how individual experiences are simplified and codified in the process of being accommodated into individual subjective biographies.  In this process the good tends to become very good and the bad, very bad.

These three interviews cannot be regarded as a study, for the sample is not sufficiently large nor representative enough.  It is unfortunate that we were not able to interview the children who had given negative statements to the police about their relationships and experiences with Fred V.  No generalizations, therefore, can be made about the nature of pedophile relationships, the manufacture of pornography or about the approach of the police from this material alone.  Nevertheless, the general conclusions that could be drawn from these three stories do not contradict the findings of other research based on self-selected samples, such as the first study of Theo Sandfort.  Nor are the relationships described here unlike others we have encountered.  We believe that these stories are fairly typical, not only of the contacts between men and boys, but also of the way that boy child pornography comes into existence.




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