Sex with Kids Funded by the State. Victims of the 30-Year-Long Experiment Were Meant to Benefit From the "Consensual Intercourse"
Street children were assigned to pedophile foster parents. Reputable sexologist claimed that it would be good for them.
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Troublesome children living with pedophile foster parents will surely benefit from "mutual advantages". This is the stance of the once acclaimed sexologist Helmut Kentler, who started the controversial experiment. He considered adult sex with children beneficial - assuming it was consensual.
He even convinced the Berlin Senate to approve of his experiment. Professor Kentler's opinions were also based on a political party that lobbied for the decriminalization of sex with children at the time.
The project was officially approved of by the state for long 30 years, during which foster parents sexually abused an indefinite number of young children. Recently, individual victims who grew up with men who beat and raped them began to testify.
- Why Kentler considered consensual child-adult sex to be beneficial.
- How he defended his project.
- When he realized that maybe he was wrong all the time.
- Why a pedophile does not automatically classify a sexual predator.
- What should a pedophile do once he realizes that he "can't control himself" around children, according to a psychologist.
"Harmless" sex with a child
Are pedophiles suitable foster parents for abandoned children? Psychology professor Helmut Kentler believed it to be the case. He tried to prove his point with a controversial experiment that has been active in West Berlin since the 1970s.
His point was to assign "weak-minded" or drug-addicted street children to pedophile foster parents and watch them grow up. Sexologist Helmut Kentler believed that children growing up under the supervision of a pedophile would be positively affected, even though several of the foster parents were penalized for sexual offenses.
Some of the pedophiles were prominent academics whom Kentler knew personally. We do not know the total number of children who lived with pedophiles (The Times mentions at least nine). We also do not know how many of them were sexually abused by foster parents and how many grew up in a harmonious environment.
Professor Kentler reckoned that some of the pedophiles may have sex with the children, which did not bother him. He claimed that consensual sexual contact between a child and a pedophile was harmless.
Die Tageszeitung points out that foster parents received state allowances for childcare. So essentially the state paid them, among other things, for intercourse with minors. Berlin senator Sandra Scheeres therefore called Kentler's experiment a crime for which the state was directly responsible, according to the Boulevardzeitung-Berlin.
Among other things, Helmut Kentler also worked as a forensic expert involved in cases of alleged sexual abuse of children. He was partially responsible for several potential perpetrators being punished less severely or even acquitted by a court.
30 years of child suffering
The sexual revolution of Western culture in the 1960s brought many positives, such as greater acceptance of gay rights and empowerment of women. However, if we were to give one example of how it went off the chain, Professor Kentler's project would be a great illustration of that. The experiment was able to continue for many years disguised in secret, despite the fact that many children suffered under the foster care.
Sex with children was illegal even during the sexual revolution and punished by imprisonment. However, Helmut Kentler didn't worry about that. He defended the project before the Berlin Senate, claiming that pedophiles were able to work properly with "weak-minded" and problematic boys precisely because they loved them, informs Der Spiegel. He argued that "regular parents" would simply not be able to stand them.
According to Deutsche Welle, the first more detailed report on the experiment was not published until the University of Göttingen in 2016. The author of the text thought that the controversial project lasted until the 1990s. However, one of the victims told her in response to the article that she had lived with one of the pedophiles named Fritz Henkel until 2003.
For mysterious reasons, authorities accepted the experiment of the well-known sexologist, and it lasted for about 30 years. Exact records of how Helmut Kentler obtained funding to support the project, or how he sought pedophile foster parents, haven't been found.
To this day, the project casts a bad shadow on all pedophiles, who do not necessarilly have to be sexual predators. Quite the opposite. "The vast majority of paedophiles are aware of the damage they can cause children, and they do not act," the Irish Times reported.
Psychologist Zdenka Pospisilova, who is an expert on human sexuality, also agrees with this statement.
"Most pedophiles never abuse a child. Society often confuses deviation or variation with delinquency. Sex offenders, that is, people who commit the crime, are usually people in whom sexual deviance - such as pedophilia - is not present.
Thus realization of sexual preferences is not their motive, but rather the fact that their victim is easy prey at the moment. The influence of alcohol or other addictive substances can also play a role. We are dealing with a minor sexual variation that could potentially serve as motivation in about one in ten offenders, "she said.
Decriminalization of sex between children and adults
The professor used to be one of the biggest advocates of sex between children and adults - and he was not alone. The decriminalization of sex with children under the age of 14 was also supported by the Green Party at the time, as Der Spiegel writes. As a result of that, the supporters of the party are currently feeling quite guilty.
Part of the Green Party even fought for the complete legalization of consensual sex with children. According to the Irish Times, Jürgen Trittin, a longtime member of the party, apologized for supporting the sexual relations between children and pedophiles in the past.
Professor Kentler called the project a success and said that the boys maintained a heterosexual orientation despite having sex with adult men. Kentler also emphasized that the sex in this experiment was not a violent abuse of children, which the sexologist allegedly made sure of.
From today's point of view, this sounds really extreme and scary, but at the time, Kentler was considered one of the best sexologists in Germany. According to the professor, the consequences of consensual sex could be "very positive, especially when the sexual relationship can be characterized as mutual love," according to The New Yorker.
Hungarian psychoanalyst Sandor Ferenczi had the opposite opinion. He wrote that sexual relations between adults and children are "unbalanced, exploitative and destructive." If a child doesn't express disagreement, this might not necessarily be a proof of consent, but a result of obeying the adult.
Kentler apparently later became aware of this fact after his son committed suicide - allegedly because he was sexually abused by his biological mother. In one of his last notes from 1999, he changed his opinion completely and suggested that children and adults aren't able to understand sexual contact on the same level.
In private, he was a homosexually-oriented man who raised several adopted children. In addition, he cared for one child as a foster parent. Kentler was accused of allegedly having sexual contact with his children.
Foster parent allegedly filmed sex with children
The bare truth about the experiment did not come to light until several decades later, when the first victims began to speak out. One of them was a man nicknamed Ulrich (the media say the names have been changed to protect the victims' identities). The Boulevardzeitung-Berlin writes that he still suffers from the consequences of the experiment, is constantly in therapy and unable to come to terms with the events he has experienced.
The above mentioned pedophile foster parent Fritz Henkel cared for a total of 8 children, according to RT Documentary. He allegedly raped all of them and captured the child abuse on film. What did Professor Kentler think about that? In a letter about Fritz Henkel, he wrote that he was "a trustworthy person with a natural educational talent."
One of the boys raised by Fritz Henkel, named Marco, originally grew up with his father, who abused him, writes The New Yorker. He later ended up in Henkel's foster care, who not only beat him and also sexually abused him. When they started living together, Fritz was about 50 years old and Marco was 6 (Deutsche Welle states that he was 9). The boy lived with him until 2003, when he turned 21.
In addition to Marco, Henkel also adopted a 5-year-old Sven. Marco later reached out to him. They lived with Fritz for 13 long years. Although Henkel abused both of them, they didn't talk about it as children. According to Marc, the topic was simply taboo. "I didn't think what was going on was good, but I thought it was normal," he said.
Fritz Henkel was an example of a pedophile who, according to witnesses, sexually abused children, which is apparently not always the case. According to the psychologist, pedophile contact with children does not automatically lead to sexual contact and she sees no reason why pedophiles could not work with children.
"I don't think there's a reason why people with pedophile preferences can't work with children. They can have a really great understanding of the children's world, and that can make them good teachers, educators or writers of children's literature, "she said.
However, it should be emphasized that we are not talking about sexual abuse of children being acceptable. As soon as the pedophile begins to feel slightest interest in intimate contact with the child, it is necessary to be dealt with.
"As soon as a person with this tendency notices that he would be prone to establish closer contact with the child than is acceptable in our society, and is worried that he won't be able to control his actions, regime measures need to be established in the first place. It is necessary to avoid, for example, playgrounds, school areas, not choose for a job which requires contact with children. Therapy can also help a lot, possibly in combination with medications, which can help reduce sexual appetite and assist with difficulties that could result from difficulties with sexual preference, such as anxiety or depression, " says the psychologist.
"Sexual preferences, whatever they may be, can't really be 'treated' in the truest sense. We can't get rid of them because they are an integral part of ourselves. However, what we can influence is our view of these preferences, their acceptance, the decision on how to deal with them, and how we learn to demonstrate them within safe spaces, " she added.
Anyway, Fritz Henkel has obviously crossed this line many times in his life.
Abused boys were not even allowed to talk to each other
According to the victims, the boys were practically cut off from the world and often compared their lives to a cult. Fritz kept the children in separate rooms and they couldn't communicate with each other. The education only took place in the household. Henkel feared that he would lose control over them at school.
For the same reason, doctor visits could only take place under strict regulations. Fritz told the children in advance what they were and were not allowed to say. One of his "sons", Marcel, who had health complications, had to lose his life as a result of a late emergency call.
During the whole time that Marco and Sven lived with him, no one allegedly came to check them and verify whether the foster parent was hurting them. However, Fritz Henkel regularly telephoned Professor Helmut Kentler about their cohabitation. The boys didn't realize that such behavior of the foster parent was unacceptable until they were 21 years old, when they left him. Until then, they practically knew nothing else. Either way, the consequences of growing up with a sexual deviant and a rapist really took a toll on both of their lives.
When Marco was 23, he attacked a few men outside who were looking at him. As he was hitting them, he realized he wanted to kill them, he told The New Yorker. That's when he began to understand how he was affected by growing up with the rapist Fritz Henkel. "It was a Henkel reaction. I was a product. I was turning into the thing he had made,” he said.
As an adult, Marco remained emotionally distant and only cried once in his life. He claims that if someone died in front of him, he would certainly help them, but emotionally he would probably remain neutral. Until the case began to be publicized in 2016, he kept its bitter past to himself, which caused him to suffer from anxiety and depression. He hadn't told anyone about it until then. Not even his partner with whom he now has a child.
The main offenders of the horrendous story remain unpunished
Since the victims of the experiment didn't report on the situation until many years later, when the individual acts fell under the statute of limitations, or the perpetrators were dead, no one was actually convicted of these individual crimes. Regardless of that, the state should financially compensate the victims of Kentler's experiment.
The author of the experiment, Helmut Kentler, died in 2008, so he cannot comment on these shocking findings. The alleged sexual aggressor Fritz Henkel has also escaped punishment, since he died of cancer in 2015.
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