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TrekToday - Articles on Pedophile Star Trek Fans Ignite Controversy

Articles on Pedophile Star Trek Fans Ignite Controversy

By Michelle
August 21, 2005 - 10:31 PM

Several weeks ago, a Los Angeles Times article ignited controversy when it claimed that "all but one of the offenders [investigated by the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit] arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie" (story). Now, although one of the detectives originally cited has retracted his claim as an exaggeration, a Los Angeles therapist is analysing the appeal of Star Trek to "perverts", claiming a connection between utopianism, the caricatures of women portrayed by the original series and the impulse to defend and explore deviant sexual practices.

The blog of Ellen Ladowsky at The Huffington Post claims that "Star Trek paraphernalia has so routinely been found at the homes of the pedophiles they've arrested that it has become a gruesome joke in the squad room" and concludes that, "if you're a pedophile, odds are you've watched a lot of Star Trek." She noted that the members of the Heaven's Gate cult who committed mass suicide in 1997 were also passionate Star Trek fans and had a strict policy of celibacy banning all sexual thoughts."

The reason for the connection, Ladowsky believes, is that "sexuality on the Enterprise is pretty peculiar...the male crew members demurely ignore the sexually enticing (if antiseptic) female crew members. There seems to be a tacit agreement that any sexual relationships would destroy the unity of the crew. She characterises Kirk as emotionally immature and claims that "there's a pervasive message that women are toxic", citing slash fan fiction as representative of the male bonding that excludes women on the original series. (Ladowsky notes that slash fan fiction is written much less often by men, gay or straight, than by heterosexual women.)

"Spock, of course, doesn't have the emotional apparatus for a romantic or emotional relationship. It's easy to imagine how the garden variety pedophile might identify with the half-human, half-Vulcan character who is bereft of human feeling, essentially neither male nor female, and living in a society where those around him seem to have a different set of rules," Ladowsky adds, drawing parallels between autistic people who identify with Spock and potential interest from pedophiles.

Corante, which refuted the original Los Angeles Times claim, posted a follow-up in which the Times writer said that she stood by her story but blogger Ernest Miller said that he would like more information, such as what the detective unit defined as a "hard-core Trekkie." In a final post, he corresponded with the writer of a similar article on pedophilia and Star Trek fandom in Canada published in Macleans which did not repeat the claim that "all but one" of those arrested by the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit was a Star Trek fan. Miller was told,

[Detective] Lamond told me what he told you, that 'all but one' was a bit of hyperbole. However, the cops do stick by their claim that the vast majority of people that they bust seem to have an obsession with sci-fi. And that most of them seem to really like Star Trek.

Frequent TrekToday contributor Doug Wilson wrote to the Los Angeles Times as well about their original article. He received a response from the newspaper stating that "the reporter double-checked the statement with Lamond's boss, Det. Sgt. Gillespie, and he stood by it one hundred percent," even though Lamond had already said that he had exaggerated the statistics. The newspaper representative added, "It is important to note that they are not saying that every Star Trek fan is a pedophile -- just that it was a surprisingly common element among those [those] they had arrested."

The original Los Angeles Times article is here. Ladowsky's column and hundreds of comments on it may be found here.

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