USA Today deleted tweets following public backlash to its article attempting to normalize abnormal adult attraction to children.
The article, titled "What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia," was quickly moved behind a paywall.
The writer quoted researchers who claimed there's a difference between pedophiles who harm children and people who only think about it.
The writer claimed scientific studies found "pedophilia is determined in the womb, though environmental factors may influence whether someone acts on an urge to abuse."
"Not all people who sexually abuse children are pedophiles. Some pedophiles never abuse children, experts say, and some people who sexually abuse children do not sexually prefer them, but use them as a surrogate for an adult partner. They may be disinhibited and anti-social, with impulse control problems."
"The evidence suggests it is inborn. It's neurological," said James Cantor, a clinical psychologist and sex researcher. "Pedophilia is the attraction to children, regardless of whether the (person) ever ... harms."
Cantor said there's no treatment for pedophilia, but pedophiles can be taught self-control and strategies to compensate, which he said is more likely if they're under the care of a professional.
"There are the people who are sexually attracted to children ... (and then) there are some people who molest kids who are not pedophiles," said Anna Salter, a psychologist, author, and internationally recognized expert. "They molest kids because of anger. They molest kids because they're scared of adult women. They molest kids to get revenge, but they don't actually have an age preference for prepubescent children."
After deleting the tweets, USA Today explained:
"A previous thread did not include all information and the story it was written about is behind a paywall. We made the decision to delete the thread."