Sexual Perpetrators and Magicians – How Both Trick People with Illusions

Sex Abuse, Jimmy Hinton, Pedophiles, Illusionists, Magicians, Dr. Larry Nassar


Jimmy Hinton, Sex Abuse, Illusion, Magician, Dr. Larry Nassar, Pedophiles

April is sexual abuse awareness month. It is very important for parents to know that nearly 90% of perpetrators are known by their victims. It is also important to understand that a pedophile can abuse a child while you are in the same room!

An article about sex abuse and the way magicians create illusions is spreading around the internet, and it’s an important one. Jimmy Hinton became a victim’s advocate after his father was convicted of sexual abuse.

Here is a brief summary of Jimmy’s painful journey:

In July of 2011, just two years into my new role as minister, a victim disclosed to me that she had been sexually abused by my father, the former preacher at my congregation. Within seconds, my life began to unravel. My childhood hero was now a villain who had dozens of victims–all of whom were humiliated and violated in the worst possible way. My mother and I reported my father to the police and he is currently serving a 30-60 year prison sentence for sex crimes against children.

Jimmy’s interest in connecting the illusions of magicians with sexual perpetrators is fascinating. Let’s take a closer look:

When Jimmy Hinton, of Somerset, heard about research into how magicians use the brain’s limitations to create illusions, he saw a connection to his own research on how child abusers use deception. 

Hinton contacted neuroscience researchers Susana Martinez-Conde and her husband, Stephen Macknik, about collaborating on research into child abusers’ techniques.

The scientists are laboratory directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, and authors of “Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions.”

Macknik and Martinez-Conde came to Somerset County to begin working with Hinton and presented a program Tuesday for law enforcement and those working with child abuse victims.

“Much of the abuse is practiced directly in front of us,” Hinton said during the program at Somerset Borough Public Safety Building. “I mean literally in front of us.”


Abuse can happen while adults are in the same room!

That last sentence grabbed my attention. My father-in-law is a former missionary and Bible translator. He’s also a pedophile with many, many victims, but the Statute of Limitations has expired on the cases, so he walks as a free man. I found out that one of the ways he abused children was by exhibitionism. He exposed his erect penis to his son’s friends, neighbors, and relatives while adults were in the same room by hiding behind a newspaper. Exhibitionism is abuse, and it is illegal. It is shocking to an unsuspecting minor and causes emotional and sexual harm/confusion.

Isn’t that shocking? Somehow, he was able to manipulate these children somehow to remain quiet while he got away with doing such evil deeds right in front of parents!

The article mentions convicted sexual predator, Dr. Larry Nassar. One of the most shocking discoveries about this case with hundreds, if not thousands of victims, was that he did most of his abuse while an adult/mother was in the room! He was able to position himself between the mother and the patient on the table and digitally penetrate girls with his ungloved hand, while the other hand was visible and doing appropriate physical therapy. He even carried on conversations with parents as he was sexually violating.

Can you see why some parents would minimize or even dismiss the abuse claims saying, “I was there, I didn’t see anything?”  Imagine how crazy-making this was to young girls who were unable to convince trusted adults that sexual abuse was going on right under their noses!

The following, also from the article, explains how our brains work and how we can miss what’s happening in front of us:

Calling some of the techniques “mental jiu-jitsu,” Macknik said the illusionists use the brain’s limited perception to get the audience to see what the performer wants them to see and suppress what the performer doesn’t want the them to notice.


“Brains are naturally limiting,” Martinez-Conde said. “Our brains end up picking and choosing a very small portion of reality.”

The limited perception and abusers’ use of misdirection through visual and cognitive illusion may explain why parents often find it hard to believe the abuse occurred, Macknik said. 

As a parent, how do you talk to your children about sex abuse and how to respond?

Here’s what I do:

  • I tell my kids if they ever feel uncomfortable around someone for any reason, it’s important that they trust that uncomfortable gut feeling, and try to remove themselves from that situation.
  • We use code language: “I don’t feel well.”

“I don’t feel well” doesn’t necessarily mean that my child feels physically sick – – to my child, it means that he/she can tell me in code language that something is wrong. They know that I will not ask any detailed questions, but will come immediately and help remove them from the environment. This gives them a way to let me know there is a problem without having to risk of them letting the abuser know that they are telling me. It is also not lying. Sexual abuse makes a child not feel well, so there will not be any conflict in a child’s mind as they say this phrase.

These are difficult topics to discuss, but I firmly believe that prevention is the best way to protect our children. When we address these issues head-on, we are giving our children tools they can use, so they are not helpless in a situation. They can identify what is happening, label it as abuse in their mind, and then make the choice to do what is necessary to leave the environment and get help.

A child who is able to do this will be empowered with their strength of having knowledge and choices, and will not be as harmed as a child who doesn’t understand what is happening and keeps it to themselves. I haven’t read any studies on this, but I highly suspect a child who is able to do this will be able to recover emotionally much faster than a child who is victimized and remains silent, not knowing what to do with what just happened to them.


photo credit: Bazar del Bizzarro illusionist#nevio martini#56642# via photopin (license)

The Challenge of Dealing with the Effects of Sexual Addiction, Pornography, Pedophilia by Family Members or Friends

Sexual addictions, pornography, pedophiles, family and friends of sexual addicts, S-Anon


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5


Thanks for bearing with me as I’m getting hit with year-end activities for my children and me at school. I’m in the middle of cramming, finals, and looking forward to having a Summer break this year!

While the blog articles have tapered during my busy school schedule, the activity behind the scenes continues and I’m grateful for all I have learned in walking with people who are going through challenging and very difficult times. Last night was one such example which I’d like to share.

Last night, I attended an S-Anon meeting. It was my first time going to a 12-step meeting of any kind. I attended at the request of a new friend who, understandably, didn’t want to go to this meeting by herself.


What is S-Anon and for whom is it geared?

S-Anon a 12-step group that meets weekly for family members or friends of people addicted to sex (pornography, relationships, etc).

With any addiction, family and friends become a part of the addict’s system. Family and friends are impacted by their loved one’s addiction. It can affect them personally and in relationships, present and future. Additionally, how they respond to their addicted love one can have ramifications. Is the sex addiction talked about openly? Or is it the elephant in the middle of the room that people know exists, but refuse to talk about.


Would S-Anon be a good fit for me? The sexual addict I know is not in my immediate family.

At first, I was thinking that I really didn’t qualify to be at this meeting since there’s no sex addict in my immediate family and I don’t have close friends addicted to sex (to my knowledge, anyway). But then I realized that my in-law certainly has affected my immediate family. He is a pedophile, and our family has had to make very clear boundaries on visitation rules; for example, he is not allowed in our home, period. We allow time for meals, etc, but my kids are always reminded about safe touching, not being alone with him, etc. So, yes, I would benefit from these meetings, as would my adult children. There is a teen version of S-Anon, so that would be an additional option for my younger kids.

While the sex addict in my family is not in our immediate family, the situation has presented challenging issues for our family. We have had to broach the subject of sex and sex abuse at a very young age and in very clear terms with our children. We have had to grieve the loss of a normal grandparent-grandchild relationship.

I remember the day it struck me that my dreams of leaving our kids with the grandparents for a special weekend or a few days was completely out of the question. My children have had to find other “adopted” grandparents to fill some of those roles; but it will never be the same as most families where grandparents are an integral part of their lives. That’s just one of a number of losses we have faced due to sexual addiction. This is definitely something I could bring up at a future meeting that has affected me. Do I have anger about it? You bet! I wanted my children to have the best childhood possible and that was robbed from them (and me) due to the pedophile.


S-Anon, wife of pedophile, pornography, sexual addictionsWhat about other areas of sexual addiction are discussed?

Another area that I’ve seen an increased amount of discussion is the issue of a husband’s use of porn (including child pornography) and it’s effect on marriages and families. This is a very real and ongoing problem many Christian families face. The sense of betrayal, lack of trust, self-blame, body shaming issues really come to surface for wives of porn addicts. With porn, the marriage bedroom becomes very crowded and complicated. This takes its toll on wives, and the ripple effect on the children can become very apparent. If the sexual addiction interferes with a job and the addict gets fired, obviously this will have severe consequences on the family.

Because sexual addictions are such a secretive sin, children might sense that something is wrong, but not know quite what it is. They might not understand why mom is so depressed. It would be good to explore this topic more and I hope to be able to share personal stories because I know it is a growing issue that is rarely addressed from the pulpit. I wonder how many wives of sex addicts are sitting in the pews each Sunday at church wondering how their church can help them. It’s typically not  a topic that pastors address. Where will these wives turn for help?

Over 3 years ago, I posted the first article on wives of pedophiles, Being Married to a Pedophile: A Wife Speaks Out and Offers Hope to Other Wives of Pedophiles. This was written by a SSB reader, Anon3, who shared her experience and offered words of hope to another wife of a pedophile. I wish I had kept track of how many women have found that blog post and responded. Looking back, I would say that on average, one person per week has either comment or sent an e-mail asking for help. Those are just people who land at the blog by doing using search engines. Wives of pedophiles would certainly be welcome at A-Anon meetings.


What are the meetings like?

The meeting we attended was quite small, but it varies at every location. The meeting is structured and begins with reading excerpts from their S-Anon book which establishes the rules, objectives of the meeting, and a focus topic area. There is a time where people are allowed to share and a closing. It is confidential and what is said there, needs to remain there.

What I did find is that it is a safe place to gather, share personal stories, get encouragement and support. So many times when we are dealing with something by ourselves, we take it personally, blame ourselves. When we open up with others and exchange stories, we will see familiar behavioral patterns. This is similar to the familiarity many of us have had with spiritual abuse. We have a common denominator with similar, but not exactly the same experiences. (More questions about meetings.)

I think in time, an S-Anon member can get clarity and understanding why they have responded the way they have: why they may have trust issues, why they may have anger, etc.

Knowing and identifying these patterns will be helpful when learning to make healthier decisions and setting appropriate boundaries with the sexually addicted loved one. This is not an easy process. It takes work, but I have spoken with several people who have said the program has given them great tools.

I sensed that those who were at the meeting last night found confidence, understanding, and a tremendous amount of weight lifted from them as have traveled this journey. Rather than trying to survive, they seemed to be thriving AND have enough energy left to help others along in their journey. That was very encouraging for me to see.

For those who have just found this article via a search engine and who are dealing with a sexual addict, welcome.  You are in a difficult place, but you are certainly not alone. You are always welcome to comment here on the blog. I also have a private forum you may ask to join. (Email me at But I also encourage you to seek out a local S-Anon for ongoing support. You definitely do not need to walk this road by yourself. Many have done it before you and would like to offer support.

Here are a few questions from a longer set of questions at the S-Anon website:

Is S-Anon for you?

  • Have you felt hurt or embarrassed by someone’s sexual conduct?
  • Have you secretly searched for clues about someone’s sexual behavior?
  • Have you lied about or covered up another person’s sexual conduct?
  • Have you had money problems because of someone’s sexual behavior?
  • Have you felt betrayed or abandoned by someone you loved and trusted?
  • Are you afraid to upset the sexaholic for fear that he or she will leave you?

You can see if there is a local S-Anon group in your area here.

Note: Although I used men as addicts in the examples above, women are not exempt from having sexual addictions.


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C.J. Mahaney, Sex Abuse, Failure to Report, Statute of Limitations, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Lawsuit, Pedophiles, T4G

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Natalie Rose Greenfield, Pastor Doug Wilson, Christ Church, Pedophile Jamin Wight Sex Abuse Case*


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