It has been noted that people who face charges for child pornography possession or sexual molestation of a child commit suicide pretty often, though I'm not aware of any studies that have been large enough to allow statistical tests. Here is <one reference from Malaysia> of suicide among those facing charges. <This book> recognizes the problem and would be an interesting read.
<Ryan Loskarn> is a recent case which made the news because of his position in Washington.
My guess is that the rates of suicide would be higher for those charged with this kind of crime because the perpetrators feel intense shame -- markedly above that for other crimes. As I argued in my previous post, some pedophiles hate themselves intensely even if they have done nothing wrong, and it's easy to imagine that exposure of their secret would be enough to drive them to suicide.
What interests me even more is the number of teen boys and men who kill themselves when there is no imminent threat of disclosure.
A remarkable number of the men who write to Virtuous Pedophiles have had significant suicidal thoughts. Some have attempted suicide. Those who succeeded obviously cannot write to us.
If we think about the situation of a teen pedophile, we can easily see the level of distress that might lead to suicide. The teen years are already a time of uncertain self-esteem and self-image, combined with relatively poor self-control. Imagine you have just discovered that the only people who you are attracted to are children. You suspect you will never be able to have sex or know love. You know the society has you pegged as one of the most despicable people on the planet. You are told that you are doomed to molest a child sooner or later, and the intensity of your teen sex drive will make that seem plausible. You may have strong reason to doubt that your family or friends would accept you if you revealed your secret. If you found the courage to talk to a school counselor or see a psychotherapist, you would fear that she or he might report you to the police simply for your attractions. In any case they are likely to treat you not with the compassion they would find for just about any other life difficulty, but with revulsion. In comparison, the outlook for gay and lesbian youth seems positively sunny.
It has been noted for some time that <gay and lesbian teens> have higher suicide rates. Whether you think pedophilia is a sexual orientation or not, it is similar in many ways but doesn't merit any mention in that Wikipedia article.
According to <these statistics>, out of 100,000 20-year-old males, something under 20 kill themselves in any given year, for a rate of 0.02% -- one fiftieth of a percent. If we took the fairly standard estimate of 1% of the male population being pedophiles, then even if all of the suicides were pedophiles, it would be a rate of 2%. Of course suicide being heavily concentrated in any small group is highly unlikely, but it sets an upper bound. On the other hand, it is the rate per year, and a young pedophile has several years of exposure. Yet even if 10% of suicides by teen boys were pedophiles, it would be of considerable interest.
In how many cases is a suicide note the first confirmation that someone was a pedophile? My assumption is that police would not publicize the contents of a suicide note without compelling interest, for instance if it was linked to some recent crime. Nearest of kin have control of the notes, and it is easy to imagine that most would not reveal that the deceased was a pedophile.
Ryan Loskarn's mother chose to publish his suicide note. He had already been accused of child pornography possession, so the basic secret was already out. What's more, he was raising some extenuating circumstances -- his own past abuse -- that made it of interest.
While police would not announce the private content of any given suicide note, it would be possible for them to keep statistics to be reported in aggregate form. I don't know if this has been done. Barring that, it would be of interest to hear anecdotal reports of those with years of experience in reading such notes. Is pedophilia mentioned?
I would welcome any leads on this issue.