EXCLUSIVE: Dutch Pro-Pedophile Academic Worked With Leading Transgender Medical Authority

Reduxx can reveal that a Dutch-American academic with a history of advocating for the normalization of adult-child sexual relationships has had a working relationship with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Theodore Sandfort’s research has been presented at the organization’s symposium as recently as 2016.

Sandfort, a Columbia-affiliated academic and LGBT activist, previously worked with self-declared pedophiles in the Netherlands, documenting adult men’s sexual abuse of boys as evidence to support his theory that adult-child relationships are “predominantly positive.”

Prior to relocating to Columbia University, Sandfort received a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He was also the Chairman of the Interfaculty Department of Lesbian and Gay Studies at Utrecht University and Director of the Research Program “Diversity, Lifestyles and Health” at the Netherlands Institute of Social Sexological Research.

A faculty member at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Sandfort has also been employed as a Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences, and worked at the university’s HIV Center alongside former WPATH president and Director of the institution’s Gender Identity Program, Walter Bockting. Like Sandfort, Bockting relocated to Columbia University from the Netherlands, having completed his doctoral degree in psychology from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.

Bockting and Sandfort also worked together in a professional capacity while acting as members of the editorial board for the academic journal Psychology and Sexuality in 2015.

The following year, in 2016, research co-authored by Sandfort was presented at a WPATH symposium in Amsterdam.

The paper, titled “Gender nonconformity and peer victimization: Sexual attraction and gender differences by age,” focused on the experiences of Dutch same-sex attracted adolescents aged 11 to 18. The study concluded that gender non-conforming youth were bullied by their peers, leading Sandfort and his colleagues to recommend that “key educational messages that address sexual and gender diversity should be delivered during childhood before early adolescence.”

However, Sandfort’s prior work dealt with sympathetic portrayals of pedophilic relationships between adult men and adolescent boys. In recent years, he has also had access to vulnerable youth in New York City’s foster care system, and, in 2020, he was dismissed from this position when his troubling research history dealing with the sexuality of children came to light.

In 1983, Sandfort authored an article for Youth and Society (Jeugd en Samenleving) titled “Erotic moments in working with children,” a small-scale study of sexual desires among five adult group leaders for the children in their care.

The men described deriving sexual pleasure from working with children, specifically when exercising together, bathing the children, or holding them on their laps. One man, identified as “Lex,” spoke of being aroused while “tickling” children aged “2 or 3,” wearing only his underwear, and proceeding to touch the toddlers’ genitals.

That same year, a study by Sandfort was published that positively portrayed adult-child sexual relationships.

“Pedophile relationships in the Netherlands: Alternative lifestyle for children?” concluded that “the partner and relationship, including sexual aspects, were experienced in predominately positive terms; evidence of exploitation or misuse was absent.”

Sandfort’s 1988 paper and dissertation, published through Utrecht University, “The importance of the experience: about sexual contacts in early childhood and sexual behavior and experience later in life,” (Het belang van de ervaring) deals with case studies of the sexual experiences of girls and boys under the age of sixteen.

Yet these were not the only instances where Sandfort expressed pro-pedophile leanings – rather, he has an extensive history of publishing writings and research sympathetic to pedophilia. While still living in the Netherlands, the psychologist and sexologist penned several academic texts on the topic of adult-child sexual relationships.

The psychiatrist was also listed as an editorial board member of an academic pro-pedophilia journal called Paidika, which was printed in Amsterdam from 1987 to 1995, alongside a founding member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), Lawrence Stanley. Two editions of Paidika, in the 1993 and 1994 magazines, featured his research on the “sexual experiences of children”.

Sandfort’s 1987 publication, “Boys on Their Contacts with Men,” presented a study of 25 boys between the ages of 10 and 16 involved in sexual relationships with adult men.

The psychologist and sex researcher had reportedly recruited men from among members of the multiple pedophilia lobbying groups in the Netherlands at that time to solicit them for their views on adult-child sexual encounters.

“Why… should pedophiles, just as other humans with deviant sexual preferences, not have the right to express their sexual desires?” wrote Sandfort, while condemning the feminist movement as “moral dictators” for holding stances against child sexual abuse and pornography.

In several of the case studies documented by Sandfort, young boys are passed around from one adult man to another for sexual use. One of the boys interviewed by Sandfort, Simon, aged 12, describes how he came to know Ed, aged 32, at a community center through another man called Ton.

“Ton is also a pedophile that I first used to go to,” Simon told Sandfort. “He was a sort of Dracula – he sucked everyone in, and after he’d once done it he turned you loose a little later.”

“Did he do that to you?” Sandfort asked the boy. Simon replied, “Yes, he sure did!”

In his conclusion, Sandfort stated that he hoped to present evidence that not all children solicited for sex by adults were being sexually abused.

“Almost all previous research on sex between children and adults has been grounded on the reports of ‘victims’ seeking help or of people who, because of their sexual behavior, have come into contact with the police. The biased picture emerging from such research is to some extent counter-balanced by this investigation.”

Sexologist and psychologist Dr. John Money, known for having popularized the term “gender identity” – as well as his disturbing medical experiments on children – authored a foreword for Sandfort’s book, praising the text as having “great scientific merit.”

“Juveniles and teenagers are attracted to the way their older lovers treat them as equals,” wrote Money, before asserting that the book “constitute[s] that one wall on and around which more may be built.”

In 1991, Sandfort co-edited a compilation of essays defending pedophilia titled Male Intergenerational Intimacy. An introduction co-authored by Sandfort, “Man-Boy Relationships: Different Concepts for a Diversity of Phenomena,” reads:

Chart from Sandfort’s 1987 publication, “Boys on Their Contacts with Men”

“It is difficult to predict in the future with respect to man-boy relationships, child sexuality, the position of children in our society. Will pedophilia become a lifestyle for some people, based on their personally designed sexual orientation? Will society allow people to adopt such a lifestyle, or will society persist in seeing them only as child molesters?

Can sexual involvement between adults and children be only conceived as child sexual abuse, or will the professionals and the public come to realize that there are various kinds of intimate involvement between adults and children and that distinctions between voluntary involvement and forced involvement can be made?”

The book is composed of the writings of over a dozen pro-pedophilia activists, including an essay by David Thorstad, the founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), and Edward Brongersma, a Dutch politician who advocated for lowering the age of consent in the Netherlands with a specific focus on sexual relations between adult men and boys.

In 2020, after his previous pro-pedophile writings resurfaced, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services issued a public statement cutting all ties with Sandfort, who had been working with foster youth aged 13 to 21 in order to conduct surveys.

The research, “Experiences and Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Diverse Youth in Foster Care in New York City,” concluded that more than one out of three youths in foster care identified as “LGBTQAI+” which was deemed “substantially higher” than the percentage found in the general population.

The child welfare agency spent roughly $416,000 in public and private funds over a period of five years for the survey project led by Sandfort.

The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) spokesperson Marisa Kaufman stated, “The City of New York has zero tolerance for pedophilia. The health, safety, and well-being of children is our top priority, and those who endanger children are contrary to the values of our city. Our work with Dr. Sandfort began over five years ago and current ACS leadership was not aware of these previous writings until after the survey findings were released. ACS has severed all ties with Dr. Sandfort.”

In 2008, Sandfort received the John Money Award from the Society of the Scientific Study of Sexuality for his work – an organization that former WPATH president Bockting also had previously been involved with in a leadership position.

Sandfort served as President of the International Academy of Sex Research and the Dutch Society of Sexology, and was a fellow with the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the organization which produces the authoritative guide on psychiatric diagnoses, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM).

In February, the APA issued a statement “affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults” in response to recent efforts by US politicians to prevent children from being prescribed puberty-blocking drugs.

The position mirrors its 2008 Resolution on Transgender, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression Non-Discrimination, which cites WPATH. The amount spent by the APA on the creation of the latest DSM, the fifth edition, which incorporated research provided by WPATH leaders, is estimated to be between $20 – 25 million. According to a 2014 announcement, the APA generated approximately $86 million annually from the sale and licensing of APA publications and databases.


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Genevieve Gluck

Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.

Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve Gluck
Genevieve is the Co-Founder of Reduxx, and the outlet's Chief Investigative Journalist with a focused interest in pornography, sexual predators, and fetish subcultures. She is the creator of the podcast Women's Voices, which features news commentary and interviews regarding women's rights.
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