Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Pedophile Definition:

A medical condition causing a sexual preference for young children.

Often spelled paedophile.

A person afflicted with a serious mental disorder, a mental abnormality known as pedophilia, a sexual perversion in which children are preferred as sexual partner.

Justice DiTomaso of the Superior Court of Justice wrote in R. v Byers:

"Pedophilia is a sexual preference for sexual activity with prepubescent children, typically under the age of 11. It indicates a proclivity for sexual contact with children that cannot be expected to remit. It is present throughout the lifetime."


"... in psychiatry, an abnormal attraction to children by an adult for sexual purposes."1

Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines pedophilia as;

"... abnormal fondness for children; sexual activity of adults with children. A paraphilia in which there are recurrent, intense sexual urges or sexually arousing fantasies of engaging in sexual activity with a pubertal child."

The Attorney's Dictionary of Medicine defines it as:

"Fondness for children which has a sexual background or motivation."

According to the Lawyers' Medical Cyclopedia, pedophilia is a sexual disorder, a sexual attraction to children characterized by "recurrent, intense, sexual arousing fantasies or urges or behavior".

In her 2010 article for the Southern California Law Review, Jennifer Jason wrote, at page 1338:

"Under the current manual of the DSM (DSM-IV-TR), a diagnosis of pedophilia necessitates that an individual of at least sixteen years of age (and at least five years older than the child involved) meet two requirements.

"The first criterion is "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger)" that takes place for "a period of at least 6 months.

"The second criterion requires that the person has acted on these sexual urges or is markedly distressed by them.

"Pedophilia includes any combination of the two. The diagnosis is further delineated into the specifications of (1) whether the individual is sexually attracted to male children, female children, or both; (2) whether the individual's behavior is limited to incest; and (3) whether the individual is sexually attracted exclusively to children, or to both children and adults.

"When the "or behaviors" component of the first criterion is combined with the "acted" component of the second criterion, an individual can be diagnosed with pedophilia based simply on a sexual act with a child, absent a particular mental state."


  • Dorland, I., Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1994), page 1248
  • Jason, Jennifer, Beyond No-Man's Land: Psychiatry's Imprecision Revealed by Its Critique of SVP Statutes as Applied to Pedophilia, 83 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1319 (2009-2010)
  • Patterson, Richard, Lawyers' Medical Cyclopedia, 4th Ed, Volume 3 (Charlotteville, Virginia: Michie Law Publshers, 1996), page 31-32
  • Pugh, M., Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 27th Ed. (Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000), page 1336 - NOTE 1
  • R. v. Byers, 2011 ONSC 4159
  • Schmidt, J., Attorney's Dictionary of Medicine and Word Finder (Newark, New Jersey: LexisNexis, 2003), page P-121

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