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Inside the Mind of a Criminal Predator

Updated: Friday, February 21 2014, 10:35 AM CST

"Tell these parents to teach children about the monsters we are." Those are the words of a convicted sex offender.

We don't want to name names or show mug shots of those people accused of harming children.

Our goal in tonight's special report is just to bring the truth to light about how sex offenders operate so you can keep your kids from falling into their traps.

Emily Baucum takes you inside the mind of a criminal.

These are letters most people would never want to read.

Written behind bars and barbed wire by people accused of awful crimes against children.

Most prisoners wrote they are innocent. Others admitted guilt, but almost all of them
said they have information families need to know.

We're hiding the prisoners identities to protect their victims.

If you met them in passing, chances are you wouldn't be scared.
And many are already in your home
All but one of the prisoners who wrote us said they knew their victim very well.
The victims were usually friends' kids or their own nieces, nephews or stepchildren.
And the prisoners were once babysitters or boyfriends of the victims mothers.

This prisoner from san antonio admits to molesting his girlfriend's three-year-old daughter. He believed the child was asking for it.

Typical little kid behavior, that's what most parents would say. And he knows it.

He eventually got caught and went to prison. But when he got out, he met another single mom with another daughter. He says he was honest about his past.

Emily Baucum: "She wasn't concerned for her daughter?"

Offender 1: "Not one bit. I couldn't figure it out."

He started grooming his second victim.

Some of the prisoners who wrote us admitted giving victims gifts and money to stay quiet.
To get the victims alone, they'd say things like: 
"Let's do the fun thing."
"No one would know."
"It would be our little secret."

He was right.
The victim told.

In their letters, the prisoners say that's how all of them finally got caught.

This prisoner from east Texas was a youth minister who admits to a sexual relationship with his teenaged stepson.

Emily Baucum: "But you did that."
Offender 2: "I know. I know. I was wrong."

Like most of the prisoners who wrote us, this man says he was sexually abused as a child. He never told anyone and believes keeping the secret for so long led to him molesting his stepson.

From these difficult conversations, we learned that what the experts say is true.

Abused children often grow up to be abusers. And the person molesting a child is someone they know, love and trust.

We just had one more question.

Prisoners wrote: "Talk to kids about good touch and bad touch."
     "Teach them modesty."
     "When they're old enough to say 'pottie' is a good time to begin pointing out the little details of life."
They told parents to do background checks on new friends.
    "Look around you because it could be a person you know."
And most of all: Be an *involved* parent.
     "If you don't love your child, someone will."
One more thing. To anyone out there who is harming children:

In San Antonio I'm Emily Bachum reporting.

We know this is a hard conversation to have with your child. So we asked the non-profit "childsafe" what to do when addressing the topic with your kids. They recommend books like My Body Belongs to Me, which you can even read to your child as a bedtime story. It teaches kids about boundaries and that if anything bad happens you should always tell an adult.

Inside the Mind of a Criminal Predator

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