CLEARWATER, Fla. - Former Clearwater Fire Chief Jamie Geer is set to spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty Friday of sexually abusing a young girl he knew for nearly a decade.
10 News wanted to know what could cause a man like Geer to turn into a sex offender, so we turned to Sarasota psychologist Dr. Robin Wilson, who said loneliness and a hard time interacting with adults are among the reasons some people become sex offenders.
"They kind of gravitate to children because they're less threatening. They're more open to kind of being directed in certain ways and I think there's a thrill to it as well," said Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson, who's been counseling sex offenders for years, said it's either they prefer children sexually to begin with or something in their life triggers that type of behavior. He thinks that may have been the case with Jamie Geer. "Some stress, some work related stress, some situations with his family relationships, if he was having problems with his wife," he said.
The psychologist added, though, that there really is no profile when it comes to identifying sex offenders beforehand, and they're often good at hiding their interests.
Dr. Wilson said it's up to parents to play an active role in their children's lives. "Spend a lot of time asking them about what they do. Take an interest in the lives their children are leading, and to be really open with them, that it's OK to talk about anything," he said.
He adds that 90 percent of the time children are victimized by someone they know and trust.
According to Dr. Wilson, there has been more psychological treatment offered to sex offenders over the past 10-15 years. Those who finish treatment re-offend at a much lower rate than those who don't seek treatment. The vast majority of sex offenders are treatable, Dr. Wilson said, but of course, that means there are others out there who are not.