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A Voice for Men considers embracing a pedophile — sorry, ephebophile — they once denounced as a GQ magazine secret agent

Remember this guy?
Remember this guy?

You may recall a fellow name Albert Calabrese from Jeff Sharlet’s brilliant GQ article about A Voice for Men’s conference last summer. You may not remember the name, but you may recall one important fact about him: He thinks the age of consent should be lowered to twelve years. “I would rather err on the side of 12-year-olds having sex,” he told Sharlet, “than on the side of ruining men’s lives.”

Calabrese, a former substitute teacher, has made his own “errors,” having won himself a spot on the sex offender registry in Fayetteville, Arkansas for “Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor.”

There’s no question that Calabrese is a real person; a quick Google search will turn up the basic facts of his case, as well as a mugshot that is obviously of the same person whose photograph appears at the start of Sharlet’s piece.

But when Sharlet’s piece came out, with Calebrese’s picture at the top, angry AVFMers cried foul, with some insinuating that he was a sort of double-agent ephebophile hired by GQ to make the Men’s Rights movement look bad.

In an angry and often incoherent post attacking Sharlet, AVFM’s “Collegiate Activism Director” Sage Gerard (aka Victor Zen) declared:

The funny bit about the pedo is that Jeff in reality “found” him and put him in a car with the Honey Badgers to agitate them. Jeff was also seen ushering Pedobear around, and they rarely separated. AVfM will have a story on Jeff’s odd use of the (guy possibly paid to act like a) pedophile later.

In a comment to Gerard’s post, AVFM “managing editor” Dean Esmay claimed that he had some sort of smoking gun:

By the way Jeff–and I know you’re reading this–let’s be real clear, we got the real story now on your little stunt with Pedobear Calzone. Expect to read about it soon. …

Also, would you like to come clean publicly now with how you met the Pedobear that none of us had heard of until you ran your sweaty-palmed “report” for GQ? Or do I have to just publish what we know now for sure saying you had no comment?

Needless to say, the promised story about “Pedobear Calzone” never appeared.

What did appear — and which I only recently discovered — was a video from Calebrese himself, giving his side of the story and, by the way, confirming the key points Sharlet made about him. Including the bit about 12-year-olds.

Faced with the video, AVFMers have not only abandoned their conspiracy theories about him — they’re considering welcoming him aboard.

In a comment on Calebrese’s video on YouTube, Esmay noted that he felt a bit ambivalent about Pedobear Calzone Calebrese:

I have extremely mixed reactions here; as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I do believe in forgiveness and yet your position is extreme. I’m conflicted in knowing how to react to you.

If you’re wondering why Esmay would even consider “forgiving” an admitted perpetrator of sexual abuse he had been denouncing as a phony only a few days earlier, well, here’s a bit more of Esmay’s comment:

That said, one thing is perfectly obvious: you were used and Sharlet was not honest at all. He had a bad used car salesman ooze to him, and the article just confirmed that.

An enemy of Jeff Sharlet is my friend?

AVFM head boy Paul Elam, meanwhile, felt no inner conflict:

Paul Elam 1 month ago  I want to run this at AVFM. I am not conflicted in my reaction. I disagree with some of this man's views, but not all of them. Sex offender registries are a bad joke that devastate a lot of good people.  http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/government-tyranny/sexual-predator-insanity/  Whether I agree with Mr. Calabrese or not, it remains Jeff Sharlet who is the scumbag in this story,

Apparently, in Elam’s eyes, “writing unflattering things about AVFM” is a less-forgivable crime than “Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor.”

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thetruepooka
5 years ago

I see the Dean & Paul are still up to the same old tricks. No wonder no one really takes them seriously anymore outside their little circle.

Kloe Jemmer (@JoeKlemmer)

The sick sickness of these people, and I use that term loosely, is beyond sickening. That’s all I can say.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
5 years ago

So their complaint is that a reporter accurately noted this person’s presence at the conference? And their reaction is to give him a bigger platform?

O…k…

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

Um, you know, maybe instead of siding with a PEDOPHILE, they could side with someone who was arrested for pissing in public since you can be put on a sex offender’s list for pissing in public. Which is stupid because they’re just pissing in public. Gross, but has nothing to do with being sexually offensive. (Unless they’re peeing on people, I guess.)

But they’re siding with a PEDOPHILE to try to prove their point.

A PEDOPHILE.

A CONFIRMED PEDOPHILE.

The. Absolute. FUCK. IS. WRONG. WITH. YOU. PEOPLE?!

Thalia
Thalia
5 years ago

Yeah, this guy is actually an argument for why we SHOULD have sex-offender registries (which I agree are generally problematic and lead to a mob mentality against people who once had sex in a car or suchlike).

How is leching after 12-year-olds ephebo- instead of pedo- ? A good percentage of them aren’t even into puberty yet.

sn0rkmaiden
5 years ago

“Collegiate Activism Director”, is that his real title? Cos, you know, it spells out ‘cad’. Just noting that.

Thalia
Thalia
5 years ago

It is pretty funny in a horrible way that their reaction to the story was “Sharlet found ONE WEIRDO at our conference (assuming he wasn’t a false flag weirdo to be begin with) and dragged him around and stuck him in everyone’s face even though we are totally appalled by horrible people like that and it’s so unfair that Sharlet treated him like one of us” … and a few weeks later, they’re trying to recruit the guy to be a poster boy. That doesn’t make the “Honey Badgers” uncomfortable?

Robin Lionheart
5 years ago

After embracing a rapist who proposes legalizing rape, perhaps embracing a pedophile who campaigns against sex offender registries didn’t strain their Overton window too much.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
5 years ago

“I would rather err on the side of 12-year-olds having sex,” he told Sharlet, “than on the side of ruining men’s lives.”

Hmmm.

“I would rather err on the side of ruining the current and future lives of young children than be on the sex offender registry for rape myself.”

FIFY.

Considering how many MRAs would rather err on the side of ruining the current and future lives of women than wind up sex offender registries themselves for rape, it actually doesn’t surprise me that they would support this individual.

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but as usual, MRA’s operate on the principle that a (white cis het) man’s right to do anything he damn well pleases trumps the rights of everyone else to be free from abuse.

Michael Lindsay
5 years ago

AVFM on forgiveness, you hate women? All your past sins are forgiven, welcome aboard whoever the hell you are!

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

They’re welcoming that guy? The pedo teacher?
comment image

Of course they are.

Robert
Robert
5 years ago

The idea that he believes making sexual abuse of minors the functional equivalent of ‘male sexuality’ will persuade people is more than I can accept. For an adult to desire sexual contact with a twelve year old child is wrong.

I despise that that even needs to be said.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Being a child abuser is better than being someone who wrote a piece about AVFM that was something other than an uncritical puff piece. Wow. That’s so very human rightsy of them!

marinerachel
marinerachel
5 years ago

Raping kids is hunky dory I see.

I would have thought it was the whole raping kids thing that ruined lives but now I know it’s actually THE REGISTRY. What a revelation.

Anne
Anne
5 years ago

Those Guys are just soooo f….ed in their heads…

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

And yet again, MRMers prove that the only thing they give a shit about is that they just want to do what they want and be as horrible as they want without consequence.

All Elam’s said is “well, I don’t agree with everything he has to say (but I’m not going to specify what I agree with and what I don’t), but I’m going to allow him to come and represent us, even though we claimed he was a plant by that Jeff Shartlet jerk a few months ago!”

In other words: I don’t give a shit that this guy is a pedophile, I’d rather err on the side of men not going to jail for abusing children.

tesformes
5 years ago

I read a study, I can’t remember by who, which looked at sex offence convictions that resulted with someone being put on the sex offender registry, and they couldn’t find anyone that was put on the list just for public urination. Does that actually happen? I think it’s more of a stupid TV plot cop-out, for when they need to make a character a sex offender, but also still be sympathetic to the audience.

Annie Squidface
5 years ago

Well, Elam is the dude who thinks beating the shit out of raped children is good parenting, so it’s no surprise that he’d align himself with such a knob.

Anything for attention, right Paul? How would your former cellmates feel if they knew you were friends with child molesters? Though, I suspect you were far less vocal on the subject then, self-serving enabler of child rapists.

I’m fucking done.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@tesformes

In 13 states, you can be put on a registry for public urination, or at least in California.

KathleenB
KathleenB
5 years ago

Oh, gods, how fucking disgusting. When I was twelve, one of these pervs tried to grab me off the damn street. When I didn’t go, he waited at the next stop sign and started jerking off in front of me. Would this jackass have preferred to ‘err on the side of caution’ then? Maybe I was a prepubescent minx, leading an innocent man around by his dick! Maybe I got off on… No, fuck this. I was a KID. The man who did that to me is a disgusting waste of oxygen which should never step on anything but legos. And anyone who defends what he did is an ambulatory wankstain who deserves worse.

Rosemary
Rosemary
5 years ago

So sex offender registries are bad, but Paul Elam’s ‘Register Her’ website was a totally legit way to alert society about the dangers of female criminals and rom com actresses?

Tracy
Tracy
5 years ago

Come on, Dean Esmay – follow your gut on this one. You know this is not fucking ok.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

The idea that he believes making sexual abuse of minors the functional equivalent of ‘male sexuality’ will persuade people is more than I can accept. For an adult to desire sexual contact with a twelve year old child is wrong.

I despise that that even needs to be said.

Puts the repeated call for “men’s rights” and “female accountability” from these people in perfect perspective, doesn’t it?

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Next up: The 12-year-old that this guy raped appears on Register-Her.com.

Betcha.

glenn
glenn
5 years ago

> embracing a pedophile — sorry, ephebophile

How to pronounce “ephebophile”.

suffrajitsu
suffrajitsu
5 years ago

as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I do believe in forgiveness and yet your position is extreme

This sentence just blows my mind. Since this situation is about someone who sexually abused children, I started reading that sentence assuming he would say something like “as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it would seem like I’d want to shun Calabrese”, before launching into the usual rape apologist tripe. But the way this sentence is constructed makes it sound like Esmay is saying as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, he should be more inclined to *forgive* Calabrese. What the fuck? Does Esmay believe childhood sexual abuse should ideally make victims especially forgiving of abusers?

I’m aware there are victims of childhood sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse who have personally made peace with their abusers in their hearts, which isn’t the same as saying it was okay. I’m not bashing or dismissing that response; I can respect it very much, even if I’m personally more inclined to be less forgiving. But the implication here that being molested should make children more forgiving of child molesters…I just…

boogerghost
boogerghost
5 years ago

That slimy snake Jeff Sharlet, making people look bad by printing actual direct quotes. These journalist scumbags will do anything for a story!

@KathleenB Ugh, that is horrifying. I’m so sorry. There’s no way to relate what that must feel like to people of this density.

@suffrajitsu I’m going to go with “Dean Esmay isn’t great at constructing sentences” rather than “Dean Esmay isn’t great at constructing moral pathways,” but really, both are true.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I believe in my state, only level 3 sex offenders are on the list of offenders that have their addresses published. That is, offenders that are highly likely to reoffend and are considered a danger. Someone who publicly urinated probably wouldn’t make the cut.

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
5 years ago

Come on, Dean Esmay – follow your gut on this one. You know this is not fucking ok.

+1.

because reasons
because reasons
5 years ago
Orion
5 years ago

That screenshot from Elam is at least a month old. Since they never did run Calabrese’s piece, I think we can assume they eventually thought better of it?

I guess there *is* a bottom to the barrel.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
5 years ago

http://cdn-www.i-am-bored.com/media/drunk-water.jpg
“A Voice For Men” more like “A Voice For Misognists who want to do whatever they want with no consequences and let everyone take the fall instead”

KathleenB
::Hugs::

Mikki
Mikki
5 years ago

They want to live in a world where men can fuck twelve year old girls, but if the consent laws were set to twelve instead of eighteen, I think they would have a problem adjusting to a world where twelve year old boys are fucking the women they like.

This Handle is a Test
This Handle is a Test
5 years ago

I don’t know how reliable “Family Watchdog Blog” is but they claim that only a total of 463 people (oddly the vast majority in Oklahoma) are being potentially registerable for something akin to Public urination. Of the 13 states that could have this happen at least one requires a secondary condition (Michigan, which requires two incidents, one with fondling). However, I seem to recall an issue of the Economist that mentions that this can happen so I’m not sure.

The registry list is problematic for two additional reasons: 1. Failure to update addresses on lists that this is utilized for (which can lead to assaults on innocent people when vigilantes attempt “street justice” on people who aren’t actually even on the registry. 2. the limits on “Romeo & Juliet” laws (i.e. statutory rape when both people are underage) which can (as a quick search used the term “generally don’t apply to homosexuals”) be discriminatory to gay youths and can be arbitrary as the age gap varies by state. 3. Stupid teenagers taking nude photos of themselves can potentially be registered as a sex offender for spreading child pornography: This is stupid but it doesn’t warrant a sex registry (a quick google search indicates at least one person this might apply to).

Having said that? The stuff in the main post is *EXACTLY* what the sex offender registry is for and it is there for a good reason. Arguments can be made about how things could be improved but these are actually a pretty damn strong argument for rather than an argument against.

To be clear, I’m very much in favor of these laws, though they need a few changes.

This Handle is a Test
This Handle is a Test
5 years ago

Clarification: I should have put “might” in the need a few changes.

mrex
mrex
5 years ago

So, fun story time. Several years ago, when I was going to college in MA, I was reading the bullitien boards in the library, and it turns out that there were a couple of convicted statutory rapists nearby. Not too surprising, and I continued reading until I got to a gem of a paragraph paraphrased as thus; “It is against Massachusetts state law to use information learned from the registry to commit a crime, punishable by blah blah blah”. And I thought, “well no shit, I imagine that it is illegal to commit a crime” but it turns out that it’s specifically illegal to use a sex offender registry to commit a crime or “illegally discriminate”.

Leum
Leum
5 years ago

I can see why they might want/need to pass a law specifically punishing the use of the registry to commit a crime. Vigilante justice against sex offenders is a thing; one of my worries about the list is that it places the listed people (or people who live at the listed addresses) at risk of assault.

Skepty
Skepty
5 years ago

I’ve not got a lot to add about AVFM, but readers interested in an actual human rights group tackling legitimate problems with registries should search for Human Rights Watch’s report on how the US puts minors on sex offenders’ registers. It’s pretty shocking stuff, but far too much like a legitimate problem for the MRAs to take an interest.

NicolaLuna
NicolaLuna
5 years ago

There’s a man on the uk sex offenders register because he sexually assaulted me when I was 18. About a year later he appealed to have his sentence reduced and to be taken off the register because he hadn’t actually got that far into the assault before the police arrived.

I had to go back to court and tell that damn horror story all over again because that asshole had the audacity to whine about how it wasn’t fair that he was on the register.

His appeal failed. The sentence remained the same because just before the assault he had a guy on his knees with a (what turned out to be a replica) gun to his head begging for his life. Which was why the police had been called. Then he turned his attention to me, grabbing my boobs and trying to get me to the floor.

I’m not going to say it ruined my life. It didn’t. My life is pretty good. But it was traumatic and if the police hadn’t arrived as he was grabbing me it would have been a lot worse.

He damn well needs to be on the register.

Hey AVFM, you should totally look up the guy that did that and champion him too. Maybe he could speak at your conference with “Pedobear” (seriously, a child rapist is Pedobear to you guys??) about how it’s not fair that my evil boobs hypnotised him into grabbing them and that 12 year old just digs older guys? You deserve trees everywhere an apology for wasting the oxygen they produce.

Zolnier
Zolnier
5 years ago

@mrex

What does discriminate even mean in this circumstance? What crimes could I commit with the sex offender’s register? Find houses to burglarize? I suppose blackmail is a possibility.

Moggie
Moggie
5 years ago

Maybe Elam has looked at the poor state of AVFM’s income, and decided that A Voice For Pedos would bring in more bucks.

AltoFronto
AltoFronto
5 years ago

KathleenB, and Nicolaluna – I’m so glad to hear that you got out of those situations without the worst befalling you. I offer you jedi hugs, and wish you well.

Policy of Madness summed up everything wrong with the nasty dude holding the sign pretty succinctly. He is the perfect example of a man who deserves to be on the Sex Offender’s Register.
Would also agree that the register should be primarily a tool to protect others, so perhaps there should be some review of whether Romeo & Juliet, public urination, etc count in the same way as sexual assault of minors, an whether this applies everywhere… But damn, Calabrese is not to front that campaign.

Trust AVFM to miss the valid issue in favour of advocating the most appalling scum-bag behaviour, though. What in his bizarre little noggin makes Elam think that supporting a convicted paedophile is going to in any way help AVFM?

Please, Dean Esmay… trust your gut and take an ethical stance, for once in your life…

tralala
tralala
5 years ago

@davidfutrelle

This is the perfect timing.

So Reddit actually was a beacon of hope today; a thread on askreddit saying, “Women of Reddit, when did you first notice that men were looking at you in a sexual way? How old were you and how did it make you feel?” erupted into thousands (almost 20,000 replies total, the majority of them women with their stories) of women told about being propositioned, catcalled, and assaulted starting in the range of 7-14 (most are around 10, like myself).

This took less than 15 hours to get this many responses, and bear in mind reddit is something like 26% female.

There is amazing responses from guys who FINALLY get it when it comes to catcalling and understand what women are going through.

Help! Can this be viral? This needs to be a thing. Help David! If I’m not alerted David correctly can someone email this to him?

http://np.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3249ff/women_of_reddit_when_did_you_first_notice_that/

Ellesar
5 years ago

Isn’t the ‘public urination’ one usually just masturbators trying to dodge a sexually orientated charge?

Charles RB
Charles RB
5 years ago

If I’d said last week “AVFM would cuddle up to people who rape children if they thought it would annoy their ‘enemies'”, AVFM would be outraged about how I’m defaming them.

And yet here we are!

Charles RB
Charles RB
5 years ago

Wonder what they’d do if Calabrese’s victim had been a boy?

Penny
Penny
5 years ago

@Mikki:
They want to live in a world where men can fuck twelve year old girls, but if the consent laws were set to twelve instead of eighteen, I think they would have a problem adjusting to a world where twelve year old boys are fucking the women they like

That is kind of a messed-up thing to say – it sounds like it erases the experience of boys who were victims of sexual abuse, which is all part of the sexist concept that men do sex, while women have sex done to them. I hope I’m just misreading you somehow, because that comment made me very very uncomfortable.

(Hi! Long time lurker, first time poster. Sorry that I’m starting on such a negative note.)

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
5 years ago

Anyone remember Spin City? There’s an episode where the gang is talking about what is and is not sexist. Stuart kept agreeing with Mike and Mike said, ‘I know you think you’re helping, but when you agree with me, it makes me rethink my position.’

If a convicted child rapist agrees with you on sex crimes, maybe it’s time to rethink your position.

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
5 years ago

glenn “How to pronounce ‘ephebophile’.”

I would rather pronounce it wrong than watch that video, because I don’t want Google thinking I’m into that. For my job, I had to look up movies about accidental incest. I get weird enough results when I Google stuff as it is.