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Todd Nickerson describes himself as a non-offending 'virtuous paedophile'.

Todd Nickerson describes himself as a non-offending minor attracted person, a ‘virtuous paedophile’.

The 43-year-old is one of a handful of paedophiles who are ‘out’ in the US and believes that his underage attraction should be understood as a sexual orientation to be controlled rather than feared.

“I am a paedophile. I’m not a monster. I have the attraction but I don’t act on it,” he told Barcroft TV in a new documentary.

“I have never ever sexually abused a child and I never will. I do not look at child porn, I never will. I obey the laws, I respect the laws, I respect society’s position on this. I understand it and agree with it.”

Todd Nickerson is a 'virtuous paedophile'. Source: Barcroft TV

Nickerson runs an online forum called 'VirPed', a support network for those who find themselves attracted to children but control their urges and refuse to consume child pornography.

It has thousands of members who use the site to "remain law-abiding".

Like Nickerson they refer to themselves as 'virtuous paedophiles', 'ethical paedophiles' or 'gold star paedophiles'.

"Not all paedophiles are child molesters and not all child molesters are paedophiles," he said.

"A paedophile is strictly speaking just somebody who has sexual attraction to children — they may act on it, they may not.

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"A lot of people think that if you are attracted to kids, you have some kind of unusual degree of urge to go out and attack kids, and it’s not like that.

"The people that struggle with it have self control issues and we just try to encourage them — sometimes we have to use tough love because one problem with paedophiles at times is that they are very good at deluding themselves."

The underlying cause of paedophilia is widely debated; some believe it is genetic while others believe it's environmental or a mix of both factors.

Nickerson, who currently lives in Tennessee, believes a "contributing factor" in his sexual development may have been a one-off incident in which adult acquaintance allegedly molested him when he was 7-years-old.

He first realised his attraction to underage children when he was 13.

Nickerson was 13 when he first realised he was attracted to children. Source: Bancroft TV

"I was 13, and a neighbour had come over to visit and brought his little daughter with him, she was probably 7 or 8.

"I was in the living room drawing and I just remember looking up and just being blown away by her, by how beautiful I thought she was.

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"Initially I repressed the feelings, especially in my teenage years when I was a regular at church, I’d ask God to take it away and I kind of thought he had.

"But I started ageing and realised that the age of the girls I was attracted to were staying the same, that’s when I realised this was going to be a problem."

"I am a paedophile. I’m not a monster. I have the attraction but I don’t act on it." Source: Bancroft TV

Nickerson is a virgin, despite having a had a brief relationship with a 26-year-old woman in his early twenties.

He says he became depressed when he realised he was unlikely ever to have a family of his own.

In 2014 he discovered other virtuous paedophiles and has since dedicated himself to trying to make the group better understood by mainstream society.

"I am part of one of the most hated groups of society, no question about it, we are the scapegoats du jour," he said.

"I would like people to empathise with us and understand that this is not a choice.

"We didn’t choose our sexuality ... We just want to educate the public and help people understand where we are coming from and hopefully see our humanity."

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