Our expert says:
Denial is a fascinating human skill, sometimes valuable ( as when clever use of it enables us to live with a serious illness, and concentrate on the brighter part of our life and not exclusively on the risks or problems ). I'm not sure whether this psychological defense mechanism is actually what explains the cases you quote. Denying ( not the same thing at all ) that one committed a crime is frequently chosen by psychopaths and other nasty people who hope there may be a way of getting away with their crimes. The families, indeed, may be in denial, and also falling for a common error. When a serial killer gets arrested, neighbours often comment that they were a nice enough, quiet person --- of course they were. That doesn't mean that they COULDN"T be a serial killer, just that to manage a series of murders, you can't afford to be a slavering obviously vicious brute ---only people who can pass relatively unnoticed in society can get away with major crimes.
I don't know the details fo the crimes you mention, but to be able to get close enough to harm children, for instance, someone has to seem safe and even caring to others who would allow them access --- and families ( and others ) mustn't assume that just because someone wasn't obviously vicious or noticeably antisocial somehow means that despite whatever evidence there is they just cannot have commited the crimes of which they are accused. And there is of course also a degree of wish-fulfillment at play --- in a family, it might seem to reflect badly on you that some relative could do something horrible, so you really want to believe they didn't do it. And of course they may privately recognize that the person is guilty, without wanting to admit it publically.
In the British media, there's been a story of a mother who realized her two sons had viciously assaulted a man who had barely survived, losing an eye, after their attack --- in part, I think, because she heard them bragging about it--- and she reported them to the police and may even have testified against them. Admirable, I'd think, but sadly uncommon.
But to raise a point ( but please respond, if you do, in a fresh message ) what do you make of the women ( it somehow always seems to be women ) who claim they have fallen in love with a convicted murderer and even go so far as to marry a man in jail, though they didn't know him before his arest and can know nothing of him other than what emerged in their trial. What is happening there ?
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