When we read about a horrible crime, we look for a rational explanation by seeking out the words regarding the accused, "he was a loner", "he was strange". We typically do find this to be true for those who fire automatic weapons in school massacres or cases such as the kidnapping, abuse and murder of women and children. However in the case of sexual abuse by pedophiles - we are stuck with the fact that often the perpetrator is amongst the most beloved of the community. Typically the pedophile picks a lonely child and grooms him for abuse by being his "special friend". Consequently many can't believe that this distinguished family man, this charismatic teacher, this deeply spiritual clergyman would do such a thing. Many can't accept that the pervasive belief that a man who abuses and rapes children is mentally ill, a loner, a stranger - is typically wrong.
Because of the deeply seated belief as to the inherent evilness of pedophiles, we have a hard time accepting that the beloved uncle or neighbor is a child rapist. Consequently even when a pedophile confesses - it is often not accepted as being true. And surely when the accused is convicted despite his protests of innocence. The belief that nice people don't do horrible things conflicts with the fact that this person was convicted or confessed.
This is the problem of cognitive dissonance - resolving strongly conflicting facts. However this dissonance is difficult to live with and thus we have a need to resolve it. One resolution is that we decide he wasn't so nice after all. That his good deeds were fake and that we really didn't know him. While in fact his accomplishments are often genuine - but viewing him as a phony allows us to accept his guilt.
The other way of resolving the dissonance is to say that the conviction or even confession is not true. How does one ignore the fact of confession by the accused. One rationalization is that he was being railroaded by lying, vindictive kids who were trying to cover up their own misdeeds. Furthermore the accused could not handle the expenses of years of legal help. Therefore when faced with the likelihood of a life sentence or a plea bargain of 5 to 10 years - the plea bargain is the rational option. Because this does happen - it is possible for a rational human being to discount clear evidence of guilt. However the fact that it is unlikely - should cause the true and faithful believers in innocence to at least have doubts.
The Seridei Aish notes that for a person to be a believer, the fact must move from being an outside assertion - to being accepted internally. This is true of all beliefs. Therefore there are those who keep externally the facts of confession or conviction. They acknowledge that a conviction or confession has occurred - but it is not internalized. The question then becomes, "What helps us internalize these unpleasant facts?"
The most helpful aid to accepting unpleasant facts is education. As we become more educated about the niceness of pedophiles, the dissonance becomes reduced. As we learn that genuinely loving and spiritual people can do these horrible crimes - the more readily we will deal realistically with these crimes - both in terms of prevention and conviction. As the dissonance is reduced, the easier is it to accept reality. It is time to accept reality.