Child Predators: David Hernandez

Spotting a Predator
Dr. Phil talks to a convicted child molester. Find out how to protect your child from predators.

David Hernandez is a prisoner in a maximum-security facility in California. He has been convicted three times of sexually molesting girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

He passed himself off as the guy next door, the church counselor and the family friend. David agreed to talk to Dr. Phil because he said he wants to help parents spot the predators who are after their children.

According to David, he molested at least 100 children. To get children to trust him, he said he would talk in a high, child-like voice, and ask them about games or toys that they liked. He also said his appearance helped children feel comfortable with him. "If I was dressed in overalls and looked like a country hick, I would appeal to very few people," David explained. Instead, he says he made sure to have clothing and hair that the kids would think was "cool."

David usually got to know the children and their families well. "The grooming process," he explains, "is the time that a pedophile takes in order to get the child ready to be molested. In my case, I don't pounce on them. I don't use money. I don't use drugs. I don't use pornography. I don't say, 'Don't tell your parents.' I look like an all-American boy."

How can a parent spot a predator like David? He explains, "A parent can spot me when I'm going the extra mile, when I'm supposed to be doing something else. When something doesn't feel right to them, that should be a red flag, that should be a warning signal going off. As the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

If a parent is suspicious that someone is a predator, he/she should take action immediately. "Start asking questions, investigate his background, do whatever you need to do." David says. "Why am I spending so much time [with the child]? Why am I willing to do the extra things that I'm doing? Why do I caress them when I hug them?"

He also warns parents about people who try to win children away from their parents with promises of gifts or money.

A sexual predator can find his/her way into any family. "David would look for families that were stressed, that might not have the time, energy, or resources to do everything they wanted to do for the children," Dr. Phil explains. "He would present himself as this kind-hearted guy that just wants to help out."

David chose to be chemically castrated. Every two years he is evaluated, and may someday be released. If he got out today, would he molest children again? "Yes," he answers. "Do I want to be out before I'm ready? No, I don't."