Certainly there is something stinking here.
I would date the pedo panic to the late 1970s - possibly starting with the controversy over Brooke Shields in the movie "Pretty Baby". A curious fact about this time is that it was at the time when using gay men as proxies in positions of power was becoming unreliable as they were beginning to become culturally acceptable. The moral panic of the early 2000s, focusing especially on pedophiles in the Catholic church, looks more like it was intended as an attack on the Catholic church after the Pope registered a public objection to the invasion of Iraq by the United States. However, maintenance of the cultural stigma was still necessary to maintain a hold over pedophiles being used as proxies in positions of power.
The 1970s date would also tie in to concerns about overpopulation. Perhaps their hope was to raise the average age of first procreation in an attempt to reduce the overall number of children ... which now appears to have worked far better than they wanted it to. Without immigration all the developed nations would have lost a great deal of population in the last 50 years.
Of course the elites, knowing exactly what this was all about, and knowing that the moral panic was bullshit, did not pay attention to it themselves. They might say one thing on the air about how terrible it was for a middle class man to be attracted to young women of traditionally marriageable age, much less pursue a relationship with one, but for themselves it was perfectly acceptable. We also see this with elites purchasing seaside mansions while lecturing us on how climate change will raise sea levels. They know better themselves and aren't about to let it affect their own lives.