Ivory tower expert Helen Reece believes that convicted sex offenders should be able to adopt, foster and work with children, because after all, everyone needs a second chance. Reece, an author and lawyer with a Master’s degree teaches family law at the London School of Economics.
She supports her argument by pointing out that once a sex offender has served time, he/she should be treated like other offenders who have paid the price for their crimes. She also says that sex offenders are less likely to repeat their crimes. But so are murderers.
Reece cites several legal precedents for treating sex offenders like everyone else. She refers to a British case where a man convicted of the sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl thirty-six years earlier, was permitted by the British Court to foster his grandchildren who were already living with him.
That Ms. Reece fails to identify the difference between an older boy having sex with his underage girlfriend and those who molest, fondle and rape is astounding.
She also warns us that not permitting sex offenders to adopt or foster children may be discriminatory and unconstitutional under the European Convention on Human Rights. To buttress this argument, she refers to a 2008 House of Lords decision that struck down Ireland’s ban on common law couples adopting children. She says that if they can adopt why can’t sex offenders?
Once again, to compare an unmarried heterosexual couple to convicted sex offenders strains credulity.
But this is not the first time Ms. Reece has courted controversy. In her earlier writings she argued that the best interests of the child should not be the paramount consideration in custody matters. She said that parent’s rights should play a more central role. This thinking is right out of the dark ages and has been rejected in every civilized jurisdiction.
Is Helen Reece really as wacky as she sounds? This must be a way for her to attract attention, perhaps sell books and gain tenure at her university?
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang