Convicted pedophiles deserve the public’s derision and disgust their conduct attracts. A different breed from child molesters, pedophiles find children emotionally, socially and sexually attractive. They prefer the company of children and “groom” children with gifts, attention and affection to gain their trust. They also groom their victims’ parents, often single mothers.
Pedophilia has exploded with the Internet and new technology provides opportunities for them to email and instant message their prey. Chat rooms have been a boon for pedophiles. NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” has focused public attention on judges, lawyers, ministers, and rabbis who solicit young children on the internet, joining a parade of construction workers, teachers, and tradesmen.
Psychologists tell us that there is no cure for pedophilia, although behavioral therapy can control their conduct. Less than 1% of sex offenders complete a treatment program and pedophiles often resist treatment arguing their predilection is biologically based and reflects their sexual orientation, just like homosexuality. (Dr. Eric Hickey, Sex Crimes and Paraphilia, 2006 Prentice-Hall)
It is for these reasons that convicted pedophiles who have young children are rarely, if ever, permitted to have access with their children unsupervised.
That is why the British Court of Appeal’s ruling that denial of access or supervised access for convicted pedophiles infringes on their “right to a family life” is so astounding. (Smith & Ors, R.v (2011) EWCA Crim 1772)
Britain’s last government enacted laws to protect children from sex offenders including curtailing access to one’s children and preventing contact with other children, banning sex offenders from using the internet and placing them on a sex offender registry.
The Court of Appeal also ruled that blanket bans on internet access and contact with teenagers between the age of 16 and 18 are another breach of rights.
These rulings were made after four sex offenders collectively brought a court challenge to release them from conditions placed upon them called “sexual offences prevention orders” or SOPO.
Some of the details include:
Wayne Clarke, who was convicted of child pornography offences and later breached his jail release conditions. When he was brought back to face the music, he had hundreds of photos and videos of young girls engaged in sexual acts, including a photo of sadism and one of bestiality. A search of his computer revealed communications with a mother of a 4-year-old girl which included a pornographic photo.
Bryan Hall was found to have over 6,000 child abuse images of girls between five and 12- years- old on his computer and was banned from living in the same household with any person under the age of 18.
Steven Smith also possessed child pornography and had a previous conviction for raping a young boy.
The Court’s reasons reflected their view that certain conditions imposed on sex offenders were “wider than necessary” and that a blanket ban on computer or internet use for Wayne Clarke was “wrong”, because it restricts him in “the use of what is nowadays an essential part of everyday living for a large portion of the public”.
The Court compared such a restriction to one that would ban an offender from possessing any printed material.
A condition preventing Mr. Clarke from any social contact with boys was similarly pooh-poohed as “unnecessary and unrealistic” since this would prevent him from having “ordinary family contact with his brother and nephews”.
The Court was apparently not concerned that Mr. Clarke’s Thai wife had two children, one an 8-year-old girl.
Bryan Hall’s ban was amended to preclude him from living with a girl under 18 without the express approval of social services.
Steven Smith’s conditions were cancelled since the Court noted that he was serving an indefinite sentence.
The irony of this Court’s decision, Britain’s highest court, except for the House of Lords, is that it elevates the rights of criminals above the rights of vulnerable child victims in a social climate where the protection of children has rightfully become the centerpiece of many legislative initiatives in Canada and the United States.
It is noteworthy that Lord Justice Hughes, who wrote the decision on behalf of himself and Justices Maddden and Supperstone, has a reputation for being light on sexual offenders.
He also decided that a 25-year-old man who incited a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity over the internet using a webcam should not be jailed (www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/darlington/9076699.Man_spared_jail_after_cy) and a 50-year-old serial sex offender who found his adult female victims on trains, should not be barred from traveling on trains. (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-468128/Judge-refuses-slap-travel)
I’m from the school of thought that pedophiles lose their rights when they ruin children’s lives to fulfill their own selfish desires and wide-sweeping restrictions are part of the denunciation of their behavior.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang