Debate Magazine

Novelist John Grisham Says Child Porn Sentences Too Harsh

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

grisham

KOMO: Novelist John Grisham says the United States is handing out unduly harsh prison sentences for child pornography offenses to men who probably just had too much to drink and “pushed the wrong buttons.”

Grisham told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that U.S. prisons were “filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who have never harmed anybody, would never touch a child.”

He said many of those jailed “got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”

In an interview published Thursday to promote his latest legal thriller, “Gray Mountain,” Grisham said he had “no sympathy for real pedophiles” but that others were being punished too harshly.

He went on to share the story of a friend from law school who was caught in a “sting” operation and served time in prison for downloading child pornography.

“His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labeled ’16-year-old wannabe hookers’ or something like that’. … So he went there. Downloaded some stuff — it was 16-year-old girls who looked 30. He shouldn’t have done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything. And, God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people — sex offenders — and he went to prison for three years.”

He did add, “I have no sympathy for real pedophiles,” he said, “God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting.

Youth protection charities now are slamming the blockbuster author for his “irresponsible,” “inaccurate” and “dangerous” comments.

Jon Brown from the U.K.’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children told WENN, “There is no excuse for viewing images of child abuse. Is it OK to beat someone up and say it was a one-off or that you were drunk? No. Sex offenders will often use the ‘I was drunk’ excuse but alcohol is simply revealing their true nature.”

Mr. Grisham’s comments send a dangerous message that ‘just looking’ at images online causes no harm. In fact, every image is a real child who has suffered and every time these images are clicked on or downloaded it creates demand that ultimately fuels more child abuse.”

Child protection charity ECPAT UK’s spokesman, Bharti Patel, added, “John Grisham’s statements are entirely irresponsible. With the rise in abusive images of children across the globe, there is a need to strengthen laws and to criminalise those that access abusive images of children. … There can be no excuse or leniency in this. His statement clearly sends out the wrong signal …

Viewing abusive images of children is child abuse and a violation of the rights of children. His statement is also inaccurate as there is evidence which shows that those who access abusive images of children frequently go on to groom children online through social media and chat rooms, as well as initiate contact abuse.”

After the bad press backlash he received for these statements, Grisham issued an apology:

“Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography—online or otherwise—should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote in a statement on his website.

He continued: “My comments… were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”

With the release and promotion of his new book, I’m sure he does regret having made these comments speaking in defense of his friend.

messed up

DCG


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