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Home > Culture and Society

The hands of paedophiles

10 September 2004

Something odd and slightly startling seems to be happening vis -a- vis our attitudes toward paedophiles and child pornographers. Despite the general 'high alert' status of child-crimes across the globe, we seem to becoming a great deal more lenient. It's almost as if, with the exponential increase in the number of child abuse cases coming to light, judges have just shaken their heads, declared that there is nothing they can do about it, and have given up. Indeed it seems that if we carry on the way we are, in another 50 years, child-love will be as widespread and as generally acceptable as smoking Mary-Jane.

On Wednesday a Canadian tax auditor called Alvaro Moreira was given a six-month conditional sentence despite the discovery of pornographic images of girls as young as eight on his computer. He had also been using wiping software to remove goodness knows what else. But his defence lawyer put in a plea of ignorance. She said, 'It was a case of him looking at all sorts of images. He wasn't particularly attracted to these images, and was, in fact, disgusted by some of them.' The judge, amazingly, agreed and handed down a curfew and a ban on porn and on spending unsupervised time with children.

Meanwhile on Tuesday in England Michael Barrett was given a two- year conditional discharge for twice having unlawful (and, as it happens, unprotected) sex with a 12-year-old girl. Barrett was 18 at the time and Judge Michael Roach decided that the child in question was not coerced, therefore, you know, no harm done. He described her as 'a willing participant'. She's 12. Sorry to repeat that, but it kind of warrants repeating. One wonders if Roach understands why we have an age of consent in the first place. Child support groups are furious. Labour MP Dan Norris has accused Roach of 'playing into the hands of paedophiles'.

Then, in an exclusive report yesterday, the Sun told of how an unnamed high court judge was under investigation after being caught porn-surfing at work, London's Royal Courts of Justice. Apparently there are strict regulations vetoing such activity for judges, but even so, once discovered, this particular judge was not punished. More shocking still is the news in the same article that in the course of their investigations 'IT experts' found six other members of staff at the country's highest court had viewed 'inappropriate' material including child pornography.'

Can this really be true? Employees at the Royal Courts of Justice wanking themselves stupid over kiddie porn? The Sun says it is. It also says that the Lord Chancellor has been alerted. If these findings are anything to go by, he probably won't be that concerned. In fact, he'll probably be too busy with 'Lolita in Nappies'.

It seems it's not so much a case of the vast majority of judges being 'out of touch', as has previously and frequently been suggested, but rather of them being sick evil monsters who believe not only that any woman who is raped was probably asking for it, but also that children too are pretty much fair game.

No, don't worry. None of this is really happening. It's probably just a case of the sensation-seeking media distorting the facts to make it appear that human beings really are at the end of their moral tether. When we start storming schools and shooting the children, that's when we'll know we need to worry.



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