Novelist John Grisham says child porn sentences too harsh

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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.
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Steven BroilesPMBDCGtruckjunkietraildustfotm Recent comment authors
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Dr. Eowyn
Admin

Hard to believe an intelligent man like Grisham wouldn’t know the implications of what he said. Why would someone of his reputation stick his neck out for his supposedly innocent friend from law school? Something doesn’t smell right.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Aw, they’re just mis-understood… apparently, left/liberals need their support.comment image

christy
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christy

Too much to drink but he was still able to surf the net and download what he liked. Pretty skilled in either drinking or surfing porn, or both. Souinds like pieces of this story are missing.

Sanpedrojoe
Guest
Sanpedrojoe

Look, the law says if you are present at an armed robbery and one of your colleagues uses a firearm and kills someone, you are also guilty of that crime. And, that the robber was high or totally strung out, so what? He was there, committed the basic crime, and so….. Apply that legal standard to his friend and what do you have? He was present, participated and tried to leave after the crime(s). Result? Guilty. Period. He went, he viewed, he enjoyed, he downloaded, and who knows what else. I for one am sick to death of such misplaced,… Read more »

Ti
Guest
Ti

If the RCMP can track the visitors to an illicit site, they should direct their efforts to tracking down the web hosters, and site administrators too.
Like was already commented, This guy is an elitist with special rules which apply to his friends, and probably some details were conveniently left out of the story.
Exploiting a child is the same as hurting a child.
What dumb Britishers care what this guy thinks anyway? He’s no Sean Penn.

MomofIV
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MomofIV

All the more reason to don’t drink and surf on the internet. Really, it’s pretty dumb to drink while doing anything that could land you in jail or damage someone. We are breeding a nation of alcoholics.

Seumas
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Seumas

The very notion that someone inebriated could “happen upon” child porn is ridiculous, at least in the context of surfing porn sites, that kind of filth requires specifically looking in the “right places” for it. One can, disgustingly enough, accidentally stumble across it in videochats, however, such as “omegle” etc. because of the destruction of morality in present culture, even 12 year old girls (or younger) don’t have any compunction against flashing their “breasts” or doing other things, even to random people they don’t know, because its “exciting” or they think it wins them “attention” and “popularity” (Consider this story… Read more »

Ti
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Ti

Problem is guys like this also vote and operate motor vehicles, and in his case influence thinking and behavior of millions of ammoral drones. I think society has evolved out of substance abuses like alcoholism and into personality disorders like narcissism fueled by the absence of God in their lives.It’s Satan’s agenda. Satan is a Commie and a Liberal.

TrailDust
Editor

I’m puzzled at Grisham’s statements, too.

truckjunkie
Guest
truckjunkie

Sure-it was just an accident. Right. The Prisons are FULL of people who didn’t do it intentionally,didn’t do it at all,or just made ONE li’l ol’ mistake. If you commit a crime because you were drunk-THAT’S why getting drunk is never a GOOD idea. (Hard way to learn that lesson,but it’ll stay learnt.) Letter of the Law-if you did the crime,the excuse you apply doesn’t make any difference. If it’s wrong,it’s WRONG.

PMB
Guest
PMB

If the idea of prison time sounds too harsh, perhaps the idea of ending up at the bottom of the sea with a millstone around one’s neck would be more acceptable?

Steven Broiles
Member

Oh, so Grisham thinks the sentences are too harsh, does he? I am confident the pedophile believes the victim’s reaction is too harsh!
The thing that galls me is that the government doesn’t seem to be after the producers of this filth—it only goes after the customers. Kind of like the War on Drugs. One more thing is mentioned that does contain truth: The government DOES entrap people with this filth. (Does anyone remember all that child porn that showed up on some 18,000 Pentagon computers?)