Page 8, 24th January 2003

24th January 2003
Page 8
Page 8, 24th January 2003 — A Victorian notion we need to recover

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A Victorian notion we need to recover

`These three disparate cases make, in a very concrete way, one clear point: a married man may be just as likely to be drawn to paedophile images as a celibate'

Mary Kenny

Pete Townsend of "The Who". The TV celebrity Matthew Kelly. Tim Allen. coowner of Ballymaloo House, probably Ireland's best restaurant in West Cork. All three have been named or apprehended in connection with child pornography on the Internet.

Tim Allen, father of four and husband of Darina Allen, who has found fame as a celebrity cook, has been sentenced to 250 hours of community service and Ballymaloo House has had a rush of cancellations. Pete Townsend has been bailed until March. Matthew Kelly has not yet been charged but he is to be questioned.

All three cases are different Pete Townsend claims that his reason for buying into the paedophile porn is for research purposes. He was sexually abused himself as a child and wants to find out more about this odious perversion. Some may be sceptical of this defence, but it may well be quite valid. If you are researching a subject you do examine what is available on the intemet: although if I were doing this with paedophile porn, I would now take the precaution of informing the authorities in advance: or I would do the research in the company of a lawyer, or someone who could testify that such was the purpose of the exercise.

But the three disparate cases do make, in a very concrete way, one clear point: a married man may be just as likely to be drawn to paedophile images as a celibate, After the paedophile scandals in the Catholic Church. celibacy was popularly held to be the mainspring of the problem. Surely, it would be better if priests were married.

Yet virtually all psychiatrists, and other experts in this field say that married men are more likely to be paedophiles than the unmarried. Married men have more access to children, and since they have the habit of sexual activity, they may desire to extend this habit to other fringes. It is a very weird desire, and only a tiny minority of men would act upon it. But among this tiny minority, the culprits are as likely to be married as celibate.

When I last visited a prison, 1 was shown. briefly, into the

wing which houses the paedophile offenders. "We have here a university professor, a director of [a large British corporation was mentioned]. an Anglican bishop. among others." said the warder in charge. Most were married. In stark contrast to the other parts of the prison, where the offenders were young, of mixed races and proletarian copies of The Sun and The Daily Star lay about the paedophile wing inmates were older. wellspoken and were reading The Times and The Guardian. Education and intelligence are no bar to this offence, or


And what makes life particularly problematic for those with paedophiles tendencies today is the fact that there is so much temptation about. If you have, say, an alcohol problem you know what you should do: don't hang around with a hard-drinking crowd: avoid the "occasion of sin", as it was once so aptly called. Value sobriety, and turn away from the alcohol culture.

But, as a convicted paedophile once explained to me. in our society today, everything urges you to "liberate" your senses from all restrictions. Sexual images are everywhere, and it seems so unfair to the paedophile that everyone else is urged to gratify their sexual desires. Another paedophile I corresponded with told me that he looked on the homosexual community as a hopeful parallel. "Once, they were told they should repress their feelings but now they are told it's good to be gay. One day, maybe, we child-lovers will also be liberated from social restrictions and be free to express our orientation."

No: this cannot be. The only treatment for the paedophile is that Victorian word we have learned to

despise repression. desire cannot be "liberate must be sublimated. while 1 have misgivings4. laws based on the notii "thought crimes", into paedophilia does have suppressed. prosecuted, yes, censored where pos, There is no question but images do damage to viewer, and, more to the p the children hired to pry. them.

The best kind of contt self-control, but it help society agrees that bit sexuality — movies t nine-minute rape scene, examplecan trigger dot ous responses, not jet would-be rapists, but in p with other perversions feel that their urges shout similarly freely expresso British Mu' feel that the being victi r for the terrorist extremist may be in their midst. Catholics felt the same during the IRA carnpaig Britain. But the answer it: the decent majority sly shun the terrorists aino, them, rather than clefendlt who would kill us all, ricin.

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