Sometimes when I read the paper, I come across an article that makes me look around to see if I’m living in some kind of surrealist nightmare.
Like the story about James Westcott. I had to re-read this story 3 times and then went to look it up on the internet because it just seemed way too absurd to be real. Also, I was getting very ticked off.
See, this Westcott person, 66 years of age, former elementary school teacher, was arrested in 1999 and charged with 24 counts of sexually abusing 11 girls at the west-end Ottawa school where he taught. The girls were between the ages of 6 and 10 and the wise judge, Ontario Superior Court Justice Roydon Kealey, dismissed all the charges because he reckoned the girls had made it all up in the throes of some sort of mass hysteria.
At the time, Westcott admitted that he did have a “very tactile” approach to teaching which was probably misinterpreted by those silly school girls and their parents.
So, I hope old Judge Kealey had a twinge of conscience when Westcott got caught a couple of years ago molesting a 3-year old girl.
This time he pled guilty this time – sort of.
Actually, what Westcott pled guilty to was “not thinking clearly”. See, the little girl poked him in the chest, so he figured that meant she wanted to see his penis, so he let her touch his fly. And then to make it even easier for her, he took his penis out and “let her touch it and squeeze it.”
Just to be absolutely clear, Westcott wants us to know that he ““did not initiate anything” and that “he didn’t get an erection and has no sexual interest in children.”
Westcott is being sentenced for that crime finally, which is why he’s in the papers again. His lawyer thinks he’s suffered enough and should be released since he’s already spent 31 days in jail awaiting sentencing. That this whole ordeal has been very tough on poor old Westcott and his wife, especially now that everybody is now going to think he’s also guilty of those crimes back in 2008.
Also, his psychiatrist says he’s at a “very low risk to re-offend” and that he’s learned his lesson; and that he’s really sorry because he’s lost the valuable reputation he’s built up over a lifetime and that even his wife is unable to get a teaching job anymore.
Westcott will be sentenced on Friday. He could face up to an entire year in jail.
Are we insane? “Up to a year”????
I don’t know how they treat pedophiles in other countries, but they’re pretty damn soft on them in Canada. For some time now, this country has been reknown internationally as a safe haven for pedophiles. We finally raised our age of consent to 16, but pedophiles still get very light sentences or probation most of the time.
I don’t understand why the criminal justice system doesn’t realize that these people are the most unique offenders out there and that we need to devise some unique way of stopping them. A few years in jail isn’t going to change their sexual deviances. Because, pedophiles don’t believe that what they’re doing is wrong. They are never going to be rehabilitated.
In general, I’m pretty liberal about the whole crime and punishment thing because I think a lot of criminals are victims themselves and could have been steered in a better direction when they were young and/or could still be steered in a better direction with a little or a lot of education and other rehabilitative measures.
I worked in a parole office when I began my federal public service career. I worked with murders and rapists and armed robbers and drug dealers and all manner of crazy, stupid and nasty criminals and saw how the system, — damaged though it might be – is successful in a lot of ways and can help people.
Pedophiles, however, are not helpable. They are the scariest people I ever encountered in that job. They are angry because they were caught; they are angry at their victims for turning them in; and they’re angry because they actually believe that there was nothing wrong with what they did and that the rest of us have a problem of intolerance.
And it doesn’t help that they are often supported and even enabled by spouses, friends and other family members.
The victim impact statements were heartbreaking to read.
Kids whose mothers would rather give up their kids than the freak who’d abused them. Kids who no longer have a home or family because everyone blames them for getting dad arrested. Kids who are thoroughly messed up for life because some guy just will not understand that children are completely out-of-bounds whatever bizarre sexual urges, ideas, thoughts, notions or proclivities he might have.
Dang! I feel all red-neck, string-em-up, irrational about stuff like this. I don’t like feeling like that because I think there must be a real solution somewhere, but I don’t for the life of me know what it might be.