Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pedophilia Hysteria

While viewing the Fox News Channel website late Tuesday night, consoling myself after the re-election of Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, I happened upon a story about a man which saddened and disgusted me. Though disgusted with the man's apparent moral cowardice, I was just as saddened by the anti-pedophile hysteria which motivated the cowardice.

Synopsis: Back in 2002, a two-year-old girl named Abigail Ree got loose from her home and wandered away. Later on, her body was discovered in a nearby village pond. She had apparently drowned. What makes this story suddenly newsworthy once again is the current inquest, during which it was revealed that a man was driving by at the time and spotted the girl, but failed to stop and investigate. His reason - he was scared that he'd be accused of attempting to kidnap the girl and end up being falsely smeared as a "pedophile".

A similar case happened last summer on this side of the Atlantic. In Evanston, Illinois, a man was driving when a 14-year old girl stepped in front of the car, nearly being struck. The man got out of his car and grabbed the girl by the arm, lecturing her on proper pedestrian etiquette, then turned her loose. The girl promptly ran to the police and filed a complaint, after which the man was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping, child abduction, and unlawful restraint of a minor. He beat the first two charges but not the last, so now he's on a database and incurs the same gaggle of restrictions as a real pedophile. That's because their criminal code states that a person who commits any criminal offense against a minor, even if it is a non-sexual offense, must register as a sex offender. Like the USA Patriot Act, this was obviously a law passed in the heat of emotion without the scrutiny of cold logic.

Analysis: The law is supposed to deter criminals from offending. It is not supposed to deter honest citizens from taking personal initiative and functioning as "Good Samaritans". The hue and cry raised against pedophiles in this country has become quite similar in spirit to the infamous Salem witch-hunts of the 17th century. Fueling this hysteria locally is KFQD conservative shock jock Dan Fagan. Recently he used his program to literally bully Rishi Maharaj, who was wrongfully accused of sexual exploitation, into quitting his job with Jack Frost's media production company even though Jack Frost was willing to observe the constitutional presumption of innocence and keep him on staff. While I personally tend to share Dan Fagan's worldview, his contempt for the constitutional presumption of innocence is obvious. The Alaska State Legislature is taking a more appropriate route through SB 218, which will increase sentences for all sex offenders and require that sex offenders on probation or parole submit to four lie detector exams each year while they remain on probation or parole. The latter premise is questionable, since lie detector results are generally not admissible in a court of law, but as long as they are applied solely to offenders who have not satisfied their obligation to the state, it is acceptable. SB 218 is worthy of support.

The point is that in our understandable zeal to protect children and punish those who commit crimes against them, we are rapidly approaching the point where preemption and vigilante justice trump constitutionality. Many kids come from broken homes, usually with no father present. These kids need the involvement of adult males through mentoring programs such as Big Brothers. If adult males are scared away from involvement with youth because of anti-pedophile hysteria, the kids suffer. However, a true test of our character is our willingness to rise above petty fears and do the right thing, even at personal risk.


  1. On March 25th 2006, you wrote that Maharaj was an Asian-Indian Immigrant from Trinidad. Contradiction?
    He is not an immigrant, he is 100 % as American as you or George Bush. Next, stop calling Maharaj an alleged pedophile. KTUU exaggerated the story, actually there is only one boy accusing him of anything wrong.

    1. Maharaj is American

    2. Maharaj is not a Pedophile

    3. KTUU is not to be trusted

    4. Dan Fagan is a disgusting hypocritical piece of shit

  2. This pedophile hysteria reminds me of the salem witch trials.
    You could be accused of being a witch and everyone would beleive it.
    The problem was you had to prove you were no a witch.

    If you read up on the salem witch trials you will find out there was a catch 22.

    End point being you had to DIE to prove you were not a witch.

  3. Are these comments really doing anyone any good? What good does it do to lessen our integrity by chastising those around us? Have we not committed sinful acts in our lives?

    I believe we all, in a sense wear a scarlet letter to a certain degree. Those of us who find satisfaction in ridiculing others only admits to our audience that we too, feel the guilt of our own wrongful acts.

    If we continue as a society, along this path of destruction by resorting to name calling and other such cruel acts, we are no better than those we are trying to convict. Lead by example.

    I make it my personal mission to accept those individuals who are struggling with their own individual issues, and lend my support. No one wakes up one day and proclaims, "Hey, I'd like to become a child molester" No, something happens to a person in their lives, and without help, this can predict a very unfortunate outcome.

    It takes so much energy to hate. What if we shifted our emphasis onto finding a solution to these problems, and learn how to forgive.

    Mercy is bountiful.

  4. Well said. By the way, for those of you who didn't recognize the literary allusion in the above post, the Scarlet Letter was a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne a long time ago. Two people committed adultery; one was a minister in a Puritan community, but his role in the "sin" was concealed. Hers was not because she was pregnant. One act of indiscretion one time - and she was forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" for adultery on all of her clothes. She was forced to publicly wear a symbol for her sin and stand on a platform on display at noon for all to judge her and ridicule her and shame her.

    Who among us has not commited a "sin"? Why do we always judge some sins as being worse than others? Doesn't the Bible say that lusting after a woman is just as bad as actually commiting adultery? The difference is that people can't read thoughts; and that somehow makes some feel morally superior to others, when the truth is that we are all so far from perfection!

    What gives us the right to judge others? The Bible says that we will be judged with the measure we judge others.

    To err is human; to forgive - divine!

    By the way, for those of you posting information about others under the guise of freedom or safety or whatever you tell yourself, I certainly hope that your secrets ...

  5. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." -Hebrews 13:2

  6. I am shutting down comments to this post.