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Child Pornography: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime?

Posted by Sandra On October - 31 - 2009

In Nevada, looking at child pornography is a Class B Felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. Many experts say a child pornographer will never see a day behind bars, just a mere probation sentence. After that, they’re off “free and clear,” usually with no lifetime supervision.

Child pornography is a three billion dollar industry, that’s according to the Internet Filter Review. Some experts are saying that the sentencing for people who look at child pornography is much too lax.

Child pornography is much more pervasive than people might think. And it’s often seen as a victimless crime. But one detective says that couldn’t be further from the truth…it can involve children as young as three years old being raped. And often, he says, those who look at child pornography move on to actually touching children.

We met with a man who has seen how child pornography and molesting a child overlap.
Ted says his world was shattered three years ago when Richard Raymer took his son’s innocence.

“I wanted to kill him I had so much anger.”

Washoe County Sheriffs Detective Dennis Carry handled Raymer’s case.

Carry says, “Richard Raymer was a two time sex offender he had convictions in Oklahoma and Florida. He moved to this area in 2005.”

That’s when detectives found out that Raymer’s addiction went beyond child pornography.
He’s now serving a life sentence. But Detective Carry says if Raymer had received a stronger punishment initially, he may have not had the chance to molest a 10-year-old boy.

“A large percentage of people that get arrested on child pornography cases are receiving probation when its a first offense child pornography charge,” according to Carry.

Probation–instead of jail time. Hard for Ted to understand. “I’m really worried because I don’t ever want this to happen again.”

Former D.A. Dave Clifton says it’s difficult for child sex offenders to change. “These type of criminal offenders are not likely to be rehabilitated, they’re not likely to be safe back in society.”

Many child pornographers say their affinity toward child porn is an addiction, an uncontrollable urge.

Raymer was in a sex offender treatment program in prison…yet while he was there he still fantasized about young boys. In his prison diary, he wrote about a young boy that was “ten luscious years old” and how once he gets out, he wants to hook up with a boy named “Ricky.”

“Some have said they want to get rid of it they want to stop and just couldn’t they would delete it and then go back for more,” says Carry.

Detective Carry says nearly all of those he has arrested first looked at pictures and video.
“We’re talking children 5 years old, 6 years old, 7 years old being raped.”

And then, like a drug, they need that next fix.

“They want something harder and harder. Research shows the next fix at some point down the road is touching a child.”

He says studies show that more than 85 percent of those who look at child porn move on to molest a child.

In Nevada, looking at child pornography is a Class B Felony, punishable by one to six years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. Many experts say a child pornographer will never see a day behind bars, just a mere probation sentence. After that, they’re off “free and clear,” usually with no lifetime supervision.

Clifton says the likelihood of a child pornographer re-offending or moving on to molest a child hasn’t been enough to change the law. “So do we want them running around in our streets? No. But because constitution doesn’t allow us to put them in prison for the rest of their life for a crime they may commit…”

Detective Dennis Carry handled the investigation of William McCaffrey, who had one million pornographic images of children on his computer. When detectives asked him if he would ever touch a child he responded–“I really can’t predict the future.”

We may not be able to predict a person’s future behavior, but maybe the future is closer than we think. According to the Butner study, two psychologists studied 155 child pornographers. When these offenders faced the court, they admitted to molesting a total of 75 victims. But after sentencing, these men were treated for their addiction and took polygraph tests, and the number of victims went from 75 to an astounding 1,777 victims (The Butner Study Redux).

And that disparity is why experts like Detective Carry say stronger sentencing is imperative. The current court system has offenders take a psycho-analysis test to determine whether they’re a high risk to society. An exam both Clifton and Carry say is not reliable

“The psychosexual exam, I have to admit, most people pass because they’re only considered a moderate risk, and the expert would say this person’s eligible for probation,” asserts Clifton.

Although, they must register as sex offenders.

“That allows government to monitor people and where they’re living for the rest of their life.”

However, since most child pornographers are considered low risk by the courts, Tier 0 or 1, they won’t be listed on sex offender location web sites. Only Tier 2 and Tier 3 sex offenders are listed.

And even Clifton says programs like lifetime supervision and sex offender registration aren’t fool proof. Phillip Garrido was a registered sex offender and on lifetime supervision when he allegedly abducted Jaycee Dugard.

So if all signs point to the fact that child pornographers are likely to re-offend, should state law change to give these offenders stronger sentences?

Clifton: “It may be the legislature increases sentences for these crimes some day, we’ll see…I don’t know if the public outcry is going to be enough to make that happen.”

If that day comes, it will come too late for Ted and his family.

Ted remembers the fear in his son’s eyes when he was molested. “He come out crying to me and said ‘dad, I’m scared.’ I said what are you scared about?

He said, ‘I’m scared he might get me.’”

What, if anything, would you think should be done when it comes to child pornographers?

You can post your comments below.










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