Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

Child Pornography Sentences 'Almost a Joke' Say Police

Written by Rev. HA. Bergsma
Toronto-based law enforcement officials stated recently that Canada is lagging well behind other countries in deterring suspected pedophiles and child pornographers. As reported in a number of newspapers, police complained that while they have a list identifying 2,321 suspected pedophiles across Canada, they lack the resources needed to bring them to justice. As the National Post reported, an operation named "Project Snowball" has netted authorities only 32 arrests nation-wide (barely five percent) for a total of 42 child pornography-related charges. "I may have limited resources but my officers have unlimited resourcefulness," said Toronto Police Detective-Sergeant Paul Gillespie, who blamed this "nightmare" situation on the lack of a coordinated national strategy to crack down on pedophiles. "It is time for those responsible on a federal level to live up to their responsibility. We need help," he said. In contrast, as CTV News noted, Gillespie credited greater inter-agency cooperation for the arrests of 1,300 people in Britain out of a total of 7,000 suspected of accessing illegal Internet sites. He added that other countries such as the United States, Germany and Belgium, also outperform Canada in catching pedophiles. Also to blame, added Ontario Provincial Police Detective Inspector Bob Matthews, are courts which he says rarely sentence pedophiles to anywhere near the maximum sentences the law allows--five years for possessing and ten years for distributing child pornography. In fact, he said, some of the sentences amount to no more than house arrest. "To me, that is almost a joke," Matthews said in the Globe and Mail. "It almost encourages child pornography to be distributed, if you know there's no punishment." U.S. authorities gave Canadian police the list of suspected pedophiles a year-and-a-half ago, following a raid in September 1999 on the offices of Thomas Reedy, a computer consultant who ran an Internet child pornography "empire." One of the items seized was a worldwide subscriber list containing 250,000 names, addresses and credit card numbers. Last August, Reedy received a life sentence totalling 1,335 years for distributing child pornography. (From Focus on the Family)

We can sympathize with the police who are not only frustrated with the justice system, but who are also disgusted with the stacks of trash they have to go through to bring such matters to the courts.

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