We were victims of childhood abuse in our differing ways and here we'll share something of what happened to us.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Court the weak are punished along with the violent

A student who admitted downloading and distributing images of children being sexually abused was sentenced to three years on probation at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

Garrett Fox, 20, from Belfast pleaded guilty to 14 charges of possessing 144 indecent images of children being abused.  He also plead guilty to three further counts of distributing indecent images.

The judge imposed a three-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.  The order bans Fox from seeking to get a job which would bring him into contact with children and also prevents him from having unsupervised contact with children without their guardian's permission.  Fox was also banned from owning or using any internet capable device which does not have software on it which allows police to monitor his internet activity.

Judge Philip Babington told a weeping Fox that while he accepted there was little risk of him reoffending, "one must not forget" that the children depicted in the images are the real victims.  "The advent of the internet has allowed true paedophiles to spread their evil around the globe and insnare vulnerable people such as this defendant," the judge added.

Prosecuting lawyer Gary McCrudden told the court that on a planned operation, police raided Fox's parents home and seized two laptop computers and a number of DVD's.  Mr McCrudden said officers found the images of children being abused.  He added that while most were spread among the least offensive categories of one to three, there were 23 images in categories four and five.

According to the guideline authorities, pictures in categories four and five can depict the most graphic images.  Mr McCrudden said the investigation also revealed that 17 images had been forwarded on to someone known only as "cjrhorny" but that whatever had been sent was unable to be categorised.

After he was arrested and interviewed Fox, who is currently studying at Northumbria University, made full admissions to police, claiming that some of them had been downloaded when he was about 15-years-old.  Fox also said and that he would have sent indecent images of himself "to people he claimed would have been older".

Defence lawyer Patrick Taggart claimed the offences arose from "an innocent journey of sexual discovery - his interest lay in people of his own age".

In handing down the probation term, Judge Babington said it appeared the distribution offences were more akin to the "swapping" of images with people "older and certainly much more involved in this activity than the defendant.  It seems that this (swapping) was to people less innocent than he was, indeed very much the opposite," the judge said, adding that one doctor had opined that Fox himself "was the victim of paedophiles" on the internet.

Thanks to
BBC News for this report.
While undoubtedly Garrett Fox has been a naughty boy according to our laws I can't help feeling deeply uneasy about why  he was interested in the first place.  If he started collecting stuff at fifteen years old then I have to wonder what sort of upbringing he had in a part of the UK where there is still a very high incidence of corporal punishment and violence in home-life, when compared to the remainder of the UK.
I kind of feel that we're not being told everything here.  My Granny used to say that there's no smoke without fire.


Anonymous said...

my granny used to say that as well, but it is dangerous to assume because my grandad used to say 'throw enough mud and some of it will stick'

Anonymous said...

Yes PhilAcio.

With this guy I just got the feeling that there was probably more to his background than they were telling us.

It ever was thus.

Malcolm said...

I have to agree that there are aspects to this case that are at best vague. I know many people would say that if this started at 15 then it doesn't fit the "typical" abuser profile. To that I have to respond the youth who abused me in such a predatory manner when I was 10 was himself not quite 16 when things started. I have no idea whether or not he continued to offend after I was "released" at 13.

Having said that one's view needs to be balanced by the other possibility which is, of course, that he himself was abused as a boy. I'm not arguing for that to be a viable defence just that it might explain certain aspects of his behaviour. Those of us who've been abused eventually face a defining choice and all too often the wrong one gets made.

Anonymous said...

@malcolm I simply do not understand paedophiles who prey on pre-pubescent children. In the case of you abuser and the kid in this article I would suggest it was cowardice and inability to deal with peers which led to their offences.

On a personal note the abuse I suffered had no effect what-so-ever on age preference. It possibly had a bearing on orientation and a loathing of anal sex.

Before and after the attacks I was more inclined towards older boys / girls because they had the 'required equipment' which kids younger than me quite simply didn't.

I have heard / read kids who were abused are likely to become abusers themselves but I also find this flawed, because once again on a personal basis I could never subject a child to what I went through because I know how damaging it is and I would have thought others would feel the same way, with the possible exception of those who have never come to terms with the abuse they suffered.

Anonymous said...

sorry for clarity it should have read 'in the case of YOUR abuser'

Malcolm said...

@PhilAcio: That's the choice of course. Having been through 3 years of hell and displaying just about every now understood psychological symptom of abuse, I found the idea of inflicting that on any child utterly repugnant.

As I say, we all face that choice; if there's one thing I was always proud of it was making that decision.