comScore

John Grisham: Some Old White Dudes Who Look at Child Porn Deserve Leniency

John Grisham would like you to know that pedophiles are generally bad. But you know what kind of pedophiles aren’t bad? Accidental ones who are, like, sixty, and totally didn’t mean to go there.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Grisham, the man who writes nearly all your crime novels, argued for prosecutorial leniency for people who inadvertently go down the rabbit hole of child pornography during, say, a drunken bender. “I have no sympathy for real pedophiles,” he said. “God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences.

“We’ve got prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men, in prison, who have never harmed anyone, who would never touch a child,” he argued. “But they got online one night, started surfing around, probably had too much to drink whatever and pushed the wrong buttons, and went to far and went into child porn or whatever.”

Grisham actually knew someone who accidentally hit the Pedophile Button:

It happened to a lawyer friend of mine, a good buddy from law school…His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen year old wannabee [sic] hookers or something like that’. And it said ’16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff – it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.

He shouldn’t ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys. He didn’t touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people – sex offenders – and he went to prison for three years.

“There’s so many of them now. There’s so many ‘sex offenders’ – that’s what they’re called – that they put them in the same prison. Like they’re a bunch of perverts, or something; thousands of ’em. We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration.”

The Telegraph, validating Grisham’s concern, noted that in the United States, those caught viewing child porn were more likely to receive harsher sentences than people caught actually raping a child.

UPDATE (12:02 PM EST): Grisham published this apology on his personal website:

Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography—online or otherwise—should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable.

I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.

[The Telegraph]
[Image via Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com]

— —
>> Follow Tina Nguyen (@Tina_Nguyen) on Twitter

Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

Filed Under:
  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. Law & Crime
  5. SportsGrid
  6. AmboTV
  7. Gossip Cop