A rare escape, without bribery or bloodshed

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In An Open Letter to the Labour Party recently, I revealed that the official reason given for my expulsion from the party with no possibility of defending myself was because the party had learned, apparently from a Daily Mail report last month, that I had been convicted in December of a “serious offence”.

My priority last time, as the “Open Letter” title suggests, was to focus on the Labour Party. I drew upon the thinking of radical leftists, from Friedrich Engels on the family to Roy Jenkins on the “permissive society”, to explain why I had become a member and why I thought the party should think again before repudiating the socially liberal strand within its own tradition. Fat chance of that, I fear, although I note that leader Jeremy Corbyn is now publicly saying prostitution should be legalised, thereby infuriating his own more censorious MPs. Well done Jez!

This focus of mine on politics meant I could only briefly touch upon the “serious offence” in question. It is now time to put the record straight. Heretics here know better than to take mainstream media monsterings of Kind people at face value, so thank you everyone for taking it all in your stride and waiting patiently for me to begin.

As I briefly indicated in the Open Letter blog, I was intimately involved with a 10-year-old boy in the 1970s. Recently, in December, his adult incarnation testified at a trial in Caernarfon, Wales. A Daily Mail report said I had “narrowly escaped jail” last year after “preying” on the boy and his 9-year-old brother.

The question that will leap to mind is how could I possibly have got off scot free, with no time whatever behind bars? In today’s savagely punitive climate, “predatory” offences against children are routinely attracting prison terms into double figures, including a whopping 35 years, no less, for the “ringleader” in the Rotherham “grooming” case last month.

So how did I “escape”? Did I bribe the judge? Did I whip out a smuggled gun, leaving a trail of bloodied corpses as I blasted a way clear of the courtroom?

There is another explanation, one the Daily Mail was understandably coy about because it failed to fit their preferred narrative. The real reason I left the court a free man is that neither the judge, nor the prosecution, nor crucially even the “victims” themselves, appeared to have seen me as callously “predatory”. Which might leave you wondering why this “historic abuse ” case came to court at all after nearly forty years.

All will be revealed.

First, we need to take ourselves back all those years, to 1977 and a very different social climate. As a young man then, I worked for a while as a group leader at an outdoor activities camp for kids, in Wales. One of the youngsters in my charge was a nine-year-old boy I will call Adam (other names will be changed too). Unlike some of the other kids, who were with their school mates or a sibling, Adam was on his own. He latched onto me, and during his week’s stay we became fond of each other. At the end of the week he gave me his address – I hadn’t asked for it – and he invited me to come and meet his family sometime.

A year later I did. It would have been about August when I met his parents at the family’s country home, and also his younger brother, Zac. By now Adam was 10 and Zac 9. These were by no means “vulnerable” children from a disadvantaged background. Quite the contrary. Their father, Sebastian, headed a significant organisation and was later knighted for his services. Their mother, Cassandra, was a highly cultured woman. The privately educated brothers now in their mid-forties, are doing well in their own careers, with families of their own ranging from young adult to early teens. They are in good shape, too: tall, slim, handsome. Adam’s relaxed warmth is still apparent. Zac has style, a touch of rock star glamour.

I felt I got on well with the whole family at that first meeting, an impression borne out by the fact that a couple of months later I was allowed to take Adam and Zac for a week’s hiking based at a holiday cottage in Snowdonia. We had a great time. Cassandra’s diary from all those years ago was an exhibit in the case. Her entry, when the boys arrived back home, records that they went straight off to some friends to tell them “what a fantastic holiday they had had.”

Adam, the only witness in the trial, had plenty of good things to say about me. I had seemed “a really nice guy” when we first met, an impression that did not change. He remembered the week at the cottage not just for the mountain walking, which he enjoyed, but also the fun. He liked my humour. There was plenty of joking and laughter. I was always “very respectful” towards him. He told the court I had been “very charming”.

He had not been sexually unwilling either. At age of seven or eight an older boy had introduced him to “wanking”, and he needed no further encouragement. When he did this quite openly at the cottage, naked and in full view of his brother and me, he had not objected when I became intimate with him. He didn’t feel pressured into anything. He did not feel he had been harmed in any way.

Asked in court if such activity might unconsciously affect a willing child participant, he agreed that it could: it might cause them to grow up with ultra-liberal sexual views without knowing why! This was as close as Adam came to saying why he eventually gave a statement to the police more than six months after Zac had done so. Zac, it is clear, was the prime mover in the case. He never claimed I touched him sexually, but on the basis that he saw me in a sexual situation I eventually admitted gross indecency towards him.

Zac, it has to be said, was always a very different character to Adam. Both were great kids. But, unlike Adam, Zac was just not physical. Whereas Adam loved to hold hands and snuggle close, Zac preferred to keep his distance. I thought I respected that. But not enough, apparently. He was the one who brought matters to the attention of the police. He claims to have suffered erectile dysfunction and marital problems as a result of his childhood encounter with my sexuality. I do not doubt his sincerity. I am sure he has suffered the issues he mentions but do not think they can reasonably be attributed to any aspect of his time with me.

The fact is that people with all sorts of problems, not just sexual ones but also drugs, gambling, business failure, you name it, are apt to look for a scapegoat. We all try to blame our woes on something beyond ourselves. In recent decades the scapegoat of choice has been childhood sexual abuse. Even people who were never “abused” will go to therapists, desperate to be told that they were, because that would “explain” everything.

Fortunately for me, Zac was not vindictive.  As part of his victim impact statement in court, he said he did not wish to see me punished. As for his testimony as a witness, that was not needed. Following Adam’s testimony, word reached me through my barrister that changing my initial Not Guilty pleas to Guilty (indecent assault against Adam and gross indecency towards Zac) would result in a suspended sentence, and I accepted that.

So, if Zac had not been out to punish me, what did he want? His written prosecution statement was very revealing. What prompted him to make his complaint against me was not just what happened on a very enjoyable holiday in 1978 but what was going on in the media in 2014 shortly before he went to the police. Specifically, he objected to what a TV news bulletin had reported me as saying about paedophilia at a time when PIE’s supposed political connections were under the media spotlight. He wrote:

“What concerns me is that paedophiles may have read his book or his online blogs and used that information to justify their own actions.”

In other words, he was bidding to use a criminal prosecution in order to shut me up. His ideological motivation is to be seen even more clearly in a remarkable admission: until several years after the holiday he “felt no resentment” towards me and “probably thought upon him as a nice guy”.

That changed only after I went to prison in 1981 for conspiracy to corrupt public morals. He knew about this because his mother told him. She had found out from the Guardian. Nothing surprising about that. What might astonish many now, though, is that Cassandra’s response was remarkably civilized: she wrote a very kind letter to me in prison and received me at the family home again when I came out in 1982. By this time she had even dipped into my book Paedophilia: The Radical Case. I had given her a copy before the public morals trial, in part at least because I felt she and her husband should learn about my philosophy through my own words rather than media distortions. She showed no sign of agreeing with my views but had the grace to say she thought my position was well argued.

Whereas Cassandra was calm and compassionate, resolutely refusing to be freaked out, her newly teenage son Zac started to take a much dimmer view in ’82 and has continued to do so. In his victim statement he said his object was to dissuade me from encouraging others to break the law. Regular readers of Heretic TOC will know that I absolutely do not do that and could be prosecuted if I did. But Zac appears to have been under a different impression.

The judge, in his sentencing remarks, quite properly emphasised that I was entitled to express my views. He seemed genuinely puzzled, though. He could see just from my bearing in the dock that I was deeply upset by the case. So he knew I was very much taking to heart everything that was said, including Zac’s own emotional statement as to the pain and distress I had caused to him and his family. What was going through the judge’s mind, plainly, was the paradox of my sincere response to Zac’s certainty that I caused harm, combined with the fact that I had given no indication that I intended to stop blogging, or otherwise speaking out publicly in ways that Zac feels are wrong and dangerous.

Through my barrister, I had said  that if I had known in 1978 what I know now, I would not have behaved as I did. It was an honest statement. When we defy the law we put children at grave risk of growing up feeling they must have been damaged – because our culture virulently insists it is so, on a daily basis – even when that is not how they felt at the time. Only in a culture which has changed so much that it is ready to accept more liberal laws will child-adult sexual relationships be ethically feasible. It is because I refuse to give up on that vision that I continue to write.

Zac said in his written statement that he wanted to “challenge” me. But he has made it impossible for me to answer his challenge. Part of the sentence was a court order preventing me from contacting him or Adam, so I find myself unable to pick up the gauntlet he threw down: I can neither explain myself to him, nor probe his thinking. I find this hugely frustrating. To coin a phrase, it is hard to find closure.

I wish him well, though. Adam too, and Cassandra and Sebastian. They are a remarkable family and I still have fond memories – shattered ones now, but still precious, like shards from a dropped Ming vase.

 

 

‘Paedophile’ soccer star did fuck all

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Adam Johnson did fuck all. He didn’t fuck at all; nor did he have oral sex with an underaged girl as was alleged; and he certainly didn’t rape her. He merely sent flirtatious messages, which she welcomed, then kissed the very willing 15-year-old and copped a bit of a grope in her pants.

She was totally up for it, bursting to brag to her pals that she was scoring with a glamorous Premiership and England international footballer.

But that hasn’t stopped the zealots of victim feminism from cranking up their mendacious hate speech, deliberately obscuring the consensual nature of the activity under a blizzard of blather about “rape culture” – hate speech aided and abetted by incendiary media references to “paedophile” Johnson, as though the girl had been 15 months old rather than 15 years.

The madness of the reaction to Johnson’s “crimes” has been so extreme, so egregious, it takes a hard-boiled professional controversialist to do it justice. Take a bow, Katie Hopkins. Describing the Twitter mob’s version of lynch lunacy, she wrote in the Daily Mail, “Look around at these people. They are no different to the nutters of ISIS gathering to watch gay men thrown from buildings.”

As for the “victim”, kudos to Hopkins for daring to tell it like it was:

She looked way older than 15 and acted way older than 15, something “everyone told her” all the time.

But in Italy and Germany, where the age of consent is 14, they clearly define our young persons’ march into adulthood a lot more progressively then we do here in the UK.

She waited to meet him, willingly handed over her number, recorded their meetings to brag to mates, and was perfectly aware of what he wanted when she clambered into his car.

Not only that, but she was the one going back for more.

Funnily enough, daddy darling wasn’t bothered about his daughter’s “attacker” until she had let things get out of hand. She got drunk and gossiped to the wrong people. (Remind me of the legal drinking age again?) Adam stood her up, her name was dirt at school, and suddenly she needed an out.

From would-be WAG to slag, then suddenly she needed a more demure label: victim.

Those of us who take issue with WEIRD sexual values will reject the “slag” put-down. We don’t mind a girl who likes a frolic, or the excitement of having a famous boyfriend, or even bragging about it. And, yes, there should be every sympathy for youngsters panicking when they find they are out of their depth. By all means chuck them a life jacket, as parents find themselves doing wearyingly often when their kids get into all sorts of scrapes. Making mistakes and learning from them are a necessary part of growing up.

But the lifejacket marked “victim” serves only to strip young people – and adults too, increasingly – of all responsibility for their own actions. The age of criminal responsibility is 10 in England and 8 in Scotland. These ages may be on the low side but they suggest we definitely feel a 15-year-old should be accountable for their own behaviour.

So, what is particularly unedifying in this case is not that the girl is a “slag” but that she and those around her would seek to offload all the blame for what happened onto Johnson. Ideally there would be no criminal liability on either side because both were willing participants, but that is another issue. The point here is that by casting the teenager as the mere victim of an exploitative adult, a grave injustice has been done. Johnson’s fall has been vertiginously tragic, not only losing a glittering career and depriving his club and fans of a great talent, but he is also threatened with a long prison term for no more than what would usually be called “petting” or “foreplay”.

Another aspect of the case is worth noting too, namely what an article in The Independent called Johnson’s “worryingly feminist” defence. Siobhan Fenton wrote:

In many ways the story is a familiar tragedy of an older, powerful man abusing his position to seek sexual gratification from a vulnerable person. However, what is particularly striking is the extent to which Johnson has not only failed to deny these wider social issues surrounding abuse, but almost embraced them. Indeed, in a bid to deflect responsibility for the suffering he has caused, his defence in court represented an almost feminist logic…

Johnson, she said, claimed his early rise to fame and success as a gifted teenage footballer made him arrogant and retarded his development. His defence, as she put it, “echoes feminist arguments about rape culture whilst inverting them to scapegoat [sic; just means escape?] personal responsibility”. She thought that Johnson’s expensive barrister, Orlando Pownall QC, had deliberately drawn on the “feminist” perception that culture is all-important in forming our ideas of what is sexually acceptable and unacceptable, and that his client had unfortunately been brought up in a particularly Neanderthal atmosphere: that of professional football.

Note that expression, “rape culture”. Fenton uses it no fewer than six times in an article of not much more than 600 words! Johnson was acquitted of consensual but illegal oral sex. What we get from Fenton is rape, rape, rape, rammed down our throats in her own act of oral rape, on a totally spurious basis.

Johnson might have been expected to use the traditional mitigation that the complainant had been a willing participant, thereby “blaming the victim”. Of course, that would have outraged the anti-sexual zealots. Logically, then, the “feminist” defence he actually adopted should be seen by the victimhood promoters as a great improvement. After all, Johnson, was humbling himself, admitting he had done “wrong” and saying he was sorry.

But that just seems to have incensed the indignados even more! How dare he be humble! What right has he to be sorry!  As for seeking to understand where he had gone wrong, by trying to see his behaviour from a feminist point of view, there could be no more cynical and appalling crime! Doing that, after all, allowed him to argue for a punishment short of castration followed by execution! Why should he be permitted to do that? What right could any man possibly have to any so-called “defence” when accused by a woman? The arrogance of it! The chauvinistic sense of entitlement!

It is clear there can be no appeasing feminists of Fenton’s sort. They are unreasonable. They are implacable. They must be met not with grovelling submission but with contemptuous ridicule.

Easy for us to say, looking on. Not so easy when you are in a courtroom and desperate for any sort of get-out-of-jail card. Judge Jonathan Rose said the range under consideration was between four and 10 years. A prison sentence was “almost inevitable”, he said, telling Johnson he was being granted bail to “say goodbye to your daughter” before sentence is passed.

The CPS sentencing guidelines actually point to rather less draconian possibilities. The starting point for “grooming” (the flirtatious messages), where the child is over 13, is 18 months. For “sexual activity with a child” of this age (the groping) it is only 12 months, albeit that is for touching the child’s genitals without penetration. But this rises to four years if a finger finds its way into a vagina.

Sentencing is now expected to be next week. If it were up to Ms Fenton, one supposes the footballer’s one-year-old daughter would spend her entire childhood with no daddy in her life at all.

Mr Pownall’s defence strategy is aimed not at vicious viragos, though, but at the judge. It may yet work. His Honour has strongly flagged the likelihood of a long sentence but there is a faint ray of hope in his “almost inevitable”. He may yet relent and be merciful. But that would be a very brave course to take, putting his own head on the block, never mind Johnson’s. So, if you are inclined to bet on clemency make sure you get decent odds.

International Megan’s Law faces challenge

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David Kennerly today updates the theme of his June 2014 guest blog Techno-tethering globalises oppression. The news is not good. International Megan’s Law, a nightmare piece of legislation, was signed last month by U.S. president Barack Obama. But, as David reports, a grassroots fightback is already  underway, and a legal challenge has been launched that could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

A battle is lost but resistance is mobilized

We lost the battle, brewing for some eight years in Congress, which will effectively stop those of us, U.S. “registered sex offenders”, from venturing outside our own countries. The enactment of International Megan’s Law is not the end of the war, however, as we are fighting back against this injustice in the courts and, to the extent that we wield any influence, in the media.

The bill was signed into law by President Obama February 8th of this year and will stoke the fire under the simmering cauldron which “child sex offenders” inhabit and further diminish our already depleted portfolio of rights.

To capsulize the highlights of the law (and which I see as the nadir of a once free society):

  • It will criminalize the act of traveling outside the U.S. without prior notice and permission from the government. Ten year terms in federal prison await those of us who fail to do so.
  • It will obligate the Department of Homeland Security to notify foreign governments of the anticipated travel of U.S. “child sex offenders” and encourage those governments to do what they will with that information, whether that be to slam the door in our faces or something even worse.
  • It will obligate the Department of State to revoke the passports of U.S. “sex offenders” and require them to reapply for new ones with a designation affixed to each indicating that its bearer is a “sex offender”. [Note: this provision is not limited to “child sex offenders” but includes all “sex offenders”]

There are a number of other details, none of which ameliorate the law to our advantage, which provide a structure for carrying out this mission or which specify the information which the “sex offender” must provide before travel, such as detailed itineraries, purpose for travel, places one intends to stay, etc.

So much for spontaneity in travel! Of course, that assumes that there are countries which will let us in the door in the first place.

Here’s the funny thing: perhaps the most important aspect of this law, notification of foreign governments of the intended travel by U.S. “sex offenders”, has already been the practice of the U.S. Government for some three years. The U.S. has been issuing these foreign notifications, in the absence of any clear authority to do so, and Registrant travelers have already been turned away in droves by many countries, some of which have, coincidentally, explicitly (and very recently) announced laws forbidding “sex offenders” from entering their countries.

So, the peculiar thing about this new law is that we already have a very good sense of how it will play out and the results, so far, aren’t pretty, with many Registrants facing humiliating refusals at foreign ports of entry and being made to get on the first returning flights to the U.S.

Exceptions to those countries routinely turning away all Registrants, however, appear to be some Western European countries such as The Netherlands and France (but not the U.K., of course). Many other countries, particularly Asian and Latin American countries, as well as Russia, have joined with the U.K. in refusing entry to U.S. “sex offenders”.

The eerily-named governmental consortium called “The Five Eyes”, which consists of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had already been turning away each others’ “sex offenders” for many years now, a fact which provides some strong clues as to the origin of this more recent global expansion of the policy of internal exile for “sex offenders”.

The critical component which is facilitating this world-wide travel ban is the international police agency, INTERPOL, which has openly lobbied for such bans. This is an agency which deserves far more scrutiny than it once did when it was mostly a sleepy backwater in danger of complete irrelevance. It has been completely made-over by the most powerful governments who comprise its membership and the new Interpol is very muscular and frightening, indeed. If ever there were an entity deserving of a full-on paranoid conspiracy theory, Interpol would be it.

The only way that we know anything about the fallout from our government’s extant policy of notifying foreign governments of U.S. Registrants’ travel (which predates the recent law, not yet in effect) is from the message boards at California RSOL where a number of us started discussing this looming issue some three or four years ago.

The only way we knew which countries were barring us was by simply attempting to travel to those countries and then reporting back to the CARSOL discussion forum. The U.S. government neither informed us ahead of time that it had begun notifying foreign governments of our “sex offender” status nor did it provide any reports of which countries had been refusing us entry.

We are preparing a country-by-country matrix based upon those attempted travel experiences which will be available shortly. Nevertheless, the information in that report will exist only because individual Registrants reported their experiences to the CARSOL message board and that information will almost certainly not be complete.

If this is sounding a bit like a grassroots effort to fight back against an ugly, unfolding (and uncommunicative) juggernaut aimed precisely at us, then you are right.

From what I can tell, our group, alone, has been gathering the appalling details of this secretive regimen and exposing it to the light of day although we now have the satisfaction in knowing that they are beginning to be known more widely, thanks to a handful of media reports.

I am encouraged by the individuals or publications which have begun to respond critically to IML such as Lenore Skenazy (Free Range Kids), David Post (of the Volokh Conspiracy, now part of the Washington Post), Reason, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Counterpunch, and the Washington Times. No, they’re not overwhelming in their number, but striking in their willingness to break both the complicitous silence and the flip-side hysteria which has gripped the press for so long when the subject is “sex offenders”.

This development, i.e. the enactment of International Megan’s Law, perhaps more than any previous outrage against Registrants, appears to have helped many to find their voices and to raise them in protest against the continued degradation of “sex offenders”, including those who are not themselves Registrants.

So, while IML has not quite merited a full “news cycle”, it has aroused something which I find intriguing, even promising: the emergence of individuals and groups willing to speak out against the shrieking unreason which has dominated the “sex offender” public discourse for decades.

We are not taking this terrible law laying down, either. We are challenging International Megan’s Law in the U.S. Federal District Court of San Francisco having fired our responding salvo immediately after the cowardly, former constitutional law scholar, President Obama, signed the bill into law early last month.

The California Reform of Sex Offender Laws and its Director, attorney Janice Bellucci, representing four unnamed plaintiffs, filed the civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of IML on a variety of grounds, including as an abridgment of First and Fifth Amendment rights and the clause against ex post facto laws. Those plaintiffs represent something of an overview of “sex offenders” whose circumstances raise different or distinct constitutional issues, such as the right to travel in employment or the right to live with or visit family members.

Since the appalling, and completely un-protested, Protect Act of 2003, which made it a U.S. crime for an American citizen to travel overseas and to have “illicit sex” with someone under the U.S. age-of-consent of eighteen and which also forbids Registrants from sponsoring foreign-born spouses for U.S. citizenship, there have been a number of American Registrants living overseas in their spouse’s country, their spouses having been kicked-out of America by that law.

Now, with IML, those Registrants find that they are being deported by their spouse’s country back to the U.S. and are prevented from living with, or even seeing, their own spouses and children, who cannot join him in the U.S. due to the Protect Act.

One of the plaintiffs in the challenge to IML is from that category of persons caught in the double-bind of two terrible laws. Another has lost his livelihood after being permanently barred from business travel.

A temporary injunction, barring the U.S. from further notification of foreign governments of the status of U.S. Registrants as well as halting the issuance of “sex offender” passports, has also been filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco but has not yet been granted.

We now await word from the court granting us that injunction and for our lawsuit challenging IML to wend its way through the courts, a journey which we suspect will take us to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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