John Grishman Defends Child Porn?

Watch child porn? That doesn’t make you a pedophile, claims author John Grisham in astonishing attack on US judicial system

  • The novelist and lawyer, 59, believes many men have been wrongly sent to prison after watching child porn online
  • Claims they ‘would never touch a child’ and have ‘never harmed anybody’
  • References a friend of his who drunkenly watched child porn one night but was sent to prison after a FBI sting
  • Statements made in an extended interview with The Telegraph
  • Grisham maintained he has ‘no sympathy for real pedophiles’

Celebrated crime-fiction writer John Grisham has attacked America’s judicial system for wrongly locking up men he believes ‘accidentally’ watched child pornography.

The best-selling author and lawyer – who penned novels like The Rainmaker, The Firm and The Pelican Brief – has given an astonishing interview to The Telegraph defending some child sex offenders, saying they have become victims of a legal system that has ‘gone crazy’.

The 59-year-old then called for lighter sentences for those caught downloading images and videos of children being sexually abused.

‘We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,’ Grisham told The Telegraph.

‘But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.’

'We've gone nuts locking up sex offenders': Celebrated author John Grisham, 59, has claimed that some men who viewed child porn online are 'not real pedophiles' and 'would never harm anybody', but are still called sex offenders and sent to prison

‘We’ve gone nuts locking up sex offenders’: Celebrated author John Grisham, 59, has claimed that some men who viewed child porn online are ‘not real pedophiles’ and ‘would never harm anybody’, but are still called sex offenders and sent to prison

Grisham – who is preparing to release his new tome, Gray Mountain, next week – said he feels so strongly about the issue because his friend was involved in a child porn sting about 10 years ago.

He said his ‘old buddy from law school’ became involved in an operation organized by the FBI in Canada.

‘His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website,’ Grisham told The Telegraph.

‘It was labelled ”sixteen-year-old wannabee 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 have 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.

‘We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration.’

Grisham was sure to say that he has ‘no sympathy for real pedophiles’ and believes anyone caught committing such a crime should face harsh penalties.

However he believes many men have been penalized too harshly for doing too little.

Questioned about the fact that viewing child porn fuels child abuse by placing a demand on creating new material, Grisham replied that sentences should still be lower for people who only download the content.

The Telegraph – who will publish their full interview with Grisham this weekend – also noted a major increase in the sentences of people charged with possession of child pornography over the last 10 years.

Between 2004 and 2010, sentences doubled from 54 months to 95 months.

However, a report published in February by Reason magazine claimed that offenders caught viewing child pornography often received harsher sentences than offenders caught sexually abusing children.

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