The Globe's comment is about one of the cases I wrote about early this morning -- that of the 32 year old father who had been sexually abusing his daughter for two years, since she was 24 months old. The Globe has praise for the Quebec appeals court judges:
On balance, however, the appeal court did its job properly by looking dispassionately at the facts, and reducing the sentence accordingly.According to the Globe, people like me jumped the gun because:
(The appeals judge) could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that rape had occurred. She noted that, while the young girl had been taken to see medical doctors for evidence of penetration, no such evidence was produced in court. The trial judge had not explained why she had been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.It might have been the photos. Or maybe it was the fact that the guy was convicted of sexually assaulting a six year old when he was 17. Maybe it was the testimony she heard first-hand.
But let's pretend for a moment that it never happened. Let's pretend this whackjob just simulated intercourse with an infant, took pictures and distributed them on the internet. The logic here is that if penetration didn't occur, daddy doesn't deserve that vast ten year maximium allowed for 'the worst cases'.
And maybe that's the problem -- 10 years maximum for the worst cases of sexual assault? Each sentence sends a message to the sexual predators in our midst and if ten years is the best we can do to punish the 'worst' perverts out there, we're already falling down on the job.
The Globe lauds the court for 'looking dispassionately at the facts' and maybe that's what disturbs me most. How can anyone look dispassionately on violation of a little child? Even if it was 'only' simulated, the man has sexually assaulted his daughter. A father who would even simulate sex with his infant daughter is scary and dangerous. Penetration should not be the determinant for whether something is equal to 'the worst'. Sexual violation is sexual violation.
The editorial cites examples of what it has determined is the 'worst' abuse, then makes the comparison:
Perhaps the worst known case involved a Russian girl, Masha Allen, now 13 (she has spoken publicly under her own name about what she endured), who was adopted by a Pennsylvania man when she was 5 and victimized until age 10. The man received a sentence of 35 to 70 years. In another case, an Edmonton man was jailed for 14 years last summer for sexual offences against his two stepchildren and two of the stepchildren's friends, ages 5 to 9. He set up a webcam on top of his computer and forced his stepdaughter to engage in sex while she could see a man watching on the screen.
Yet the Quebec case, horrifying as it was, was not comparable to these other two cases.I wasn't aware there are degrees of sick and evil. This father, while twisted, was apparently not quite twisted enough to rate the harshest sentence the law would allow and Globe thinks that's just swell -- but that is a road we should not be going down -- comparing sexual assaults on children and saying 'this one isn't as bad as that one'.
The Globe got this one vastly wrong -- if anything, they should be advocating for tougher sentences for all sexual offenders rather than applauding a court for reducing a sentence when, in the Globe's own words:
The appeal court made some questionable assertions. For instance, it said the father's relative youthfulness -- he was 32 -- was a mitigating factor. No 32-year-old should have the excuse of youth. The court also said he had no criminal record, with the exception of a sexual assault on a six-year-old when he was 17. Some exception. And the court said the sexual assault on the little girl had not been done in a violent context of gagging, threatening or hitting her. It seems obvious a child that age is so vulnerable that the worst tortures are possible without resorting to heavy weapons. That hardly should have been a point in the father's favour.Sick and twisted, is sick and twisted. Fifteen years wasn't enough for this guy, let alone nine.