Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Did Pedophilia Hysteria Cause Child's Death?

Did Pedophilia Hysteria Cause Child's Death?
Consider what happened to Abby. The toddler wandered from her nursery school ... through a door left open. A bricklayer named Clive Peachey drove past her in his truck. At the inquest, he stated, "I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her."

.... A few minutes thereafter, Abby fatally fell into an algae-covered pond. ....

Last summer, an Illinois man lost an appeal on his conviction as a sex offender for grabbing the arm of a 14-year-old girl. She had stepped directly in front of his car, causing him to swerve in order to avoid hitting her.

The 28-year-old Fitzroy Barnaby jumped out his car, grabbed her arm and lectured her on how not to get killed. Nothing more occurred. Nevertheless, that one action made him guilty of "the unlawful restraint of a minor," which is a sexual offense in Illinois. Both the jury and judge believed him. Nevertheless, Barnaby went through years of legal proceedings that ended with his name on a sex offender registry, where his photograph and address are publicly available. He must report to authorities. His employment options are severely limited; he cannot live near schools or parks.

Arguably, the law would have punished Barnaby less had he hit the girl or not cared enough to lecture her. ....

Again, Barnaby is an extreme case. But ordinary people make decisions on how to interact with children based on such high profile stories.

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