Executive Director Kathryn Conroy's Letter to the Editor featured in The New York Times
New York City - 5/27/2010
The Judge and the Child Porn Law
Published: May 27, 2010
To the Editor:
Re “Defiant Judge Takes on Child Pornography Law” (front page, May 22):
While I agree with Judge Jack B. Weinstein about ending mandatory sentencing and giving discretion back to judges, there are fundamental ways in which we disagree about the users of child pornography.
First, he does not believe that those who view images of child sexual abuse are a threat to children. But of course they are! If they did not provide a market for such images, then children would not be abused to produce them in the first place.
According to the Justice Department, an estimated one million children in the United States are abused yearly in the production of child pornography, a $3 billion business annually.
Second, Judge Weinstein says prison will harm only the child pornography viewer and not protect society since he is not a risk to actually act out against children. Research is inconclusive about this link, but according to a study by the Mayo Clinic at least 30 percent of viewers of child pornography are known to have also molested a child. Since we know child molesting to be a hidden crime, we can safely assume the correlation to be much higher.
I wish I had an answer for Judge Weinstein’s plea that we treat rather than imprison this type of pedophile, the viewer of child pornography. But there are no known acceptable and effective treatments. And until we have such a cure, and since this is a crime, then jail is the place where they belong.
New York, May 22, 2010 The writer is a clinical social worker and executive director of Hedge Funds Care, Preventing and Treating Child Abuse.