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Strange but true: Child porn on McNeil Island

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Sep. 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm with No Comments »
September 18, 2009 10:50 am

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

One of the seven sex offenders busted for child porn Thursday at the Special Commitment Center had been twice convicted of child rape.

Another of sexual assault, indecent liberties and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

Another of lewd and lascivious acts toward a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and indecent liberties.

You get the idea.

Ordinary sex offenders don’t wind up in the center on McNeil Island. They constitute a tiny fraction of all such criminals. They must have proven themselves to be compulsive career predators. They must clear the high legal hurdle for commitment: a formal court finding that they continue to pose a dire threat to society as “sexually violent predators.”

The catch – for society – is that they are committed only after they have served their time in prison. They can’t be sent back for more prison time just because they remain sexual psychopaths and still have a proclivity for preying on innocents. Absent a new crime, they can only be sent to treatment in a secure setting, the Special Commitment Center.

At the center, they have more rights than prison inmates. These apparently include the privilege of receiving unscreened mail (potentially containing contraband) and owning computers (on which thousands of pornographic images can be stored).

Mail and computers would seem to be all it takes to tempt some of these McNeil Island predators to acquire child porn. Despite the fact that they won’t get out of the Special Commitment Center – ever – if they persist in sexual deviancy. Despite the fact that this particular crime could send them back to prison for at least 10 to 20 years.

Anyone who would run such risks to entertain himself with sexually explicit images of children can only be described as reckless, psychopathic, obsessively bent on violating innocence and destroying lives.

Thursday’s indictments are more evidence that the offenders held at the Special Commitment Center, by and large, belong inside high walls, behind locked doors, under armed guard.

Some don’t deserve the center itself, with its comforts, amenities and expensive care.
Compulsive predators who continue to commit sex crimes in this setting of treatment really ought to be somewhere else: in prison, the longer the better.

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