I'm infuriated at seeing more and more child sexual predators get off with easy sentences. The time for justice is now.
Dr. Michelle Golland: During this year, we have seen too many stories about repeat child sexual predators being involved yet again in the rape or murder of a child. I am continually outraged by our unimaginably flawed system that is supposedly designed to protect our children from further harm. These predatory animals are released again and again, only to continue on with their disgusting and heinous crimes against children. The flaw in the system as I see it is the belief that these individuals want to be reformed, or that they can be reformed. What most laypersons are not aware of is that most sexual abusers do not want help. Despite this, our system is based on the mistaken belief that offenders want to be "cured."
Pedophilia is a compulsive sexual disorder with very real victims who are negatively impacted and forever changed due to the abuse they have suffered. The sentencing guidelines for aggravated child sexual assault are simply out of step with the evidence we have of recidivism, and more importantly, the false belief that these individuals actually care to be reformed. I would argue that most do not feel remorse and do not believe they have done anything wrong except for having been caught. Harsh as it may seem, the way we stop this cycle of abuse is to incarcerate these individuals for the rest of their lives.
The maximum federal sentence is 27 years for aggravated child sexual abuse. What is noteworthy, however, is that this is not per offense. What this means is that an individual can only be sentenced to 27 years in federal prison despite the fact that he or she abused multiple children (or even one child multiple times) before getting caught. Why aren't they sentenced per sexual act or violation? This sentencing guideline is utilized in so many other criminal settings. Why isn't it appropriate for sexual crimes against children?
Again, imprisonment for child sexual abuse should be about protecting society from predators and not a misguided and mismanaged system of "reform" and "monitoring" when they are released. I say it again: We are operating on the FALSE assumption that these individuals want to be reformed. I unequivocally believe they do not want reform, but want to manipulate the system to be able to continue their sexual abuse of children.
Take the recent case of Wayne Nelson Corliss, 61, of New Jersey; Burgess Lee Burgess, 42, of Alabama; and Mitchell Jackson, 31, of Florida -- all of whom were convicted in the United States for illicit sexual conduct with children in an international child-sex tourism case.
Burgess and Jackson ran a child pornography website called boyhoodparadise.com. While chatting about their compulsion to have sex with young boys between the ages of 4-10, they met Wayne Corliss, who helped organize three trips to Thailand to have sex with young boys. They have plead guilty to traveling to Thailand three times between 2000 to 2002, and paying for sex with boys as young as six and photographing and videotaping these horrific acts and then distributing them to other pedophiles.
Now you might want to sit down when I tell you what they were each sentenced to for these multiple crimes with multiple victims: just six-and-one-half years in federal prison! Yes, that is it -- a mere 6 ½ years. Are you outraged? Are you doing the calculation in your head of how old these men will be when they get out? What inadequate sexual registry will they be listed on while we wait for them to pick up right where they left off? These men created a website, distributed pictures of children being sexually abused, and traveled and had sex with boys as young as six years of age. Jackson will not even be 40 when he is released. Burgess will only be approaching his 50s. These serial and chronic pedophiles will have at least 20 more years to destroy more children and more families.
Wayne Corliss was arrested in May 2008 after Interpol took a rare step in asking the public to identify the man in the pictures having sex with 6-year-old boys. Calls came pouring in -- and he was arrested in Union City, NJ. He was a small-time actor and played Santa Claus at parties in the area. On his website, he bragged about fondling boys as young as four while they were sitting on his lap! Corliss could have received the MAXIMUM sentence of 27 years, but the judge gave him 19 ½ years because of his cooperation in the cases against Burgess and Jackson, who, may I remind you, only received 6 ½ years!
The aggravated sexual crimes that Corliss committed were with boys between the ages of 6 to 10. He traveled numerous times to Thailand, photographed and videoed the molestation of these boys, which included sodomy with objects, and he received 19 ½ years! He is not apologetic, and he does not want to stop his sexual abusing of young boys. When he gets out, even if he is in his 80s, he will continue perpetrating his abuse if he is capable.
When will we rise up as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and a nation against the destruction of our children? Aren't you tired of hearing of another child going missing or being raped by an individual with a prior record for the same exact crime? When will we put a true CAP on these crimes?
Recently, I created an organization called CAP (Citizens Against Predators) with one mission: to push through legislation for harsher and more uniform federal sentencing guidelines for aggravated child sexual abuse.
Our proposal is simple: 50 years to life minimum for each sexual act against a child. These can't be served concurrently, but need to be served consecutively, and there is no possibility for parole for these heinous crimes. If there is one reason to build more prisons and incarcerate more individuals, it is for this crime!
If there is one crime that deserves the harshest of punishments (or at least equal punishment as murder), it is sexual crimes against innocent and vulnerable children. If you would like to join us in our efforts, please register at Dr. Michelle Golland.com. The time for CAP is now -- before one more predator is let out to search out another victim.
|Dr. Michelle Golland is a USC graduate and a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY#16974). She works with adults, teens and is an expert in the field of marriage and relationships. Dr. Michelle Golland has given her expert advice on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC, and Fox news. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two wonderfully exhausting children.|