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Ex-PM adviser Tom Flanagan sorry for child-porn comments


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Inside Politics blog: UPDATE: Flanagan offers 'unreserved' apology for 'child porn' comments Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark WikiLeaks founder calls for Flanagan charge Flanagan comments probed by Calgary police

Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former campaign manager for Alberta’s Wildrose party, has apologized for saying he had “grave doubts” about jailing people who view child pornography.

Tom Flanagan Statement

I absolutely condemn the sexual abuse of children, including the use of children to produce pornography. These are crimes and should be punished under the law.

Last night, in an academic setting, I raised a theoretical question about how far criminalization should extend toward the consumption of pornography. My words were badly chosen, and in the resulting uproar I was not able to express my abhorrence of child pornography and the sexual abuse of children. I apologize unreservedly to all who were offended by my statement, and most especially to victims of sexual abuse and their families.

The comments drew heavy criticism from the PMO's office and the Wildrose, as well as the University of Calgary where Flanagan works as a professor.

The conservative pundit and political scientist said in a statement that he "absolutely condemn the sexual abuse of children."

He made the comments at a lecture in Lethbridge, Alta., on Wednesday night about changes to the Indian Act. They were recorded and posted online by someone in attendance.

“I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste of pictures,” said Flanagan.

“It’s a real issue of personal liberty and to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

The statements were met with jeers from the crowd.

Flanagan goes on to say that he is not part of the Conservative government, and that he has some doubts about the some of the party’s justice initiatives.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the comments on Twitter.

“Tom Flanagan’s comments on child pornography are repugnant, ignorant, and appalling,” tweeted director of communications Andrew MacDougall.

The Wildrose released a statement saying that Flanagan would have no role with the party going forward. “There is no language strong enough to condemn Dr. Flanagan’s comments,” reads the statement.

Dropped from Power & Politics

“Child pornography is a despicable crime that seriously harms all those involved, including the viewer. The viewing of child pornography first requires the production of child pornography, which causes untold suffering and abuse towards children."

Flanagan was a member of the Power & Politics' Power Panel. The CBC announced Thursday he would no longer be appearing on the program. The U of C also released a statement Thursday distancing themselves from Flanagan and the comments.

“In the university’s view, child pornography is not a victimless crime. All aspects of this horrific crime involve the exploitation of children. Viewing pictures serves to create more demand for these terrible images, which leads to further exploitation of defenseless children.”

The university noted that the professor has been on a “research and scholarship leave” since January.

Flanagan was scheduled to speak at a Manning Centre conference next week but has since been dropped. The Calgary-based centre bills itself as an organization "building Canada's conservative movement."

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...child-porn.html

It was only a matter of time. Talk about a career ender.

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To be fair though, in Canada the definition of child porn includes drawings and literature, so not all child porn actually involves real children. The viewing or reading of handdrawn pictures or written stories of child porn, while still disgusting, doesn't have a physical victim, and is therefore a 'victimless' crime.

Should people be jailed for viewing child porn involving real children. Absolutely. Real children were harmed in the production.

Should people be jailed for viewing the images or words that are the product of someone else's sick imagination but that didn't involve real children? A case could be made that they shouldn't.

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To be fair though, in Canada the definition of child porn includes drawings and literature, so not all child porn actually involves real children. The viewing or reading of handdrawn pictures or written stories of child porn, while still disgusting, doesn't have a physical victim, and is therefore a 'victimless' crime.

Should people be jailed for viewing child porn involving real children. Absolutely. Real children were harmed in the production.

Should people be jailed for viewing the images or words that are the product of someone else's sick imagination but that didn't involve real children? A case could be made that they shouldn't.

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Should a first time offender who viewed child porngraphy get jail time if convicted? Tom Flanagan didnt believe so and neither do I. We arent talking about the people who created or distributed the material, just a viewer. But every case is different. Is a person with thousands of pictures of under 10 year olds on their hard drive the same as someone with 1 picture of a 17 year old? To lump them together is not justice.

I saw the Traci Lords video she made when she was 17 and used fake ID to get the roll. Should I go to jail? Or is it conditional on knowing the person is underage?

Tom Flanagans "grave doubts" could include the issues Ive raised above but people love going off the cuff and attacking any comment without much thought to context or meaning.

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Should a first time offender who viewed child porngraphy get jail time if convicted? Tom Flanagan didnt believe so and neither do I. We arent talking about the people who created or distributed the material, just a viewer. But every case is different. Is a person with thousands of pictures of under 10 year olds on their hard drive the same as someone with 1 picture of a 17 year old? To lump them together is not justice.

I saw the Traci Lords video she made when she was 17 and used fake ID to get the roll. Should I go to jail? Or is it conditional on knowing the person is underage?

Tom Flanagans "grave doubts" could include the issues Ive raised above but people love going off the cuff and attacking any comment without much thought to context or meaning.

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Should a first time offender who viewed child porngraphy get jail time if convicted? Tom Flanagan didnt believe so and neither do I. We arent talking about the people who created or distributed the material, just a viewer. But every case is different. Is a person with thousands of pictures of under 10 year olds on their hard drive the same as someone with 1 picture of a 17 year old? To lump them together is not justice.

I saw the Traci Lords video she made when she was 17 and used fake ID to get the roll. Should I go to jail? Or is it conditional on knowing the person is underage?

Tom Flanagans "grave doubts" could include the issues Ive raised above but people love going off the cuff and attacking any comment without much thought to context or meaning.

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I find myself mostly agreeing with you.

On a side note, sexual abuse and pedophilia in Japan is lower when compared to western countries such as the United States, and Japan has legal child pornography/manga/anime. Does this mean that legalizing child pornography would reduce the amount of sexual abuse and predation on children as these "people" can get off to a picture of a child instead of actively looking for one? Hard to say as its not as easy as "X causes Y', but it's worth thinking about.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, March, 1996 “Child Victimizers: Violent Offenders and Their Victims”

http://ezfame.com/ch...ion-statistics/

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I wouldn't legalize child pornography of real children, even if it decreases the number of abuses, as children are still being abused to make it.

However, making 'victimless' child porn (drawings, stories, cartoon/anime, etc) legal, while it would be hugely controversial, may be beneficial.

There's two sides to the argument. One side is that people start off with 'victimless' child porn and they either get tired of that, or get desensitized to it, and they move on to real children. The other opinion is that these people would get off on the victimless type, and never have a reason or need to touch a real child.

Also, what good does jailing child porn viewers do? It's the people to produce the child porn who should be punished. Stop it at the source. The viewers are just people with some kind of mental problem. They shouldn't be punished. They should be helped.

Also (again), contrary to popular use, pedophilia/pedophile is not a catch all term for the sexual attraction to/someone sexually attracted to someone under the age of 18. The word actually refers to a defined age range, with there being other words to describe the other age ranges under 18.

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