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I think that people convicted of these types of crimes should receive very harsh sentences including long prison terms. This is a very emotional topic because most agree that these crimes propagated towards children are unfathomable. Our societal norms teach us to protect children, not take advantage of them.
If the person is guilty, I would say my main concern is to prevent them from inflicting similar pain on anyone else. To be honest, I don't really care what happens to the guilty child abuser as long as they cannot hurt another child. There is no punishment that can correct the damage they have done. There isn't likely to be a punishment that will make them understand what they have done. Clearly they have a problem and I don't think punishment can fix it.
"Charged" and "convicted" without doubt are certainly different: I personally know of a man who went to jail because his step-daughter resented his disciplining of her. When she could not have him charged with any physical abuse because he did not commit any, she fabricated an elaborate scenerio and got him charged with abuse against her. After the man was incarcerated, she privately told friends that he had done nothing to her. Nevertheless, he was not released for a year.
Now, when there is no doubt about the conviction, the only way to prevent him or her from recommitting such acts is to do what is suggested in the previous post. However, with the great number of "bleeding hearts," in the contemporary world, this will probably not happen.
I don't think that you can possibly have a "one size fits all" answer to this. It would surely have to depend on factors like the age of the victim and the nature of the sexual abuse. Ideally, I think that the best punishment would be something that takes away the offender's desire to commit that sort of crime, but I don't know that that is actually possible given our current level of medical/psychological knowledge.
There's a critical difference between being "charged" with sexual abuse of a child and being "convicted" of such a charge. The first step is to determine if the facts of the situation indicate that the individual accused of the act is, in fact, guilty of having done this thing.
If guilt is established, yes - the measures described above are not out of line. The protection of children from further endangerment through contact with the perpetrator has to be paramount. I would hope that the pedophile will also receive intervention therapy to try to help him/her learn from the past and change behavior patterns for the future. Unfortunately, I'm not aware that therapy is of much benefit in this type of situation - and I'm afraid I would agree with those who would say that persons convicted of child sexual abuse should always be viewed with a high degree of suspicion and with measures in place to prevent opportunities to repeat such acts in the future.
As a teacher and parent, I have strong feelings about anyone who sexually abuses a child, either by force or by abusing a position of power over the child. Although there is evidence that pedophiles suffer from a psychological malady that is largely beyond their control, the first interest of society is to protect the child. For that reason, my position would be that pedophiles should receive stiff prison terms, required to register as sexual offenders, and receive a lifetime prohibition from extended or unsupervised contact with children whether the child is a relative or not. It is not that I do not sympathize with those with a problem; the greater concern to me is the lifetime of harm that can be inflicted on the victim.
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