GUILTY!: Public scorn forces author John Grisham to apologize for child porn remarks

Author John Grisham has made himself a giant of the publishing industry with fast-paced legal bestsellers take readers into the heart of the law, but he’s now found himself soundly convicted in the court of public opinion.

In interview with the U.K.-based Telegraph, the author of such hits as “A Time to Kill” and “The Firm,” suggested that not all viewers of child pornography deserve the harsh punishments they face under the law.

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men, in prison, who’ve never harmed anybody (and) would never touch a child,” Grisham said, discussing high incarerationn rates in the United States.

“But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons and went too far and got into child porn. … They deserve some type of punishment, but 10 years in prison?”

The comments – for which Grisham apologized late Thursday — drew a flood of social media criticism, through news outlets that picked them up, Grisham’s Facebook page, and, of course, Twitter.

Suffice it to say, Grisham had been tried by a jury of his peers — and found wanting.

Still, some found a kind of gallows of humor in Grisham’s remarks.

(The legendary songwriter for The Who spent five years  as a registered sex offender after being charged in 2003 with paying for access to a child pornography website.)

In his apology, Grisham said he deeply regretted the remarks.

“Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography — online or otherwise — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

“My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”

How well that will play out in the future remains to be seen, but Grisham might have made the best move he could.

 

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