Sunday, 23 June 2013

Carole Malone - Missing The Point

Oh dear
I feel deeply uneasy saying this but I think teacher Jeremy Forrest's five-and-a-half-year sentence is too harsh.
Was the so-called abduction (that wasn’t actually an abduction [Yes it is - Child abduction or Child theft is the unauthorized removal of a minor (a child under the age of legal adulthood) from the custody of the child's natural parents or legally appointed guardians.]) of the 15-year-old pupil with whom he was having a relationship so much worse than Stuart Hall’s offences?

He got a piddling 15 months for ­assaulting 14 girls – one of them as young as nine. [agree. Hopefully the AG's office will agree to review and increase Stuart Halls sentence to a more appropriate one]

Hall’s victims were terrified of him. They tried to resist his attentions. For some, what he did to them ruined their lives.

Forrest’s girlfriend was in love with him. Still is. And she willingly ran away with him to France, a country where the legal age of consent is 15. [and?? does this make a difference?? If he had abducted her and gone to other countries where the age of consent is 14 at the time he started grooming her when she was 14, would you have mentioned this in your article?]

And yes, I know Forrest abused the trust that went with his job, which is why he absolutely should spend time behind bars – if only as a warning to any teachers who think it’s OK to have sex with their pupils. [YES]

And of course he should have ­discouraged the girl’s attentions. [YES]


Thugs who cave old ladies’ heads in get less than that. Rapists who brutalise and terrorise their victims get less. The woman who threw her newborn baby down a 40ft high garbage chute last week causing brain damage got half of that. [Agreed. The law is FAR TOO LENIENT on a lot of crimes. Does that mean that society should diminish other crimes solely on the basis that it does not treat these ones as it should?]

And is Jeremy Forrest really a paedophile? Is a girl who’s nearly 16 a child? Are we pretending 15-year-olds don’t have sex?  [not in the absolute definition is he a paedophile. But, reading Teen girl: Jeremy Forrest tried to groom me as well , (Chloe, now 17, is one of a string of girls Forrest, 30, allegedly tried to groom before he ran away to France with a 15-year-old pupil last September) I would call him 100% a predator of schoolgirls.
He didn’t hurt this girl. He believed – and still believes – he’s in love with her. And yes, that’s foolish and stupid and irresponsible.

But then what we know about him is that he was as immature and childlike as some of his pupils. He behaved like a lovesick teenager when he should have known better. [Or alternatively, the other school girls he tried to groom previously all rejected his advances, whereas this particular one didn't?]

But Forrest isn’t a sexual predator [really? Read the "Chloe" link above]. He’s a teacher who crossed a line. Who ignored the responsibilities of his job. And for that he needs to be punished – but surely not as a paedophile. [how then?]

And what about the teachers at Bishop Bell C of E School who did nothing to stop this relationship, even though it had been an open secret for months? If they didn’t think it was immoral you can see why Forrest might not have. [ Lack of proper safeguarding, not taking child protection seriously, turning a blind eye, there should be a full enquiry into what happened since these teachers first had their suspicions]

What about the police who were tipped off about what was happening – but did nothing till they’d run away? [Snap to my above comment]

And what were this girl’s parents doing while she was at her teacher’s house having sex?
The school warned her mum about the rumours of an affair but said there was nothing to worry about.
Did Mum just accept that? Why wasn’t she keeping a closer eye on what her daughter was doing?
Parents have a duty to know what their kids are up to and shouldn’t blame everyone else for what happens to them. [YES]

Yes we need tough rules so that teachers know not to overstep the mark. And it goes without saying that children need to be protected. [YES]

But this girl was just a few months away from NOT being a child. Had Forrest waited, what he did wouldn’t have been a crime. He’d have just been sacked. [This started in Feb 2012. Also, see my above comments regarding Chloe]

None of this makes what he did right. [No]

 But there needs to be perspective. [There has been]

Our justice system has to be able to distinguish between blokes like Jeremy Forrest who did something horribly inappropriate and wrong [and Illegal, and predatory] – and evil and persistent sex predators like Stuart Hall and Jimmy Savile. [Agreed. Justice needs to be fair and equal. No more "undue leniency for any sex-offenders]
Because, as ­unpalatable as this all is, there IS a difference

[suppose this school girl had also rejected his grooming.
Suppose this story had come out in 10, 20 years time.
How many other 13 and 14 year olds may he have tried to groom?
Would this have ended up far worse?

There is NO difference when it comes to adults taking advantage (sexually or otherwise) of children!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard, good work on getting your blog going.

    The Forrest story reminds me of something similar (but not as bad) that happened in Jersey about 10 years ago.

    A secondary school teacher (married, kids) from the UK would essentially groom girls in Jersey when they were in 6th form, then go visit them at Uni when they were 18 (leaving wife and kids at home). I leave the rest to your imagination.

    Did he break the law? I don't think so, but it wasn't ethical. What did the Education dept do? I think they invited him to resign, giving him a good reference. He went back to the UK. What did that achieve? It just sent the problem back to the UK.

    Every week you read stories about dodgy teachers. I fully expect this guy to crop up in the Daily Mail some day.

    As I say, no laws were broken, to my knowledge. But it was very unethical to say the very least. And a typical example of Jersey brushing a possible scandal under the carpet.

    That's the story I heard, second hand. No reason to doubt its veracity.

    Just thought you'd be interested to know. It'll probably happen again, sadly.