One of the crimes that is featured in several of my novels, and that I believe all would agree is one of the most heinous acts of violence possible, is pedophilia. My lead character, Emily Stone, is on a vigilante crusade to bring the pedophiles, rapists, and murderers around us to justice and she does so using risky means of surveillance that go beyond the efforts afforded to uniform officers.
I wonder what Emily would think of a recent ruling in Northern Ireland regarding the privacy rights of a convicted pedophile?
In Belfast, a man who had spent six years in prison for a multitude of crimes against children argued that a Facebook page with the title “Keeping Our Kids Safe from Predators” was unfairly targeting and punishing him after he already served the sentence deemed by the courts to be appropriate for his actions. The Belfast High Court apparently agreed, determining that displaying this man’s photograph and posting threatening comments amounted to harassment and a violation of his human rights. The page has since been taken down by Facebook.
In our country, there is a registry of convicted sex offenders. You can type in your zip code and see photographs and criminal histories for all such criminals. Notification goes out to the neighborhood when a man or woman who has harmed a child moves onto the block. They are often ostracized for the rest of their lives. Are these efforts a violation of rights as well, or are concerned citizens justified in their desire to keep watch over these offenders?
What are your thoughts on the case in Ireland?
Should child molesters have an expectation of privacy after their jail sentence is served, much like any other freed prisoner would enjoy, or do these unique circumstances make the broadcasting of their presence not only acceptable, but important?
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