Millionaire Author John Grisham Says Not All Men Who Watch Child Porn Are Paedophiles

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Millionaire Author John Grisham Says Not All Men Who Watch Child Porn Are Paedophiles.

By Natalie Robehmed

Crime writer John Grisham has said America is unjustly jailing too many citizens for viewing child pornography. In an interview with The Telegraph, Grisham, who earned $17 million last year and tied for 6th place in Forbes’ ranking of top-earning authors, attacked the widespread incarceration of those who watch child porn.

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child,” he told The Telegraph’s Peter Foster in an interview to promote his latest novel, Gray Mountain.

John Grisham earned an estimated $17 million between June 2013 and June 2014. (Photo credit: Jose Luis Magana/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

“But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”

Grisham, who is well known for legal thrillers such as A Time to Kill and The Firm, has sold more than 275 million copies since his 1989 debut. Grisham first joined Forbes’ top-earning author ranking in 2000, with a $36 million annual paycheck. He has made an estimated $200 million before taxes and fees in the last 14 years.

“I have no sympathy for real pedophiles,” he said, speaking to The Telegraph from his office in Charlottesville, Virginia. “God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that’s what they’re getting.”

“There’s so many ‘sex offenders’ – that’s what they’re called – that they put them in the same prison. Like they’re a bunch of perverts… We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration,” he added, citing an anecdote of a law-school pal who he says accidentally viewed porn that was apparently incorrectly labelled as child porn.

The U.S. has the world’s largest prison population, with about 2.2 million adults behind bars. Close to a quarter of the world’s prisoners are held within American prisons; the U.S. accounts for just 5% of the world’s population.

According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Sentencing Commision, in the last decade average sentences for those who possess but do not produce child pornography have nearly doubled in the US, from 54 months in 2004 to 95 months in 2010. Commission data also shows that virtually all offenders (96.3%) possess images of minors who were prepubescent or under 12 years of age.

In a statement, Grisham apologized and said he regretted his comments, explaining: “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.”

“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.”

Grisham, whose 2013 release Sycamore Row sold over 1 million copies last year, also pens children’s books in the Theodore Boone series, which follows a vivacious, young wannabe-lawyer.

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