Welcome to the world of double standards

Let us say a person records themselves sexually abusing their son and shares the images with another person. Who should receive the harsher sentence: the person who abused the child or the one who received the images of the abuse?

Logic and ethics would suggest that the person who had physical contact with the child should face the stiffer sentence. However, this does not apply when one adds in the sex of those involved. Such is the situation in a recent case:

A Red Deer mother and licensed daycare worker has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for using her four-year-old son to make child pornography.

The woman, 43 years old at the time she was charged, pleaded guilty to sexual assault, making child pornography and distributing child pornography.

Authorities discovered the woman while investigating Peter Allen Cash. The Idaho man had numerous videos and images of child pornography on his phone. Canadian and Idaho authorities worked together to track down one of the boys from the images, which led to the woman’s arrest. Here is where it gets odd:

Cash pleaded guilty to nine felony child pornography charges and was sentenced last September, according to Idaho court records. Each count carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

The woman is from Canada and Cash is from the United States. One would expect a difference in legal statutes. Yet even if one factored in the different jurisdiction, the different states involved, and the number of charges, why is it that the man possessing child pornography faces more time than the woman who created it? One would think creating and distributing child pornography would carry harsher sentences.

Let us have a look at the statutes in each case. In Cash’s case, he was charged under Idaho’s criminal code section 18-1507, which is the sexual exploitation of a child. According to the code:

“Sexually exploitative material” means any image, photograph, motion picture, video, print, negative, slide, or other mechanically, electronically, digitally or chemically produced or reproduced visual material which shows a child engaged in, participating in, observing, or being used for explicit sexual conduct, or showing a child engaging in, participating in, observing or being used for explicit sexual conduct, in actual time, including, but not limited to, video chat, webcam sessions or video calling.

The code continues to state “the sexual exploitation of a child […] of this section is a felony and shall be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for a period not to exceed ten (10) years […]”. It appears then that Cash faced nine charges with a potential 90-year sentence. According to a report, Cash received a 40-year sentence, 18 years mandatory and 22 years indeterminate. That is essentially 4 and a half years per count.

As for the woman, she was charged under Canadian criminal code section 163.1. The statute states:

Making child pornography

(2) Every person who makes, prints, publishes or possesses for the purpose of publication any child pornography is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

Distribution, etc. of child pornography

(3) Every person who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells, advertises, imports, exports or possesses for the purpose of transmission, making available, distribution, sale, advertising or exportation any child pornography is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

Possession of child pornography

(4) Every person who possesses any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

Accessing child pornography

(4.1) Every person who accesses any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

Interpretation

(4.2) For the purposes of subsection (4.1), a person accesses child pornography who knowingly causes child pornography to be viewed by, or transmitted to, himself or herself.

The code is quoted in full to highlight what happened. This woman made, distributed, possessed, and accessed child pornography. Yet it appears that she only received the minimum for the subsections 2, 3, and 4. The remaining year appears to come from section 271, i.e. sexual assault, which also carries a one-year minimum sentence.

Each one of these charges carries a potential 10-year or more sentence, yet it appears the woman received the minimum sentence on each count. This means that the person who created the images and actually committed sexual assault on a child will spend less time in jail than the person who viewed. Not only will the woman spend less time in jail, but even per charge the man possessing the porn received a harsher sentence. If one limited the years to the mandatory parts of the sentence, Cash received twice the sentence as the woman. If one counted the full sentence, Cash received four and a half years for every one year the woman received.

It makes no sense that a person who forcibly sexually assaults a child should spend less time in jail than a person who viewed pictures or video of it. Try as I have, I cannot think of a similar instance in which a man received a lesser sentence for creating child pornography while the person he sent it to, be they male or female, faced a harsher punishment.

This case highlights the gross double standard when it comes to prosecuting women who commit sex offenses. No matter what a woman does, if a man is involved at some point, it appears the man will get more time, even if he never touched, spoke to, saw, or knows the victim.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Welcome to the world of double standards

  1. This lines up with that happens in those cases where an under age girl takes nude photos of herself, distributes them to a guy at school, the guy shares them and somehow the under age girl is never held accountable or responsible for creating what is technically child porn.

  2. With out a doubt, this is gross injustice. Not that it would apply here, but I found out that in the UK there is a means to protest a sentence that is excessively harsh or lenient.

  3. Yes, but this is in Canada, where we should consider ourselves lucky that a women – let alone a mother – was charged at all. And she probably wouldn’t have been, if it weren’t for the investigation* in the U.S. and the possible embarrassment if LE in Canada hadn’t bothered to follow up.

    *We never bother to investigate female crime in Canada – especially violent or sexual crime – unless it absolutely can’t be avoided, and even then only the bare minimum to avoid embarrassment.

    “The woman had no previous criminal record and was not previously known to police.”

    No sh*t, Sherlock. Kind of the definition of ‘circular reference’ there.

    On top of that, out of the 3.5 year sentence, I’d be surprised if she spent much, if any, time in prison at all.

    So many jewels of wisdom in that article:

    “Parents with children at the daycare where the woman worked were notified of the charges but police said there was no evidence any children other than the woman’s son were abused.”

    No evidence because it didn’t happen, or no evidence because Canadian police never investigate female sex crimes unless they a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y have to?

    “Authorities in Red Deer removed the boy, who was four years old at the time, from his mother last year and *placed him in the care of other family members*.”

    You don’t mean members of the same family who raised his mother to sexually abuse her toddler on camera, do you? Do you?

    Only in Canada. No wonder Erin Pizzey says what she says about us. And she’s right.

  4. “No matter what a woman does, [unless] a man is involved at some point” … there will be no investigation, no charges, no prosecution, no sentencing, and no justice for her victims whatsoever. OK, I’m using a bit of hyperbole there. But not much.

    I’ve often wondered, in those rare cases where there has been LE follow-up when women have committed crimes (especially unaccompanied), what exactly is it that makes LE take action? Because it certainly doesn’t happen often, and it would be nice to figure it out with the hope that we can encourage it to happen more. Is it fear of embarrassment when the crimes are that far over the top? Is it fear of being called out as negligent by some other agency (hard to believe in Canada since they’ll pretty much all go to the mat to defend and support violent females – even when their victims are children, or teen or adult females themselves)? Is it the odd renegade police officer who bucks the trend and is willing to risk their career path? I really wish I understood this better.

    If anyone has any ideas or has recognized any patterns here, I’d be happy to hear them.

  5. I’ve often wondered, in those rare cases where there has been LE follow-up when women have committed crimes (especially unaccompanied), what exactly is it that makes LE take action? Because it certainly doesn’t happen often, and it would be nice to figure it out with the hope that we can encourage it to happen more.

    I suspect it depends on the victim, the victim’s family, and the amount of public attention. I have seen cases where women have committed horrific abuse that has left the child physically scarred walk away with a handful of years in jail. In most cases, people do not serve the full term due to good behavior and other factors, so a 5-year sentence could easily end up little more than 2 or 3 years.

    If the victim really wants to go forward and there is evidence, the authorities would need a good reason not to go forward. The same is true with the family. Public attention can also push the prosecutors to at least taking the case to court, although in many instances this simply results in a plea deal that severely lessens the punishment for the offender.

    Is it fear of embarrassment when the crimes are that far over the top? Is it fear of being called out as negligent by some other agency (hard to believe in Canada since they’ll pretty much all go to the mat to defend and support violent females – even when their victims are children, or teen or adult females themselves)? Is it the odd renegade police officer who bucks the trend and is willing to risk their career path? I really wish I understood this better.

    In most cases, it is because the perpetrator is female and that goes against what people assume women can and will do. We look for excuses for women’s actions, which is why one of the first things police will do when facing these cases is look at a male, any male, to hold responsible. If one cannot be found, the next step is to downplay the severity of the woman’s actions. Remember, this is the police doing this on their own. If that cannot be done, say because the severity of the abuse, the next step is to absolve the woman of responsibility by claiming is was either not herself or mentally unstable. That will even come out of the prosecutor’s mouth.

    There is an unwillingness among many people to admit that women commit crimes. When faced with the reality of it, like in this case, it is easier to make excuses than acknowledge that women are no different than men when it comes to being horrible people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s