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An English man found with nearly 150,000 pornographic photos and videos of children had faced up to five years in prison—but was spared because he desperately wants to have kids.
Earlier this year, officers had seized Richard Arrowsmith’s computer, external hard drive, USB sticks, and more after receiving a tip about his IP address. What they found were thousands of images and videos involving penetrative sex, images involving non-penetrative sexual activity, and other sexual images, all with children.
Arrowsmith was sentenced to 10 months jail time, but it will be suspended for two years because, as Recorder (Judge) Martin Butterworth put it “I am taking into consideration your previous good character, you have a wife who supports you, a steady employment and your hopes to start a family in the near future.”
Arrowsmith does have to register as a sex offender and is not allowed to work with children.
The Derby Telegraph reports that many are outraged over the sentencing. “Banned from working with children but allowed to have his own!? Let me guess, it’s his human right? Never mind the human rights of the poor children in the photos he’s encouraged to be made,” said man on the street Stephen Goodwin.
There’s been a growing movement to classify pedophilia as a sexual orientation rather than a disorder. The DSM-5 notes a difference between those with “paraphilia” and those with the disorder, noting the former is simply one who harbors feelings of attraction, while the latter is someone who has “acted on these sexual urges,” or whose urges cause them distress. So someone who sexually abuses children is not necessarily a pedophile, because there’s no real way to confirm if they were acting on a deeply felt attraction.
How that distinction comes into play legally varies, but websites like Virtuous Pedophiles have been started to provide support and advocacy for pedophiles who have never molested children, and to undo stigmas that would assume someone like Arrowsmith shouldn’t have children because he’s been arrested for having child pornography.
Butterworth reportedly said in court that “these are not victimless crimes—they encourage serious abuse of sometimes very young children.” In a statement provided to the Daily Dot, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children echoed that sentiment: “The youngsters in these images are victims of sexual abuse and anyone viewing them is fueling a disgusting industry,” said an unnamed spokesman. “Children endured unspeakable and horrific abuse for these pictures to be created and shared. Just by looking at this content, demand is being increased for more children to be abused.”
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'