An Alabama state legislator wants to force convicted molesters to pay to get neutered. Do you think this is inhumane, or the best way to prevent more kids from being victimized?
Larry Don McQuay, now 52, has said he molested more than 240 children in a long, dark criminal career that could only be stopped, he told Texas authorities, by having his testes cut out.
To believe him and his lawyer is to accept that castration — whether surgical or chemical — keeps serial pedophiles from ruining more young lives.
To neuter or not to neuter is one of the most fierce questions in criminal justice systems around the globe.
Now comes an Alabama state legislator, with a newly proposed law that has reignited fiery rhetoric on all sides, and goes farther than any other castration laws currently observed in at least nine U.S. states.
Under the bill from Rep. Steve Hurst, which will be debated next year, convicted molesters older than age 21 whose victims were younger than 12 would be forced to undergo surgical castration at their own expense.
“I know I have people that say that this is inhumane,” Hurst said earlier this month, when he resubmitted the bill he pushed last year but failed to get passed.
“What is inhumane is to molest a child, especially an infant,” said the Republican lawmaker. “That’s inhumane.”
Paul Looney, the Texas criminal defense lawyer for McQuay, told the Daily News there’s no doubt in his mind that castration can be humane for both the perpetrator and society. And it works, according to his experience.
“I can tell you absolutely that it helps every male with impulse control,” said Looney, who has represented about eight men who voluntarily chose surgical castration.
None of them have re-entered the legal system, he said, because castration lowers both sexual impulses and hostile behavior. And his former clients have been able to resist their lessened drives.
“There’s no way I would recommend it as a mandatory measurement. There’s an element of beastiality to it,” Looney said.
“But if it works, and if it gives them a way out of attacking another victim, then that’s a home run.”
McQuay’s request to be physically castrated prompted Texas in 1997 to become the first state to allow it.
Castration is viewed as cruel and unusual punishment by the ACLU and Amnesty International, among other groups. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that child molesters could not be executed if they did not commit murder during their lewd acts.
Some medical studies show lower recidivism rates for castrated criminals versus those who didn’t receive the procedures.
Studies in Germany have shown about 3% of castrated offenders repeated their crimes. For those who didn’t undergo castration, the figure ranged from 46 percent to 75 percent.
The only thing about this law that gives us pause is the idea of it potentially being used on men who might be wrongly convicted, or in cases of “statutory rape” where we’ve sometimes seen teens who had consensual sex end up being deemed “sex offenders.” Outside of that we are all for snipping the balls of sickos who mess with kids.
What do you think?