Right from the start, the Ron Bencze sex assault case has been a disturbing one.
Everything about the former TV reporter's child molestation case has been troubling - from the details laid out in court right down to his almost jovial demeanour leading up to his sentencing.
But what troubled me most was one simple line - a line that appeared near the end of most media stories, a line that if you didn't read close enough, you would miss.
It said that Bencze wasn't a pedophile.
That's right, for seven years, from the time the boy was six, Bencze may have sexually touched him, masturbated with him, had oral sex with him and sent him sexually explicit text messages. But he's no pedophile.
At least that's what his defense lawyer's psychiatric assessment would have you believe.
Nope, the report said Bencze is not a pedophile and is not a threat to children because he can control his issues.
Am I missing something? Granted, I'm no psychologist - I have a hard enough time spelling it - but am I the only one who is perplexed by such a statement from a so-called professional?
Legally, the term "pedophile" is a clinical diagnosis and its definition is complex, so it may offer some loopholes to a scumbag like Bencze.
And while it's no surprise that his defense team would use legal definitions in an effort to soften the blow for their client, it still amazes me that a psychologist would issue such a report in a public court of law.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems defines pedophilia as "a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age."
And even though I'm not a lawyer, from what I understand, diagnostic criteria for pedophilia include recurrent, intense sexually-arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviours involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger) over a period of at least six months.
Seems to me Bencze fits that mold perfectly. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck....
Knowing all the horrible details of the case - which we couldn't report to readers due to a publication ban - it must have been disgusting for the boy and his family to face Bencze in court and hear the defense's claim that he's not a pedophile.
Luckily, Surrey provincial court Judge Robin Baird didn't buy any of that psychiatric load of crap and put Bencze behind bars for four years (which was a longer sentence than what the Crown was seeking).
And his time will be served in a federal penitentiary - and we all know how the general inmate population feels about pedophiles, don't we?
Maybe there is such a thing as justice after all.
BRAR'S NO COMMIE
Another story in today's paper that has me shaking my head is the one we told you about on page 5.
Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar is defending himself after B.C. Liberal MLA Bill Bennett is calling him a communist following a recent trip to Cuba.
Brar made some kind remarks about the country and Bennett jumped all over them, suggesting the NDP is harbouring some kind of hidden communist agenda.
Yeah, right. Maybe we should drag Brar in front of a "loyalty review board."
Last I checked, this isn't the 1950s and we are allowed to learn from other nations - communist or not.
"The context of my statements was that we are a wealthy nation and we have these kinds of issues in front of us," Brar told the Now. "We can do better and the people of British Columbia want us to do better."
Take your McCarthyism elsewhere, Bennett. Maybe your own party could learn a thing or two from communism and "share" some of the blame for its embarrassing fall from grace.
Oh great, now I suppose I'm a communist, too.
Move over, Jagrup.
Beau Simpson is editor of the Now. He can be reached at bsimpson@ thenownewspaper.com
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