Judge: Incest, Pedophilia More Acceptable, Just Like Being Gay

In Depth

An Australian judge is receiving a great amount of criticism for comments claiming that incest and pedophilia will become more acceptable over time just like gay rights.

District Court Judge Garry Neilson was caught on tape offering his view that just as same-sex relationships were once considered socially unacceptable, sexual contact between adults and children or siblings may no longer be regarded by society as unnatural or taboo.

…a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available,’ not having [a] sexual partner.

Jed Horne, Policy and Project Officer at New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, told Australia’s Star Observer that “the comments attributed to the judge are completely unacceptable.”

Not only do they make a highly offensive comparison between being gay and sexual offences, but they are an affront to members of the community which have experienced sexual abuse in their lives.

Neilson apparently made the comments back in April, but the Australian media has only now picked up on it. And the context in which he said it seems particularly abhorrent given that it was in a case of a 58-year-old Sydney man charged with repeatedly raping his younger sister in 1981. He pled guilty to repeated rapes when she was 10 years old and 11 years old in 1973 and 1974, respectively, but claimed innocence due to consent when he was 26 and she was 18 in 1981.

The judge responded to facts of the case by suggesting that the only reason incest is still considered socially unacceptable is because of the issue of genetic abnormalities in children.

But even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and ready access to abortion.

Frankly, the whole diatribe is just plain bizarre, its obvious insensitivity and offensiveness put aside. Even if the judge sees no issue with adult incestuous relationships and can make an argument because of adult faculties of judgement, that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the defendant was at the time of the first series of rapes 17 years old, and his sister was not yet out of primary school. There is no possible argument here that would make consent even remotely possible. So why even offer these comments as an aside?

This is apparently not news to those who know Neilson’s record, either. The judge has also given a reduced sentence to a 55-year-old rapist of his 15 and 16 year old niece because he did not ejaculate inside of her nor “treat her roughly.”

But at least there has been a government response. New South Wales Attorney-General Brad Hazzard is calling for Neilson’s removal.

Image via Shutterstock.

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