Canadian websites called a 'pedophile haven'
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:39AM EDT
CALGARY - A victims' rights group says weak laws allow child porn websites to be based in Canada and are allowing the country to become a "pedophile haven."
A Washington-state based web site that promotes "girl-oriented pedophilia" was shut down by a U.S. web carrier earlier this year but has re-emerged thanks to a provider based in Montreal.
It features regional events that are reviewed and rated on the presence of adolescent girls, which are referred to as LG's (little girls) by the man behind the site.
"It's just kind of a free speech issue with me. I don't feel like I should be censored if I'm out in the community doing legal things," said site founder Jack McClellan, 45, a self-proclaimed pedophile with no criminal record, in an interview with the Bellingham Herald last week.
"I don't see anything on the site where I'm encouraging anyone to do anything illegal."
The site itself said its primary purpose is "to promote association, friendship; and legal, non-sexual, consensual touch between men and prepubescent girls."
Forums include event reviews where five hearts is described as LG Heaven and a discussion on whether it's legal to french kiss an adolescent girl.
"We're a pedophile haven, absolutely," said Carrie Kohan, founder of Mad Mothers Against Pedophiles. "There's no doubt. They can't do it in the States so where else are they going to go? They come to their haven, north of the border.
"They are literally instructing other pedophiles what they can and can't do in order to evade the law. Can you suck the toe of a child or can you french kiss a child? These are the kind of topics that they speak of."
Kohan said allowing these kind of sites to flow out of Canada - and the light sentences sex offenders receive here - are prompting offenders to literally "walk across the border" to prey on children.
Law enforcement authorities are aware of these kind of sites but there's little that can be done to shut them down.
"There's not much we can do about the sites because they go around the law - they never go across the line," said Sgt. Jason Gauthier of the Quebec Provincial Police in Montreal. "They talk about things but they don't act on them and they don't do anything criminally banned by the Criminal Code so we can't act.
"We know of many sites where the pedophiles meet and they talk about it. that they're dreaming of doing these things but they don't actually admit it on the site. They're right on the edge."
But one Conservative member of Parliament said there is action that can be taken.
"The internet service providers have to be put in a position where they must report these," said Art Hanger of Calgary, a former police officer. "Even if they're not illegal, they must report them in some fashion and keep their sites clean.
"These guys are in their own environment, they control it and say they haven't broken any laws so who's going to touch me? I think they have to be touched in a real hard way."
Kohan said the difference between the system in the U.S. and Canada is that south of the border web providers can be held liable if the law is broken.
She wants the same rules implemented here. But since Internet porn is big business the fines would have to be in excess of $250,000 Kohan said.
Another victims advocacy group is also demanding the Canadian government clamp down on web providers who are supporting pedophile sites.
"This kind of stuff only breeds bigger problems that exposes children to all kinds of abuse," said Shawn Howard of the Canadian Justice Foundation.
"At the end of the day it provides an environment for these perverts to abuse, exploit and publish these images, which is a big part of the pedophile network."