Poor Jeremy Forrest. The 30-year-old teacher-booby who ran away to France with pupil, 15-year-old Ms S (name redacted by order of the weird British legal system, given that it was all over the papers for a week) has been found guilty of child abduction.
To the entire country, apart seemingly from a jury of Bradford mill-owners, it was obvious who was the child and who the adult in this case. Such is now the hysteria of the British public over so-called ‘paedophilia’ that a minor case of intergenerational infatuation and a silly escapade with no harm done can be turned into a heinous sexual crime of national significance.
For God’s sake snap out of it and grow up, pathetic and terrified Britons. You do not have to take seriously, the sonorous headline-chasing pronouncements of the Crown Prosecution Service and inarticulate police spokespersons crowing over a perverse verdict. (The French police were so unimpressed, they nearly couldn’t be bothered to drag the star-crossed lovers back.)
Mr Forrest was an idiot, Ms S an infatuated junior temptress, but it is not as if Mr Forrest had been caught molesting an entire class of nine-year-olds or collecting horrendous porn images involving baby-rape. Wherever the hard-edge of the law on Consent may have been drawn, Ms S was visibly not a child, and Mr Forrest was clearly no ‘paedophile’ (I do wish people would use the correct word, the word is ‘pederast’. A ‘paedophile’ is someone who genuinely loves children. I suppose that is also a crime in sex-embarrassed, child-hating Britain.)
Of course, teachers have a special responsibility. Of course he broke the professional code of conduct and the ethical basis of his contract and, in view of the technicality of Ms S being underage, deserves some punishment on top of the loss of his family and career. But the criminal law is surely much too blunt an object to bring to bear in cases where harsh terms such as ‘abduction’ and ‘paedophilia’ are clearly overstated and fly in the face of the known facts.
In more mature and balanced societies, some financial compensation to the family would be appropriate, followed in due course by a ceremony of marriage.
Mr Forrest has been sentenced to a savage five and a half YEARS in gaol for his idiocy. This Victorian reprisal is seemingly the cumulative result of additional charges relating to the individual occasions on which Mr Forrest agrees he had sex with Ms S., who now says she intends to marry him when he comes out.
It’s all a bit sad, really.