"These Are People Who Haven’t Hurt Anybody"- Best-selling Author John Grisham Defends Viewers of Child Pornography
The best-selling author of A Time To Kill has slammed the "harsh" punishments faces by people convicted of watching child pornography.
Speaking in a recent interview with The Telegraph, the 59-year-old blasted the American prison system, saying it had "gone nuts".
“We have prisons now filled with guys my age — 60-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody,” he said.
Grisham went on to describe scenarios of men who “got online one night” and “probably had too much to drink”, ending up on child-pornography websites.
The author added that a "good buddy" of his, a friend from his days in law school, had faced conviction for such a crime.
Grisham pictured at the Broadway opening of the stage adaptation of A Time To Kill
"His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled 'sixteen year old wannabee hookers or something like that'. And it said '16-year-old girls'. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff - it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.
"He shouldn't ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything. And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ‘FBI!’ and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people - sex offenders - and he went to prison for three years."
Grisham said: “These are people who haven’t hurt anybody. They deserve some type of punishment, whatever, but 10 years in prison?”
The interview was in promotion for his latest novel Gray Mountain, set to be published next week, but many of Grisham's long-standing fans are outraged by his comments.
The writer clarified that he had no sympathy for what he described as "real" paedophiles, saying: "God, please lock those people up. But so many of these guys do not deserve harsh prison sentences, and that's what they're getting".