Readers of The Washington Post were greeted this morning with the sickening report of how a convicted child molester fixed his problem with fantasizing about young children. He castrated himself. And here is why:
[James] Jenkins, 63, doesn't flinch when he talks about it now. "Castration has done precisely what I wanted it to do," he said. "I have not had any sexual urges or desires in over two years. My mind is finally free of the deviant sexual fantasies I used to have about young girls."
He spoke with the clinical cool of a surgeon as he tried to explain his pedophilia during a rare interview in a guarded room of the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, the sex offender treatment center where Jenkins was sent. The Petersburg facility is part of a new way the state is trying to keep sex offenders off the streets: Identify the most dangerous before they are released from prison and ask a judge in civil court to commit them to a treatment facility even after they have completed their sentences.
Jenkins readily admits that the prospect of being confined indefinitely partly prompted his drastic action three years ago. But he also insists he did it to prevent himself from victimizing another child.
Words befuddle my attempts to describe the horror that the story's first three paragraphs (not included in this post) introduced to my first real morning of work in five days, but I have since recovered and wanted to raise one question with the author, Candace Rondeaux. Was the religious significance of what the convicted child molester did to himself considered or talked about? Ponder for a moment the instructions for stumbling sinners found in Matthew 5:29-30 (New American Standard Version):
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
A reporter who dug into that subject a bit would find an obvious connection to the subject, filled with all sorts of theological arguments and various interpretations of the Bible. I wonder if the child molester considered this instruction before taking his problems into his own hands, so to speak.
But setting the Bible verses aside, this article raises all sorts of moral questions. Was this man simply made that way? Did he have a choice in doing what he did?
The article does a good job addressing the larger question of whether this type of action should be used more often by the judicial system (drugs are the preferred method, not the razor, by the way), but failing to address these other issues left me looking for more.