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Protest over sex offence sentencing

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PAEDOPHILE hunter Cheyenne O’Connor is urging Islanders to join a protest against Jersey’s sentencing policy for child sex offenders, which she says ‘laughs in the face of victims’.

Cheyenne O'Connor

The 26-year-old, who has helped bring 13 local men to justice by posing as children on dating websites, is holding the demonstration in the Royal Square at 10am on Saturday.

She says the event will feature a speech by anti-child abuse campaigner and former Senator Stuart Syvret. The mother-of-two is hoping that one or two abuse survivors will also address the crowd.

Miss O’Connor is calling for two major changes to sentencing policy: a minimum jail sentence of three years for anyone convicted of any type of child sex offence, and forcing anyone convicted of such offences to be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Currently people convicted of child sex crimes face community-based or custodial sentences of varying lengths, from just a few months upwards. The length of time that an offender’s name is placed on the register also varies, depending on the severity of the offence.

Miss O’Connor is also considering calling for what she describes as an ‘independent’ prosecutor from outside the Law Officers’ Department to handle all child sex crime cases.

Explaining why she has called for the protest, she said: ‘The current sentencing policy is ridiculous. It is laughing in the face of victims. No one is going to be afraid of getting caught if they are only going to get jailed for a year – or in some cases not even that.’

She added: ‘A lot of people I have spoken to have said they will be coming along, and I do know a lot of people feel very strongly about this issue. I do hope people come and make their voice heard.’

An e-petition calling for changes to the Island’s sentencing policy for child sex offences which was launched by Miss O’Connor earlier this year has so far gained more than 2,500 signatures. It needs at least 5,000 for it to be considered for debate in the States. A separate hard-copy petition has gained 1,000 signatures.

As well as targeting men in Jersey, Miss O’Connor has helped bring three men to justice in the UK and has two cases pending in Guernsey.

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
author

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