Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Polish prelate backs plans to force chemical castration of pedophiles

A Polish archbishop has backed government plans to permit the forced chemical castration of pedophiles as part of a crackdown on sex offenders.

"Bearing in mind the methods of treatment available when we want to cure a person, it seems ethical to help him this way," said retired Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski of Gdansk. "Let's remember it doesn't just concern him, but also the children who may be wrecked by his lack of self-control and who will suffer throughout their lives."

In an interview with Poland's Radio Zet, he said the penalty, recently proposed in a package of tough penal reforms by Poland's center-right government, was morally right to prevent pedophiles from violating the dignity of others. He said it could be compared to methods for treating alcoholics. Chemical castration is a drug that takes away a person's sex drive.

"If it helps a person ... by making his brain function more correctly, then I'd see it solely as a treatment rather than as retribution," Archbishop Goclowski, 77, said in the Sept. 30 interview. "A normal person should be aware of the good of the child who is damaged in this way."

He added that he would support similar treatment for those who commit the "grave sin" of incest.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in mid-September he would "radically accelerate" provisions for the forcible chemical castration of pedophiles after a 45-year-old man was reported to have fathered two children with his daughter after imprisoning and raping her for six years.

More than 79 percent of Poles backed the proposal in a late September survey by the Millward Brown agency, while 94 percent favored general tougher penalties for sex offenders.

However, human rights groups have said the measure is draconian and would violate human rights.

Several European Union countries, including Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden, allow sex offenders to be treated with drugs voluntarily. Laws on forced castration for pedophiles and rapists also are under discussion in the Czech Republic and Spain.