John Grisham: Let's Ease Up on Men Who View Child Porn
He thinks some sentences are too harsh ... but apologizes for saying so
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2014 10:19 AM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2014 2:16 PM CDT
In this May 22, 2011, file photo, author John Grisham speaks during the opening of the premier of the stage adaptation of "A Time to Kill" at the Arena Stage theater in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, file)

(Newser) – John Grisham appears to have stepped in it, and has now apologized for doing so. In a recent interview with the Telegraph, the lawyer and novelist criticized America's sentencing laws—and, for some reason, decided it would be a good idea to use child pornography as an example. "We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who've never harmed anybody, would never touch a child," he said. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far, and got into child porn." In fact, that's pretty much exactly what he said happened to a "buddy" of his from law school, who—while drunk—went to a website called "16-year-old wannabe hookers or something like that," Grisham said.

From there, the friend found himself caught up in a Canadian child-porn sting and spent three years in jail. It was a dumb move, sure, Grisham admitted, "but it wasn't 10-year-old boys. He didn't touch anything." As the BBC points out, critics jumped all over Grisham's argument; as one says, "every time these images are clicked on or downloaded it creates demand that ultimately fuels more child abuse." In a statement issued today though his publisher and picked up by the AP, Grisham said his comments "were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all."