Prostitute offer caught on tape
Providing a paedophile with a prostitute dressed as a child to "fulfil needs" is unhelpful and would have no role in successful rehabilitation, a clinical psychologist says.
Corrections have launched an investigation into a probation officer who allegedly spoke about "helping" a sex offender by providing a sex worker in children's clothing.
The claims surfaced after a West Auckland resident - also being managed by the officer - recorded a meeting with him and made the tape available to media.
On the recording, which has been sent to the Corrections Department, the officer talks about organising a prostitute for another offender as part of a ''safety plan'' to control the offender's risk.
The probation officer at the centre of the allegations has been suspended until completion of the inquiry.
Auckland University expert in clinical and forensic psychology Ian Lambie, who studies sex offenders, said the approach outlined in the recording was not one consistent with the rehabilitation encouraged by Corrections in New Zealand.
"What's really important for any sex offender regardless of whether they offend against children or adults is that they learn to respect the value of other people," Lambie said.
"They need to develop skills that allow them to relate to people of their own age and form relationships that are consensual and respectful."
Lambie said the situation raised questions about what sort of message was being sent to the person who needed to be rehabilitated.
New Zealand Prostitute's Collective co-ordatinor Catherine Healy said she did not believe many sex workers would agree to such a job.
"I don't think the workers would entertain the idea of encouraging sex with children," she said.
Some prostitutes provided a "schoolgirl fantasy" service but that was markedly different to encouraging paedophilia, she said.
"Most workers are really intolerant of that, to the point where some have been proactive and reported people in that situation."
Corrections Department acting regional manager Alastair Riach said the allegations against the probation officer are very serious and will be fully investigated.
He said the department does not provide or pay for the provision of prostitutes to any offenders.
The investigation was likely to take around two weeks.
The West Auckland resident who made the recording said he did so because he did not like some of the probation officer's earlier comments. He said he felt so uncomfortable at meetings that he always took one of his parents for support.
"It was disgusting. Even my father said 'he's really strayed from the path' with the comments," the man said.
In the recording the officer apparently talks about the difficulty of managing people on home detention for ''pretty sick crimes'' who ''still have a need for, for instance, child sex''.
Referring to one case he says: ''I'm not able to supply them with child sex but we've worked out a plan where, hey, we'll go out to get a prostitute who comes to the house and she dresses up as a child.''
The officer says it hasn't stopped the offender's urges but stopped him having to ''grab someone off the street''.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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