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Australian Judge Calls Incest, Rape Acceptable, Religious Leaders Express Outrage: 'God Will Not Be Mocked'

( [email protected] ) Jul 14, 2014 12:06 PM EDT
A judge in Australia recently compared incest and pedophilia to homosexuality, saying it will soon no longer be considered "taboo" like it was several years ago. In response, a religious leader says "God will not be mocked" by promotion of "sexual perversion."
Australia judge says incest, rape is no longer taboo. (AP)

What was once called sexual perversion may no longer be considered as such, according to a judge in Sydney, Australia.

District Court Judge Garry Neilson recently compared incest and pedophilia to homosexuality, saying the community may no longer see sexual contact between siblings and between adults and children as "unnatural" or "taboo."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Judge Neilson said just as gay sex was socially unacceptable and criminal in the 1950s and 1960s but is now widely accepted, "a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now 'available', not having [a] sexual partner".

He continued to comment that the "only reason" that incest is still a crime is because of the high risk of genetic abnormalities in children born from such relations, "but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion".

Neilson's disturbing comments were made in when discussing the case of a 58-year-old man, known for legal reasons as MRM, who is charged with repeatedly raping his younger sister in the family's western Sydney home in 1981.

According to the case files, the man had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his sister when she was 10 or 11 years old in 1973 or 1974 after police recorded a telephone conversation between the siblings in July 2011 in which he admitted to having sexual contact with her when she was "a kid."

However, the man pled not guilty to the charge of sexual intercourse without consent, with an alternative charge of incest, regarding the 1981 events.

Judge Neilson stated that the sexual abuse which had occurred when the girl was 10 or 11 and the youth was 17 occurred in a different context to the sex which happened when she was 18 and he was 26. By 1981, she had had sexual relationships with two men and had a young child.

"By that stage they are both mature adults. The complainant has been sexually awoken, shall we say, by having two relationships with men and she had become 'free' when the second relationship broke down," Judge Neilson said.

"The only thing that might change that is the fact that they were a brother and sister but we've come a long way from the 1950s ... when the position of the English Common Law was that sex outside marriage was not lawful."

"If this was the 50s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you'd invariably have, they would say it's unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone."

Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Dr Cathy Kezelman says Neilson's comments are "ill informed" and "outrageous."

"To equate homosexuality, incest and the crime of child sexual assault is as ill-informed as it is outrageous. For it to be paraded by a Judge in Australia in 2014 during the time of the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse, or at any time, is beyond belief. Literally thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse have given testimony before the commission of the decades of damage their abuse has caused," Dr Kezelman said.

"The relational betrayal of the horrors of incest between a brother and sister of any age is abhorrently criminal. Failure to understand that prior abuse disempowers the victim establishing the ground for future assaults is ignorant. This together with referring to a sibling as being sexually 'free' or 'available' demands strict censure."

Others chastised Neilson for his "misogynistic" and "ludicrous and obscene remarks."

"These comments are offensive to every child, every victim, every homosexual person in this country," said Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston, noting that the case should be referred to the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Religious leaders echoed Johnston's sentiments, saying Neilson should be removed from his position for such comments.

"What Judge Neilson wants is the legality of sexual perversion," said Rev. Thomas Erickson of the United Church of England. "God demolished Sodom and Gomorrah for such offenses. Those in positions of authority should be very wary of their speech, for God is more powerful than even the strongest of leaders and will not be mocked in this way."