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Second Chances

I came across this article today, while writing something thing else and I just felt so enraged that I could not leave it alone. I could not bottle it all up into nothing and not voice my opinion and no doubt the opinions of many others not only in the UK but no doubt the rest of the world.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2795269/paedophile-24-raped-12-year-old-girl-handed-job-chef-jamie-oliver-s-fifteen-restaurant-ahead-thousands-disadvantaged-applicants.html
This is the offending article that has made my fingers dance across the keys in shear rage. I will be blunt as there is no better way to be about some things that create such vivid emotions within your body; I find this disgusting. Now please do not think that I am against second chances, and that some people should be given the benefit of the doubt because it helps them grow but in my mind this is just wrong.

The basis of my rage is that this guy is a convicted paedophile, having not long finished his four year sentence (two in prison and two community service) and now he is being granted this opportunity because they have decided “that he’d served his sentence” so therefore of course he should be allowed a place. In my mind he has not earned the place that all I can say is he has been gifted, having only just finished his sentence (a few months or so ago) he has not proven such a vicious act will not happen again. That in my mind means he is incredibly unsafe; would you want to take your family in to the restaurant only to be served by a paedophile?

Another thing within the article that irks me completely, and makes by belief that he just should not have been granted this; he at first denied the charges when in court. He initially said that the sex was consensual; I would find this hard to believe, when I was twelve I didn’t fully understand sex and truly was not interested (times couldn’t have changed that much right?) His lawyer even said that he was “young and immature”, I remind you that he was nineteen when the offence happened; by eighteen you are classed and adult in the UK and are treated as such (especially in the Criminal Justice System) so somehow I don’t see that he could have been that young and immature to not know what he had done (or in the moment thinking about doing) was wrong. I could not have been the only person that through childhood, even in secondary school, that had it practically drilled into them about sex, about what is right and wrong with sex and relationships as a whole. I can understand if a parent never spoken to him about it all, but I doubt no one ever mentioned to him that it was wrong to have intercourse with a child. Thankfully the court seemed to share my opinion upon these matters by stated to him that “you knew every well that having sex with such a young girl was wrong.”

However, one thing that has only made his offence worse (If it is even possible to do such a thing when ruining a child’s life) is that this gift seems to be rewarding him for doing such a despicable crime.  After all he is being granted a wonderful opportunity; an apprentice in a top restaurant, owned by a world renowned chef, being paid £130 a week, plus travel expenses and a holiday. I know so many people in the country that would do anything for this opportunity, (I know I certainly would) but instead this chance and life is given to a convicted criminal no sooner does he finish his sentence. Now at least in my thoughts this glorifies being in a criminal and having actually been convicted; as if it wasn’t bad enough that the living standards in some prisons (I know not all are paradise) are better than living in society (Three meals a day, no bills or rent, and Xbox or other games and entertainment, also free professional courses while in there) but now when you leave you can be given something like this. Whereas the general unemployed public struggle and fight for any jobs that will put food on the table and keep bailiffs away (Dreams come second place for a while) and even those already in jobs, striving to keep their jobs, to follow their dreams and be all that they could be.  This idea is not just something that I seem to be having, the criminal in mention has even been caught boasting about his apprenticeship position over Facebook, even adding the caption “Top of the pile where I belong” (forgive me, but this is where my rage peaked once again); within the prison system it has been said that paedophiles are on the very bottom rung, even the other criminals do not like these people, those that would do such acts upon children. Having just read this article a few weeks back http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/paedophile-mitchell-harrison-disembowelled-frankland-82885 (Graphic content: caution advised) proves just how vicious criminals can be against those who harm children in this way.  I wonder how he has the audacity to state that he belongs at the top of the pile is truly beyond me, he has destroyed a child’s life by doing this (She can never ever be the same again).

Now, I must say that I would be a little more understanding (Not completely as it still sickens me that someone could ever do that to a child) if it had been some time, at least a few years, since his crime and he had not been seen or caught doing anything criminal, not even towards children just in general. No one knows that he will not reoffend and I truly believe until that is certain he should not be granted such a wonderful, and possibly a once in a life time thing, until it could be confirmed (if ever) that he could be trusted. The one thing that truly irritates me, beyond the opportunity given, is the nature of the opportunity; he has been convicted of raping a twelve year old girl, so why then place him in a job that he will then be around children and families. You are not always going to follow your pre-teen child to the toilet, they are old enough to do that themselves after all, we all know how quickly things can happen (Perhaps it’s just my worried mind).  I do not see why he could not have been found a job in a factory or even anywhere else, away from families and children; he should be proud and glad to get any job, not only in this economical climate but due to his background.

Those that run the apprenticeship stated that “it is not unusual for us to work with people who want to try and turn their lives around.” Now this can’t help but make me wonder just who else they have, or if he is the worst. Like I said at the beginning I am not against second chances, we all need them at some point in our lives but a line needs to be put somewhere, especially when talking about opportunities like this, which could change anyone’s life. I believe something like this, being granted a wonderful apprenticeship for people who get dragged into the wrong crowd and end up with a criminal record due to the company they keep, it would be perfect, getting them away from that group and showing them what they can become. After all Gordon Ramsey didn’t have the best start in his life; but there needs to be a line. After all Jamie reportedly in 2002 set up Fifteen apprentice programme in order to “help young people stay out of trouble and make something of their lives.” But in my belief, he chose to get into criminal trouble, he knew it was wrong (no peer pressure) and still acted in such a vile way.

As I try my best to look at this whole situation I still cannot understand the logical reasoning for this, and still truly feel that it is wrong. Should someone convicted of such crimes, or even convicted in crown court be given such a magnificent opportunity?  I personally don’t think so.

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