Luke / Laura Voyce

Luke / Laura Voyce, a male who identifies as a trans woman was convicted in 2010 of 14 counts of downloading indecent images of children. Voyce, 20 was sentenced to a nine-month sentence suspended for a year, 100 hours unpaid work, and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for five years.

The court was told “She said she wasn’t brought up as a proper girl but as a boy. And that is why she initially viewed things like girls modelling clothes and that progressed to indecent images.”

Sentencing, Judge Newton described Voyce’s possession of level 3 and level 4 images as “alarming”, but said the therapy which would reduce the risk of offending was not available because of the defendant’s “unusual circumstances” i.e. a male transitioning to live as a trans woman could not be enrolled on a rehabilitation course for sex offenders as the courses  (unsurprisingly) are aimed at the men who commit 99% of sex offences.

Judge Newton added: “Frankly, you deserve to go to prison, but I can’t bring myself to send you to prison, entirely because I think prison would be an appalling experience for you. I do not see how you could be kept safe in a prison environment with the best will in the world on the part of those who run such establishments.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘There is nothing to stop a transsexual from receiving a custodial sentence where a judge deems that to be appropriate.

Children’s charities are quoted in the Daily Mail as reacting with anger to the leniency of Voyce’s sentence. Michelle Elliott, founder of Kidscape, said: ‘This ruling is absolutely absurd. It sends out entirely the wrong message that this transsexual’s feelings are more important than the emotions experienced by the children in these images who have gone through this terrible abuse. She should have gone to jail. There should be no special circumstances where child abuse in concerned.’

Photo via Liverpool Echo

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