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Austrailian for “What the hell are you thinking?”

austrailia.jpgI thought the United States had the market cornered on judges that shouldn’t be involved in rape cases. But it seems the good folks in Melbourne, Australia decided to top us once again.

Eight teenagers (ages 15 to 17) were convicted for charges in connection with a sexual assault against a 17-year-old female. The boys, along with a number of others, lured the girl to a train station. The girl, thinking she was only meeting two of the boys, was attacked by the group of 11 and taken to a nearby park, where she was forced into oral sex, had her hair set on fire, and was spat and peed upon, all while one of the boys was filming the entire thing. Later, the video was released in the surrounding community as a DVD titled “[C-word] the Movie”.

Outrageous? Yes! Unconscionable? Indeed! So what was the appropriate punishment for such a horrible crime? Probation, of course! Oh, and rehab.

At a Children’s Court on Monday, a judge told the boys they treated the victim in a cruel and callous manner and described their behaviour as cowardly and brutal.

“It was a sustained attack by a pack of young men upon a vulnerable young woman,” he said.

He ordered all the boys - aged between 15 and 17 at the time of offending - to participate in a rehabilitation program for male adolescents about positive sexuality.

All except one of the boys had convictions recorded against them. The judge placed six of the boys on youth supervision orders for between 12 and 18 months and two of the boys were placed on probation for 12 months.

He said that if it was not for their guilty pleas and willingness to participate in rehabilitation they would have been at “significant risk” of serving time in youth detention.

The judge, who says that putting the boys in the program wasn’t the “easy option,” spoke wonders about the program, saying that is was quite effective at showing sexual offenders the errors of their ways and insuring they do not repeat.

Unless this “rehabilitation program” involves reenactments of their crimes featuring them as the victims and large, musclebound fellas with names like “Tripod Jim” making them wish that a croc was snacking on their entrails, then I cannot really see how effective this could be. But, I could be confusing the American idea of “rehabilitation” with the Australian one. Ours is now a joke, but theirs? Anyone who lives in a country that is mostly desert without blinking an eye should not be taken lightly.

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*hangs head in shame*