A Belgian poet employed by the city of Bruges has come under fire after writing a letter condemning the demonisation of paedophiles and said people need to “accept paedophiles”.
Belgian poet Delphine Lecompte wrote the letter in response to an investigation by Belgian journalists into a Flemish actor accused of sexually abusing children.
Lecompte refers to paedophiles as “a marginalised, vulnerable group that has been treated as sickening scum by the decent moralistic community for years”. Despite her protest, the museum poet has remained employed by Bruges, with the city council saying that while it disagreed with her statements, Lecompte was entitled to free speech, broadcaster VRT reports.
Lecompte went on to say in the letter that “most paedophiles never engage in paedophile acts” and “that every human being is sometimes attracted to innocence and youthfulness”.
She continued: “I think it is very dangerous to demonise and silence paedophiles.
“In this way, the paedophile is almost forced into a position of illegality and perverted criminality. If you yell at someone long enough, ‘You’re sick and disgusting, get under a rock!’ you just get the pedosexual excesses and child pornography we all want to avoid.”
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“I think it would be wiser to get to know and accept the paedophile. And to accept that paedophilia resides in each of us,” she added.
The letter has been met with outrage from many, including Stefaan Sintobin of the populist party Vlaams Belang who called on the city of Bruges to end its relationship with Lecompte and Flemish Minister Matthias Diependaele, who stated: “We can’t condone or normalise paedophilia in any way, let alone seek excuses.”
Bruges mayor Dirk De fauw responded to the controversy, saying: “We do not, very explicitly, support Delphine Lecompte’s statements about paedophilia, and therefore clearly want to distance ourselves from this.”
However, he added that the city stood for “the right to free opinion and artistic freedom”.
Lecompte wrote a follow-up letter to her original in which she claimed: “The lives of most paedophiles are a sad, fateful, lonely torment. Most paedophiles are completely harmless and do not rape children. They deserve mercy, gentleness, and grace. Understanding and professional help.”
Calls for the normalisation of paedophilia have been ongoing in progressive circles for years, such as the Salon articles written by “virtuous paedophile” Todd Nickerson who wrote about his sexual attraction to a five-year-old in 2015.
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The articles were later deleted from the Salon website in 2017, with reporter Matthew Sheffield explaining: “That was old management, those articles were removed long ago.”
Discussions of attraction to children were even allowed on Twitter until October 2020, when the social media platform updated its policies banning anyone trying to “promote or normalize sexual attraction to minors”.
Attempts to normalise child sex abuse have been ongoing in Europe not just for years but for decades, with French intellectuals signing a letter advocating for the decriminalisation of child sex abuse as far back as 1977, among them the famous philosopher Michael Foucault.