Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A small price for a child's innocence 18 months too little for molester

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Yesterday, a Winnipeg courtroom sat in absolute silence and listened to the sound of one child raping another -- a sudden cry, slapping and a little girl, so young as to believe it would help her, threatening to tell her mother on her rapist.

Former teacher Jonathan Amadatsu had that video file on his computer, one of 86 movies, 537 still photos and 24 stories depicting children involved in a full menu of sexual acts.

He didn't manufacture the porn but he sure liked to look at it.

The victims were boys and girls between five and 13.

Amadatsu told police he wasn't particular about gender but he preferred to view sexual images of children aged 10 to 13.

Crown attorney Vic Bellay compiled a brief selection of the images for Judge Murray Howell and defence lawyer Rocky Pollack to view on computers placed in front of them; only those two and Bellay, thank God, could see the images.

And then the little voice: "It hurts. Stop."

It was Pollack who later explained that the video accompanying the plaintive audio showed two children. He assured the court that the child-rape video didn't particularly excite his pedophile client; proof came from "phallometric testing," a process measuring blood flow to the penis. The former band teacher was in court for sentencing on four counts of distribution of child porn, possession of child porn and two counts of sexual interference. He had already pleaded guilty.

In a brief apology, Amadatsu said he was "truly sorry" for his actions. "There are no excuses and the shame is mine for the rest of my life," he said as his mother rubbed her eyes. Three teenage girls in court turned their heads and averted their eyes when he stood to make his statement.

He got 18 months and three years probation yesterday, considered a serious Manitoba sentence for a man who fondled two sisters, aged seven and nine; who sent obscene e-mails and photos of a young naked boy to his own 11-year-old student; who asked that little girl to send him pictures of herself naked; and who used the identity of a 13-year-old boy at his school when sending the e-mails. He tore up the lives of at least four children and their families. He'll be free and clear of the justice system before the youngest of those children finishes high school.

If we're lucky -- and Judge Murray Howell declared Amadatsu to be at least a "medium" risk -- he won't want to reoffend when he's served his time, undergone treatment and otherwise rid himself of the demons that make a 27-year-old man want to sexually touch a nine-year-old girl.

If we're lucky.

It says a great deal that there was general pleasure in the courtroom that the disgraced Amadatsu will be doing any time at all, that Howell had the courage to resist the conditional discharge that seems the happy sentence for too many of the perverts who prey on our children. We've learned to accept so little in exchange for the innocence of children, both our own and those who are abused in perpetuity through child porn distributed on the Internet.

In a just world, Jonathan Amadatsu would be sleeping in a penitentiary for a very long time.

In this one, we can only hope he's monitored within an inch of his life for as long as it takes everyone in that courtroom to forget a violated little girl crying: "I'm telling Mommy if you don't stop right now."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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