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November 18, 2006

Long sentence for prominent cyber-sex offender

As detailed in articles here and here, Brian Doyle, the former deputy press secretary for Homeland Security, was sentenced to five years in Florida state prison for inappropriate e-mails he sent to a deputy who he thought was a 14-year-old girl.  Here are some of the interesting details:

After more than five hours of emotional testimony from Doyle, his friends and family, Polk County Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Durrance handed down the sentence, which includes 10 years of probation and requires Doyle to register as a sex offender....  Much of the defense's witness testimony surrounded around Doyle's rough childhood -- he was the youngest of nine children who lived in poverty with an alcoholic, abusive father who rarely worked.  Doyle has been treated for depression and friends testified they thought he was sinking into a depression again....

But prosecutor Brad Copley told the judge they were not there to judge Doyle's life, they were there to judge the crimes. In one of Doyle's conversations with the deputy he knew as "Ashlynne" he said: "hey it is illegal ... and it would be exciting and forbidden ... you are young -- illegal -- and gorgeous. and it would be great. fun. food, laughter, talk and yes sex." "He knew what he was doing was wrong," Copley said.

Defense attorney Barry H. Helfand asked the judge to spare Doyle the five-year imprisonment and instead allow him to get treatment.  Doyle, who pleaded no contest in the case, originally faced up to 115 years in prison.  Doyle told the judge the worst punishment was having his friends and family in court.  "That's a shame I will carry forever," he said.  Durrance acknowledged Doyle's good deeds, saying, "You've done a lot of good in your lifetime." Under the September plea deal, Doyle could have received only probation. But in the end, Durrance chose not to go with the lesser sentence.

November 18, 2006 at 07:55 AM | Permalink


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Tracked on Nov 20, 2006 8:38:15 PM


I suppose that many folks may think that sex offenders should be allowed to "get help" instead of punishment. But this overlooks the question: What treatment is avaliable and how effective is it? By saying that sex offenders "need treatment" the issue silently becomes a mental health issue instead of a moral one. What evidence is there that sexual paraphilia's are mental illnesses? Just becasue they are listed in the DSM does not suffice. What scientific evidence is there that they are illnesses? Very little in fact.

Posted by: Steve | Nov 19, 2006 12:40:39 PM

Just curious, Steve.... What is the source of your expertise?

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Nov 20, 2006 7:50:10 AM

"What treatment is available, and how effective is it?"

Well, studies by the Colorado Department of Correction show that sex offenders who attend 40-50 sex offender specific treatment sessions had a 0 - 3% recidivism rate over three years. So, I'd have to say 97 - 100% is pretty effective. The Colorado Department of Corrections study went in depth into their treatment methodologies. If you are interested, Google it or check my blog.

Of course, the US Department of Justice, in its 2003 report, found re-arrest rates (not recidivism, but re-arrest, which would be significantly higher then re-offense rates) to be only 3.3% to 5.3%.

We all know it is a crime- there are ALWAYS criminal sanctions, and usually life-long civil penalties as well. Does it matter who calls it an "illness", or who says it is a mental health issue? The important thing is to protect our children, and with the success rates of treatment, I don't care what it is called, let's just make sure we provide treatment.

Prison or not is at the discretion of the judge, but society should DEMAND treatment, either in prison or out.

Posted by: Aeryk Lightfoot | Nov 22, 2006 12:43:47 AM

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