On Sunday night, right-wing shitstirrer Andrew Bolt literally published a blog post entitled: “Why do elderly Australian men keep getting jail for raping young boys?”
The headline was amended on Monday afternoon to the tamer “How many will be condemned before hysteria cools”, but the damage has already been done. It really is the age-old question that nobody’s ever actually asked.
At a time when more and more survivors of child sexual abuse are finally coming forward, this guy’s instead focused on the alleged predators.
Bolt famously stood by Cardinal George Pell after he was convicted of five counts of child sexual abuse against two boys in the 90s. When that ruling was overturned on a “legal technicality” a year later, Bolt claimed he was vindicated as well.
In this same Sunday night rant, Bolt even called those allegations which were previously levelled against Pell “bizarre”.
The catalyst for the article, meanwhile, was the case of former maths teacher Trevor Spurritt.
Spurrit was sentenced to 11 years in prison last year for allegedly raping four boys in the 60s and 70s. Last week, Victoria’s Court of Appeal overturned the sentence, citing flaws in the evidence.
“Ah-ha! Four ‘victims’ seems too many for a jury to doubt, right? And in a witch hunt, that’s how it works: the plural of allegation becomes ‘proof’,” Bolt wrote about Spurritt’s case.
If someone is wrongly convicted and imprisoned, that’s a tragedy that needs to be rectified. But this kind of grandstanding from Bolt, as if child abuse allegations are a kind of team sport, doesn’t really help anyone.
People on Twitter were understandably shocked, too.
You would struggle to find a more sickening platformed opinion anytime, but especially in a year where the country’s highest honour was awarded to a child sexual assault survivor-advocate. Truly grotesque pic.twitter.com/shqOnAiy15
— Nevena (@nevenaspirovska) February 7, 2021
Can't believe this is an actual real headline. I thought it was a fake. Why does anyone read this stuff? Why does News Corp publish him? pic.twitter.com/ttMSGKOlHa
— Patrick Keneally (@patrickkeneally) February 8, 2021
"There are no stupid questions"
Andrew Bolt: Hold my beer pic.twitter.com/7YmZo8IA9h
— Amber Schultz (@AmberMaySchultz) February 8, 2021
Having conquered coronavirus, Australia moves on to humanity’s next challenge pic.twitter.com/NX4gKgj8Tt
— elle hardy (@ellehardy) February 8, 2021
Nobody’s saying that people who are falsely convicted of anything (including child rape) haven’t suffered unfairly.
But painting with broad brushstrokes to supposedly highlight patterns serves only to sow seeds of doubt among legitimate cases.
It’s also worth remembering that the legal bar for proving a decades-old sexual assault beyond reasonable doubt is pretty damn high.
While the four men mentioned in Bolt’s article were indeed wrongfully found guilty from a legal perspective, the allegations are still serious and their validity shouldn’t be used for political point-scoring.
Somebody please tell Andrew Bolt that defending a specific demographic of wrongfully-imprisoned alleged pedophiles sure is a strange thing to be fixated on.
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.