“Well, I was there and I saw what you did.
I saw it with my own two eyes.
So you can wipe off the grin. I know where you’ve been.
It’s all been a pack of lies…
Well, I remember. I remember, don’t worry.
How could I ever forget?…
The hurt doesn’t show; but the pain still grows.
It’s no stranger to you or me.”
– In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Justice demands that predators – those who harm children for their own pleasure – be punished for their crimes, and prevented from harming additional victims. But the justice system necessarily has limitations.
Proof can be difficult to come by. A child may not survive the abuse or may not be able to speak of a violation for years. Parents may choose that their child not undergo the rigors of a trial. Predators may be institutionally shielded (as by the Roman Catholic Church), may relocate, assume a new identity, or even pass away, in the intervening years. Supportive evidence can be lost.
This does NOT warrant vigilantism. Whatever the temptation, we cannot ally with evil. The end does not justify the means.
What then is the fate of pedophiles? Recidivism is a grave concern. There are predators whose conscience is seared to such an extent that it no longer functions. One study, however, found that suicide among non-violent child sex offenders is 183 times more common than in the general public . There are, of course, victims who commit suicide, as well.
In the end, our fate is not dependent on the fate of the predator. That bears repeating. Justice matters. But our fate is not dependent on the fate of the predator.
Whatever the outcome in a particular case, we can trust that there will be perfect justice in the next world, if not in this. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice…” (Deut. 32: 4).
 National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “Differential suicide rates in typologies of child sex offenders in a 6-year consecutive cohort of male suicides” by C. Pritchard and E. King, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16040578.
Originally posted 3/2/14
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