DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - The New York Times is under fire for an article critics say is sympathetic to sex offenders.
On Wednesday, the newspaper published an article describing sting operations wherein a police officer posed online as an underage girl to lure men into what they think is a sexual rendezvous with a minor.
But the article shed a sympathetic light on the men who get caught in these sting operations:
Yet most men caught in these raids pose a low risk to the public, according to Dr. Richard Packard, a past president of the Washington State chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and Dr. Michael O'Connell, a member of the state's sex-offender policy board, who have examined about three dozen men arrested in cyberstings around the state. They say that relatively few — maybe 15% of men they saw — pose a moderate to high risk. Many have addiction problems, suffer from depression or anxiety, are autistic or are, as O'Connell described them to me, simply "pathetic, lonely people."
The Times is facing backlash online for the piece.
Jack Posobiec, correspondent for One America News Network, commented on Twitter, "The NY Times is defending pedos."
An opinion piece on conservative Canadian news site The Post Millennial quipped, "According to the NY Times, showing up at the door of a supposed 13-year-old girl's house with a pack of condoms on your person is perfectly acceptable behavior and should entail no legal consequences whatsoever."
It tied the Times article with another piece published in the Times in 2014 that cast pedophilia as a "disorder, not a crime."
The Times article focused on the case of Jace Hambrick, a man convicted in a sting operation.
In 2017, Hambrick messaged online with an officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. After buying condoms, he showed up to what was supposedly the girl's house.
But Hambrick claims he did not believe it was actually a teenage girl he was messaging. He says he suspected she was an adult woman interested in sexual role-playing.
Hambrick was 20 years old at the time of the incident. His mother has started a blog critical of sting operations and the criminal justice system.
Some discussions online have compared the New York Times article with recent outrage over Netflix's upcoming release of Cuties. The outrage was sparked by a poster advertising for the film that showed young girls in sexual dance poses.
A Change.org petition called the movie "disgusting," arguing, "It sexualizes an 11-year-old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children."
Netflix apologized for the marketing, calling it "inappropriate."
But Netflix also claimed the "inappropriate" advertising was not "representative" of the film itself.
The director of the film, Maïmouna Doucouré, has said the movie is meant to spur discussion on the impact of social media on young minds.
"Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media," Doucouré told Cineuropa (a European cinema news site) earlier this month.
"And when you're 11," she added, "you don't really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result. I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject."