Convicted pedophile Paul John Bickford, aged 70, has received a 16 month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting (sexually molesting) an 11 year old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome.
What makes this charge even more disgusting, (and believe me there are many aspects of this man’s behavior that disgust me), is the fact that the Port Macquarie resident, was once praised so highly by his peers that he was given the honor of being voted New South Wales’ senior volunteer of the year in 2009.
The fact that this self-confessed pedophile was once so publicly lauded for his role as the president of GAPA or Grandparents as Parents Again, which is a support network designed to help people caring for their grandchildren by offering them, among other things, respite opportunities, is sickening.
So not only was he a known pedophile who was in charge of raising his own grandchildren, but he was also a pedophile who used his role as the president of GAPA, to gain access to many unsuspecting and potentially vulnerable children and their families.
Why is it that so many pedophiles seem to have such a knack for hiding their true motivations beneath a thick veneer of trustworthiness?
Perhaps it’s a skill that they learned from their priests, but for whatever reason, time and time again, this appears to be exactly how such men operate.
First they gain your trust.
Then they abuse it.
One cannot help but wonder whether or not Bickford, despite having stepped down from the presidency of GAPA, is still using the trust that others had already unwittingly placed in him, to continue to gain access to children. .
After all, how else could he have wormed his way into being trusted to care for an 11 year old Autistic child?
Was molesting such a vulnerable girl Paul Bickford’s idea of providing her family with respite and support?
I think not.
Clearly he must have used his position as a respected member of the community to gain not only access to this young girl but the trust of her family.
A family who now wish for nothing more than to see Paul Bickford exposed as being the convicted pedophile that he is, and for others to understand that this man is a sexual predator who, despite the fact that he escaped a jail term, is still as dangerous to their children as he was to their daughter.
This is the message that the girl’s family fear has been lost to many due to the light sentencing he received.
They believe that such leniency sends out all of the wrong messages to other pedophiles and may make it less likely for other victims to come forward.
Essentially all Bickford truly received for his crimes was a very light slap on the wrist, whilst still remaining free to roam the streets of Port Macquarie and use his once shining public profile to ingratiate himself once more, into the lives of other vulnerable children..
The family of Bickford’s victim are speaking up to try and prevent him from ever being placed in such a position of trust again.
It is there hope that no one else’s child will ever have to go through what their daughter, who has been deeply scarred by the ordeal and still remains highly “volatile” as the result of Bickford’s abuse, has gone through.
Personally, I do not understand why a man who has not only been charged with such a serious crime, but has also confessed to doing it, is allowed to walk free from any courtroom.
How can this man be anything but a danger to society?
He’s in his 70’s now, so just imagine how many other children he has abused throughout the course of his lifetime.
Surely this can’t be his first offense.
And to abuse a highly vulnerable girl with Asperger’s Syndrome in such a way, can only be described as an act that deserves the title of being the lowest of the low.
Why is this man, whose behavior is truly sickening, being allowed to walk so freely among our children?
When will the law and our judiciary department finally see fit to set in place tougher penalties for pedophiles?
Are they not aware of the copious amounts of studies in to pedophilia that have been carried out, which show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there is no such thing as rehabilitation when it comes to pedophilia?
Or is such light sentencing still a left over remnant of our patriarchal system which still views crimes against children and women as being, somehow, of lesser importance than a man committing crimes against other men?
Perhaps one of the saddest facts to come out about of all of this is, that if it weren’t for the tragic abduction of a young boy from a nearby home, many of us would still be none the wiser as to either the actions of men like Paul Bickford nor the unbelievable amount of convicted sex offenders who are walking about freely within our society and potentially living within our midst.
Given all of these facts, isn’t it high time that Australia enabled its citizen’s access to a national sex offenders list, in much the same way as other countries such as America and Canada do?
It’s simply no longer good enough to let these creeps walk so freely among us without at least having the decency to facilitate a way of informing us, legally, of their presence.
Perhaps if our bureaucrats had already taken this step, then whomever abducted young William Tyrrell, may never have had the opportunity to do so in the first place.
I for one would certainly like to know if there are any convicted pedophiles living in my immediate area.