Note:One in Four's content is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, this browser may not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's design details. We support the mission of the Web Standards Project in the campaign encouraging users to upgrade their browsers.

 
 

Cured serial child molester freed after risky treatment

THE judge's final comment said it all: "Good luck, Mr DeVries, and for God's sake don't prove me wrong."

With that, Brian DeVries, a serial child molester whose victims include as many as 50 young boys, was released back into society after becoming the first "graduate" of a risky and experimental Californian treatment programme for violent sexual predators.

"If an offender hits bottom and says that he wants to change, and he really never wants to hurt another kid, he can succeed," Mr DeVries (45), told a swell of reporters outside the courtroom.

"You have to check and balance your thoughts all the time. I'm going to live that way now and in the future."

Mr DeVries added that he often used a chaperone to keep himself away from children at his local church, where all members are told about his predatory history.

If successful, the Californian programme, which was introduced nearly a decade ago but had produced no graduates until Mr DeVries, could be adopted around the world.

The scheme was part of a 1996 law, which said that child molesters and rapists who had completed jail sentences but who were still considered too dangerous to be released could be held indefinitely in mental hospitals.

However, the law also said they could win release if they underwent the new, radical, treatment.

As part of his rehabilitation, Mr DeVries has undergone voluntary chemical and surgical castration, along with group and individual therapy, drug-testing, random searches and constant surveillance.

His movements have even been tracked by a global positioning satellite. There was only one condition to his release: that he must register as a sex offender wherever he lives.

The treatment was given at Atascadero State Hospital, an all-male, maximum-security, forensic mental facility on California's central coast, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

However, experts could not agree over whether the serial child abuser, who had been enrolled in the experimental scheme since 1997, was ready to be freed into society.

One psychologist, who has spent the past year treating Mr DeVries, said that his patient needed more therapy.

"He definitely needs some kind of mandated therapy at least for another year," Stewart Nixon said. "His risk of re-offending, even with the castration, is high."

Another therapist, who spent eight hours interviewing the patient, said that he was ready for unsupervised release. "I think we have to allow people to change," Charlene Steen said.

"He has clearly changed his behaviour. He's done everything in his power not to reoffend."

Mr DeVries's victims were young boys living as far apart as New Hampshire, Florida and San Jose, California.

Irish Independent

 
 

Contact information

Run for and by people who have experienced sexual abuse.