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Geoffrey Portway

Geoffrey Portway

Today’s entry from the You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up file concerns Geoffrey Portway, a portly, 40-year-old, English-born resident of Worcester, Massachusetts, who pleaded guilty in May to distribution and possession of child pornography and solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

What was the intended crime of violence? According to police, it was to kidnap children, keep them in his basement dungeon, sexually abuse and torture them, and eventually murder and eat them. Portway, who went by the accurately descriptive online moniker “Fat Longpig,” told his digital correspondents how he planned to keep the kids in cages while fattening them up,¬†Hansel and Gretel style, for his intended cannibalistic banquet.

So what should be done with a guy like this?

The photos released by police of Portway’s dungeon with its cages, wooden coffins, restraints and butchering materials are truly horrific. They are all over the Internet if you want to see them. Investigators found many thousands of child pornography images and videos on his computer, as well as more than 4,500 online exchanges with other perverts and predators. Based on this physical and digital evidence, there is no chance he did not intend to carry out his hideous schemes.

So here’s what bothers us. Mr. Fat Longpig is scheduled to be sentenced on September 17. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of 27 years in prison, stating, “Portway’s collection is truly chilling and demonstrates a real risk based upon which the Court should sentence Portway to a substantial term of years in order to protect the public.”

We assume the district attorney’s office doesn’t think they can get any more than this, but if we’re trying to protect the public, 27 years, less any time earned for parole, is not nearly enough.

What makes us think this guy should¬†ever get out? What treatment is he going to receive in prison that will rewire his brain? What makes us think he will ever lose his “taste” for children? Do we think he is going to be too feeble at age 67 or less to pick up where he left off? Do you want him living in your neighborhood?

With sexual predators, psychologists used to think that there would be an eventual burnout as the sex drive waned with age. We now know from research and observation that there is no burnout because these are crimes of power and control. You can put his body “on ice” behind bars for a period of time, but there is nothing you can do to his mind.

There is no way to “fix” monsters like Geoffrey Portway, there is no chance he will ever lead a safe and productive life, and it is therefor unthinkable that he should ever be free.

Ever.

7 Responses to What To Do With a Monster

  1. mdricex says:

    The thing I find most disturbing about freaks like this is that they are natural profilers, in the way that all predators are, and have an uncanny ability to sniff out vulnerability and easy targets.

  2. Cornerstone says:

    P.S. The “Iron GM” on Mr. Longpig’s t-shirt stands for Iron Game Mastering. Video-gaming is what he’s all about. As Iggy Pop once said, “That’s what you get out on the edge: some weird sin.”

  3. mdricex says:

    Mr. Douglas:

    I must say that I agree with you. There are just some people who are not rehabitable. The bad thing is, some of these very people are master manipulators, as in the Apex predators of predators, and can wrap acquaintances, therapists, counselors, and parole board members around their fingers–controlling them like so many marionettes. Ed Kemper did it, Ted Bundy did it, Charles Manson is still doing it… My question to you is have you ever thought of working with a clinician (such as Park Dietz?) and creating a risk assessment/recidivism tool for this very type of offenders–using your knowledge, expertise, and instinct to form an assessment instrument in varying forms of complexity to help others to assess these individuals. Unfortunately, people with your expertise are not in enough numbers to consult with prisons and/or psychiatric institutions housing these particularly dangerous offenders–but, by creating a standardized tool it would go a long way towards providing power to these officials to at least access a portion of your particular abilities. I imagine it might seem a huge undertaking at first, but I would hope it wouldn’t be as complicated as first it seems and could be accomplished in much the same manner as malingering is detected in current instruments. Just a thought.

    Sincerely,
    MD Rice

    • Thanks for your astute comments and question. Park Dietz has spent a considerable amount of time at the FBI Academy studying John’s unit and a number of retired agents John trained now work for Park. And you are certainly correct regarding the fact that many of these predators are master manipulators, able to get around those who are used to taking self-reporting as truth.
      As far as a standardized assessment instrument, there are existing guides and other devices for assessing an individual’s psychological classification, as well as the Crime Classification Manual for analyzing the crime itself. But it does take some in-depth examination of the case itself to try to determine likelihood of recidivism. We generally feel that if the offender has escalated from one violent predatory crime to a more serious one, or has made elaborate preparations that clearly show intent as this one did, the chances of reoffending are high. Then it comes down to a philosophical and policy question: Who is entitled to the benefit of the doubt – the offender who may likely reoffend, or the innocent members of the public who could be his next targets. For example, certain typologies of rapists are good candidates for rehabilitation if they are found early enough. Others are almost impossible to rehabilitate. If you understand the typologies and can relate them to the crimes themselves, you will have a pretty good assessment tool.
      Our personal feeling is that if it is questionable in the case of previously violent sexually predatory offenders, you do not take the chance.
      Thanks so much for weighing in.

      • mdricex says:

        “Our personal feeling is that if it is questionable in the case of previously violent sexually predatory offenders, you do not take the chance.”

        I agree with you, sir, I only wish that others who are in the position to release these monsters back into society shared the wisdom of you and Mr. Douglas. The great concern that I have is this: So many offenders of this type can be model prisoners, some are so intelligent and crafty (like Kemper) that they can figure out ways to beat the tests, and this becomes what they are judged by–not their atrocious behaviors that ended them up in prisons or mental institutions to start with. I am just appalled that officials working in the prison systems and in mental health somehow do not get the concept that behavior in prison does not equal behavior in the outside world and self reporting of sociopaths is almost an oxymoron within itself.

        Sincerely,
        MD Rice

  4. Terry Ferrigan says:

    As you have said many times John, these people (a term I’m using very, very lightly) can never really be ‘Cured’ or rehabilitated. The same way some men may find women with long legs attractive, monsters like Geoffrey Portway find children attractive, and wish to inflict the most inhuman things they can imagine on them.

    I come from England, stuff like this is relatively unheard of here. At least to the extent of this case.
    The only outcome i see from Portways incarceration is him becoming more and more frustrated (due to not being able to act out his fantasy) and learning how to hide himself, and his urges better.
    So what can we do?
    Personally, I think people who have planned to do such heinous crimes (as if the rape and torture was not enough, he planned on eating his victims) and people who have followed through on fantasies such as this, should upon, unfortunately, leaving prison should be moved to a controlled environment. A small community where they can be of no harm to anybody. It may seem a little extreme, but so are the crimes in which they intended/carried out.

  5. Cornerstone says:

    Not only do elderly not burn out as they age; if possible, they often lose whatever was left of their filters and impulse control as they age, plus they have less to lose if they get caught.

    I had my first mild lesson on this as a young girl. Some old lady had gotten caught stealing and someone was remarking how unlikely it was that, basically, a “sweet old lady” would be stealing, and the other person said, “What do you THINK happens to young thugs as they grow older, they magically become upstanding citizens?”

    The truth is, looking nonthreatening just makes it easier for them to get away with things.

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