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.