In a written statement on Thursday issued through publisher Doubleday and posted on his website, author John Grisham apologized for remarks he made to the UK’s Telegraph in an interview: “Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography — online or otherwise — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.”
In that interview ahead of next week’s release of GRAY MOUNTAIN, Grisham had complained that “We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration” in the US. Grisham was talking about prison sentences for downloading of child pornography: “We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child.” He added, “But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.” In a subsequent article, the Telegraph found that Grisham’s friend was released from prison long ago, in 1999 — and was initially caught in a sting operation not just visiting a website, but transmitting sexually explicit images of minor children to an undercover agent.