BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - A Grand Bahama attorney says there is an urgent, nationwide need for a rehabilitation programme for pedophiles and other sex offenders.
Carlson Shurland was the defence lawyer for Albert Alexander Whyley, the church elder sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for raping a nine-year-old girl.
Whyley was diagnosed with paedophilia after he admitted to having sexual urges about children since his incarceration.
The father of 11 was also convicted in 1993 of having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
He served only four years of an original 14-year sentence, after it was reduced by the Court of Appeal in 1997.
Although senior Justice Hartman Longley has ordered that Whyley receive whatever treatment is available for his condition, a Nassau psychiatrist said there is no treatment programme for sexual offenders at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
Mr Shurland is concerned that Mr Whyley, 60, and others like him will not get the treatment they need.
He said: "The doctors say there is no treatment in prison or at Sandilands; they diagnosed him as a paedophile and there are lots of pedophiles out there.
"So, it is quite obvious what we need to do, and that is to get on the fast track to try to find some programmes to deal with this type of mental illness," said Mr Shurland.
Sandilands psychiatrist Dr John Dillet confirmed that the facility has no programme specifically for sex offenders.
He said treatment options for pedophiles include: cognitive behavioral therapy, dynamic psychotherapy and group therapy - all which must be coupled with medication to reduce sex drive.
Dr Dillet noted that the treatments available in other countries are conducted in three phases that may require 75 sessions over six months, not including out-patient follow-up sessions, which may continue for years.
He noted that treating the disorder can be extremely difficult, as paedophilia symptoms yield pleasure and are therefore hard to get rid of.
International studies report recidivism rates of 25 to 50 per cent, the psychiatrist said.
In other countries, after such offenders have served their time and been treated, they are often listed on a sex offenders registry, restricted from living around schools and daycare centres, and restricted from caring for minors.
Sometimes, offenders are also prohibited from using social networking websites and barred from changing their name.
The restrictions vary from country to country.
According to Dr Dillet, there is a difference between paedophiles and child molesters.
He explained that paedophiles are driven by intense sexual impulses, urges, and fantasies involving children.
Their behaviour may include: exposing themselves; masturbating in front of a child; rubbing, fondling or undressing a child with or without genital contact; touching a child's genitalia or asking the child to touch another's genitals; exposing children to pornography; talking or teasing a child in sexual ways; oral sex and penetration.
By contrast, Dr Dillet said, child molesters are motivated not by a preference for children, but by the unavailability of an adult partner, or through the use of some substance that disinhibits control.
He added that child molesters usually target children out of convenience.
In January, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade reported that there had been a noted decrease in sexual offences in 2010.
He noted that rape, attempted rape, and unlawful sexual intercourse reports decreased by 29 per cent, 15 per cent, and 28 per cent respectively.
There were 79 rapes reported in 2010, compared to 111 in 2009.
There were 188 cases of unlawful sexual intercourse reported in 2010, compared to 260 in 2009.