Using a crime

Katie Dolotowski ambushed a ten year old girl coming out of a toilet cubicle. She pushed her back into the cubicle, saying a man outside would kill her mother. However the girl punched her in the face, stomach and groin and ran outside.

This is chaotic and wicked behaviour. The intent was a sex crime: Dolotowski told her intended victim to remove her trousers. I completely understand the mother being angry that Dolotowski was released into supported accommodation and ordered to work in the community. However I also understand the sheriff court sentence, and the sheriff has had reports to justify it. She has been in care since she was three, and has mental health problems. Not everyone with mental health problems who has been in care commits sex crimes, the mother pointed out, but as she is 18 the sheriff may believe some rehabilitation is possible in supported accommodation which would not be possible in an adult prison. Dolotowski had just come out of a young offenders’ institution. The offence took place in March last year, so possibly some time in the YOI was spent remanded in custody, which would be taken into account in sentencing.

The intent was a serious crime, and Dolotowski has culpability for that, but sentencing also takes into account the harm done, even though the harm was less because of the courage of the child rather than any action of the panel. Being generally against imprisonment and for rehabilitation, I am not going to be more or less liberal just because the criminal is trans.

Most sexual assaults go unreported in the press, but there was some excuse for the Dundee Courier, a nearby regional paper, reporting the sentencing on 1 February. The bravery of the child and the anger of the mother made it newsworthy, for a regional paper.

There was no excuse, however, for the Times reporting it on 6 February. Eleven million adults in the UK are survivors of contact and non-contact sexual abuse. The Times reported it because, while she was given her correct name in court, Katie Dolokowski had been in a YOI for boys. She is trans. The Times reported a “gender critical” campaign group which has had a twitter account for six months, and a website marked “©2019”, complaining about the offence. Had they done a vox-pop, they could have quoted someone equally notable, though perhaps only anti-trans campaigners would think the accused’s trans status was relevant.

Most people who are not Trump supporters would see that the fact that a US citizen died in a car accident with an immigrant, even an illegal immigrant, does not mean that immigration is bad. Yet The Times believes they can use this ridiculous yet disgusting crime against all trans people, or they would see it is not newsworthy, six days later, in a national newspaper.

It is not newsworthy, unless you want to campaign against trans people. Restricting the rights of trans people will not reduce the crime against women and girls in Scotland or elsewhere. The Times wants to tar all of us with the same brush, and incite hatred against us.

A similar game was played by the Daily Star, whose website does not carry its admission that it had no basis for its story that Ian Huntley, who murdered two young girls from sexual motives, was trans. It had claimed Ian Huntley had got a blonde wig and wanted fellow inmates to call him Nicola. “Ian Huntley would like to make it clear that he does not own a wig and has never asked to be known by any name other than his own”. Here’s a tweet saying that even though Huntley is not trans, people should still fear trans people as sex criminals. Pink News quotes tweets using Huntley to inflame fear against trans women. No, we should judge sex criminals, whether they be cis, trans or Scottish.

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