From Leslie Dowd, in London
Leaders of a shadowy British movement which aims to legalise sex with children have come out into the open amid public anger over a sexual attack on a six-year-old boy by three unknown men.
Mr David Joy and Mr Tony Zalewski, members of the executive committee of the Paedophile Information Exchange, have given their first open interviews in an attempt to stem mounting anger over the existence of their organisation, founded in 1974 to campaign for a change in the law.
Mr Zalewski, a 29-year-old bachelor who works virtually full time for the Exchange and who runs a branch catering for prisoners, insisted that the organisation did not foster child molesters.
“Paedophiles want loving relations with children,” he said. “I do not believe that children should be forced into sex. If you talk to a child in the street and the child is not interested in sex, then that has to be that.”
The interviews made big news in Britain, where a controversy is raging over the organisation’s
They gave tabloid newspapers scope to vent some indignation. ‘YOU SCUM’ was the front-page headline in the Sun.
Controversy was renewed after an attack on a six-year-old boy in the south coast resort of Brighton two weeks ago.
Three men bundled him into a car, sexually abused him for 90 minutes at a lonely spot and then dumped him, distraught although without lasting physical injuries.
Reward money from the media and public, both keenly following the hunt by SO policemen for the attackers, dubbed the Beasts of Brighton, has reached the equivalent of 96.880 (Australian dollars).
Although the police have been receiving 300 telephone calls a day from people volunteering information, the few leads, including one that led to an alert in Western Europe for a car with German numberplates, seem to have petered out.
“We are not stumped,” an investigating officer, Inspector John Bishop, said. “But at present we do not have any one lead of particular significance.”
The attack put the spotlight on the Paedophile Information Exchange, which circulates newspapers and pamphlets to its members through a London post-office box number. It says it has 263 members in Britain each paying the equivalent of 20 Australian dollars a year.
A hefty dossier, the result of a two-year police investigation, is now on the desk of the Home Secretary, Mr Brittan, who is pondering demands by several Conservative MPs and newspapers for a ban on the organisation.
The dossier is said to contain the names of television personalities and at least one politician.
Mr Geoffrey Dickens, MP, who is leading the campaign, threatens to reveal members’ names in Parliament — “big names, people in positions of power, influence and responsibility”.
“If I get fobbed off with replies that the present law is adequate to protect children I shall whip up a backbench revolt against the Government,” he said.
The organisation has an emblem, an octagon-shaped design made up of eight naked” people holding hands — a man, a woman and six children. In its literature it calls itself a campaigning self-help group.
Mr Zalewski and Mr Joy, interviewed in the garden of Mr Zalewski’s London home, explained that leading members of the organisation had anxiously consulted each other over the past week and decided the two men should speak to the Press to clear up misunderstandings.
“I don’t believe any of our members are personally responsible for this Brighton attack,” said Mr Joy, a 42-year-old former teacher who said he had been driven from his home by brick-hurling neighbours after they learnt he had convictions for assaults on three small girls.
Mr Zalewski said, “I have known my own tastes since I first became sexually aware at about 15 years old. I used to get incredible guilt feelings and I even once attempted suicide with a drug overdose.
“But since I joined PIE three years ago I have met other paedophiles and I’ve come to understand the feelings that we have.”
But Mr Charles Oxley, a 61 year-old Liverpool headmaster who to compile his own dossier infiltrated the organisation, bitterly condemned it as sinful. He wants it proscribed.
“The whole object is to incite sex with children,” he said. “Its members should be pursued: that is what you do with rats.”