Plain stupid

British vigilantes mistake a pediatrician for a pedophile.

Topics: Sex, Love and Sex,

Throughout the summer, Britain has been obsessed with the subject of pedophiles. In July, the news media was saturated with stories of a missing 8-year-old girl whose naked body was discovered weeks later in a field. The News of the World tabloid then published photos of alleged sex offenders.

Aside from being a dubious journalistic tactic, the attention resulted in a series of vigilante attacks against people who had the same surnames as the alleged offenders. As hysteria increased, one man reportedly was suspected of being a pedophile simply because he lived by himself. And last month, one vigilante attack turned out to have been the work of illiterates, who confused the words “pediatrician” and “pedophile,” and vandalized the home of a children’s doctor in Wales.

Yvette Cloete is a specialist in pediatric medicine at the Royal Gwent Hospital. But to an isolated group of vigilantes, she was obviously a child molester. Pediatric means pedophile, right? These self-appointed defenders of the truth made their position known by spray-painting the doctor’s windows and the front door of her home with the word “paedo,” an abbreviation of the British spelling “paedophile.”

Gwent police inspector Karl Close investigated the attack, and came away with the clear impression that the perpetrators were plain stupid. “Are they just so dull they don’t realize the difference between the two?” Close asked the Associated Press. “This is a pediatrician who is committed to helping children and somebody targeted her.”



Cloete had been living in the rented home with her 24-year-old brother, and police were satisfied that neither had any connection to pedophilia. The home was targeted simply because of the doctor’s title.

Cloete has moved into a friend’s home, with no plans to return to her own house. But she is baffled by the misguided attack.

“It is just unbelievable,” Cloete told a reporter. “You think that your home is a place to go to be safe, so it is a shock when something like this happens. I suppose I’m really a victim of ignorance.”

Police are continuing their investigation, and no arrests have yet been made.

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>