ALBERTA

Tom Flanagan's Child Porn Comments Addressed By Judge In Statement

04/04/2013 09:52 EDT | Updated 04/05/2013 09:27 EDT

A Saskatoon judge rebutted Tom Flanagan's controversial remarks about child pornography while sentencing a man to prison for possessing it, according to CBC.

Judge Douglas Agnew sentenced Darrel Donald Stupnikoff to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possessing and sharing child pornography.

According to the Star Phoenix, when arrested by police, Stupnikoff emphasized that he never did physically harm children. Agnew said he has encountered this sentiment often and referenced Flanagan's controversial statement that watching child pornography doesn't hurt anyone.

"Professor Tom Flanagan of the University of Calgary is reported to have said, with respect to the idea of jailing people who view child pornography, "[i]t is a real issue of personal liberty and [sic] to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person," CBC reports Agnew as saying.

"The idea that viewing child pornography is a harmless matter would be laughable, were it not so tragically harmful and wrong," Agnew added.

"The flesh of these children is being torn apart, their blood is being spilt, because Mr. Stupnikoff and his ilk enjoy watching it," he continued.

Flanagan, a former adviser to Stephen Harper, caused an uproar in February when a video of him saying that child pornography does "not harm another person" went viral.

"I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures," Flanagan said. "I don't look at these pictures."

He later apologized, saying he had been trapped.

Flanagan was a one-time strategist for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives and for Alberta's Wildrose party, and was a political pundit on CBC-TV. All have since denounced him.

With files from the Canadian Press

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