4 March 2011 Last updated at 17:22 ET
Francis Tullier castrated as term of prison release.
An elderly child molester has been surgically castrated as a condition of his release from prison, police say.
Francis Tullier, 78, pleaded guilty in 1999 to three counts of molesting young girls over the previous two decades.
He underwent the procedure at his own expense, and is expected to be released from a Louisiana prison next week.
"We wish they would use it more often," West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office Maj Richie Johnson said, adding he thought it would be an effective deterrent.
Tullier was arrested in 1997 and charged with more than 500 counts of molesting six girls aged six to 12 in the 1970s and 1980s.
In a 1999 plea deal to three counts - which Maj Johnson told the BBC was agreed in part to spare victims from having to testify in court - Tullier agreed to be surgically castrated within six months.
The procedure was put on hold because Tullier became ill. He will remain under state supervision until 2024.
Surgical castration of sex offenders is exceedingly rare, Dr Fred Berlin, director of the sexual behaviour consultation unit at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told the BBC.
Maj Johnson said he was aware of only one previous instance.
Dr Berlin said chemical castration achieved the same objective without the trauma of surgery, and said a surgically-castrated offender could rebuild sexual desire with testosterone purchased on the black-market.
"I don't see any advantage - and I see a number of disadvantages - of doing it surgically rather than pharmacologically," Dr Berlin said.
There has to be a better way than this. The choice between scrambling someone's brains with heavy-duty psychoactive drugs or mutilating a person via a surgical procedure is no choice at all. Look at the term of the art: castration. Why not just go full-bore into primitivism and stomp the man's genitals into a bloody pulp? That will learn him for messing with innocent children and put the fear of God into all those other nasty child molesters. Never mind that most molesters never get caught, so any deterrent is lost on them.
This piece of work, this man, Francis Tullier was able fly under the radar for decades. There is no way you bring him fully into account for his actions. Revitalizing the ancient Celtic practice of tying him to a stone and letting him drown in a bog is not sufficient. Not even placing the man in a wicker cage and slowly burning him alive with other miscreants would suffice. Granted, slowly feeding the man slowly into a wood chipper would provide some atavistic pleasure to the watching masses, but it would be nothing more than retribution. Castration has nothing to do with deterrence or even justice; it is merely vengeance.
You don't have to be a bed-wetting, bleeding-heart, soft-on-crime, Liberal to see that chopping off a 78 year old man's naughty bits makes no sense in achieving justice. As a matter of fact it brings in stark relief what a stupid, mean, vicious, pointlessly cruel law Louisiana has crafted. This law panders to the lowest common denominator of the troglodyte masses. It puts a thin coat of legal varnish on an act of brutish savagery. The mere fact that the castration occurs in the sterile confines of an operating room does not mitigate the cruelty of the act. There is no closure provided by this law, just vendetta.
If you doubt the whole point of this law is to provided vicarious thrills to the huddled masses look no further than the part were the convicted must pay the cost of his own mutilation. A nice bit of Christian charity that is; a nice way to stick the knife (quite literally) in and give it a twist. What is the next step gentle citizens of Louisiana? Perhaps requiring the convicted to perform the surgery on himself and without the benefit of anesthesia? I’m sure that will play well in the next election, say just in time for the 2012 contest?
Let me be clear here; I harbor no sympathy for Francis Tullier. He landed exactly were he deserved, locked in cage. True justice would have had him sit there until the angel of death separated his dark and corrupted soul from his feeble body. But prison time is expensive and the state of Louisiana decided to do justice on the cheep. Why spend precious tax monies on this guy when they can violate his body and then kick him out into the general public? So, nicely paid Louisiana, you managed to be both penurious and gratuitously cruel in one action. Too bad true restitution and true justice were shredded in this play to the peanut gallery.