Convicted of six crimes of indecency with a child, ‘artist’ Graham Ovenden is free to carry on as normal after being sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years.
The convictions concern offences committed between 1972 and 1985, during which time Ovenden indecently assaulted three children, one only 6 years old, as they posed for his ‘artwork’. Ovenden was cleared of five other offences, but in summing up, Judge Graham Cottle said it was ‘unrealistic’ to assume these were isolated incidents.
The offences tool place at Ovenden’s studios in London, at in Bodmin, Cornwall, where Ovenden now lives.
The sentence handed to 70 year-old Ovenden has been described as ‘outrageous’ by child abuse campaigners.
In justifying the sentence, Judge Cottle said “I take into account your age, the age of the offences, the considerable self-inflicted punishment that comes with your convictions, your steep fall from grace and your irreversibly tarnished reputation.”
As he left court, Ovenden insisted he had been the victim of a witch-hunt and been through ‘considerable hell’.
Ovenden was asked if everyone else was wrong and he was right. In an arrogant response Ovenden said “Since I’m probably 20 times more intelligent than most people I think that would be a very reasonable assumption. I am not backing down and under no circumstances am I apologising for crimes that were never committed.”
It seems that Ovenden can’t quite believe his ‘luck’ either. On his sentencing he told reporters “I am quite gobsmacked and I have to thank Judge Cottle for his judgment this time. With the language he used one anticipated getting banged up.”
Ovenden could have been imprisoned for up to five years under current court guidelines.
Ovenden’s work has been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and has been owned by ‘collectors’ such as Lord McAlpine.
We find it incredible that Ovenden has received a suspended sentence for six convictions of indecent assault of children.
If this has been a general member of the public who had taken photographs of nude children and molested them, we think that the sentencing would have been very different.
We don’t think there is anything wrong with nudity in itself within the context of naturist lifestyles and being a natural part of being human etc, but when someone such as Ovenden produces material in the name of ‘art’ which is purposely intended to titillate, and is used as an excuse for him to live his sick fantasies, there is no reason at all why the maximum sentence should not be applied.
Taking into consideration Ovenden’s age or damage to his ‘reputation’ is in no way a reason for leniency.
Ovenden’s display of arrogance, together with his purposeful abuse of being in a trusted position with young children shows he is a predatory, self-obsessed excuse for a human being.
If he chooses to appeal, then we must hope that justice will be done and he will be sentenced to at least the five years the court guidelines recommend.