Tom O'Carroll

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Tom O'Carroll
Born Thomas Victor O'Carroll
(1945-08-08) 8 August 1945 (age 69)
Occupation activist for paedophilia advocacy
Criminal charge
conspiring to distribute indecent photographs of children

Thomas Victor O'Carroll (born 1945) is an Irish writer (with dual Irish/British nationality),[1] activist for paedophilia advocacy, and a convicted distributor of child pornography.[2][3] O'Carroll is a former chairperson of the now disbanded Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) and was at one time a prominent member of IPCE, formerly known as International Paedophile and Child Emancipation.

Earlier life[edit]

O'Carroll was working as a press officer for the Open University in the 1970s when he was told of PIE's existence after "coming out" as a paedophile to lesbian members of the OU Women's Group. At that time he was editor of the OU staff newspaper Open House and had been covering a Women's Group meeting on homosexuality.[4] His subsequent activism with PIE reportedly cost him his job there.[5]

In 1980 O'Carroll's book Paedophilia: The Radical Case was published, in which he advocates the normalisation of some adult-child sexual relationships. In the book, O'Carroll states his belief that each stage of the sexual relationship between an adult and child can be "negotiated", with "hints and signals, verbal and non-verbal, by which each indicates to the other what is acceptable and what is not... the man might start by saying what pretty knickers the girl was wearing, and he would be far more likely to proceed to the next stage of negotiation if she seemed pleased by the remark".[6] The book gained mainstream reviews which were either scathingly dismissive[7][8][9] or sympathetic.[10][11]

In 1981 O'Carroll was convicted for "conspiracy to corrupt public morals" over the contact ads section of the PIE magazine and was imprisoned. A barrister in the case, Peter Thornton, later a QC and senior circuit judge, wrote about it the following year in Rights, the newsletter of the National Council for Civil Liberties (later Liberty). Thornton was critical of the charges, which he said had been "too remote from any tangible misdemeanour" and he suggested that O'Carroll had been convicted on little evidence.[12] Also, Dan Franklin, who had edited Paedophilia: The Radical Case, wrote an afterword for the book’s American edition about O’Carroll’s two Old Bailey trials (the second followed a hung jury in the first) and imprisonment. Franklin said the authorities had "shown themselves determined to punish this intelligent, articulate man to the limits of their power".[13] Franklin cited commentators of the time, including Alan Watkins in The Observer, who declared that O'Carroll had been penalised effectively for nothing more than campaigning to change the law.[14]

Since 2002[edit]

In 2002 O'Carroll was temporarily found guilty of evading a prohibition on the importation of indecent photographs of children from Qatar. He was given a nine-month sentence on the basis of three images, a sentence later overturned by the Court of Appeal which held that the trial judge had been overly influenced by O'Carroll's campaigning. The photos were described in the ruling as having "the quality of indecency in the context in which they were taken, but were of the kind that parents might take of their children entirely innocently".[15] At the time, O'Carroll was working on a book about the musician Michael Jackson.

In 2003 he made an extended appearance on the TV discussion programme After Dark, chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.

O'Carroll was convicted in 2006 of conspiring to distribute indecent photographs of children after supplying an undercover Met police officer with a cache of child pornography obtained from his co-defendant Michael John De Clare Studdert's vault of 50,000 pornographic images.[16][17][18] He was arraigned 1 June 2006 on child pornography charges.[19][20] In September 2006, he admitted to two counts of distributing indecent images of children.[19] On 20 December 2006, he was jailed for 2½ years at, Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.[2][3] O'Carroll has claimed that the undercover officer befriended him and nagged him over a period of three years to get him to supply him with a collection of old magazines and video tapes that had mainly been acquired in the Netherlands in the 1980s at a time when such material could be legally sold there.[21]

After a gestation of many years, O'Carroll's book on singer Michael Jackson's interest in young boys was published in 2010 under the pen name Carl Toms.[22] Michael Jackson's Dangerous Liaisons, a 624-page work, essayed a comprehensive review of the late entertainer's controversially intimate relationships with young boys. Published in the UK by Troubador Publishing Ltd,[23] the book received pre-publication endorsements from five professors: D. J. West, emeritus professor of clinical criminology, University of Cambridge;[24] Richard Green, emeritus professor of psychiatry, UCLA;[25] William Armstrong Percy III, professor of history, University of Massachusetts;[25] Thomas K. Hubbard, professor of classics, University of Texas;[24] and James R. Kincaid, professor of English, University of Southern California.[24]

After publication, J. Michael Bailey, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, also gave high praise in a four-page review for the academic journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Describing the author as "an unapologetic pedophile", Prof. Bailey nevertheless advised potential readers to set aside any scepticism to which that might give rise. "The book," he wrote, "is fascinating, challenging and discomfiting. Anyone wanting to understand Michael Jackson will need to read it." Bailey noted that the book takes "a pro-pedophilic stance" and argues "persuasively" that Jackson was "almost certainly pedophilic". Bailey wrote, "The idea that pedophilic relationships can be harmless or even beneficial to children is disturbing to many people, including me." But, he continued, "The lack of scientific evidence supporting my largely visceral reactions against pedophilic relationships has been one of the most surprising discoveries of my hopefully ongoing scientific education...O’Carroll argues against my intuitions and he argues well."[26]

In 2010 O’Carroll’s writing was affected following complaints to about a book by another author, Phillip R. Greaves, which encouraged sexual contacts between adults and children. After a campaign by outraged Amazon readers, Amazon dropped the book, along with several other books that appeared to promote paedophilia, including O’Carroll’s earlier book, Paedophilia: The Radical Case.[27]

O'Carroll currently runs a blog, which he describes as 'presenting a discourse of resistance'.[28]


  1. ^ D.o.b. and British nationality confirmed in the publicly accessible abstract of a pay-to-view legal page on O'Carroll v United Kingdom in the European Court of Human Rights: (accessed 25 June 2009). This page also discloses that the ECHR case was in connection with his conviction for importing indecent photographs. O'Carroll's Irish nationality is noted in the Irish Times of 12 December 2006: Irish paedophile faces sentencing in UK
  2. ^ a b "Two jailed for child porn library", BBC News, 20 December 2006.
  3. ^ a b "Paedophile rights campaigner jailed for child porn distribution",, 20/12/2006.
  4. ^ Paedophilia: The Radical Case, paperback edition pa. 208.
  5. ^ For example, the Sunday Mirror ran an editorial in August 1977 calling for his dismissal. The newspaper is quoted in Paedophilia: The Radical Case, paperback edition p. 226.
  6. ^ Tom O'Carroll, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, London: Peter Owen Ltd, 1980 (hardback); Boston, Mass.: Alyson Publications, 1982 (paperback). ISBN 0-7206-0546-6
  7. ^ Mary-Kay Wilmers "'Young Love", London Review of Books, 2:23, 4 December 1980, pp. 9–10.
  8. ^ Charles Rycroft "Sensuality from the start", Times Literary Supplement, 21 November 1980
  9. ^ John Rae, "Suffer little children", The Times Educational Supplement, 17 October 1980.
  10. ^ Maurice Yaffé, "'Age of Consent", New Statesman, 7 November 1980, p. 31.
  11. ^ Eric Taylor "Too young to love?", New Society, 30 October 1980, p. 246.
  12. ^ Peter Thornton, "Unacceptable charges exposed in recent trials", Rights, 6:2, 1982.
  13. ^ Franklin D., Afterword, in Paedophilia: The Radical Case, Boston, Mass: Alyson Publications, 1982, pp. 252–256.
  14. ^ Alan Watkins, "Conspiracy, morals and lynch law", The Observer, 22 March 1981.
  15. ^ "Paedophile campaigner walks free", BBC online, 26 November 2002 (accessed 25 June 2009).
  16. ^ "Men jailed for making and distributing indecent images of children" – Metropolitan Police Service
  17. ^ Mike Sullivan, "Paedos' champ arrested", The Sun, 25 January 2006.
  18. ^ "Paedophile activists guilty of possessing child porn",, 20 December 2006 (accessed 4 June 2010).
  19. ^ a b "Pair admit to child porn charges", September 2006, BBC News.
  20. ^ Olivia Richwald "Police charge man over child sex ring", The Northern Echo, 1 June 2006.
  21. ^ "Tom O'Carroll Biography". William A. Percy. Retrieved 2013-11-27. 
  22. ^ The identity of Carl Toms and Tom O'Carroll is confirmed in Michael Bailey's review of the book.
  23. ^ "New Titles Spring 2010" Troubador Publishing Ltd.
  24. ^ a b c "HOME". Dangerous Books. Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  25. ^ a b "Books Details". Dangerous Books. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2013-11-19. 
  26. ^ J. Michael Bailey. "Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons" (book review), Arch Sex Behav. DOI 10.1007/s10508-011-9842-1
  27. ^ J. Michael Bailey. "Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons" (book review), p.3, Arch Sex Behav. DOI 10.1007/s10508-011-9842-1
  28. ^ Heretic TOC.