In order to maintain a perception of credibility, so-called ‘peak’ medical authorities in any modern society must ensure that they observe the highest possible standards when they disseminate information to the general public. The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has recently let itself down in this regard by referring to source material that was originally published by a person who is currently serving time in jail for multiple child sex and child pornography offences.
In September 2015, the CPS released an updated ‘position statement’ on the issue of newborn male circumcision. The document ultimately concluded that the CPS ‘does not recommend the routine circumcision of every newborn male’ however the CPS position statement listed a brochure called ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ as one of its selected resources. The primary author of that brochure was Brian Morris, a prominent Australian pro-circumcision campaigner. The brochure was originally published by ‘The Gilgal Society’, a UK-based organisation which was principally maintained by Vernon Quaintance,
In April 2013, during a discussion that occurred on a Facebook page called ‘Response to Ignorance’, Morris confirmed that he had engaged Quaintance’s services in the publication of the ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ brochure. Morris badly contradicted himself during that conversation. In the first instance, he claimed that (quote) ‘I have never met Quaintance…nor have I ever spoken to (him)’. He then went on to confirm that (quote) ‘Quaintance offered to assist in production of professional quality brochures and I accepted his offer’.
In April 2012, Quaintance was convicted of possessing child pornography. The ‘Croydon Advertiser’ reported that Quaintance had been found in possession of three video cassettes which contained seven to nine hours of ‘graphic footage of child abuse ranked at the second-highest level of severity’. The court found that boys as young as 11 years old engaging in sex acts were discovered on the videos. The judge in that case sentenced Quaintance to a 40 week suspended jail sentence. In October 2014, Quaintance faced court again, this time on multiple serious child sex offences. It was revealed that Quaintance had ‘targeted young boys and asked them to expose themselves’. On this occasion he was jailed for 2 years and 4 months.
After hearing of Quaintance’s first conviction on child sex offences, Brian Morris attempted to distance himself from Quaintance and ‘The Gilgal Society’. He changed the name of the publisher of the ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ brochure to simply ‘Brian Morris’. He also deleted every reference to Quaintance and Gilgal from his website. This action represented nothing more than a desperate and futile attempt at re-writing history. It represented hopeless and cynical brinkmanship at its finest.
Great care, consideration and research are required when official documents are produced and published by ‘statutory authorities’. Referencing documents prepared by Brian Morris can never be a good look for any organisation which purports to provide balanced information to the public on the issue of male circumcision. Over many years, Morris has built himself a strong reputation for disseminating one-sided, agenda-driven propaganda on the issue. Professor Basil Donovan, a sexual/public health expert from the University of Sydney, has stated that Morris publishes information which is ‘dangerous’ and ‘amounts to a serious disservice to parents’. What is much more damning in this case however is that the Canadian Paediatric Society has referred to a document which was originally published by a twice convicted child sex offender. As such, the CPS has proven itself to be (at the very least) utterly careless in the preparation of its latest ‘position statement’ on newborn male circumcision.
1. ‘Canadian Paediatric Society’.
2 and 6. ‘Circumstitions News’.
3. ‘Response to Ignorance’ Facebook page.
4. ‘Croydon Advertiser’, April 21st, 2012.
5. ‘Croydon Advertiser’, October 3rd, 2013.