UK: Convicted Flasher Excused From Group Therapy After Gender Reassignment

Sep 4, 2012
Crime
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A convicted flasher will not have to undergo group sex offending treatment handed down as part of his punishment because he is now a she.

The sex offender, then known as Stuart Fisher, was given a groupwork program for men after his conviction for outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner.

Fisher was handed a community order with supervision requirements in January 2010 for the charges. Since then, the 47-year-old has undergone gender reassignment to become a woman.

A hearing at North Tyneside Magistrates Court last month saw the requirement for Fisher to attend the groupwork program be removed from the punishment. Due to this, probation officials were forced to try to alter the terms of the sentence.

In what is believed to be a legal first, he has seen the terms of his punishment changed after gender reassignment made him a woman. The convicted offender, who now goes by the name of Saralee Fisher, will have to carry out one-to-one work with a probation officer.

Stuart/Sara Lee Fisher

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The suitability of treatment programs for offenders is assessed on a case by case basis and the decision to vary a community sentence requirement is a matter for the courts. If an offender is not deemed suitable for group courses their offending behavior will still be addressed on a one to one basis with specialist help if required”.

The offenses of outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner in public were committed by Fisher in March and November 2009, in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

In order to have gender reassignment surgery a man must first prove a constant desire to be a woman for two years and demonstrate their ability to live as a woman for a year to psychologists before surgery.

A source close to the case said: “Obviously this is a very unusual case and authorities in the North have never had to deal with a situation like this before. The groupwork program was specifically for men so it wasn’t suitable for a woman to be on the course.

As the offender became a woman part way through the course something had to be done. There was never a chance that the punishment would be removed – it will just be carried out in a different way.”

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