AU — Brisbane. A former nurse avoided a prison sentence after a judge determined that it would be too difficult for an individual with a transgender identity to spend time behind bars. Reluctance of judges to convict or sentence to prison defendants who identify as transgender, even for serious crimes, appears to be growing in Brisbane.
37-year-old Chloe Jessica Earle, who is male and identifies as a woman, pleaded guilty to two counts of Extortion and a count of Stalking.
The defendant, who was previously named Clinton Earle, advertised escort services in an online ad in 2019.
While on bail, Earle extorted a man who had declined to meet following a sexual phone conversation. The 48-year-old transferred $200 after Earle called back and got aggressive. Earle received $500 more after posting messages about the man on social media and calling his wife. He continued the attempts at extortion.
There is a growing pattern of judges refusing to give a conviction or prison sentence on the grounds that the defendant is ‘transgender’.
Vetea Joseph Bunton, also of Brisbane, was found in possession of a mobile device that contained “15 images depicting young boys between the age of five years and 16 years posing naked, performing oral sex or engaging in anal intercourse, either with other young people or adults.” He pleaded guilty. An attorney presented a forensic psychologist report, which determined that the images were downloaded out of “curiosity” while struggling with “transgender identity” and “sexual identity.” A judge rejected the argument and sentenced Bunton to probation, but in 2019, a Court of Appeal ordered the record of conviction expunged due to such “unusual circumstances” as Bunton’s “psychological profile.”
Jeffrey Terrence Anderson of Brisbane was convicted of raping a 12-year-old child and two six-year-old children while he was babysitting. While Anderson was in prison, corrections officers found a three-page story in which he detailed a fantasy of raping a three-year-old. He was discovered with images of children as late as 2017. A psychologist observed: “Anderson’s belief that the risk of re-offending would be mitigated by becoming a woman is not supported and somewhat naive.” Still, a judge accepted Anderson’s claim that the cross-sex hormones he had begun using in prison decreased his urges to rape children. Anderson was released from prison on June 4, 2020.