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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Castrated' Sex Offender Says Injections Cured Him

COPENHAGEN -- After his fourth conviction for violent sex crimes against pre-teen girls, Arne Kjeldsen agreed to chemical castration.


Twice a month, the 26-year-old gets injections that suppress his hormones and his sex drive. He says he's cured -- and, finally, happy.


"My sex fantasies, which once made me a criminal, are gone," Kjeldsen said in a telephone interview from a Copenhagen prison. "Watching a pornographic movie is like watching the evening news."


In several European countries, castration for rapists has been around for decades. Germany offers hormone-suppressing injections and clinical surgery to violent sex offenders, and Sweden makes chemical castration available to criminals who want it.


From 1935 to 1970, Denmark gave sex offenders the choice of prison or surgical castration. After criticism that the practice was inhumane and irreversible, it was banned. But in 1973, it was reinstated with the chemicals instead of the surgical procedure.


The results have been positive, said Heidi Hansen, chief physician at Denmark's only jail for sex offenders, Copenhagen's Herstedvester Penal Institute.


"It may sound like something medieval and barbaric, but it's safe, reversible and effective," she said. She noted, however, that it is not a cure-all and only treats the symptoms. "Patients need extensive psychotherapy," she said.


Of the 26 prisoners who have chosen to receive the injections since 1989, 16 have been released on probation on the condition that they continue to receive the injections. Only one has committed another offense.


Several U.S. states are considering making such injections the law. California's legislature passed a bill Friday that makes the drugs optional for child molesters -- and mandatory for repeat offenders. Such laws also are under consideration in Texas, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.