Tor Erling Staff

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Tor Erling Staff (1933-) is a Norwegian lawyer famous for defending social outcasts such as pedophiles and murderers in the courtroom. Educated in Norway and in the USA, he has enjoyed a high-profile career for almost half a century.

Staff has shown enduring commitment to individuals' right to a fair trial, regardless of his or her actions. He is well known for representing people accused of the most unpopular crimes, having said of this, "the most bestial is no worse than the noblest of the noble. Or, put more tabloid: Hitler was no worse a human being than Mother Theresa. [...] A human being must be kept separate from his or her actions." (Dagbladet, 7 October 2005)

On October 6, 2005, Staff and author Håvard Rem launched a biography which told of Staff's adolescent sexual encounters with adult men. According to the book, Staff had the first of these experiences at 11 or 12 years of age, and remembers them as being "damn nice". One reason he cites for disclosing his experiences is his disregard for the "victim industry", which he claims is made up of lawyers, sociologists, psychologists, feminists and the like. He has also said that "I am not exposing myself just for fun. This is meant to support outsiders." (ibid.)

Staff is no stranger to controversial points to view, and has said of age of consent: "if we do need an age of consent, it should be 12 years. In my opinion, we don't need such a rule. Abuse is handled well enough by assault laws." (ibid.)

He has in recent years come out as gay, and in 2005 he entered into a registered partnership with a man.

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