The best-selling author and lawyer - who penned novels like The Rainmaker, The Firm and The Pelican Brief - has given an astonishing interview to The Telegraph defending some child sex offenders, saying they have become victims of a legal system that has 'gone crazy'.
The 59-year-old then called for lighter sentences for those caught downloading images and videos of children being sexually abused.
'But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.'
The point is, John, a child had to have been sexually abused to make that child-porn. The porn watcher might never touch a child himself, but someone else has to do it for him. The difference is not as big as you suggest.
'We've gone nuts locking up sex offenders': Celebrated author John Grisham, 59, has claimed that some men who viewed child porn online are 'not real pedophiles' and 'would never harm anybody', but are still called sex offenders and sent to prison. A vicarious sex offender is still a sex offender in my book.
Grisham - who is preparing to release his new tome, Gray Mountain, next week - said he feels so strongly about the issue because his friend was involved in a child porn sting about 10 years ago.
He said his 'old buddy from law school' became involved in an operation organized by the FBI in Canada.
'His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website,' Grisham told The Telegraph.
'It was labelled ''sixteen-year-old wannabee hookers'' or something like that.
'And it said ''16-year-old girls''. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff - it was 16-year-old girls who looked 30. And you really believe they were 16 years old. You have a lot more faith in the truthfulness of pornographers than I do.
'He shouldn't have done it. It was stupid, but it wasn't 10-year-old boys.
'He didn't touch anything.
'And God, a week later there was a knock on the door: ''FBI!'' and it was sting set up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch people - sex offenders - and he went to prison for three years.'
'There's so many of them now. There's so many ''sex offenders'' - that's what they're called - that they put them in the same prison.
'Like they're a bunch of perverts, or something. Precisely!
'We've gone nuts with this incarceration.'
Grisham was sure to say that he has 'no sympathy for real pedophiles' and believes anyone caught committing such a crime should face harsh penalties.
However he believes many men have been penalized too harshly for doing too little.
Questioned about the fact that viewing child porn fuels child abuse by placing a demand on creating new material, Grisham replied that sentences should still be lower for people who only download the content.
The Telegraph - who will publish their full interview with Grisham this weekend - also noted a major increase in the sentences of people charged with possession of child pornography over the last 10 years.
Between 2004 and 2010, sentences doubled from 54 months to 95 months. The reason being that judges and the general public have become aware of the incredible damage child sex abuse can do to a person. Sentences doubled, and rightly so, they were too lenient before.
John, you are still my favourite fiction writer, but maybe you should read some of my blog or otherwise investigate child pornography and child sex abuse and the effect it has on the child being abused.
I think if a couple of policemen came to your door and told you they had run a child pornography sting and your little girl was among the images they found - close your eyes and think about that for a couple minutes - you would quickly change your mind about just how evil child pornography is.
However, a report published in February by Reason magazine claimed that offenders caught viewing child pornography often received harsher sentences than offenders caught sexually abusing children. Now that's just wrong!