The question: Is thoughtcrime real? Can/should we punish certain people for having certain thoughts?
I've allways been a strong opponent to doing such. I don't care who you are, what your history is, I don't feel you should ever be punished for any thoughts you may have. Even if you later admit to having those thoughts, you shouldn't be punished for them. Whatever fantasies you're having in your head, however you choose to entertain your mind, if those thoughts don't materialize themselves in action I don't feel you ought to be punished for them.
The one occasion I could see for allowing thoughts to be punished would be if the thinker asked for the punishment as a sort of external method to bring about altered thoughts. If he comes and says "please punish me for these thoughts because I can't make them go away on my own", that's one thing. If he says "hey, look, I had these thoughts but I didn't act on them" then why the hell would we punish that?! If anything, we should pat him on the back and say "good for you for recognising those thoughts and not acting on them".
In this particular situation, his thoughts did generate some action -- he went to the park. Last I checked, going to the park is itself not a crime. The court arguments claim that the only reason he didn't grab a kid was because they were in a group and would have been too difficult for him to grab just one. My argument is that we don't know for certain that he wouldn't have simply stopped even if there was only one. Perhaps if there was only one lone kid, he would have walked up to the kid and right before he reached out he could have a change of heart and stop himself. We don't know, and now we never will.