Ruining Kids in Order to Save Them

The boneheaded logic behind treating "sexting" teens as child pornographers.

That the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would even need to hear oral arguments in the case of Miller, et al. v. Skumanick last week is a pretty good indication that law enforcement officials in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania have lost their collective minds.

At issue in the case: Whether the U.S. Constitution permits prosecutors to charge minors who pose for nude or risque photos with child pornography. You read that correctly. In order to protect children from predators and child pornographers, the local district attorney is threatening to prosecute minors who pose for racy photos as if they were child pornographers.

Even within the context of the already hysterical overreaction to the "sexting" phenomenon, the facts in Miller are jaw-dropping. Of the three girls bringing suit, two were photographed at a slumber party wearing training bras. The third photographed herself baring her breasts, then sent the photo to a boy she'd hoped to make jealous. The girls aren't in trouble for distributing the photos, or even for taking them. They've been introduced to the criminal justice system merely for appearing in them.

Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick, Jr. gave the girls a choice. The first option was to face felony child pornography charges, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The second was to attend a series of Skumanick-chosen classes, which according to the Pennsylvania ACLU included topics such as "what it means to be a girl in today's society" and "non-traditional societal and job roles." The girls would also be put on probation, subject to random drug tests, and would have to write essays explaining why appearing in photos while wearing their bras is wrong.

Skumanick would later tell a gathering of students and parents that he had the authority to prosecute girls photographed on the beach in bikinis, because the minors would be dressed "provocatively." He told the Wall Street Journal that by offering the girls the classes and probation instead of immediately hitting them with felony charges, "We thought we were being progressive."

Of the 19 minors Skumanick targeted, 16 chose the classes. The other three took Skumanick to court, where they won a restraining order. Skumanick appealed. To the credit of the people of Wyoming County, after 20 years in office Skumanick lost his bid for reelection last November. But his office continues to fight.

But this isn't just an isolated case of a renegade D.A. There have now been several cases across the country where young people who either pose for, snap, or forward provocative or nude photos of other minors are being charged or threatened with felony child pornography. In 2007, a state appeals court in Florida upheld charges of "directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child" and possession of child pornography charges against a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl for forwarding explicit photos of themselves having sex from her computer to his email address. The sex wasn't illegal. But the photos were. Incredibly, Judge James Wolf wrote in the majority opinion that "Mere production of these videos or pictures may...result in psychological trauma to the teenagers involved. Further, if these pictures are ultimately released, future damage may be done to these minors' careers or personal lives."

The message to minors: These photos can ruin your lives, kids. And just to prove it, we're going to ruin your lives.

These cases are the natural culmination of two trends. The first is the continuing view among politicians that there's no punishment too severe for sex offenders. Moreover, to show how serious we are about sex offenders, we should broaden the class of people we classify under the label. And there needn't be any actual victims.

In 2006, Karen Fletcher, also of Pennsylvania, was convicted in federal court for writing fictional stories (and granted, they were disturbing stories) about sexual and violent crimes against children. Until it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2002, the 1996 Child Online Protection Act criminalized images of adults made to look like minors, as well as digitally manufactured photos of minors who don't actually exist.

The second trend is the "for the children" excuse that no law ought to be questioned if its intent is to protect young people. The resulting paternalism is built in.

Put these together, and you get the intellectually vacant policy of prosecuting children for sexually exploiting themselves...in order to protect them from the people who might exploit them.

It isn't exactly clear from what or whom the authorities are protecting these teens. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a single case of a predator who tracked down, then raped, killed, or otherwise physically harmed a minor after viewing explicit photos of the child on the Internet or via images forwarded by cell phone. Perhaps it has happened. But given the media obsession with these stories, if it's happened with any frequency at all, we would have probably heard about it by now.

The harm here seems to be the possibility that somewhere, someone other than the intended recipient of these photos may be masturbating to them. That's an uncomfortable thought, sure. But it's difficult to see how that presents tangible harm to the minors in the photos, certainly not to the point where the minors themselves ought to be prosecuted. Anyone turned on by the photos in Skumanick's case could just as easily placate themselves with an old Sears catalogue—and with no resulting damage to the models who posed in it.

But the idea that an otherwise innocuous image can mutate into illegal child porn based on how it might be used by pedophiles is gaining currency. In 2006, Alabama photographer Jeff Pierson was indicted on federal child porn charges for a website he ran featuring aspiring teen models. None of the models were nude, nor were any depicted engaged in any sexual activity. All of the models' parents signed off on the photos. But federal prosecutors argued the models struck "illegally provocative," "lascivious," and "coy" poses that could entice pedophiles. In 2002, Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida (yes, that Mark Foley) introduced the Child Modeling Exploitation Prevention Act, which would have prohibited the sale of any photo of a minor. It failed, but crazy as Foley's bill sounds, it at least would have cleared up the ambiguity. As the website CNET reported in a story about Pierson, federal courts have made the definition of child porn so subjective, "judges and juries [are] faced with the difficult task of making distinctions between lawful and unlawful camera angles and facial expressions."

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  • Suki||

    Wasn't the idea behind this, back in ancient times, to punish adults from visually exploiting children?

  • Old Mexican||

    Indeed it was meant to protect us from smut like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppertone_girl

  • ||

    fap fap fap

  • ||

    Disregard my above post. I am an old pervert.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    In 2006, Karen Fletcher, also of Pennsylvania, was convicted in federal court for writing fictional stories (and granted, they were disturbing stories) about sexual and violent crimes against children.


    The producers of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit would be criminally liable under this law.

  • ||

    True. But every prosecutor who even thought of bringing Law & Order up on charges would be in serious trouble and they know it.

    They'd rather put kitten in a sack with a rock and toss the sack in a pond.

  • Discord||

    I guess none of these federal prosecutors have ever watched "America's Funniest Home Videos." It would be Christmas for them.

  • ||

    The fact that the prosecutor thought he was being 'progressive' by not charging these kids with felonies says everything necessary about where the real abuse lies.

  • Cap'n NoStar||

    "oral arguments"

  • PIRS||

    Never get into an argument with the person performing an oral on you.

  • ||

    heh

  • ||

    Were there anal arguments?

  • PIRS||

    Very retentive ones.

  • Anal Roberts||

    That's why my brother and I were never on good speaking terms.

  • ||

    This is why I read the reason comments feed.

  • Old Mexican||

    In 2006, Alabama photographer Jeff Pierson was indicted on federal child porn charges for a website he ran featuring aspiring teen models. [...] But federal prosecutors argued the models struck "illegally provocative," "lascivious," and "coy" poses that could entice pedophiles.

    Gee, those prosecutors surely have dirty minds . . .

  • Rich||

    "illegally provocative"

    Ah, yes.

    I believe U of MD (probably among many other institutions) has (or once had) a reg against provocative *eating*.

  • ||

    Banana, anyone?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Cumquat.

  • ||

    hehe, reminds me of a great 80's movie with a carrot...

  • D-Train||

    Ban all camera phones and digital cameras!!!

  • ||

    We all know where this is headed.

    Burkhas for all females under 18. Its the only way to be sure.

  • Ali||

    fap fap fap

  • Rimfax||

    *Win!*

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yes, it is imperative that actual child porn be prevented.

    However, how does one justify charging someone for taking pictures of themselves? Doesn't that make the kid both the victim AND the perp?

    What a bizarre universe.

  • Maxwell||

    Isn't masturbation considered "self-abuse"? If a teenager gets caught uh...abusing himself can he be charged with sexual assault on a minor?

  • Minnie Joycelyn Elders||

    No, it is self actualization. It must be taught in elementry school. We also need safer bullets in our guns to reduce deaths by guns.

  • ||

    "Yes, it is imperative that actual child porn be prevented."

    Why?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Because children cannot give consent.

  • ||

    Get serious.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Okay, let's let kids get mortgages, credit cards, drivers' licenses and et cetera. See how well that works out.

    Honestly, I don't see the problem. I *do* have a problem with the subject of this thread - charging kids with taking nekkid pics of themselves.

  • ||

    "Because children cannot give consent."

    So children can't do anything. They can't be sent to school or appear in 'ordinary' movies.

    Thanks for conceding. You don't have an argument.

  • ||

    Umm........yes

    Minors don't get to choose NOT to go to school. Ever hear of truancy laws? "Ordinary movies", I'm sure some parent/guardian signs numerous waivers/permissions/releases.

  • monkeys||

    Truancy laws are slavery.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So kids should be treated like sexual playthings, according to your logic?

    Sorry, but that's disgusting.

  • Tom||

    More ageist laws. How about treating everyone as an individual, and get rid of this minor/adult bullshit.

  • ||

    Our courts would have to, you know, actually think about the issues before them. Instead of inserting the square peg into the square hole, banging the gavel, and calling it a day.

  • anonymous||

    Umm... nah.

  • ||

    Riiiiight. Because there are no substantive differences between adults and children that the law should recognize.

  • ||

    "Burkhas for all females under 18. Its the only way to be sure."

    And Chastity Belts, for God's sake don't forget the Chastity Belts!

  • Like, 10,000 porn authors||

    fap fap fap

  • Colonel_Angus||

    We need an update on the definition of "child". Either people stop being children younger than people want to admit; or most people are not responsible enough to be considered adults, ever, like these prosecutors.

    I don't buy the crap about brain development, either. Psychology is bullshit.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Either people stop being children younger than people want to admit; or most people are not responsible enough to be considered adults, ever, like these prosecutors.


    Almost no people under eighteen want to take adult responsibilities.

    Psychology is bullshit.


    It is a bigger scam than Scientology.

  • jesse||

    "Almost no people under eighteen want to take adult responsibilities."

    Almost no people OVER eighteen want to take adult responsibilities.

  • Tom||

    I've wanted to take adult responsibilities (and the freedom that comes with it) ever since I was around 13 or 14.

    Why should the State create some arbitrary age when you're suddenly magically old enough to handle liberty?

    These laws against "child" pornography are the new Jim Crow laws.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I've wanted to take adult responsibilities (and the freedom that comes with it) ever since I was around 13 or 14.

    Why should the State create some arbitrary age when you're suddenly magically old enough to handle liberty?


    The age has to be somewhere , as there currently exists no generally accepted objective test for maturity.

  • Spartacus||

    there currently exists no generally accepted objective test for maturity.

    And if such a test did exist, half the population would never pass it.

  • juris_imprudent||

    A considerable portion of those that pass could only do so by cheating.

  • GT||

    "The age has to be somewhere , as there currently exists no generally accepted objective test for maturity."

    How quaint - and Stalinist - to insist that because it's hard to objectively determine someone's maturity, it's becessary to have a legislated 'bright line' - when the legislature is overweight with perverts.

    Legislatures are loaded with perverts because megalomania is correlated with sexual degeneracy.... think "Brokeback Cowboy" George Bush and TOny Blair and the rest of the HomIntern (it's not that homosexuality is degenerate per se - theirs is the homosexuality of the prison yard).

    There are 14 year olds who are much more sexually savvy than most 40 year olds, and there are 40 year olds who are more easily exploited than 8 year olds. The question is one of HARM and protection therefrom - not AGE.

  • ||

    Forgive me if I am wrong, for I am just an idiot, but is it not true that the government has no duty to protect any individual citizen?

    "Law enforcement agencies and personnel have no duty to protect
    individuals from the criminal acts of others; instead their duty is to preserve the peace and arrest law breakers for the protection of the general public." (Lynch v. NC Dept. Justice)

    ". . . a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."--Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)

    Which seems to imply that these laws do more to provide work for the police, instead of preventing crime... creating it by leaving the interpretation of statute open to arbitrary enforcement.

    But then, like I said... I'm just a total idiot.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Okay, let two eight-year-old kids get married. That's gonna work out swell!

  • ||

    Marriage = 1 Boy + 1 Girl

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I never made that distinction, so let's leave the gay/straight marriage argument out of the equation.

  • ||

    I've got a good candidate: you're an adult when you state a desire to be treated as an adult.

  • ||

    Either people stop being children younger than people want to admit; or most people are not responsible enough to be considered adults, ever, like these prosecutors.

    Both. But more of the latter.

  • Old Mexican||

    In 2002, Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida (yes, that Mark Foley) introduced the Child Modeling Exploitation Prevention Act, which would have prohibited the sale of any photo of a minor.

    It would have made all photos open source.

  • ||

    Funny story, in grad school Mark Foley visited my roommate's laboratory - and my roommate looks like he's 14, even though he's 29 or 30 - and Mark Foley asked to have a picture taken with him. And insisted on it being taken with JUST him. We don't know what happened to that polaroid.

    Six months later, the news broke.

  • ||

    Good article

  • ||

    Are these the same guys that tried to prosecute a 5 year old boy for sexual harassment for touching a classmate?

    Boy, I am sure glad these guys were not around in the 50's. I can imagine what they might have done if they caught a 4yo boy playing "doctor" with the 5yo neighbor girl.

  • Warren||

    You know, all those kids have nothing on under all of their clothes.

  • GT||

    Frankly, the prosecutor sounds like a CP fapper... more than a bit of a perv.

    Show us a picture of this "Skumanick" dude... here's what I bet: 5-foot-8 or shorter, weedy when he was a kid, and shifty-eyed.

    >> Old Mexican

    That Coppertone ad - so hot.

  • jester||

    To paraphrase Mr. Slave: you can't be taught to be a whore, you are born to it.

  • ||

    With all the productive people busy holding real jobs, that sort of leaves the government jobs open for the otherwise unemployable. So this is what you get: prosecutors like these fools.

  • SW||

    So, if we were to carry this just a little farther, wouldn't every Wal-Mart cashier in the country be chargeable with child pornography? Seems to me like every package of children's underwear they sell has a picture of a child in their underwear printed on it....

  • JokeBook||

    The harm here seems to be the possibility that somewhere, someone other than the intended recipient of these photos may be masturbating to them

    Balko! You are brilliant! Though it's disturbing that I've never heard anyone explain it like that before, and that your explanation is true.

    People should probably just realize that unless they are quite ugly indeed, somewhere, somebody is thinking about them when jerking off. But since you don't know, it is at best hard to see how that's a crime.

    @D-Train, I think we'll all live to see the day that all cameras will wirelessly transmit each picture/vid to the FBI so they can sift thru looking for CP. Why ban when you can snoop?

  • ||

    Someone, somewhere is masturbating to a photo of a cow flop or to monkeys playing Parchisi wearing yarmulkes.

  • John||

    The way they keep expanding the definition, we will all be considered a sex offender before long.

  • The Police||

    You are charged with the precrime of thinking about looking at a person under the age of 257 years old.

  • LarryA||

    He told the Wall Street Journal that by offering the girls the classes and probation instead of immediately hitting them with felony charges, "We thought we were being progressive."

    He was, but being “progressive” is Not a Good Thing.

    The ironic part here is that the law says these kids are too immature to make rational decisions concerning sex.

    So how can the law say they are mature enough to be prosecuted for making decisions the law says they are too immature to make?

  • ||

    Hehe. More trash from the puritan scumbags who run ameriKKKa.

    How's the murdering abroad going? Razed any third world country lately?

    By the way, I'm pretty sure that the people who whine about 'kiddie' porn in public love to look at kiddie porn in private.

  • ||

    By the way, I'm pretty sure that the people who whine about 'kiddie' porn in public love to look at kiddie porn in private.

    And I'm sure you have objective data you'll share with us to back up that proposition.

    Your hyperbolic ranting fails to convince or even move.

  • ||

    If I submited the objective data you'd end up in jail.

  • ||

    By the way, you think I'm making up the fact that the ameriKKKan govt/military has murdered millions of people abroad? What's hyperbolic about that?

    The biggest, most corrupt and criminal gov't on earth claims the moral high-ground on sexual matters. How fucked up is that?

  • ||

    Your hyperbolic ranting fails to convince or even move.

    Hyperbolic? Not even. "Incoherent" is more like it.

  • ||

    It's the old "I think he doth protest too much" thing. I don't doubt or a minute that those most preoccupied with the horrors of perverted sex are those most preoccupied with perverted sex in in general. Not to say that homosexuality is perverted, but you can bet your life that any Congressman who offers up anti-homo legislation and who is overly concerned with homosexuality has some very deep latent desires in that regard.

  • ||

    Sorry, RADLEY, but you're dead wrong here. Prosecuting the teens doesn't merely save them from themselves. It also protects otherwise law-abiding consumers of pornography.

    Besides, Equal Protection may demand that you prosecute these child pornographers (and they ARE child pornographers according to the letter of the law). You can't give passes for criminal violations to favored subclasses. Shame on you.

    Would you prosecute a 17-year-old for DUI? Yes, and for the same reason: Public menace.

  • monolith||

    you're right on the favoured subclasses.
    all boxers to be prosecuted for assault?
    same for all contact sports? rather than arrests for possession of drugs it should be for supply. You are supplying the drugs to yourself after all.

    Staying up late, eating unhealthy food, drinking? You are possibly doing damage to yourself. Assault?

  • jesse||

    I see, so you are one of these fucking retards that say "Its the law, your not supposed to like or understand it."

  • ||

    No . . . FUCKTARD . . . I'm one of those people who says that the law should be enforced, and if you don't like it, you change the law. Not erode respect for the law. Can your low-wattage intellect grasp all those concepts at once? Try real hard.

  • ||

    Your 'law' is meaningless. Well, not that a retarded legal positivist like you would understand that.

  • ||

    ^^^^ "Hrrr durrrr rulez no exist. I fillosopher!"

  • ||

    I take it you don't even know what legal positivism is.

  • ||

    I take it your overinflated ego and unwarranted sense of self-importance makes you think the issue is relevant, there, Dworkin.

  • ||

    There are two different issues here

    1)a personal one - you are a fucking idiot.
    2)a general one - your opinions on what 'the law' is are wrong.

    The issues get mixed since only a FUCKING IDIOT would say this

    "Equal Protection may demand that you prosecute these child pornographers (and they ARE child pornographers according to the letter of the law)."

  • ||

    +6.02E+23 for turning "Dworkin" into a one-word put-down.

  • ||

    Thenk yew. *bows*

  • ||

    Except the drunk driver actually does pose a threat to others, whereas the teenager who e-mails a photo of her boobies to a friend poses no threat to anyone other than herself.

  • ||

    I don't see it that way, Bill. (S)he poses a threat to anyone who obtains a copy of the image file, however innocently obtained.

  • ||

    "(S)he poses a threat to anyone who obtains a copy of the image file, however innocently obtained."

    No. Prosecutors like this Skumanich pose a threat to anyone who obtains a copy of the image, however innocently obtained.

  • ||

    Just to make clear -- I'm not saying the public menace/danger is shock or outrage. I'm saying the menace/danger is that anyone receiving a copy of the image file, however innocently, is nonetheless subject to prosecution for a very serious felony.

  • ||

    The menace then comes from the deranged criminals who run your 'justice' system.

  • ||

    I might agree in part, except that your prior comment show you to be a knee-jerk moron.

  • ||

    You might agree? So fucking what. If there's a moron here it is you.

  • ||

    Aw, now my feelings are all hurted inside.

  • ||

    Why is it our justice system, and not yours?

  • MB||

    Problem- they weren't distributing child pornography by any definition. Furthermore if the viewing public that might accidentally see illegal is the victim (as opposed to the exploited child), you lose instantly. There is no right not to be offended and the public interest in not being offended doesnt trump the 1st. No, child porn is illegal because it exploits children, and children can't exploit themselves by taking private pictures not meant for distribution certainly.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Agree up to the "children cannot exploit themselves" bit - only in regards to taking pictures of themselves, mind you. Children can't put themselves on the prostitution market, for instance.

    I know, it's going to sound contradictory, but I maintain there is a difference.

  • ||

    MB -- What are you talking about?!? They are distributing child pornography by the ONLY definition that counts -- the one that the FBI/DOJ uses to kick down your door at 3 a.m. and put you in prison for 20 years.

    You know . . . THAT definition?

  • MB||

    Sending images to yourself is not distribution. Unless there is some definition of the word I am not familiar with- which given the thug government agents involved wouldn't shock me. The bottom line is they didn't produce these for popular consumption much less sale. They were private.

  • ||

    Once again, WTF are you talking about? Some fantasy land where intentions matter? That's real cute except this is a strict liability crime, mens rea not required.

    And who is talking about sending images only to themselves? Who does that?

    Bottom line is you are incoherent.

  • ||

    "No, child porn is illegal because it exploits children,"

    Well, in that case, I hope you realize that hollywood movies that feature children should be banned as well.

    Well, banning the trash that hollywood produces wouldn't be a bad thing.

  • Peter Chapman||

    F, Gent Greg is right, you are a moron!

    You don't seem to grasp what is going on here. The girl who "photographed herself baring her breasts, then sent the photo to a boy she'd hoped to make jealous," has now caused that boy to be in possession of felonious material. It is for all intents and purposes, as if she had hid an ounce of cocaine in his locker.

  • ||

    So then, the HS counsellor who supplied the condoms (as part of a government approved program) would be, what, an accessory before the fact?

    If this were not so serious, it would be laughable. As it is, it is ludricrous. Kudos to the parents who took a stand.

  • monkeys||

    Kudos to the teenagers who took a stand, it was their asses on the line.

  • John and Dagny Galt||

    Marque and Reprisal should immediately be issued for some of the persons mentioned in this, and other, commentaries.


    To wit, possession of the Sunday ads and their underwear and swimwear images is a criminal offense punishable by fines and incarceration!?!


    Surely the tax-payers funding such insane prosecutions and incarcerations cannot and will-not bear such atrocities much longer.


    Starving The Monkeys,

    John and Dagny Galt

    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)

    .

  • fred||

    It is illegal what they did because they are a minor, yet they can be prosecuted as an adult?

  • ||

    the way I see it is this:

    If they are going to ruin a young boy's life for merely receiving these text messages, then what's good for the gander is good for the goose. Until fathers and prosectors stop trying to ruin young boys lives for being boys, let it at least be equal.

    Because ONLY if we go after the girls as well, will people realize how screwed up it is to charge these kids. But when only boys are charged, no one gives a damn.

  • fred||

    Agree, except they have been going after girls too.

  • ||

    Why not? There's a high probability that these girls are not KKKhristian - which means they prolly are witches and a 'public menace'.

  • Alexander||

    One aspect of the whole "sexting" phenomenon that has NOT been discussed so far: one phenomenon that has grown out of it is the frequent reposting of explicit photos of someone after a break-up, as an act of revenge. There are apparently entire websites devoted to posting explicit pics of e-girlfriends, and way to many of these would qualify as "child pornography". The unintended consequences of such reposting--admittedly an unintended consequence of sending explicit photos to a boyfriend/girlfriend in the first place--IS an invasion of privacy. Absent a massive education campaign to inform teens of the possible repercussions of such sexting, this is a syndrome that will continue to bite young people viciously. I would easily favor action or prosecution against those who wantonly post such photos without the subject's consent, although I recognize that actual prosecution and enforcement would be an absolute quagmire of legislation, prosecution, and civil liberties.

  • ||

    "There are apparently entire websites devoted to posting explicit pics of e-girlfriends, and way to many of these would qualify as "child pornography". "

    The Horror!!

  • ||

    YES, TARD, it IS a horror b/c the image goes from TeeniesRevenge.com, to Cheerleaders.com, to AdultFriendFinder.com, to your computer, where you go to prison.

  • ||

    So, again the problem is the so called 'justice' system, not 'kiddie' porn.

  • ||

    I believe I've made that point several times, Kreskin. Is there an echo in here?

  • ||

    No you didn't. Your comments are inconsistent. You are the kind of mindless robot who believes that legislation must be respected because, well, legislation must be respected.

  • B||

    "Skumanick would later tell a gathering of students and parents that he had the authority to prosecute girls photographed on the beach in bikinis, because the minors would be dressed "provocatively." "

    Next on his hit list are any clothing apparel companies in town? My guess would be not, because they have the power to bring out his loss of job.

  • Pykler||

    I wonder, Do you (the author) operate a child porn ring or something. It seems you would like to see more children in bras around. U seem dumb mister!

  • BikeLizard||

    Whoah-in their training bras? I didn't realize that all the pre pubescent girls I see in bikinis are sex offenders...

  • Abdul Alhazred||

    Radley, you realize you are probably on some sort of list for writing this article.

  • ||

    ""Colonel_Angus|1.25.10 @ 5:43PM|#
    We need an update on the definition of "child". Either people stop being children younger than people want to admit; or most people are not responsible enough to be considered adults, ever, like these prosecutors.

    I don't buy the crap about brain development, either. Psychology is bullshit.""
    I'm a CONSERVATIVE-minded high school science teacher.
    I can tell you that brain development research has a lot of merit.
    This doesn't excuse young people from being responsible-but this is why young people need parents/adults to GUIDE them.
    A lot of kids are not physiologically ready for certain modes of thinking & I witness it everyday in the classroom.
    This is why the concept of being in a certain grade at a certain age is silly.
    And kids will be kids-though this does not take away any experience a kid should get from a conseqeunce as a result of their behavior.
    The punishments need to fit the crimes.
    The punishments for any crime should not be a one-size-fits-all.
    This is why being judged by a jury of your peers is so important.
    Anyone who has kids or works with them knows that some punishments will work for some & not others etc.
    Main point: let's use our common sense please.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I know about the fucking medical science of brain development. I disagree that it has so much to do with responsibility and critical thinking. The mainstream psychology aspect of this is bullshit.

    Responsibility and intelligence have everything to do with social environment. Teenagers are capable of handling a lot more autonomy than they are given credit for. There are places that don't have the luxury of childhood, people in these situations grow up much faster. It wasn't too long ago that the United States was like this.

    I fail to see why the problems discussed in Balko's article should even be considered crimes, I see no need for authoritative involvement beyond parents. Behaviors like these will work themselves out on their own, through the process of what is socially acceptable, which the law is notably disconnected from.

  • Joette||

    You bring up an interesting point. These young people should, if being charged with a crime, in fact be judged by a jury of their PEERS. As long as the silly one size fits all nanny statism insists on charging children with crimes for this kind of activity.
    Age mates would make perfect jury candidates in cases like this. While teens (and pre-teens) may be impulsive, they still generally have the ability to discern right and wrong.

  • ||

    Not if they attend church regularly.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Wasn't Bart Simpson planning to "swim nekkid" some time ago? Maybe he should be arrested as a child pornographer?

  • ||

    I think the police and protectors of all things good need to start at the pre-school dance recitals. The teacher and parents put the tiny girls in revealing, sexy, alluring costumes and teach them dances with mature erotic movements. I think all private dance recitals need to be observed and most likely raided. The teachers, the parents, and the 3 - 15 year old children should all be charged.

    All school ball games should be watched for lascivious behavior on the part of the dance teams and cheerleaders. Their routines often include lascivious moves that ought to be illegal. And their uniforms are scandalous! EXTREMELY short, frequently with alluring cut outs. I'm shocked that the teen girls as well as the teachers, managers, and parents are not arrested!

    As long as we're at it, have you noticed some of the uniforms of the high school and college athletes? The spandex swim teams are totally indecent. NOTHING is left to the imagination. Where are the police and goon squads when they are needed?

    Actually, when one thinks about it, maybe the burka is the way to go.

  • ||

    Thank you Sandi - you are the voice of reason.

  • ||

    I've been nodding my head in agreement with you all through the comments.

  • ||

    wait until these guys get a load of what goes on at kiddie beauty pageants ! talk about provocative poses ! .. and by five-year-olds dolled-up to look like they are in their 20's. i suppose they will want to jail or 're-educate' the babies and let their loony parents off scott-free.

  • Marian K.||

    Frankly, the people who support prosecution of "sexting" should just recite the shahada and don the black turban of the Talibs. Corruption of the earth etc. At least they would be sincere.

    A message for the American Marines in Kabul: get back, the enemy has infiltrated your homeland.

  • ||

    I actually know a gung-ho Marine who was in the "sandbox", and made just that decision (getting out when his enlistment was up), because he saw too many things going on here in the US, that were contrary to what he had signed up to defend.

  • ||

    A child is a child until it is politically expedient to charge them as an adult.

    Some of the "age" laws are really fouled up. For example, it is perfectly legal to star in an X-rated movie at the age of 18, but, you can't have a beer until the age of 21.

    Let me see if I have this right. As long as everybody involved is under the age of 18, they are perfectly free to shoot pictures of other people under the age of 18 having sex? They can sent these pictures across the internet and as long as the people they send them to are under the age of 18, there is no problem. If somebody over the age of 18, ends up with any of these pictures, they get charged for kidde porn. Sounds clear to me. Also sounds like a great way for somebody under 18 to make alot of money with no risk to themselves. Just make sure you wipe your hard drive real good the day before your 18th birthday.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Google (or use your search engine of choice) "curling-iron rapist"... then try to defend removal of age-of-consent laws.

  • ||

    The Libertarian Clueless guy, I think you win the prize for most clueless comment so far.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Prove it, F. While you're at it... defend the act of raping a child, with or without a hot curling iron.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You don't get it, TLG... that 23-month-old girl DID consent to be raped with a hot curling iron.

    And Martha Coakley failed to win because of sexism in Massachusetts. Rachel Maddow said so.

  • hmm||

    I think you are missing the point. I doubt he was saying she consented to it. But rather that this would be covered just fine under normal rape laws even with AoC excluded. The problem is this case has nothing to do with AoC, but rather with rape, pure and simple.

  • ||

    Exactly.

    If someone was sentenced to life for first degree murder, and he also ran a stop sign that day, that wouldn't be any particular reason to raise the penalty for running a stop sign, or even to discuss it, really.

  • George Arndt||

    This is paternalism gone out of control.

    What I find chilling is that kids might be prosecuted for poses that are too "provocative".

    Is he DA or Mullah?

  • ||

    It's a rediculous state of affairs when common sense is impeded in its usual course.

    Legislation is, primarily, the apparatus by which the rights to personal security and property is upheld (at least currently, considering the right-of-centre political atmosphere - but I'm not a communist). There are, of course, socially unnacceptable crimes that (if we cut out the philosophical musings) are, admittedly, wrong. I'm not here to argue about the age of consent, or culpability, or maturity. I'm merely addressing the issue at stake. Namely; the lunacy of this whole situation.

    Child pornography, exploitation, abuse and all the other misdemeanours and transgressions are wrong. I wholeheartedly support that belief. Minors (be they children, or teenagers) are prosecuted (or at least charged) and tried as adults for a crime that, by definition, classes them at minors. If they are creditted with the ability to make the decision (give consent) to pose for, take, and send the pictures - in essence, the act of committing the crime which they are on trial for - then, they are mature enough (in the eyes of the law) for this not to be a criminal matter. They are being offered the opportunity to pardon themselves by taking the (adult) decision to take those classes. The smart ones took the schmuk to court. Petulance is, in this instance, both the cause of and solution to idiocy - the sending of the pictures and pursuing the issue as a criminal (or is it federal) crime.

    I'm merely pointing out the flaws in this whole debacle. I'm not saying that the age of consent should be lowered for people who are capable of making the informed decision to take indecent pictures of themselves and forward them. It seems, however, ludicrous that the law is pursuing these children for a childish misdemeanour.

    They did something foolish and stupid, and this is a matter for their parents.

    How much of all of this is down to modern society's desire to sexualise teenage life and heap the responsibilities of adulthood onto children. I understand that children in other parts of the world have to face hardships, but each man has his cross to bear. But come on....

    Think about it.

    Glamourous dolls for young girls.
    Sexually explicit and violent material in video games.
    Pornographic content on the internet.

    Oh wait. All of these have been around for decades in various forms. Pornography used to be found in bags in the woods, girls have always had dolls. And boys... they'll always find some game to play involving guns and fast cars. The turning point is when we, as adults, allow children to get their own mobile phones and calling plans, have their own laptops and "respect their privacy". Being able to text, browse the internet, take and send pictures - in essense, to become masters of their own little worlds at the age of 13 - gives them unrestrained freedom. It's asking for trouble.

    In the UK there is always debate over the rate of teenage pregnancy and the teaching of sexual education to children in schools. It only takes 5 seconds to realise that what is really needed is just a little bit more social and civic responsibility. Mostly on the part of parents. And it wouldn't hurt if the state stopped trying to nanny everyone on societal issues like marriage and, case in point, consent.

    I guess it boils down to this:

    Child pornography laws, like many other types of law, are they for the protection of children. They are not property of state related. They, as directives for citizens, don't help the city, state, or country to run smoother. They don't give provision for a comprehensive taxation system, nor do they clarify tenancy terms for prospective residents (merely examples).

    So, if two teenagers have been in a committed relationship for a year, but are both one year under the age of consent, are they committing an offense if they choose to have sex? I include the details of "committed relationship" to assuage fears that one might be exploiting the other. They both want to commit the act willingly, yet society, abitrarily, sees this as criminal. How and why?

    That's the issue here. How is it illegal and - more importantly - WHY?

  • ||

    So are these federal or state laws they're being charged under?

  • ||

    "The message to minors: These photos can ruin your lives, kids. And just to prove it, we're going to ruin your lives."

    This quote just sums everything up. I'm a college student who is more concerned with the justice system and the government than anything a stranger could cook up. A book that exposes stuff like this is called "The Scapegoat Generation" by Mike A Males. Check it out.

  • ||

    spot on

  • ||

    The problem with the libertarian argument here is that if an adult sent or received such photos of minors most of us would say 'yuch', and agree it's nasty child porn and should be prosecuted, just as adults having sex with minors.
    Logic then begs two questions a) 'why shouldn't it be criminal for teenagers to send/receive the same photos' and b) 'should teens be prosecuted for statutory rape, or only adults'?
    Seems like some double standards.

  • anona||

    These charges are nothing but stupidity on steroids and meth. I had commented on the overcharging of the 'sexters' on another site immediately after it happened. The only thing thats' changed is that kids are using cell phones rather than Polaroid cameras. While this trend is not exactly a real good idea,( due to the fact that 'net stuff has a rather long shelf life), it should be discouraged rather than have extreme penalties applied to it. Seems what we have here is a prude who is scandalized that teens are sending pictures of themselves in their 'birthday suit' to other teens. Won't even go near the other bit about kids in swimsuits, or any "provacative" pose. Who decides what is permissable, and what is not? Combating the taliban abroad and emulating them at home seems perverse. This website is named Reason; some of the comments on this article seem totally berift of reason and/or logic..

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets...in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it's literally a labyrinth, that's no joke.

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