Another prosecutorial fishing trip ends in another Mickey Mouse conviction: Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens has pled out to a charge of possessing obscene materials, and will get off (NPI) with three years' probation, a $100 fine, and counseling. This is the end of a child pornography case against Reubens that began in 2001 and allowed prosecutors to savage the entertainer's reputation for a second time. As Jacob Sullum has noted in other contexts, the plea agreement is somewhat short of the public apology and compensation for pain and suffering the defendant actually deserves, but I'm confident that in some alternate world—perhaps the newly discovered Planet X—Pee Wee's reputation was never destroyed by the sex police, and he continues to delight millions. Back on this planet, Reubens did manage to get in a somewhat defiant public statement: "Taking responsibility by calling a few images in this collection 'obscene' and paying a $100 fine seemed like the sanest way to make it end."
Richard Goldstein's brilliant explanation of the demi-monde of vintage porn a while back puts the so-called kiddie porn charges against the great comedian into an interesting perspective. Long live Pee Wee.