Autoexploitation

|

Eugene Volokh links to news that police have brought up a Latrobe, PA, resident on child porn charges for circulating photos of a 15-year-old girl on the Internet. Which sounds like good news… except the person they've charged is the 15-year-old girl, who uploaded the photos herself. Now, I don't know the details; probably the girl could use a little counseling if, at that age, she's shooting strangers in chat rooms pics of "herself in various states of undress and performing a variety of sexual acts." But it seems a touch bizarre to punish her for exploiting… herself.

NEXT: The New Normal, Alas

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I think the real question is, “will she be tried as an adult?”

    -j

  2. She has been charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography. . . .

    No, my real question is, was I committing sexual abuse of children when I learned to masturbate as a child?

  3. I suppose they’ll arrest Traci Lords if she has any copies of her movies.

  4. What’s her nick/handle/ICQ #/e-mail address?

    Just, you know… curious.

  5. We’re told what we can put into our own bodies, what we can do with our own homes, when we’re allowed to keep or sell our property, who can and can’t smoke in our own places of business, and how much of our own money we’re allowed to keep, why not add this to the list? Tune in for more government fun! Woohoo!

  6. By these standards, we’re leaving a lot of dangerous criminals unprosecuted. Skateboard without a helmet at 14? Endangering the life of a minor! And so on. France may be filled with commies, but they do one thing right: they don’t treat their children like breakable china dolls. If I get any more “protected” in this country, I won’t have ANY rights left. By the way, on a side note about “dangerous” felons who have been put away to keep the rest of us safe, I hear Tommy Chong has planted an organic vegetable garden in prison. Don’t you feel so MUCH safer now, knowing that he can ply his baby carrots where they won’t hurt the rest of us?

  7. Yet another Hit&Run posting sans the essential photos. Come on guys! We need links to the pics!

  8. She should claim emotional trauma from being sexually exploited as a child led her to such a corrupt act, uh, simultaneously.

  9. Amy brings up an interesting point. Does the law specify that crimes against persons have to be committed against OTHER persons? If devout Catholics are horrified to catch their boy jacking off, can they have him arrested for literal self-abuse? Or rape?

  10. LOL Warren.

    But you do realise you could open yourself up to 5 years per pic, losing your job before being found guilty, losing your family, be put on the offender’s registry, mandatory reeducation, er.. counseling and a host of other things. Besides being viewed and treated as a dangerous predator not worthy of life in this civilised society.

  11. “France may be filled with commies, but they do one thing right: they don’t treat their children like breakable china dolls”
    “If devout Catholics are horrified”

    Cheap usage of cliched ‘signifiers’ – French, Catholic – for no logically apparent reason. Would you care to explain France’s laws regarding child porn? How about the right of a china doll to wear a headscarf or a cross? Not to forgot how comfortable and understanding all non-Catholics are when they discover Junior spanking his monkey.

    Indeed, I will buy that stock in Air America.

  12. Rusty-
    Just wanted to explain that my anti-Catholic slur was based upon the assumption that the Pope is not only Catholic but also believes masturbation is a sin. If I turn out to be mistaken in either respect, I will apologize.

    I can’t believe nobody’s started making Monty Python references. Everybody sing with me: “Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.”

  13. Hear, hear, Jennifer (regarding your frustration with posting here). I’m gonna keep bringing this up in every thread I post in until I see someone officially respond to it. I know, Reason doesn’t owe us anything, but it’s just odd how this suddenly became a problem and nobody has acknowledged it.

  14. Jennifer,
    When you subbed in the 4th grade class, did you notice similar signs in the boys? Any kids with mustaches and/or sideburns? If it was hormones in milk, you’d think it would hit both genders equally. I wonder how much of it is related to the obesity epidemic. Girls wearing bras in 4th grade … the fake boob industry can’t be happy about that (early) development.

  15. Jennifer et al,

    Type message. Review. Hit POST. Minimize comment screen. Peruse other topics. Hit browser refresh icon. Check back often. Do not repost. Your original post will appear, eventually.

    Regards,

    Not a dope,
    but a dink

  16. Call me paranoid, but as a man I’m keenly aware of the powers the kids have. One word and the shadow of suspicion descends. Too many damn people with their knickers in a wad acting like everybody but themselves is a potential molester.
    Besides my earlier point that the issue has been used by law enforcement, politicians and an industry of single-issue activists to erode our liberties and broaden their powers.
    Hell, I remember Bill Clinton justifying the siege at Waco by saying “Isn’t it true that the children are sexually abused by this man David Koresh?”.

  17. Mo-
    I didn’t notice similar growth in boys, but my understanding is that before boys get facial hair and deeper voices (i.e. changes visible when fully clothed) they have certain changes in their more personal regions. I have no idea whether any boys’ testicles have dropped early, nor was I about to ask. (By the way, most of those girls were NOT overweight, just overdeveloped.)

    Consider also: girls have always matured a year or two before boys. If fourth-grade girls need bras, I’m sure fifth-grade boys . . .umm. . .whatever it is pubescent boys do. I don’t know, but it IS disturbing.

  18. When I talked about underage drinking and the like, I was asking if I could be arrested now for allowing a minor (myself) to drink back then? And also wondering if this kind of nonsense would be used to charge youth with two crimes, one for the possession and another for allowing a minor to possess.

    As for the age of consent, based on this chart http://www.ageofconsent.com/ageofconsent.htm , you see that the majority of AOCs are 16 or 17. And in most of the states with an age of consent, a 56 with a 16 year old is perfectly legal.

    Michigan is a state that has prosecuted girls who got pregnant at 15 for having sex under 16. If I rememeber right, Georgia wanted to try something similar. Michigan has also prosecuted 15 year olds who were “caught in the act” and charged them with sexually assaulting each other.

    Yes, most states laws have age differences, but apparently not Michigan.

  19. So if she’s a hypocondriac, by this standard that would mean she has Munchousen’s by proxy….

  20. Seriously, the first thing I thought of was that some adult may be behind this. MAY. I don’t, of course, really know. But I think it’s more plausible that some person with a hold over the little chick encouraged her to do this, or suggested it, or even (who knows) forced her to do it.

  21. Speedwell, directly or not, Adults WERE behind it. Where do you think this girl got the idea in the first place? Seems to me, she’s acting very very “adult”.

    What do we expect, when the world is full of sex obsessed role models?

  22. Hmmm, I dunno. I taught middle school way back when, and a lot of my students needed no adult role models to be horny as hell. Come to think of it, neither did I at that age.

    Sex ain’t new, kids, neither is teenage porn. It’s just a question of taste and artistic merit. Check out the cute li’l thingy on Michelangelo’s “David,” for example. My guess is the model for that was about 17, tops. Any art history majors on this thread care to comment?

  23. Brendan Perez:

    Most States’ age of consent is 18. In addition, many have exclusions that provide for age difference between partners, i.e. if the difference is no more than 4 years, it is not criminal to have sex. A 56 year old and a 16 year old is illegal everywhere.

    “Even if they could film, the younger person couldn’t watch it”
    Nobody could watch it, except the investigators and perhaps the court. Material like this is considered child porn, period.
    It goes so far that a State, I forget if it was Kentucky or Tennessee, passed a law allowing prosecutors to withhold cp evidence from defense counsel. The law is being challenged.

    “Will we see young people prosecuted for things like masturbation or (Gasp!)playing doctor”
    Has already happened. There was a case some years ago when an 8 year-old boy visiting from Switzerland was arrested and refused to leave the country after a neighbour observed him and a 5 year-old girl in “inappropriate behaviour”, whatever that was. Usually prosecutors refuse to release any detailed information that would allow the public to make an informed decision. This leaves us all to trust the prosecutors’ view of events or speculate driven by our own emotions, see the post by speedwell.
    Very convenient for the government to have this highly charged wedge issue on which nobody can challenge them, because it is strictly illegal to independently gather information.
    Given their actions in this particular case, are we to trust their good judgment?

  24. Anybody notice that this story came out the day before April 1st?

  25. Re some of Brendan Perez’s questions, I was under the impression one could be arrested for underage drinking. Or at least punished by the state somehow. Am I wrong?

  26. Here in Iowa, we have a graduated driver’s license system. Provisional license holders – that is, those under 18 – stand to lose their driver’s license for underage drinking whether or not it is OWI. Other penalties can also apply.

  27. Besides being viewed and treated as a dangerous predator not worthy of life in this civilised society.

    Well, apparently, that’s just what this 15-year old girl is. A dangerous predator whose own free will led her to take advantage of herself.

  28. “…speculate based on our emotions?” Aren’t we all?

    Besides, you’ll notice that I didn’t go running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming “child abuse victim!!!!” I was just surprised that noone had made the observation yet that someone else, in addition to the kid might be, oh, involved, you know. Someone who might–just might–have provided the, oh, motivation.

    I mean, this is not something kids just wake up one morning thinking, is it? “Ummm, I think I’ll go post naked pictures of myself on the Internet today….” I mean, yeah, this culture is pretty sexualized, but that doesn’t make every kid in America and its cultural colonies a virtual exhibitionist.

  29. speedwell,
    Every kid in America isn’t doing this. Just this one. She isn’t the first and won’t be the last horny teenager to get an idea like this and go through with it. Everyone isn’t enough of an exhibitionist to become a stripper, but they still exist.

  30. I mean, this is not something kids just wake up one morning thinking, is it?

    Why not? Even teenaged girls get the itch. So they scratch it. Different strokes for different folks.

  31. I’m sorry, I just don’t buy the “the culture made her do it” rap. It’s too easy. Or, actually, it’s too complicated. Women want men, girls want boys – with the exception of about 1 – 10 percent of the population, depending on who you ask.

    Teenaged girls have always been fascinated with their own burgeoning sexuality, and what it can get them. The internet just gives them an efficient distribution tool. It’s not up to “society” or “the culture” to make sure that natural but inappropriate wants and desires aren’t expressed, it’s up to parents.

  32. Where do you think this girl got the idea in the first place? Seems to me, she’s acting very very “adult”.

    Did someone teach you how to masturbate?

  33. Oh, yes, any official child under the age of eighteen is a sexual innocent; it MUST be a big bad adult responsible for this. After all, it’s not like there’s anything in teenage pop culture today that would make a troubled teen get the impression that sexual promiscuity is cool, or that women should be primarily admired for their bodies above all else. Nope, no way the girl’s own free will was a factor.

  34. Oh, well, if she really did wake up one morning and just on a whim think it would be a total hoot and all her fellow Britneys in school would think she was cool as an ice cube, I have nothing against that. Really. It’s not a good idea, but if it was her idea and she did it for fun, to some extent it’s her right. At least it didn’t get her pregnant or give her some disease.

    But it just doesn’t seem like something a well-adjusted kid, or even an average-adjusted kid, would do. And I can’t even see a poorly-adjusted kid doing it unless she had a good reason. So what could the good reason be?

  35. Crud, I’m totally cool if post-pubescent kids want a little in the sack with each other, so long as they take the proper precautions (and the odds of that would be?). I’m just alarmed at the possibility that the whole thing might not be completely her idea or her initiative. Why is everyone automatically assuming she did it just for kicks?

    If she was your little sister, guys, you’d never be suggesting that she was just some dirty little slut having fun. You know what I mean?

  36. Actually, my little sis did get a little slutty in college, till I beat the crap out of my roomate and put a stop to it. ‘Course, if it weren’t for HER roomates, I’d never have…

    Never mind.

  37. So right speedwell,

    The kid is obviously maladjusted and just needs a little government re-education to get properly re-adjusted.

    This girl wouldn’t have nearly so many problems had she declined the first opportunity to have sex with the prosecutor or his informers.

  38. speedwell,

    What’s the upshot of all your suspicions, anyway? If you’re saying some adult put her up to it, wouldn’t it make sense to find and prosecute that adult instead of the girl? Seems your angle would only serve to back Julian’s original position.

  39. Speedwell-
    If it is an adult responsible then by all means crucify the dude, but why are you so shrilly insistent that it MUST be an adult? Teenage sexuality may be icky (I don’t even like seeing the little buggers hold hands at the mall) but it is not as scary as you seem to think it is.

    Consider: have you noticed that girls are developing younger and younger these days? I don’t know if it’s growth hormones in the milk or what, but when I substitute-taught a fourth-grade class, more that HALF the nine-year-old girls there were well-developed enough to need actual bras, not the training variety.

    The average American fifteen-year-old girl has probably been sexually mature for five or six years already, and yet we (by which I mean soceity as a whole) insists on treating them like the Victorian ideal of a sexless creature. Ridiculous.

  40. We were brought up with a stupid ideal of a lengthy childhood – mainly girlhood – innocence that didn’t pertain before, oh, 1950 or so.

    My great-times-four grandfather was one of the first settlers in Western Iowa. He was a Mormon, and records indicate that there were “women” married and giving birth at 12, 14, 16 and so on in his party. This was necessary to survival.

    Before diseases like polio, whooping cough, TB, etc. were vaccinated against and infant mortality was common, women were encouraged to marry young and get pregnant often. Sex was a more down and dirty practical matter than conservative romantics care to admit.

    Sex only gets inconvenient when offspring become a financial liability rather than an asset. That’s when Puritan morality becomes fashionable.

    If the *actual* Puritans had been more prurient, there might now be more Puritans present. But what can you say about a group so tight-assed that the British kicked them out. 😉

  41. We were brought up with a stupid ideal of a lengthy childhood – mainly girlhood – innocence that didn’t pertain before, oh, 1950 or so.

    My great-times-four grandfather was one of the first settlers in Western Iowa. He was a Mormon, and records indicate that there were “women” married and giving birth at 12, 14, 16 and so on in his party. This was necessary to survival.

    Before diseases like polio, whooping cough, TB, etc. were vaccinated against and infant mortality was common, women were encouraged to marry young and get pregnant often. Sex was a more down and dirty practical matter than conservative romantics care to admit.

    Sex only gets inconvenient when offspring become a financial liability rather than an asset. That’s when Puritan morality becomes fashionable.

    If the *actual* Puritans had been more prurient, there might now be more Puritans present. But what can you say about a group so tight-assed that the British kicked them out. 😉

  42. Jennifer,

    Andrew would be the first one to have someone prosecuted under that scenario; not serving the needs of the state after all. All that spilt “seed” could used for procreation after all.

  43. “Speedwell-
    If it is an adult responsible then by all means crucify the dude, but why are you so shrilly insistent that it MUST be an adult? Teenage sexuality may be icky (I don’t even like seeing the little buggers hold hands at the mall) but it is not as scary as you seem to think it is.”

    Back up and read what I wrote, Jennifer. I bent over backwards to make it clear that I did not know if an adult was involved, only that I feared one might be. I said right out loud that I have no problem with teenagers having sex.

    I absolutely support her right to decide what to do with her own body. What surprises me is that all the libertarians who post here, especially you, have absolutely no concern whatsoever that the girl might–MIGHT–be under some form of coercion.

  44. Considering what could happen to people who possess the pictures she sent out, I don’t know that I necessarily fault the decision to prosecute her…

  45. This is nothing new. States have prosecuted 15 year olds for having sex, even when both partners were 15, because the age of consent was 16. So yes, like so many before her, this girl is both the victim of herself and perpetrator on herself.

    This incident is one more exmaple why we need some serious reform in the way we treat people under 18.
    In many states the age of consent is 16, so two 16 year olds, or a 16 year old and a 56 year old can do everything (with consent of course) imagineable in the bedroom, but they can’t film it. Even if they could film, the younger person couldn’t watch it, the same would go for watching an “instructional video”. Doesn’t this seem loony? A 16 year old can’t watch “Debbie does Dallas” (random example), but can perform a live reenactment.

    I wonder, can I be arrested for drinking when I was under 21? I mean I did provide alcohol to a minor. What about smoking? I contributed to the delinquency of a minor (me) and I provided tobacco to a minor.

    Where does BS like this end? Will we see young people prosecuted for things like masturbation or (Gasp!)playing doctor?

    Also, if she had attacked the police when they arrested her or even killed one, would she still be treated as a “child”?

  46. I restrict my viewing of naked 15-year olds to Hollywood’s major motion pictures.

  47. Speedwell-
    Yes, as I said, if the girl was coerced then the adult in question should pay. Of course, now that the girl has been arrested that would taint anything she says; is she telling the truth or is she naming names to get herself out of prison?

    “Young lady, putting dirty pictures on the Internet can RUIN YOUR LIFE! To prevent you from ruining your life, we have decided to arrest you and give you a criminal record.”

  48. Speedwell-
    Yes, as I said, if the girl was coerced then the adult in question should pay. Of course, now that the girl has been arrested that would taint anything she says; is she telling the truth or is she naming names to get herself out of prison?

    “Young lady, putting dirty pictures on the Internet can RUIN YOUR LIFE! To prevent you from ruining your life, we have decided to arrest you and give you a criminal record.”

  49. Goddammit, I tried TWICE to post a comment. Whoever is in charge of this Website needs to do some serious revamping; it should not take ten minutes for a woman with a cable-Internet connection to post a single sentence. Let me try AGAIN to respond to speedwell:

    Speedwell-
    Yes, as I said, if the girl was coerced then the adult in question should pay. Of course, now that the girl has been arrested that would taint anything she says; is she telling the truth or is she naming names to get herself out of prison?

    “Young lady, putting dirty pictures on the Internet can RUIN YOUR LIFE! To prevent you from ruining your life, we have decided to arrest you and give you a criminal record.”

  50. “might–MIGHT–be under some form of coercion”

    Don’t tell us, tell the cops. She’s certainly under some form of coercion NOW.

    Apparently brownshirts won’t let you make it. (Apologies to FZ.)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.