Tom Rogers doesn't worry about getting caught looking at porn while at work, because looking at porn is his work. For the last few years, thanks to a $150,000-a-year federal grant arranged by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the former Indianapolis detective and another retired cop have been collecting and vetting citizen complaints about online sexual material under a program run by the anti-porn group Morality in Media (MIM).
The two tax-funded porn perusers forward complaints, obtained via a MIM-operated website, to the Justice Department for possible obscenity prosecutions. "The Supreme Court has set forth a three-part test to determine whether sexual material is obscene and therefore unprotected by the First Amendment," MIM President Bob Peters explained in a press release issued after The New York Times ran a story about the program in August. "The investigators' determinations as to which complaints to pursue are guided by that test. If they weren't, we really would be wasting our time."
MIM's track record makes you wonder about Peters' definition of "wasting our time" (let alone "wasting taxpayers' money"). Despite the importance of the Supreme Court's three-part test, he conceded that "except for complaints that lack necessary information or are obvious mistakes or hoaxes, all citizen complaints are forwarded to the Justice Department." And although MIM has given the Justice Department more than 66,000 leads so far, Peters said, the government "has not initiated a single prosecution in response to a citizen complaint submitted to the site."
If you happen to see something really offensive, you can still report it at ObscenityCrimes.org. But due to the risk of "pornographic addiction," MIM says, "we strongly advise against citizens searching the Internet for obscene websites to report." Leave that to the professionals.