Free-Range Kids

Man Guilty of Owning Sexy Images of Cartoon Children


Doug Kline / Anime Expo 2011

A man in Britain has been convicted for his fantasies.

Robul Hoque, 39, was found guilty of downloading "prohibited images" of cartoon girls, some in school uniforms, doing dirty deeds. The fact that these manga drawings are available on legitimate sites did not sway the judge. Nor did the fact that—oh yeah—there were no actual humans in the pictures.

No humans. So how old, exactly, is a cartoon? Is the cartoon 7, or 9, or just shy of 18? Trick question: A cartoon doesn't have an age, because a cartoon is never born. The life meter never started ticking.

If owning or admiring the mere drawn image of something illegal is grounds for sentencing, wouldn't we have to sentence anyone who goes to the Louvre and parks himself in front of Ingres' Odalisque? That there's a concubine and bigamy is against the law. Move on to the Mona Lisa or you're under arrest!

More immediately: What if you yourself bought a T-shirt with a big pot leaf on it? Isn't that like drug possession, or at least fantasizing about drug possession? Wear that outside of Colorado and maybe you should expect a knock on the door.

And while we're at it, what would Hoque's judge, Tony Briggs, suggest we do about all those people—most still in grammar school—who own toy dragons? Aren't dragons illegal pets—or at least, wouldn't they be, if they existed? It doesn't matter that they're not real, right?  Reality seems to be just a trifling detail. So wouldn't the kid with a stuffed Puff be guilty of owning (or wanting to own) a dangerous (if non-existent) beast with the power to both toast and eat people?

Lock 'em up!


Police found about 300 images—some still, some animated—on Hoque's computer, none of real people. He pleaded guilty to 10 specimen charges and received a nine month sentence suspended for two years, according to The Gazette Live. What's more, Hoque's first encounter with the law was in 2008 when he was found guilty of making "Tomb Raider-style" pictures of fictional kids.

You may not love a guy who spends his spare time doing that—or you might. Because either way, we're talking about a hobby. Less disingenuously, we're talking about someone who wants to look at pictures that probably excite him. Sort of like lots of people find NCIS exciting, even though they don't intend to go out and murder anyone. No kids were violated by Hoque's hobby, so why is this anything other than a private matter?

As Hoque's barrister, Richard Bennett said:

"This case should serve as a warning to every Manga and Anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too."

We've seen just this past week how third-rail the issue of child porn is. Author John Grisham was practically pilloried as a child rapist for wondering if our child porn possession sentences are too high—a thought bubble he felt forced to deny ever having had. (See Radley Balko's "In Defense of John Grisham" for a gimlet-eyed look at how dangerous it is to even suggest there might be some overkill in our child porn laws, even though guys with a small stash of the stuff can end up with much longer sentences than men who actually raped a child.)

So perhaps Judge Briggs is onto something: If you want to fill the jails, just arrest anyone who has ever had a sexual fantasy that involved something other than one man, one woman, a notarized letter of consent (just to be safe) and a condom (ditto).

NEXT: In Major Shift, Turkey Allows Reinforcements for Kurds Battling ISIS

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  1. “Your honor, that tentacle had to have been at least 18!”

  2. Thoughtcrime

  3. This is what happens when you hire a barrister to defend you instead of an attorney. Crazy Brits.

    1. +1 separated by a common language

  4. There’s a similar law in the US, at least if the material meets the legal definition of obscenity.

    1. I thought that was declared unconsititutional. Or was that the law that tried to make adults playing kids having sex illegal?

  5. a notarized letter of consent (just to be safe) and a condom (ditto).

    Notarizing a condom just seems extreme.

    /Missing the point entirely

    1. Notarizing a condom just seems extreme

      Actually, that sounds like the next natural amendment to the Yes Means Yes laws. Just make sure you get the seal applied BEFORE you put it on.

      1. make sure you get the seal applied BEFORE you put it on.

        Ribbed for the State’s pleasure?

        1. Ribbed Rigged for the State’s pleasure?


  6. You know who’s really endangered here.

    The Alt Text.


    Apparently not Lenore….

    1. This was my first thought upon reading this article.

      I have much yet to learn, but you and those like you have trained me well.

      P.S. Fuck Tony.

  7. If your actual interest is protecting children, and you acknowledge that there are some sick puppies out there, isn’t them looking at cartoon porn good news? Ideally they’d get some help, but obviously they haven’t chosen to. So if they’re keeping their sick urges under control, not by touching any kids, and not by looking at images of terrible things being done to children, but at drawings…aren’t we better off?

    1. Well hello my name is Simon
      And I like to do look at drawrings….

    2. Ideally they’d get some help, but obviously they haven’t chosen to.

      And have his guns taken away? Or worse, as this is Britain?

    3. I was thinking the same thing.

      It’s totemism, just like the hatred of e-cigs.

    4. Their actual interest is not protecting children. Prosecutors go after guys like this because they have laws that allow them to do so, and the public in general pretty much hates pedophiles, so they can be “tough on crime” and point to how they punished pedophiles while not having anyone feel any sympathy for the prosecuted, even if the prosecuted didn’t actually hurt anyone.

      Like cops, prosecutors like to go after the low hanging fruit and the easy wins that can further their careers. Unfortunately, that’s the way the perverted incentives in their jobs work.

      1. Pictures of low hanging fruit are illegal as well.

  8. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    Matthew 5:28

    Fry him. The good book commands it.

    1. Just change adultery to rape and you’ve written the mantra to modern feminism.

    2. Good fer Ye, Me Good Dr. Fronkensteen, but ya didn’t take it NEAR far enuff!!!
      Our that them thar VALUES of society outta come from that them thar HOLY BIBLE, and if ya read it right, it actually says that God wants us to KILL EVERYBODY!!! Follow me through now: No one is righteous, NONE (Romans 3:10). Therefore, ALL must have done at least one thing bad, since they’d be righteous, had they never done anything bad. Well, maybe they haven’t actually DONE evil, maybe they THOUGHT something bad (Matt. 5:28, thoughts can be sins). In any case, they must’ve broken SOME commandment, in thinking or acting, or else they’d be righteous. James 2:10 tells us that if we’ve broken ANY commandment, we broke them ALL. Now we can’t weasel out of this by saying that the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament, because Christ said that he’s come to fulfill the old law, not to destroy it (Matt. 5:17). So we MUST conclude that all are guilty of everything. And the Old Testament lists many capital offenses! There’s working on Sunday. There’s also making sacrifices to, or worshipping, the wrong God (Exodus 22:20, Deut. 17:2-5), or even showing contempt for the Lord’s priests or judges (Deut. 17:12). All are guilty of everything, including the capital offenses. OK, so now we’re finally there… God’s Word COMMANDS us such that we’ve got to kill EVERYBODY!!!

      1. May the good Lord bless you and keep you, and may he make his face to shine upon you, and bring you peace.

        1. Thanks for your kind words, Poppa K! … In case you were wondering, yes, I was trolling for morons… There are, sadly, a few of them out there… Folks who think that it is a more effective way, to, um, shall we say more politely than I usually do, that the effective way to “apple polish” with God, it to be as literalistic as possible, in interpreting “The Good Word” (Bible, Koran, whatever). … I hope you agree with me, that is NOT the optimal way to apple-polish! The optimal way to apple-polish with the REAL God, is to try as hard as we can, to “love one’s neighbor” and to attain “God’s will on Earth, as it is in Heaven”. … Bless you!

  9. Sooooooooo….. bronies are committing bestiality by their logic?

    1. I think bestiality is a kind word for what they enjoy.

      1. Harumpf.

      2. Neeiiiigh! Neeeeeeigh!

    2. Hey, not all bronies clop.

      1. You seem to know a lot about bronies.

        (narrows eyes)

        1. I spend a lot of time in the dark recesses of the vasty Internet wonderland.

          … For science, of course.

          1. Don’t…don’t you mean the dark recesses of a sweaty pony costume?

            Of course, I suppose this raises the question of whether chicks can be bronies. I’m gonna need a ruling. NutraSweet, can you chime in here?

            1. Women cannot be bronies; they’re pegasisters.

            2. Well, it’s not sweaty to begin with…

              1. Well of course not, no chick would put her pony costume away before cleaning and ironing it. But that doesn’t answer my question!

    3. Isn’t that furries? Bronies isn’t a sexual thing as far as I know.

      1. Not all furries take it to a sexual place, either…

      2. As H&R’s resident weirdo brony: There’s obviously some overlap between bronies and furries. It’s about 10% of the fandom or so, give or take.

        But like all cultures, the weirdos get emphasized and lumped in with the normals. Like how there are a ton of idiots who look at the racist conspiracy theory loving idiots who call themselves libertarians and decide that’s how all libertarians are.

        1. It never ceases to amaze me that despite first hand knowledge of how your fandom has beenm misportrayed by the media, it hasn’t occured to you that other fandoms might be suffering from similar misrepresentation.

        2. Well, I’m going on very little here. The only furry I have any personal connection to (and it is a very distant connection) is a full on dog fucker and you are the only person who I even vaguely know who admits to being a Brony.

          1. Sounds like you need to meet some new people.

            1. What magnificent experiences am I missing out on because of the lack of furries and bronies in my life?

              1. If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you. You should be ashamed.

      3. Bronies isn’t a sexual thing as far as I know.

        *looks over glasses at Zeb*

        You don’t know the same Bronies I do, I guess….

      4. Bronies are Furries are a sex thing to the extent that pretty much everything is a sex thing. Neither is exclusively a sex thing, but are often portrayed as though they are for purposes of sensationalism.

      5. Well, there is this guy. Brony, furry, you decide.

  10. One of the most common genres of anime is “magical girl” anime. Standard plot, normal girl encounters magical creature/discovers innate magical powers, and becomes a magical girl to save the world from whatever threat it’s facing. The general age group of the female protagonists in this genre is about 10-16.

    In nearly every one of these animes, there’s a “transformation scene”. Involves the girl holding up some kind of gem/saying some kind of incantation, and she transforms from normal girl with normal outfit to magical girl with frilly magical outfit. In the majority of these, the girl will completely shed her clothes (magically, of course) during the transformation scene before the magical girl outfit goes on.

    In Japan, that’s no big deal. The reasoning behind it is that the nudity involves the girl entering a completely pure state before gaining her magical powers.

    There’s a LOT of anime like that you can buy English translated all over the place. Guess it’s now a felony? Though not in the US… at least not yet.

    1. In Japan, that’s no big deal.

      Does the “magical girl” donate her old clothes to the vending machine companies?

      1. that’s not funny!

      2. And not even real anymore. I really wanted to find these vending machines in Tokyo and get a pic to go along with the massive Gundam at the DiverCity mall in ‘Daiba, but they were all removed. You can buy packs of them at one store in Aki on one of the No Females Allowed floors right next to the anatomically correct female silicone lower torso and pelvis and the fire hydrant sized dildo.

        Ah, Japan, the land of infinite surgical masks and no trash cans.

    2. +1 Sailor Scout

    3. “In Japan, that’s no big deal.”

      Yeah, *that* defense carries a lot of weight in courts outside Japan!

      /rolls eyes

    4. I could be wrong, but I think that US judges are still capable of distinguishing non-sexual nudity from obscenity. There are images of naked babies in all sorts of mainstream media.
      I think it is terrible that someone can get convicted of a crime for looking at drawings of underage sex, but I don’t think they are failing to make the distinction between sex and nudity (though that is definitely a problem too with some laws, like public nudity being considered a sex crime), but rather failing to understand that cartoons can’t be victimized and aren’t real.

      1. Oh, they distinguish it NOW… but I’m not too confident about the near future. And I just made some comic strips involving a naked baby. Granted there’s already a “Parental Advisory” on the website and the baby’s mother is naked as well… but I don’t like the fact that this might be considered obscene in a decade or so…

        1. +1 Shameless Self Promotion.

          Well played.

      2. If I remember right there was a court case involving Lolita being banned that ruled anything you consider art like novels or paintings don’t come under obscenity and pedophilia laws since they have 1st Amendment protection as art.

  11. Why wouldn’t the nanny state go after the “legitimate sites” supplier instead of the user?

    Oh right, because they’d lose on free speech grounds.

    Here you have something that’s legal to produce but illegal to consume…

    1. They’ll get around the the “producers” soon enough.

      Baby steps…if ya know what I’m sayin’….

    2. I’d also have guessed that the legitimate sites aren’t in the UK/EU.

  12. As was pointed out in the comments to the linked article, is the next step convicting people of murder (or war crimes?) for killing people in first person shooter games?

    1. I was just thinking about how the anti-cartoon (porn) legislation would only encourage a more physical response in some cases.

      Considering 2-3 generations were raised on FPSs, I pity the fool who proposes the legislation convicting FPS players of murder.

      Considering the amount of murder my son(s) would be convicted of, I mean that as much as a promise as a warning.

      1. You can have my keyboard when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

      2. Considering the generations raised having drunken teenage sex, I pity the fool who proposes the legislation convicting teenagers of drunken teenage, oh wait nevermind.

  13. “We’ve seen just this past week how third-rail the issue of child porn is”

    I used to think this example was an isolated case of “the extreme stupidity that YouTube attracts”, but Vice magazine’s “Kids Telling Dirty Jokes” Series for whatever reason drew out 1000s of people insisting that these videos were effectively ‘child abuse’. I would guess most of these internet-moral-nannies are probably Teenagers themselves, but reflect the knee-jerk attitudes of their parents, where a 10yr old talking jokingly about ‘assfucking’ is apparently a sort of crime against humanity.

    I still find it incredibly difficult to wrap my head around how progressives seem completely at ease with the idea of encouraging things like, oh, the normalization of pre-teen-transgenderism, whereas the idea of actual ‘heterosexual pubescent kids talking about sex’ scares the living daylights out of them, and that anyone else who fails to be morally-outraged by ‘sexting’ or whatever is somehow a criminal child-abuse enabler.

    1. Well, this is what happens when traditional sexual mores go out the window – we have to invent new, stupider sexual mores.

    2. I still find it incredibly difficult to wrap my head around how progressives seem completely at ease with the idea of encouraging things like, oh, the normalization of pre-teen-transgenderism, whereas the idea of actual ‘heterosexual pubescent kids talking about sex’ scares the living daylights out of them, and that anyone else who fails to be morally-outraged by ‘sexting’ or whatever is somehow a criminal child-abuse enabler.

      What makes you think that the proponents of the former and detractors of the latter are the same people?

      1. Yeah, a lot of people make that mistake. Sort of like assuming that all libertarians are racists because some racist dick bags call themselves libertarian. I think that the type who is for encouraging/accommodating pre-teen transgenderism are more likely to be the people who think that sexual technique should be taught in middle school sex ed.

        1. Yeah, a lot of people make that mistake.

          IDK. I know plenty of feminists and pro-homosexuals who hold a relatively wholesome, 1950s-style, set of views when it comes to heterosexual norms and a decidedly criminal set of views when it comes to non-heterosexual ones. Gay men who think ‘coercing’ male firefighters to participate in gay pride parades is justified, recoil in horror if straight men did the same to female public servants.

          Celebrating the(ir) idea of something until you point out how horrible or criminal what they’re doing actually is pretty typical.

          See Robert Swope’s critique of the Vagina Monologues.

          1. “‘coercing’ male firefighters to participate in gay pride parades is justified, recoil in horror if straight men did the same to female public servants.”

            This is exactly what i’m talking about.

            And no, its not necessarily 2 different groups of people. I have actually face-to-face seen people talking to me about how we need more ‘homonormalized’ images in childrens media, so kids understand that men kissing men is ‘normal’, but then would go on a tear about how Britney Spears was a terrible role model in how she ‘oversexualized’ female teens. How dare they go around saying sexually suggestive things! Girls should not be taught that they are “objects!” (*for boys)

            If there’s a non-contradictory interpretation i’m missing, feel free to enlighten me.

            1. Same here. Or the overlap in people I have met of those demanding the government stay out of their bedrooms if the issue is abortion or homosexuality demanding affirmative consent laws which bring the government into your bedroom in a huge way.

        2. Sort of like assuming that all libertarians are racists because some racist dick bags call themselves libertarian.

          Also, I know plenty of libertarians (myself among them) that, while not actually racist in the pure or definitive sense, would gladly lay claim to notions like, “If supporting the repealing the Equal Protection Clause or Title II of the 14th Am. makes me a racist, then so I am.”

          Good luck separating that wheat from that chaff. Especially, doing so while tumbling down the progressive re-normative rabbit hole.

    3. I sent a few of the Kids telling dirty jokes videos to a buddy when someone posted them here before.

      My buddy decided to listen to them while waiting for a plane. He thought the sound was screwed up because he could barely hear it. So he cranked the volume all the way up. After watching a few of them someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to knock it off. It was only then he realized that his earphones hadn’t been totally jacked in so the sound was actually going out the speakers.

      He wasn’t a popular guy on his flight.

  14. Despite general American idiocy and society’s general self-hatred, in action American society is more docile and live-and-let-live than ever before. About the only place Americans are outrageously hateful is behind the wheel of a car, other than that we’re a rather peaceful, sheep-like lot. Ironically, this pisses off authorities because, being the most sociopathic members of society, they insist that actual law be broken. And dammit, if people aren’t compelled to break laws then we’ll just have to have more laws so the authoritarians in society can get their rocks off.

  15. Too many of my colleagues are into persecuting aficionados of dirty pitchers.

    Our city was ground zero for anti-pornography in the 80s (we spawned MacKinnon and Dworkin) and its still seething beneath the surface.

  16. Draw a butt, get an erection, it’s jail time for you buddy, that paper’s obviously underage!

    1. But your honor, I drew it on the back of the Constitution. That’s clearly older than 18.

      I figured nobody was using it so why not use it for sketch paper.

      1. Would that make the “Heere At The Wall” doodle a “tramp stamp”? 😀

        Ol’ Ben Franklin WAS into potty humor, if I recall…

  17. The fact that these manga drawings are available on legitimate sites did not sway the judge. Nor did the fact that?oh yeah?there were no actual humans in the pictures.

    *clearing internet cache*

  18. In Orwell’s “1984” they had “thought-crime”. While the book was “fictional”, it appears that “thought-crime” now actually exists there on “Airstrip One”…

  19. In the linked article: He denied a separate charge of failing to notify police of a string of online usernames ….

    What, in Britain you have to notify the fuzz whenever you register on a website?

  20. Between this case and Cameron trying to censor internet porn it seems like the UK is getting back into Victorian prudishness with all the absurdity that involved.

  21. I’ve thought the exact same thing.

    I’m glad there are other sane people that understand this extremely clear distinction between the two.

  22. As someone who lives in the UK and has (explicit) lolicon…

    Just because someone passes a law doesn’t suddenly make it a crime. If a law is unjust it deserves to be broken.

    I can masturbate to a naked six-year-old anime character and find the abuse of real children abhorrant, like how I can kill people in video games and find murder reprehensible.

    Real children are a victim; hence why possession of indecent pictures/videos of them, or raping them is illegal.

    Drawings however have no victim, they’re just drawings. It’s borderline retarded to try and claim that a drawing of a young anime character is an actual child, however naked they may be, or whatever sexual situation they’re in.

    Sadly, the only reason this guy was charged was because he plead guilty. Unlike most people I’ve spoken too, I’d seem to be the only one willing to defend this stuff in a court of law.

  23. My roomate’s aunt makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her income was $12021 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    You can try this out. ?????

  24. So England has now reached Orwellian status. They failed to investigate a child sex ring in Rotherham running for 16 years and victimizing over 1400 children because it may look bad that they were arresting Pakistani Muslims running the criminal enterprise. And they prosecute a man for having cartoon images of a act that involved no crime being committed.

    In fact the subject had fewer images than the total number of real victims in the Rotherham case.

  25. I’m really having a hard time understanding the justification for this. After all, there’s a whole market for “teen” porn, and it’s legal based on the actual age of the actress. In a lot of places, an actress who looks like an adult but is age 17 and 364 days is not legal – it’s considered “child porn.” But an actress who is 18 or 19 and can convincingly pretend to be much younger? Totally legal, since she’s of age.

    What defines a cartoon’s age? What they look like? If that’s not how they do it for real life actors, why would it apply to cartoons? And how old is Micky Mouse? What about a chibi-style drawing of an adult fictional character? When does a cartoon drawing go from 17 and 364 days to 18?

  26. I was talking to a pretty intelligent friend of the family once about this issue. I said I thought the laws against ownership of such drawings were ridiculous, even if I found the drawings (and related fantasies) distasteful, because they missed the entire point of anti-child porn laws: protecting real children.

    His response was baffling: “Yeah, but they ‘inflame the passions,’ which could lead to real actions.”

    Uh… presumably if someone is a pedophile, they’re still a pedophile whether there are “inflammatory” images in front of them at a specific point in time.

    ‘Course, this guy also fears guns (and is apparently proud of it) like they’re unpredictable, wild animals, so…

  27. What would have happened if the defendant showed up in court wearing a tee shirt with a picture of a gun?

  28. Reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov would be a crime, too.

    1. See comment by WillMG above.

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