Failures

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
child porn, minnesota, selfies, sexting, teenagers

Companies:
aclu



Minnesota Prosecutor Hits Teen With Child Porn Charges For Taking Explicit Photos Of Herself

from the 'light-touch'-of-a-prosecutor's-bludgeon dept

Child porn laws continue to be used stupidly by state prosecutors to punish teens for consensual behavior. The ACLU has entered a case on behalf of a 14-year-old who sent explicit photos of herself to another teen. This teen then sent the photos to others. At some point, the state decided to step in. What the teen did was demonstrably stupid, but should it be criminal?

Using the law to set an example and shame some teenagers undermines the seriousness and intent of child pornography laws.

Minnesota statute 617.247 clearly states that its intent is to “protect minors from the physical and psychological damage caused by their being used in pornographic work depicting sexual conduct which involves minors.” Yet it is the state, not Jane that is doing the victimizing.

“I’m not a criminal for taking a selfie,” stated Jane Doe. “Sexting is common among teens at my school, and we shouldn’t face charges for doing it. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I’m going through.”

This is clearly a ridiculous reading of Minnesota's law. The law can't "protect" Jane Doe from taking sexually explicit photos of herself -- not unless this is the prosecutor's idea of "protection." If anyone else had taken the photos, Jane Doe would be the victim of child pornography production.

Even more ridiculously, Jane Doe and the teen she sent the photos to would have been in the clear if they'd limited their interaction to sexual intercourse.

Minnesota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, although it is raised to 18 when the offender is an authority figure. If the younger party is 13-15, their partners must be no more than 2 years older, and children under 13 may only consent to those less than 36 months older.

Although it is possible this prosecutor may have decided to wield this law just as badly.

Because there is no such "Romeo and Juliet law" in Minnesota, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 16 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare.

As the ACLU points out in its brief [PDF], the prosecution of Doe serves no conceivable definition of "justice." It doesn't take a child predator off the street and it requires Doe to register as a sex offender even if she pleads to a lesser charge. It robs the term "production" of any meaning by stripping it of context, treating the willing production of explicit material BY a minor as equivalent to the non-consensual production of child pornography by an adult pedophile. The lack of an exploited victim means the prosecutor shouldn't have a legal basis for the prosecution.

But here we are, watching the state of Minnesota attempt to turn someone who took pictures of herself into a criminal. The National District Attorneys Association has suggested prosecutors limit pursuit of teen sexting cases and to deploy a "light touch" in those they do choose to pursue. But the prosecutor isn't interested in following the NDAA's suggestions. As Scott Greenfield points out, leaving sensitive issues like this up to prosecutors rarely works out well for the public.

The problem with relying on prosecutorial discretion to clean up bad laws, to not use the bludgeon in ways that no one really wanted, is that it’s prosecutorial discretion. The prosecutor can choose to use a “light hand,” or come down hard. We might disagree with his choice, but the choice is his, not ours. That’s what discretion means. If the prosecutor, for whatever reason, chooses to beat a teen into submission, he can. If the elements of the crime cover her conduct, then it’s a crime and she’s a criminal. That it’s stupid isn’t the point. This is law.

The law may be stupid but we can apparently always count on some prosecutors to be even stupider. There are a wealth of options available to deter Does from sexting in the future -- none of which involve criminal charges or sex offender registration. Parents, family members, schools, community groups… all of these can provide guidance for teens without having to involve law enforcement or a prosecutor's lack of discretion.


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 12:15pm

    One thing that baffles me: why none of the reports on this travesty mentions the abusing prosecutor's name? It is not a faceless "state" that decided to ruin that girl's life, but a very particular POS, who deserves to be shamed at every corner.

    Why protecting the power-drunk scumbag from bad publicity?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re:

        Just finished watching the censored kid safe version of "Apocalypse Now." You know the version that left the violense, blood , gore, and profanitt in and took out the nude scenes and scene of officer smoking opium. It is very much likely that the new world order is attempting to remove, subconsciously,, the kid's desire to procreate and thereby advancing their 500,000,000 desired population levels. They could give a fuck about your kids.. that is a fact.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Jan 2018 @ 5:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Unless he's conservative, in which case he's a neo-Puritan.

          Let's leave the conspiracy theories and look for evidence. I can't find much on the man bar this and the prosecution of a man who faked cancer to scam people.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 27 Dec 2017 @ 12:34pm

    Well said by Mr Bumble...

    The Law is a Ass, a Idiot.

    --- Oliver Twist

    [ wonder what his actions would be if it was *his* daughter ... ]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scotts13 (profile), 27 Dec 2017 @ 12:45pm

    Wrong goals

    As long as prosecutors advance their careers by the sheer number of convictions, this will continue. How about "justice" as a goal?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 3:06pm

      Re: Wrong goals

      The primary goal is power. Current system works very well to that government goal, but it's really messy for hoi polloi.

      The "law" is whatever government prosecutors say it is, on any given day.

      There was a time in U.S. history when government prosecutors did not exist -- how did the nation survive and prosper?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 12:51pm

    Its a travesty first of all that kids hang out on phones capable of doing all sorts of dastardly powerful devastation as well as ruin kids lives, but make no mistake about it.. the government knew damn well what it intended by making sure every kid in America possessed this grossly far too powerful of an instrument that many adults probably would fair better in life without. So what the fuck do they expect from youth falling in puppy love so natural and beautiful now the government is going to ruin and enslave so many innocent kids who shouldn't have this kind of power to instantly communicate with the entire world. Good God.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:54pm

      Re:

      "government knew damn well what it intended by making sure every kid in America possessed this"

      I was unaware of this government program ... oh wait, are you talking about the obama phone? - LOL

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 12:57pm

    Solo?

    it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 16 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape...

    How about one individual, solo, masturbating? Could they be charged with raping themselves?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:07pm

    In other cases the prosecutor turns out to be a pedophile

    I bet a search of this attorneys computers would turn up tons of under age photos and this case is simply his way of legally obtaining more. Sickening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:21pm

    We must protect the children!

    ... by ruining their lives.

    Because nothing says 'This law is meant to protect children' like using it against one for engaging in a purely consensual act involving no-one else, dragging them through court and sticking them on a list that will have life-long consequences for what is nothing more than a teen making a stupid decision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:33pm

      Re: We must protect the children!

      There is something wrong, when becoming a teen mother, by exploring sexuality in person, is less damaging than to a girls life than sending someone an explicit photo to explore sexuality without the risk of going too far.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:28pm

    I had no idea Alabama and Minnesota we're so close to each other. Or was Roy banned from the Mall of America too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 27 Dec 2017 @ 1:34pm

    Minnesota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, although it is raised to 18 when the offender is an authority figure. If the younger party is 13-15, their partners must be no more than 2 years older, and children under 13 may only consent to those less than 36 months older.

    So if they're 13-15, their partner can't be more than two years older than them, but if they're 13 or under, then their partner can be up to three years older? Sounds backwards to me...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 27 Dec 2017 @ 2:03pm

    Scarlet Letter

    This is clearly a ridiculous reading of Minnesota's law. The law can't "protect" Jane Doe from taking sexually explicit photos of herself -- not unless this is the prosecutor's idea of "protection."

    Burning Jane Doe at the stake is not for her protection: that slut has forfeited any right to be treated as a human being.

    It is for the protection of children in the community not yet walking in the ways of Satan so that they may witness the adulteress' fate and be motivated to stay pure enough to avoid it.

    If you search within your heart and find this to make sense, I certainly hope that you are living as far away from me and my loved ones as possible. Preferably both in time and space.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 3:45pm

      Re: Scarlet Letter

      seriously?

      Maybe you should keep that to yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 4:04pm

        Re: Re: Scarlet Letter

        This is Poe's Law in action, but the Scarlet Letter reference indicates it's likely a parody because that story was written from the perspective of the labeling of an adulteress as stupid and overwrought. Unless a fundie isn't aware of that, which is entirely possible, but I'm willing to wager on the parody side.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 27 Dec 2017 @ 6:20pm

        Re: seriously?

        Someone else didn’t read through to the last paragraph?

        Sad...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 7:09pm

      Re: Scarlet Letter

      You forgot the /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 28 Dec 2017 @ 3:24am

        Re: Re: Scarlet Letter

        It was expanded into the last paragraph. I failed to account for U.S. reading comprehension, though. Sorry for that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 28 Dec 2017 @ 3:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Scarlet Letter

          By the way, "sarcasm" is about taking a position so outrageous that it could not be entertained by sane persons.
          As such, it would not usually require tagging. When talking about Puritan views in the U.S., actually being sarcastic is close to impossible since there really is no position so outrageous that it would not be entertained by a significant (if not major) portion of the populace.

          A "/s" tag in such contexts does not really mark sarcasm as much as it is a moniker for "while this is a frequently taken view, I actually don't count myself as partaking to it". In this particular case, I consider it likely that I have sketched one possible motivation to entertain the per- and prosecution of sexting minors "for the protection" of minors. Of course, I cannot vouch for an accurate and fair representation of views and actions I find disgusting and reprehensible.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 9:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarlet Letter

            Speaking of puritanity ? if that is a word, no government is morally qualified to set puritanical standards on anyone of its citizens. It is more likely their sadistic enslavement and herding of the masses starting with the dissidents first who will dissapear and probably become soylent green for the rest of the enslaved population.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Dec 2017 @ 2:14pm

            Re: By the way, "sarcasm" is about taking a position so outrageous that it could not be entertained by sane persons.

            Yes, but ...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Cdaragorn (profile), 2 Jan 2018 @ 3:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Scarlet Letter

            Any positions outrageousness is purely a matter of opinion. Not clearly stating that you are being sarcastic perfectly legitimately leaves reasonable people wondering if you are really that hateful/whatever extreme opinion you've chosen to express.

            It is not their fault for not seeing what you didn't make clear. That is entirely on you.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 1:02pm

      Satrical Letter

      For the record, I found David's post to be sufficiently extreme to be regarded as parody.

      Not Poe at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    An Ominous Cow Herd, 27 Dec 2017 @ 2:07pm

    Us vs Them

    There was a time long ago when working as a representative of the government and its various agencies meant one had a duty to serve the public. They were called public servants and, amazingly, such people used to actually feel pride in the work they did.

    Sadly this has changed over time, gradually replaced by a more adversarial "us versus them" attitude. The public is now seen by those in government as a foe to be defeated and subjugated rather than served, which is really quite sad.

    I believe the education system deserves the lions share of the blame for this, though the effects of popular culture and a few historically significant events have probably had some effect as well. Where this path will ultimately lead us is inevitable, I think, but then nothing lasts forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 3:58pm

      Re: Us vs Them

      You seem terribly misinformed. Perhaps that was your misinformed understanding of how things were, but it was far from the wonderland you describe.

      Not much has changed, names and places but the overall class warfare remains. btw, government does the bidding of the rich donators.

      The only thing wrong with our education system is people like yourself who think it is responsible for all the worlds problems. The bullshit that flies around as a result of right wing hysteria is incredible.

      Fake everything is the world in which we live today ... this is ridiculous - the only way this was caused by our education system is perhaps a lack of honest and truthful history lessons. But rest assured, your newly appointed sec of education is busy destroying what remains of it. Woohoo.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 27 Dec 2017 @ 2:13pm

    Shame him

    I just sent an email to the prosecutor.

    If enough people do the same, perhaps he'll see the error of his ways and drop charges.

    Email is rcattorney@co.rice.mn.us

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 2:20pm

    I first witnessed stupid, misguided district attorneys in the '60s. Sadly, they persist, nationally. Baron Von Robber, if you don't think this happens in your neighborhood you are brain-damaged.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 27 Dec 2017 @ 3:06pm

    Well, doh!

    How else is the prosecutor going to be able to view all of the evidence?

    And have her report regularly to his office as part of a plea deal? Makes the pictures more tangible if nothing else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 4:27pm

    Remember - if a kid takes a picture of his genitalia, it's child porn.

    But if a cop takes a picture of a kid's genitalia, it's business as usual.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2017 @ 5:05pm

    what?

    Minnesota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, although it is raised to 18 when the offender is an authority figure. If the younger party is 13-15, their partners must be no more than 2 years older, and children under 13 may only consent to those less than 36 months older.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Dec 2017 @ 7:41pm

    It sounds like a prosecutor is making a faustian deal to further his career.

    ...but rather than bargaining with his own soul, he's instead sacrificing that of a forsaken child.

    I believe this is common practice in contemporary contracts with the dark one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 29 Dec 2017 @ 1:14pm

      Re: It sounds like a prosecutor is making a faustian deal to further his career.

      What does it tell you about the Department of Justice when a prosecutor makes a "Faustian deal" with it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Dec 2017 @ 2:36pm

        Faustian deals in the DoJ

        The faustian deal is the symptom.

        Pournelle's Iron Law explains the process.

        Essentially, the DoJ is now self serving rather than serving the public.

        (Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy is a valid argument against socialized services such as arbitration or defense. Bureaucratic institutions always develop towards self-interests unless monitored by oversight. And that includes the overseeing agencies which is what drives Celine's First Law. Curiously, the Iron Law is not often acknowledged by anti-Socialists)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RR, 27 Dec 2017 @ 10:31pm

    law makers

    Why do the law writers always get away without blame? Why suggest the solution is to let law enforcement choose which laws to enforce and against whom? Haven't you seen how well that has turned out in the past? You ask for the name of the prosecutor, but how about the names of those who wrote the law, and every one since then who has failed to correct it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 3:37am

    "protect minors from the physical and psychological damage caused by their being used in pornographic work depicting sexual conduct which involves minors."

    "Do not worry!" said the State. "We will be the ones causing great psychological harm to protect her from suffering psychological harm from others!". Makes total sense.

    It would be interesting if teens all over the country decided enough bs is enough and turned themselves in on the nearest PD with pictures of themselves naked in their phones. I'd LOVE to see how these idiots would react to the prospect of putting millions of teens in jail and ruining the future of the country. Oh wait, they are already ruining it in multiple ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 4:56am

      Re:

      I imagine the first thought to cross the minds of far, far too many prosecutors, police and judges would not be, 'If I even try to prosecute all of these teens I will be torn to pieces in the press', but would be more along the lines of 'Awesome, this many prosecutions will look amazing on my record!', and it would not surprise me in the least if, in such a situation, a higher than zero number of police, prosecutors and judges would actually follow through with charges.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      Better yet just let the youth of today burn their phones and never pick another one up. In fact, let all humanity do this. It would REALLY PISS OF THE GOVERNMENTS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 6:18am

    "The law can't "protect" Jane Doe from taking sexually explicit photos of herself -- not unless this is the prosecutor's idea of "protection." If anyone else had taken the photos, Jane Doe would be the victim of child pornography production."

    But what if this guy [Link] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_selfie_copyright_dispute#/media/File:Macaca_nigra_self-portrai t_large.jpghad) taken the picture?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 9:29am

    " At some point, the state decided to step in. What the teen did was demonstrably stupid, but should it be criminal?"

    Quite simply, it needs to be - and more important, the "boyfriend" who pushed them off to others should be up the creek for distributing the images.

    Why? I see this as a potential dodge for people looking to produce CP. Imagine if you can get the "victim" to take pictures of themselves and send them to your "underage son". Now you have completely dodged any charge of producing CP, because, well, it's just kids being kids, right?

    The images of this 14 year old will almost certainly be out there circulating forever in the perv communities, and she will be victim of her own stupidity, and that of her boyfriend.

    The problem is in modern times, It's not like a naked Polaroid that he might have shown to a couple of his friends. it's a perfect digital image, shared as a perfect copy, which is the in turned shared along.

    Put another way: CP was certainly produced and distributed. A crime, however unintentional, was committed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:05am

      Re:

      > Why? I see this as a potential dodge for people looking to produce CP. Imagine if you can get the "victim" to take pictures of themselves and send them to your "underage son". Now you have completely dodged any charge of producing CP, because, well, it's just kids being kids, right?

      A while ago I witnessed a scene in a grocery store: someone pooped near the vegetable strand. The guy was caught, but since he claimed it was not him but his toddler, he totally got away with it.

      > Put another way: CP was certainly produced and distributed. A crime, however unintentional, was committed.

      On another occasion, I watched a toddler pooped himself on the bus. The stink was certainly created and distributed. When I recalled the grocery store incident I became convinced that all the toddlers should be given life sentence (preferably without parole) -- to deter adults from using the "kids just being kids" excuse to commit the heinous crime of pooping on the grocery store floor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 11:00am

      Re:

      A crime, however unintentional, was committed.

      Tell you what...when we start taking that same stance when it's the police committing crimes, and ruining their lives in the same manner, I'll be fine with prosecuting a child.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      In other words, you argue that it is OK (and even necessary) to burn this child at the stake, so the IQ requirement for prosecutors could be lowered to 65.

      (This is how smart one should be to tell if "my kid did it, not me!" excuse is genuine or not.)

      To say that your justification of ruining kids' lives is lame would be an understatement, and given the history of your animosity toward this community, I don't buy that you actually believe in what you just wrote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      Have you ever visited a web page that hosts unauthorized images? Of course you have. Do you know that every time you visit a page your browser creates a copy?

      So, a copyright infringement, however unintentional, was committed. I think you should pay the maximum damages, $30,000. Per instance.

      Why? I see a potential dodge for pirates: "I just clicked the link!"

      Since copyright infringement is the biggest of all crimes, punishing you has more societal value than your property.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 5:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Don't bother, SJD. This is the jackass who thinks that every time copyright enforcers use a picture, background or font on their website without permission, they shouldn't be punished for it because "good faith".

        MyNameHere only wants punishments so long as they exclusively inconvenience the serfs, plebeians and peasants. His ivory tower of authoritarians, though? They get to waive the consequences of their "unintentional crimes", or pass them on to everyone else.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 1:26pm

      This needs to be handled better.

      Sexts are typically not the same quality as porn, and that's even true in the Child Porn market (which is competing at very least with naturist family photos).

      So sexts between teens, even if they leak out into the public net are not going to be a consistent go to place, even more than naked children in major motion pictures. (e.g. Superman 1978)

      Psycho hippie that I am, I still think the best avenue to reduce child porn is akin to the device that we use to reduce snuff films (id est movie effects) which is to decriminalize realistic CGI child porn. Sure, there will be the rare real McCoy, but only De Beers cares whether your diamond was mined or manufactured.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Jan 2018 @ 5:43am

        Re: This needs to be handled better.

        Uriel, you're making the mistake of thinking that realistic CGI would do it for them. Now try to imagine what sort of sicko would make that and how. Take your time.

        Just as "vanilla" porn is now considered too tame, you may find that the CP enthusiasts won't be satisfied with CGI fare after a while.

        Rather than cater to the freaks, we should be running treatment programs to change their harmful attitudes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Jan 2018 @ 11:55am

          Gateway Drugs

          Wendy Cockcroft, realistic CGI would do it for most of them, that is, for most of those that have not yet found a safe, legal alternative. Lolicon does it for plenty. Literary fiction for a nother batch and ageplay with consending adults for yet another. By creating another legal resource we'd only be pulling a majority of the child porn black market back over to the white market side of the line (given that consumers commonly go legal over illegal when the latter is a viable option.)

          Yes, there are extremists that need more, and they're thankfully few, just as there are people who need to self medicate, but booze, nicotine and pot aren't enough. Just as there are people who thirst for violence, yet don't find satisfaction in movies, sports, violent video games and shooting at the range or hunting big game. Sexual predators do exist (in fact, our society's disdain towards sexual matters, policies regarding adolescents and society norms tend to drive young people towards sexual predation). But child sexual predators remain thankfully few (and, curiously, have one of the lowest recidivism rates among our ex-cons).

          Common paraphiles and perverts are much like rockers or goths or hippies (or gays or transgenders or parishioners of weird religions), id est, like the rest of us, in that they don't want to cross into the line of criminality, or harm others in sating their desires. Like the rest of us, they want to go legal, safe and harmless when such alternatives are available. (Though, on the flip side, much like Catholic Clergy, they'll cross that line into situational criminality given no other choice.)

          And besides which vanilla porn is not considered too tame. Ordinary vanilla porn is by far the most popular and the most consumed. (MILF porn being the most popular subcategory. We're not even vanilla-bean or French-vanilla.) Of course, it's not enough for paraphiles because it never was, much like tap water isn't enough for a beer drinker.

          Regarding treatment, US history with reformative therapy / conversion therapy suggests we as a society are not yet ethically equipped to mandate treatment (or, as we do with prisoners, force them into treatment by providing only cruel alternatives). The contemporary psychological model looks specifically towards personal disfunction, if the patent regards a certain feature as interfering with his (or her) ability to function in society, to interact or to be healthy, (notwithstanding society's own madnesses) then we look to treatment to change. But outside this model, it's too easy to turn treatment programs into abuse or exploitation (e.g. the CAAIR chicken farms in Oklahoma).

          And yes, some people have some weird and creepy fetishes, but we as a society have demonstrated we have a pension for wanting to criminalize early. Rock-&-roll, AD&D, violent movies, violent video games, even bicycles and trashy romance novels have been the subject of moral panics that lead to movements to criminalize. The public has already proven it cannot tell what is dangerous or not and here in the states, the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution decrees we don't criminalize stuff because we find it icky or because someone imagines its dangerous.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Jan 2018 @ 2:18am

            Re: Gateway Drugs

            Okay, fine, assume you're right: we still have a massive problem in which the sexual abuse of minors is massively under-reported. I'm not sure whether incest is counted among paedophile offence statistics or not but the number of people, both male and female, whom I know who have told me they have suffered this way is shocking. We're talking about incidents ranging from unwanted touching to full-on penetration. One woman I know needs help to take a crap and hides in her own wardrobe from time to time. She's in her late sixties and also suffers from acidosis. She never went to the police. The offender was her father.

            I know a man whose father and brother raped him when he was young. Result: low self-esteem, and he's always being bullied. He never went to the police.

            These are but the tip of a big ugly iceberg. Whether or not CP played a part in the abuse is unknown. To be fair I don't think it did. However, the suffering of Betty and James and all the other people who have told me their stories is real.

            While I agree that jerking a knee isn't thinking I don't agree that CP is a harmless fetish. While some offenders may be happy with a realistic CGI I worry that normalising abuse makes it worse. Here's a primer on how these people think: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0zzi8GKLEtSYV92M0lNY3VrNVk/view

            Please note that Dr. Angelides is not in the least bit interested in the power imbalance between an adult and a child. My take: http://on-t-internet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/rape-culture-where-left-lets-us-down.html

            They're not an Oppressed Mass, Uriel. But I agree, we need to take careful consideration of how to manage them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Jan 2018 @ 12:19pm

              Rape Culture

              Wendy Cockcroft, I apologize in advance for the rant. This is a topic of personal and professional interest.

              Our rape culture is institutional. Our concern for child sexual abuse is shockingly new, having started in the early 1980s, ironically over a case that was entirely manuafactured. The alleged victims were subjected to recovered-memory therapy, in which specialists would suggest to kids what they might have forgotten. It was also the beginning of the Satanic Ritual Abuse scare. After The Exorcist movie came out (1973), people started seeing Satan in everything, from Rock-&-Roll backmasks to role-playing-games to any church that wasn't their own. (The Baptists and the Catholics exchanged blows, calling each other false and led by Satan.)

              This isn't to say child sexual abuse wasn't a problem. It was endemic. Many of the states still sanctioned child marriage, which girls as young as nine-years-old getting married off to men four-or-five times their age, and they were fully expected to perform their marital duties. The United States didn't care about the welfare of children. They cared that when we fucked our kids we were properly licensed to do so.

              We're better to our children today, but we're still not very good. In the 90s, states made it harder for children to marry. In a few straggling states, they still (in 2018) allow children to marry when a family judge okays it (and they do, as young as a 13-year-old bride in 2015). We like to be pretend to be protective these days, because it gives us new target to beat up. But our disinterest explains why women and children have been silenced for centuries and the epidemic child sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has only become a topic of interest in our generation.

              My own crusade is against the culture of silence we continue to teach to our kids. Boys (I can't speak for the girls' side of the story) go from having no interest in girls to having no interest in anything but girls, and being willing to mount farm animals, pastries or even each other out of sexual frustration. But if they talk to someone about it, they're branded a perv, and are told to mind their Ps and Qs and straight up and fly right. For passive wimps like me, it drove us to suicide, but the more aggressive of us figured out really quickly that sex is a commodity one extracts from women through coercion and force and soon after that they found that those same women will keep quiet about it because the rest of society doesn't want to hear it. Also they don't want to be branded as a slut, which they will.

              Here in the United States, abstinence-only education programs still thrive and are a vector to teach wholesome Christian family values. They also teach that raped girls have lost their value to the world, having been deflowered.

              For those states that do teach sex-ed, they teach basic anatomy (using cross-sections), contraception application and use statistics, and what STIs to watch out for. Completely absent from primary school education: consent. One still only officially gets consent in college level women's health (though many high-school teachers will address the topic off-the-record.)

              Right now the US is going through a sexual harassment reckoning. Women are fed-up with the coercion and aggression they've had to face all their lives, and rightfully so. But coercion and aggression is what we raise our boys to do. We're probably going to have a social war-of-the-sexes before we settle down and try to figure out how we got to here, and how to change that. So for now, people are just going to rage at each other.

              In the meantime, children's welfare is a real thing, and we're really bad at advocating for it. Human sex trafficking is a real thing. And when we try to make efforts to actually address it we end up with our legislators trying to pass stupid internet-breaking laws which wouldn't actually target the pimps. But pervert-hunting isn't going to stop the pervs any more than gay-bashing stopped the gays. It's equally ineffectual at changing things, rather it gives bigots a new target to hunt.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 4 Jan 2018 @ 2:31am

                Re: Rape Culture

                My own crusade is against the culture of silence we continue to teach to our kids. Boys (I can't speak for the girls' side of the story) go from having no interest in girls to having no interest in anything but girls, and being willing to mount farm animals, pastries or even each other out of sexual frustration. But if they talk to someone about it, they're branded a perv, and are told to mind their Ps and Qs and straight up and fly right. For passive wimps like me, it drove us to suicide, but the more aggressive of us figured out really quickly that sex is a commodity one extracts from women through coercion and force and soon after that they found that those same women will keep quiet about it because the rest of society doesn't want to hear it. Also they don't want to be branded as a slut, which they will.

                [Sad but True] I personally believe that sex education ought to be comprehensive — and compulsory.

                Here in the United States, abstinence-only education programs still thrive and are a vector to teach wholesome Christian family values. They also teach that raped girls have lost their value to the world, having been deflowered.

                I hate that; they're literally feeding and entrenching rape culture. One's value is in one's character; that alone should matter.

                For those states that do teach sex-ed, they teach basic anatomy (using cross-sections), contraception application and use statistics, and what STIs to watch out for. Completely absent from primary school education: consent. One still only officially gets consent in college level women's health (though many high-school teachers will address the topic off-the-record.)

                Agreed in full. Consent is essential. Ask first. I'm of the "If you can't be good, be careful" persuasion.

                Right now the US is going through a sexual harassment reckoning. Women are fed-up with the coercion and aggression they've had to face all their lives, and rightfully so. But coercion and aggression is what we raise our boys to do. We're probably going to have a social war-of-the-sexes before we settle down and try to figure out how we got to here, and how to change that. So for now, people are just going to rage at each other.

                Eh, there might be good news here: we're talking about it, even on the right. We need to keep talking about it.

                In the meantime, children's welfare is a real thing, and we're really bad at advocating for it. Human sex trafficking is a real thing. And when we try to make efforts to actually address it we end up with our legislators trying to pass stupid internet-breaking laws which wouldn't actually target the pimps. But pervert-hunting isn't going to stop the pervs any more than gay-bashing stopped the gays. It's equally ineffectual at changing things, rather it gives bigots a new target to hunt.

                Agreed. We need to offer effective therapeutic support to people who ask for it; I've seen many reports where paedophiles who don't want to hurt anyone ask for help and are denied. They ought to be provided with that help at public expense because it benefits us all in the long run.

                Perve-hunting isn't effective as you say because we could (and often do) end up wrecking the lives of innocent (and misguided) people. Teen sexting is risky and inadvisable behaviour but I wouldn't put a kid in jail or on the sex offender's register for it. However, we do need to find a way to effectively deal with them and I personally believe that all the other things you said are a damn good start. I've always believed you are a good, kind person, Uriel. I'm glad to have been proven right.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 5:23pm

      Re:

      What a surprise - you'd rather comment on a crime, admitting that it's unintentional, and harp on how the poor, poor prosecutors couldn't help but see that justice is done, no matter how over the top.

      But when a cop demands that a teen masturbate in front of him so he can take a picture of the resultant erection... you're suddenly silent as a pin drop.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2017 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      >Imagine if you can get the "victim" to take pictures of themselves and send them to your "underage son". Now you have completely dodged any charge of producing CP, because, well, it's just kids being kids, right?

      So you would condemn the girl, whether she has been a victim, or was just being naive. You do not prevent crime by punishing the innocent, but rather destroy any respect for the law by doing so

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:34am

    BUT ITS AN ELECTION YEAR AND I NEED HEADLINES ABOUT DESTROYING PEOPLE ABUSING OUT CHILDREN, even if I'm causing more abuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:35am

    Technology is well advanced enough to have recognition algorithyms to deny the ability to save such nude selfies on minors' phone cameras.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DONT BE STUPID BE EDUCATED, 28 Dec 2017 @ 10:53am

    wrong frame your doing mikey

    thi sis like ht epredatory loot boxes....you need certain laws to protect kids from activities or actions that can or may lead to them having harm and until they are the right age the activity in question is wrong and perhaps penalizing some kid that thinks its ok is a way to say , and "and what happens kid when someone you know doe sit and gets raped or harmed...oh you didn't think that way, cause some pervert is whacking off to your picture, it enables him/her to get bold and do the worst things you can think of"

    bang thats why kids like this need to get legally spanked

    end of story

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2017 @ 11:40am

    The Beast has been revealing itself, baring its teeth in utter disdain for humanity by heaping the full force of intent of these draconian laws upon the backs of society at large while those who write these laws enjoy anonimity behiind closed doors. Those who enforce some of the most violating of laws are committing treason just showing up for work."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jinxed (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 12:27pm

    I have questions.

    How does "explicit" get defined as "child pornography"?

    Why is the recipient not being charged with possession and distribution of "child pornography"?

    Why are those they shared the photos with also not charged with possession/distribution?

    When did Techdirt start victim shaming?

    What is wrong with people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 29 Dec 2017 @ 4:45am

      Re:

      Uh... where do you see any "victim shaming" in this, at least on the part of Techdirt?

      The closest thing I can see is the description of "teen taking naked pictures of self and sending them to other teen" as being "demonstrably stupid", and attaching the label of "victim shaming" to that seems like a bit of a stretch at best.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 29 Dec 2017 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      Did you just invent victim shaming out of victim blaming ("It was your fault!") and slut shaming ("You deserved it!"). Notwithstanding those concepts are overused today and mostly used as a catch-all "defense" against any criticism of poor judgment, there is nothing even remotely applicable here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Dec 2017 @ 10:53am

        Victim Shaming

        I think it's one of those pastiches like Jerry Rigged (what is a hybrid of Jerry Built and Jury Rigged, the stereotypical former requiring a lot of application of the latter.

        Victim blaming and slut shaming often go hand in hand and have been the mechanism by which women have been driven to silence when they are victims of sexual assault or coercion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 1:09pm

    Perverse Incentives

    Under French colonial rule a bounty was set for rat-tails in order to reduce the rat population. It lead to the farming of rats.

    Anecdotally, The British empire set a bounty for cobra carcasses in India to reduce the snake population, which instead lead to snake breeding.

    Our police are rated by the number of collars. Our prosecutors by the number of convictions....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NaBUru38 (profile), 28 Dec 2017 @ 4:09pm

    So sexting isn't covered by freedom of speech?

    Not all nudity is obscene.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Dec 2017 @ 10:56am

    Prosecutor must be trying to expand the old resume.....maybe a senators seat is opening up, or a fortune 500 CEO is retiring

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Philly Bob, 1 Jan 2018 @ 11:38pm

    This isn't about the kids... it's about a win for the prosecutor and another feather in his cap as he rolls on for political office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2018 @ 5:22am

    If kids are allowed to take naked selfies and distribute them, is there more or less kiddie porn available?

    Can a minor legally supply alcohol to another minor?

    P.S. I don't agree with what she is being charged with but the tone in the comments seems to be nothing wrong with a kid distributing more porn images for those who view this as porn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.