Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This Is What I'm Talking About

Recently, I commented about how foolish I think it is for police and prosecutors to focus on going after persons who possess child pornography as opposed to the persons creating the images and distributing them, usually via the Internet. I observed that the alleged victims are often to blame for the distribution of images that are considered child pornography, usually images they've taken of themselves using their cell phones. Here's an example of precisely the type of case I had in mind.

In Portage, police have arrested a 15-year-old boy on charges of possessing child pornography. Two girls, ages 14 and 15, took nude photos of themselves and sent them to the boy. Allegedly, the boy threatened to post the images of one of the girls on MySpace if she didn't let him borrow her saxophone. The 14-year-old girl told police she had sent nude photos of herself to boys at several high schools, and she also had nude photos of another boy on her cell phone. The Northwest Indiana Times reports on the arrest of the boy:

A 15-year-old Portage High School freshman boy was removed from school last week and sent to the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center after police found nude photos of female classmates on his cell phone.

According to a Portage police report released Wednesday, administrators at the school received a call Friday morning from a 15-year-old freshman girl's mother, saying a boy was threatening to post a nude photo of the girl on MySpace if the girl didn't let him borrow a musical instrument.

Administrators and police took the boy out of class and reportedly found sexually explicit nude photos of two girls on his cell phone.

The boy reportedly told police he wasn't dating either girl and that they sent the photos on their own. He also told police he never threatened to post the photos online if not given the girl's musical instrument, but said while they discussed his use of the instrument, he made her aware he still had the photos.

The 15-year-old girl told police she and the boy have known one another for about seven months.

The other girl, a 14-year-old, also told police she sent the photos of herself to the boy, but also said she sent nude photos of herself to other boys at Portage, Hobart, Chesterton and Lake Station high schools.

The girl told police she still had nude photos of herself on her iPod, which police saw, along with a nude photo of a boy.

Police said the 15-year-old boy is being charged with possession of child pornography through the juvenile court system. He was placed under arrest and taken the Juvenile Detention Center.

The two girls involved also could face juvenile probation, police said, and the other boys involved also may be charged.
I'm not sure what possesses young people to take nude photos of themselves and distribute them to others electronically where they can easily be widely disseminated, but it seems to be a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Maybe parents shouldn't be buying cell phones for their kids with cameras. It seems like police in this particular case are treating the boy who received the images more harshly than the girls who produced and distributed the images. Once the images are uploaded to the Internet, they are likely to be widely distributed and people can unwittingly come into possession of what would constitute child pornography under the law. I guess this is what we get for glamorizing the antics of Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan, et al.


CircleCityScribe said...

I think the law is fine.

The problem in this matter is with prosecutorial discretion!!! First, let's just consider the venue...PORTER COUNTY. What is that county infamous for???

I think I smell politics in this matter.

Is the prosecutor of Porter County likely a friend of someone involved here, and "taking care" of someone? I don't think any rational person believes charges are appropriate in this matter.

Now, here in Marion County, our Juvenile Court exercised a Judicial Monarchy, whereby the Court is the prosecutor and court all in one. The Marion County Juvenile Court is likely violating the constitution by exercising the role of both executive and judicial branch, determining on it's own what charges the prosecutor can file...and that is why Marion County is so violent!

Unknown said...

First comment I have is to thank the prosecutor responsible for holding this person accountable for his crime! I have much more to say on this subject when I get over the people condemning! If it was your child, male or female, being exploited and/or blackmailed, I assume you would feel the same way? Convict the criminal act here,then look at what crime led to the person sending the nude photos. There could be more charges against the original offender or others.

Cato said...

"I'm not sure what possesses young people to take nude photos of themselves and distribute them to others electronically where they can easily be widely disseminated"

Really? You're not?

It's human nature. It's a survival instinct. Males and females have a strong desire to remove their clothes for the opposite sex. People want to be desired by the opposite sex to increase mating opportunities. It's hard-wired in us. The technology just unleashed what was always there.

Since 15% of girls now reach puberty by age 7, and since camera phones are increasingly common, don't expect this conduct to abate.

At their ages, years ago, they could have been married, and this matter is consensual, so it's not the place of the prison schools and the police state to intervene or meddle by demonizing sex and scarring these kids.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Uuhh, The boy wasn't charged with extortion, Shelley. Wasn't that the crime he allegedly committed.

Paul K. Ogden said...

As I recall there is a U.S. Supreme Court decision out there that says possession of child pornography by itself is not a crime. It's illegal to sell it, illegal to obviously take the photos, etc., but simple possession is not illegal.

When I clerked at the Court of Appeals, I worked on a big obscenity opinion in which the person's obscenity conviction was enhanced to a felony because of selling child porno. But the child porno used as an enhancement were novels with only vague descriptons of the kids that suggested they were underage. I argued with my boss, the judge, that they shouldn't be able to enhance based on a novel where no actual children are involved. I think that was one of the few cases where the judge wouldn't agree to adopt my reasoining.

Paul K. Ogden said...

The opininon I drafted was Fordyce v. State.,15

During my research on Issue 5, I urged the judge not to allow the enhancement to a felony based on fictional underage children in a novel. One of my arguments was based on that U.S. Supreme Court opinion which, as I recall, said that a person's prediliction toward child pornography was not enough to criminalize simple possesion of child pornography.

Then again, my memory could be wrong.

CircleCityScribe said...

Cato, once again your very sick mind displays abhorrent thought. Perhaps your medication needs to be adjusted?

It is NOT human nature for children to do this, the behavior is learned. The behavior is one symptom of a lack of family values instilled in the child, and reflection on lack of parenting.

Cato said...

Indy4etc, whenever I think I can't stand what the Democrats are doing, along comes a Republican hate-monger such as yourself and reminds me that the greatest need the country has is to keep you police-staters out of office.

If you truly think that 15 year-olds need to be taught to exhibit sexual curiosity, you and the rest of you Republicans are truly developmentally clueless and sexually repressed.

CircleCityScribe said...

Cato, expressing sexual curiosity and sending pornographic photos are NOT one in the same.