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02 July 2009 12:48 PM

Ideas 2009

Dangerous Ideas

Wendy Kaminer:

Last month, Christopher Handley, a collector of comic books, pled guilty to federal charges of importing and possessing obscene cartoon drawings of children; he faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, for a crime involving neither actual children nor actual child porn.  Last week, a Tennessee prosecutor charged Michael Wayne Campbell with aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, for photo shopping the faces of three girls onto the nude bodies of three adult women.  How might this constitute a crime (outside Iran)?  The prosecutor explained:  "when you have the face of a small child affixed to a nude body of a mature woman, it's going to be the state's position that this is for sexual gratification and that this is simulated sexual activity."  It is also a crime - a federal crime -- to share your sexual fantasies about children in private communications with other adults: Two weeks ago, the 4th circuit court of appeals declined to review the conviction of Dwight Whorley for sharing fantasies about sexual abusing children in purely textual email exchanges between consenting adults.  Like Christopher Handley, Whorley was also convicted of receiving obscene Japanese cartoon drawings of children.  Be careful what you imagine.


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