The Renegade Rip

COMMENTARYAn open door for ‘virtual’ porn

Jarrod M. Graham

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The United States Supreme Court scored a victory for perverts everywhere in its recent decision to strike down the Child Pornography Prevention Act.

The 1996 law – which made illegal any form of “virtual” child porn – was challenged by advocates of the adult entertainment industry along with other photographers, filmmakers and the like, who feared their First Amendment rights were being threatened.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled in their favor, and the subsequent appeal by the Justice Department was denied by the Supreme Court in its 6-3 ruling, according to an April 17 story in the Los Angeles Times.

The court’s ruling specified that if no real children are depicted or “morphed” into a sex scene or adult actors who “appear to be minors” are engaged in a sexual act, then the material is not exploiting children and does not constitute child pornography.

Martha Coolidge, president of the Directors Guild of America, said in the Times report that it would be a violation of First Amendment rights if the law had been allowed to stand, mentioning examples of films given by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that would face prosecution under the law for their depiction of underage characters in sexual situations.

“From ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to ‘American Beauty’ and ‘Traffic,’ artists have told stories that included allusions of adolescent sexuality, stories which have enriched our lives,” Coolidge said.

But by striking down the law based on that issue, the Supreme Court’s decision opens a door for the continued proliferation of computer-generated pornographic images of children to satisfy the repulsive sexual urges of pedophiles.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the law’s demise will make it “immeasurably more difficult” to prosecute suspected child porn offenders since prosecutors will have to prove that the children depicted in the images are real, the Times reported.

The government will seek obscenity charges in as many cases as possible, Ashcroft said, but obscenity cases are difficult to win in court because, in addition to being sexually explicit, the material in question must be proved to be of an offensive nature and lacking in any value.

Child pornography – whether it depicts real children or virtual children – is a serious social ill that needs to be addressed.

Congress needs to draft a law that isn’t so narrow in its scope that it threatens legitimate filmmakers, photographers and artists, while denying all of the sick-minded pedophiles and perverts out there access to images of what they crave the most.

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COMMENTARYAn open door for ‘virtual’ porn