Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Government in the bedroom
America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
Google
lethe
I found an article about a girl who was arrested for
QUOTE
... sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.


Her crime?
She posted nude photos of herself on the internet.

Yes this girl was 15 and thus guilty of committing child abuse against herself !!!!

Here's a link to the article

Girl Arrested for Posting Nude Photos on the internet

As a privacy advocate, I personally find this appalling.

The questions for debate:
1. Do you believe she, or any other person for that matter, can be legitately charged with abusing themselves?
2. Do you believe that child pornography laws exist to prevent the abuse of children or that they serve merely to prevent people from viewing amoral material?
3. Do you believe that minors should be exempt from the law if they possess nude photos of themselves taken by themselves?
4. Is this case a legitimate enforcement of the law or is it merely adhering to the letter of the law without any thought to the law's intent?
Google
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
The questions for debate:
1. Do you believe she, or any other person for that matter, can be legitately charged with abusing themselves?
2. Do you believe that child pornography laws exist to prevent the abuse of children or that they serve merely to prevent people from viewing amoral material?
3. Do you believe that minors should be exempt from the law if they possess nude photos of themselves taken by themselves?
4. Is this case a legitimate enforcement of the law or is it merely adhering to the letter of the law without any thought to the law's intent?


Since you are asking for opinions in three of the four questions and not for an educated understanding of the laws, I can respond.

1. People are judged to be dangers to themselves all of the time. Teenagers who cut themselves, abuse drugs, express suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide; all can be confined according to state laws. This child, in exposing herself to wanted (and possibly unwanted) attention and exploitation, is endangering herself.

2. I believe that child pornography laws exist for both reasons. For those who feel it is not morally objectionable, in this case, to produce or view pictures or videos of children in sexual situations, there remains the very legitimate concern that these pictures involve the exploitation, physically and emotionally, of children. I personally feel that child pornography is not amoral, but immoral. Virtually every pedophile has been found to have child pornography in his possession.

3. No, I do not believe that minors should be exempt. It is still a violation of the law. But the penalties should be different: psychological counseling, investigation of the child's environment and remedies sought if her parents or guardians have contributed to the situation through abuse or neglect, and foster placement or a group home if it is necessary.

As far as #4, I guess that is up to the judge to decide. I am most concerned that the child not incur harm as a result of her actions. This is clearly an attempt to get attention; whose attention is to be determined. But a good way to attract a stalker or a pedophile is to advertise your availability, and I am wondering why a child would do that. Is she considering a means to make money, or to get back at her parents for something?

Another way this behavior could be prosecuted, I would think, is "lewd and lascivious conduct," But the child pornography charge is more specific to the Internet.

I believe they were right to arrest this child, as long as she is treated as a juvenile in the court system. I believe her actions to be self-destructive.
Azure-Citizen
I agree that the child is in harmful situation and something needs to be done about it; and that people who are a danger to themselves can be confined in accordance with state laws. thumbsup.gif

I am wondering, however, if it is really appropriate to charge the girl under the criminal code. It seems the justification is that she is a danger to herself, and now the system can get involved to help her; however, to put this in perspective, wouldn't it be roughly analogus to an adult getting depressed and down on life, not in their right mind, who attempts suicide by slitting his or her wrists, who is then discovered and arrested, and charged with attempted murder?

Weren't there other ways to handle this situation? How about her parents? They could confiscate the computer and any web equipment (cameras, webcams, etc); cut off internet access; get her into counseling, etc. If her parents refused to act, then the State could step-in in a civil capacity, bringing neglect charges against the parents and removing the child from the home. Why skip the above and go straight to criminal charges?
Paladin Elspeth
Good question, Azure-Citizen. Why would a District Attorney decide to take this up as a criminal issue and not leave it to the juvenile authorities to pursue?

Maybe they figure someone put the child up to this, and they are trying, through her, to get to him (I shouldn't assume it is a man, should I?).
Confused
The charges for distributin the photos seem ligitimate to me. However, she has been charged with "sexual abuse of children" presumably for the acts perfomed on herself that she photographed.

If anyone on here ever masturbated before the age of consent (18 in most Anmerican States), then do the right thing and call your local District Attorney and confess that you committed statutory rape against a minor (yourself). Demand that you be prosecuted for this heinous crime and be placed on a sex offender's list when you get out of prison.

Will this 15 year old girl be on a sex-offender's list for the rest of her life?
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
Why would a District Attorney decide to take this up as a criminal issue and not leave it to the juvenile authorities to pursue?

Maybe they figure someone put the child up to this, and they are trying, through her, to get to him (I shouldn't assume it is a man, should I?).

Although it can't be assumed de facto, I'd tend to suspect a man before I'd suspect a woman, too. However, even if someone else was "putting her up to this," it strikes me as a horrible tactic to try and charge a victimized 15 year-old with serious crimes to try and get her to "roll over" on her abuser. Not that I wouldn't want to see that abuser caught, just that I couldn't condone the possible tactic in question.

I really can't fathom why a State's Attorney would want to pursue this criminal case. I can imagine, however, what a skeptical Judge would say at the arraignment...

I noted that the press report was very short and abbreviated; perhaps there is no prosecutor involvement at this stage, and so far we are really dealing with the actions of the police, who have rushed the situation and overplayed their hand. That is one possibility. Or maybe the parents are actually complicit in this, and wanted her arrested, to scare her (parents have done things like that before, although I've never heard of a case quite like this one).


QUOTE(Confused)
The charges for distributin the photos seem ligitimate to me.

Wouldn't lewd and lasvicious conduct be more appropriate? Distributing child pornography is a very serious offense; the law was designed to go after child pornography vendors and pedophiles, not the victims themselves.

QUOTE(Confused)
Will this 15 year old girl be on a sex-offender's list for the rest of her life?

Even if this case actually made its way through the system, it would still be handled in juvenile court, where a record like this would be sealed.

Edited to add: I wonder if there was more to the story but the press report was limited in order to play up the shock value of the piece.
lethe
Pornography(not child pornography) is protected under the first ammendment. I'm not a lawyer but I believe that child pornography is illegal because of the harm that comes from exploiting children. I have some basis for my opinion: "virtual child pornography" is legal.
That said I think that possession and distribution of nude photos of oneself, should never fall under child pornography laws. Presumably she took and distributed photos of herself because she wanted to (assuming there were no outside influences in her actions). Unless you believe that photographing yourself naked at any age is illlegal, which our judges don't (see first ammendment), she should be in the clear. I think she got snagged by a vice squad "on-a-mission" and she's on the hook because of a legal technicality.

However,
I don't deny that people are capable of causing harm to themselves, mentally or physically through their actions. I happen to be a social libertarian and believe that laws shouldn't restrict the actions of the individual from harming oneself.
CobraNightViper
1. Do you believe she, or any other person for that matter, can be legitimate charged with abusing themselves?
We're all given life, and what we choose to do with it should be our own business. If we take into supposition that consumers are rational in economic theory, then why not extend this libertarian ideal to our everyday lives? Let people do what they want to do.

2. Do you believe that child pornography laws exist to prevent the abuse of children or that they serve merely to prevent people from viewing amoral material?
I think that they serve to prevent the abuse of children, but do they do what they are supposed to do? No. I mean, let's face it, when the porn has been produced, what difference does it make? Like many of the ACLU's takes on issues, I agree with them on child porn. In other words, go after and punish the producers of the stuff, but make possession legal. I just believe that once it has been produced there's no way you can stop it. I mean, look at the Pamela and Tommy Lee video. They didn't want that to get public, but all it took was one leak, and now nearly everyone has seen it.
Also, it's a very subjective question to ask, "What is pornography?" and that I just don't like to touch with a ten-foot pole. It turns into a big giant mess.

3. Do you believe that minors should be exempt from the law if they possess nude photos of themselves taken by themselves?
I am of the belief that nudity is not illegal. The thought that "nudity is bad" is American moral prudishness rearing its nasty hydra-heads. But that issue aside, I'll take this question for what it is worth. Minors and anyone else who possesses nude photos of themselves taken by themselves should be exempt from the law, as the law should have no application. Now, let's go a step further and say that they are not "nude" photographs but "pornographic" photographs. I still feel the same way, as they are your own personal property, how can the government have a right over what is essentially your person? Ages of consent (what I assume is a deciding factor for what is child pornography) and all that arbitrary legislation are fragmented so much even between states that what is allowable in one state is not allowable in another.

4. Is this case a legitimate enforcement of the law or is it merely adhering to the letter of the law without any thought to the law's intent?
It sounds like another case of pigs being pigs, DAs being DAs, and the government being the government. Similar to all those kids who were expelled for bringing a steak knife to school because the plastic ones at school couldn't cut a wet paper bag. Also like the son of my former geometry teacher who was expelled because he was an honor student and member of the Boy Scouts and accidentally left his hatchet in his truck bed while at school. Due to the "Zero Tolerance" rules, the fact that someone found out about it and turned informa for the man, the kid got expelled. Again, another instance of some legislation being a complete crock.

I also (like other people who replied) must wonder the reasons why she wanted to post or send out pictures of herself on the internet. I would like to know more about this story. There's not much elaborated upon in the article. Perhaps she was being put up to it by people she chatted with in the chat rooms? Perhaps she did it on her own accord? Maybe one person suggested it, and she ended up liking the attention and it snowballed from there? Who knows? I don't have the reasons for why people behave the way they do. But to give a personal experience: I've got pictures of myself engaged in "inappropriate behavior" for minors. In these pictures I am smoking "cigarettes" with friends. Now could I be arrested for corrupting a minor when that minor was myself and I knew what I was getting into before the first puff? To be honest, had I had a webcam or a digital camera back in my teen years, I probably would have some material that would be considered child porn, especially given the fact that at 16 I was legal but the other party at 15 was not. And the fact that I don't regret what I did in my teen years, how does that play into it? No harm, no foul I believe.
Paladin Elspeth
I do not find nudity or pictures of nudity to be wrong in themselves. The human body is beautiful. It is the plans and actions of those intent upon pleasuring themselves at the expense of another that make nude pictures, especially of minors, potentially harmful. And it takes little to no provocation to stimulate the desires of a pedophile.

The child was not violating herself, but she was endangering herself by publishing these photos, some of them reportedly of her in sexual-type positions, on the Internet.

It remains that those with the prurient interests are the real criminals, and the intention of a community is to see that these prurient interests are not acted upon.
DaytonRocker
I don't approve of this conduct and believe someone should be counseling her, but I have a fundamental question: Why is this "criminal" behavior here, but in most parts of the world, she's of age to make her own decision?

Again, I abhor the conduct and hope most people like me would find it offensive, but what does the rest of the world know that we don't?

Many "children" (that term is used loosely. If they are a victim, they are a child. If they kill someone, we try them as adults) all over the world can make decisions for themselves, have sex legally, and get married. It is not uncommon at all for this behavior to be legal at age 13. If my wife and i divorce and my daughter is 13, she can decide who she wants to live with.

But a 15 year old American posts naked pictures of herself and we have criminal abuse? I thought those laws were designed to protect the ones that couldn't protect themselves. This seems to be inconsistent with that premise and used only to champion righteous causes.

I think it's wrong, but not criminal.
Google
Mrs. Pigpen
It is a federal offense to knowingly receive child pornography. Child pornography is defined as: "any visual depiction of "sexually explicit conduct" involving children". Therefore, anyone who was the 'knowing recipient' of material from this girl was engaging in a federal offense, and potentially subject to federal prosecution. Keep this in mind when considering the questions to be debated here.
1. Do you believe she, or any other person for that matter, can be legitately charged with abusing themselves? Pal Elspeth explained this well. Yes, a child can be legally charged with abusing herself.
2. Do you believe that child pornography laws exist to prevent the abuse of children or that they serve merely to prevent people from viewing amoral material? These laws exist (whether right or wrong) to prevent the abuse of children. Period.
3. Do you believe that minors should be exempt from the law if they possess nude photos of themselves taken by themselves?If a minor makes his/her photos public, subjecting the viewer to the potential for a federal criminal charge, the answer must be yes. Photos for his/her own 'viewing pleasure', or that of other minors, should be exempt.
4. Is this case a legitimate enforcement of the law or is it merely adhering to the letter of the law without any thought to the law's intent? I cannot see any other recourse for the girl's actions. If the viewers to whom she was sending the photos could be subject to federal prosecution for criminal misconduct, what solution do you suggest? Unlimited access to child porn? How does one make the distinction between a minor who is freely sending their photo and one who is being exploited by an adult, under whose care they are subject?
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
I cannot see any other recourse for the girl's actions. If the viewers to whom she was sending the photos could be subject to federal prosecution for criminal misconduct, what solution do you suggest? Unlimited access to child porn?

If I understand what you're saying correctly, I think you're saying that we must prosecute the girl (arrest and charge her for distributing child pornography) in order to prevent other people from getting the photos; that if we do not, we are allowing unlimited access to child porn.

But couldn't we just deal with the situation with the girl in a less criminal fashion? Why do we need to charge her with kiddie porn distribution? If she is harming herself by giving away naked photos of herself to strangers on the internet, can't the parents take action? Take away her computer and equipment, cancel internet access, etc? Get her into counseling? If the parents refuse to act, they could be charged with child endangerment and neglect, and the child removed from the home.

I certainly agree with you when you say that we must not let these strangers on the web get "unlimited access to child porn." But do we have to take criminal action in a case like this to prevent that from happening?

QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
How does one make the distinction between a minor who is freely sending their photo and one who is being exploited by an adult, under whose care they are subject?

Lets assume the latter scenario was taking place in a given situation; that an adult parent or guardian is instructing the child to make kiddie porn and distribute it. How does prosecuting the minor help with that problem? Aren't we still taking action against the wrong party? Don't we still have options for dealing with the real perpetrator in this scenario? Why not prosecute the adult instead of the child?

If I've misunderstood what you were saying in your post, please let me know. smile.gif
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 3 2004, 10:39 PM)
If I understand what you're saying correctly, I think you're saying that we must prosecute the girl (arrest and charge her for distributing child pornography) in order to prevent other people from getting the photos; that if we do not, we are allowing unlimited access to child porn.

But couldn't we just deal with the situation with the girl in a less criminal fashion? Why do we need to charge her with kiddie porn distribution? If she is harming herself by giving away naked photos of herself to strangers on the internet, can't the parents take action? Take away her computer and equipment, cancel internet access, etc? Get her into counseling? If the parents refuse to act, they could be charged with child endangerment and neglect, and the child removed from the home.

I certainly agree with you when you say that we must not let these strangers on the web get "unlimited access to child porn." But do we have to take criminal action in a case like this to prevent that from happening?

QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
How does one make the distinction between a minor who is freely sending their photo and one who is being exploited by an adult, under whose care they are subject?

Lets assume the latter scenario was taking place in a given situation; that an adult parent or guardian is instructing the child to make kiddie porn and distribute it. How does prosecuting the minor help with that problem? Aren't we still taking action against the wrong party? Don't we still have options for dealing with the real perpetrator in this scenario? Why not prosecute the adult instead of the child?

If I've misunderstood what you were saying in your post, please let me know. smile.gif

Let me ask you this...at what point, and how, do you make the distinction between a minor 'electively' placing her photos on the internet or the adult manipulating her into do so? This isn't necessarily going to be an isolated case. What is to prevent a guardian from exploiting a child and using this as a means to sell and distribute child porn (which is surprisingly popular)? Maybe a ten year old who 'wants to send her nude photos over the internet' could get extra allowance money this way. Hey! She (theoretical child, not necessarily this case) really wanted to send these! Arrest those people who received them, and do nothing but take away her computer?

I agree that the punishment in this case sounds harsh, but we really don't know the specific situation. I think she should be charged as a juvenile for distribution of child porn, spend some time in a psychiatric facility instead of jail, and go home to a computerless room. I don't know the situation, though, and the article doesn't tell much. The police are trying to find the recipients of this girl's photos.
QUOTE
Police said they are trying to identify all the people who receive photos from the girl.


The bottom line is, the teenager implicated other people in criminal acts. Those who knowingly received the photos were violating the law, and potentially subject to prosecution. That's what makes this a significant case. This type of thing could easily be used in the future for blackmail purposes if it is permitted to go unpunished. Schoolgirl or boy gets mad at a teacher? Send them a nude photo and call the cops! The worst that will happen is, you'll get your computer taken away, but the teacher might go to jail. thumbsup.gif
Lesly
QUOTE
Let me ask you this...at what point, and how, do you make the distinction between a minor 'electively' placing her photos on the internet or the adult manipulating her into do so? This isn't necessarily going to be an isolated case. What is to prevent a guardian from exploiting a child and using this as a means to sell and distribute child porn (which is surprisingly popular)? Maybe a ten year old who 'wants to send her nude photos over the internet' could get extra allowance money this way.
-- Mrs. Pigpen


I don't think your question is addressed by charging the teenager with sexual abuse and possession of child pornography. My layman hunch tells me the only charge that can stick is dissemination of child pornography.

This may not be an isolated case but applying the other charges go beyond the intended spirit of the law. Perhaps we need a new law? (I'm cringing.) A heavy-handed approach in this case makes as much sense as charging a 9 year-old with theft and taking her away in the back of a patrol car. After all, she did lift the bunny.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Lesly @ May 4 2004, 07:06 AM)
I don't think your question is addressed by charging the teenager with sexual abuse and possession of child pornography. My layman hunch tells me the only charge that can stick is dissemination of child pornography. 

This may not be an isolated case but applying the other charges go beyond the intended spirit of the law. Perhaps we need a new law? (I'm cringing.) A heavy-handed approach in this case makes as much sense as charging a 9 year-old with theft and taking her away in the back of a patrol car. After all, she did lift the bunny.

I agree that the punishment sounds harsh (it probably won't stick, you're right). Here is an example of exactly why this is a big deal...and not the equivalent of the bunny analogy (which I agree is a ridiculous situation). The people who corresponded with this girl are being pursued, and have a high likelihood of going to prison for downloading these images.
Lesly
Mrs. Pigpen,

I agree it's a serious matter with the potential to create a lot of trouble but there's a difference between a teenager circulating child pornography and an adult actively seeking child pornography. Maybe I'm naive but the police should be able to make the distinction. Engaging boys and girls in a room with sexual conversation is indicative of intent.

My ex husband browsed porn sites. One day, for some reason, I browsed the temp internet files and found a picture of gay men. My ex husband is not into gay porn. Around that time a college friend of his found a picture of what looked like a five year-old performing oral sex on a man in his hard drive. He called the police. The FBI copied his hard drive, thanked him, and left. If you ignore intent my ex is a closet homosexual and the FBI let a child molester go.
Doclotus
Ironically, I don't think when the child pornography laws were written they had in mind the internet and web cams. This case is a huge gray area for me from a privacy perspective. How do you balance a desire to protect those who theoretically cannot protect themselves (the original intent of child porn laws) vs. an individuals expectation of privacy?

There is certainly a puritanical air to these laws but I believe that grew out of interpretation vs. legislative intent. This is definitely a case of the government trying to protect a 15 yo girl from herself. I do think there is a compelling social interest in preventing public distribution of child porn but there needs to be a line drawn when we're considering emails between consenting parties as opposed to a 15 year old entrepaneur running a child porn web site. Even the USA Today article fails to make the distinction:
QUOTE
PITTSBURGH (AP) A 15-year-old girl has been arrested for taking nude photographs of her self and posting them on the Internet, police said.

Imo, there is a significant difference between her emailing someone a photo of herself vs. posting them on the Internet (web hosting or FTP).

This is a tough call, to be sure. The article makes no mention of intent but I definitely feel it should be considered when determining punishment. The Internet is going to challenge the assumptions of a lot of laws, in my opinion, this case is just one of them.

Doc
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
Let me ask you this...at what point, and how, do you make the distinction between a minor 'electively' placing her photos on the internet or the adult manipulating her into do so? This isn't necessarily going to be an isolated case. What is to prevent a guardian from exploiting a child and using this as a means to sell and distribute child porn (which is surprisingly popular)? Maybe a ten year old who 'wants to send her nude photos over the internet' could get extra allowance money this way. Hey! She (theoretical child, not necessarily this case) really wanted to send these! Arrest those people who received them, and do nothing but take away her computer?

No, I say arrest the adult or guardian in question and prosecute them. Do not arrest the child (the victim) for distributing child pornography of themselves.

If I understand what you're getting at when you emphasized the word "how" in bold in the above paragraph, I think you're implying that unless we arrest the girl, we wouldn't be able to investigate and get at the shadowy adult perpetrator behind the scenes, luring the child into distributing pornography with extra allowance money? Could you please explain why the authorities would not be able to fully investigate and prosecute a culpable adult in such a scenario, without arresting the child?

QUOTE
The bottom line is, the teenager implicated other people in criminal acts. Those who knowingly received the photos were violating the law, and potentially subject to prosecution. That's what makes this a significant case. This type of thing could easily be used in the future for blackmail purposes if it is permitted to go unpunished. Schoolgirl or boy gets mad at a teacher? Send them a nude photo and call the cops! The worst that will happen is, you'll get your computer taken away, but the teacher might go to jail.

Its a weak scenario for blackmail, as once the child communicates the threat to the teacher, the teacher could report it to the authorities and turn over the evidence. I don't think any prosecutor would enforce the law against a teacher in such a scenario, unless you're saying that the child actually managed to succeed in pulling the wool over everyone's eyes and fools everyone into thinking the teacher solicited the naked photograph from her. In that kind of scenario, we'd have a real problem on our hands because the teacher has been successfully "framed" by the child.

However, I still don't think that hypothetical adds weight to the contention that we must therefore prosecute all minors who send out a naked picture of themselves for distributing child pornography. I am skeptical on the notion that we must arrest and charge the girl in this case in order to make an example out of her and provide widespread general deterrence to hypothetical child villains who will frame their innocent teachers with their own naked photographs.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 4 2004, 09:42 AM)
However, I still don't think that hypothetical adds weight to the contention that we must therefore prosecute all minors who send out a naked picture of themselves for distributing child pornography. I am skeptical on the notion that we must arrest and charge the girl in this case in order to make an example out of her and provide widespread general deterrence to hypothetical child villains who will frame their innocent teachers with their own naked photographs.

We obviously see this from entirely different angles. It seems pretty apparent to me that, in the event that one person's illegal actions have a great likelihood of incurring another with a criminal penalty, while simultaneously inflicting little or no punishment on the instigator, there is a situation of potential blackmail. I believe the charges are extreme in this case, but if we are to enforce child pornography laws, there should be some penalty.
Aquilla
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ May 4 2004, 09:56 AM)
I believe the charges are extreme in this case, but if we are to enforce child pornography laws, there should be some penalty.

I really wonder about all of this. I wonder if this might not be a legal mechanism to get this child some help in the form of counseling or something like that. It is pretty obvious to me that she has some "issues" to use the venacular of the day and could use a little bit of help. I don't know the law on this, but is it possible that the law requires her to be charged with a crime in order for the court to mandate that she receive counseling? Perhaps that is the motivation behind all of this.
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ May 4 2004, 11:56 AM)
We obviously see this from entirely different angles. It seems pretty apparent to me that, in the event that one person's illegal actions have a great likelihood of incurring another with a criminal penalty, while simultaneously inflicting little or no punishment on the instigator, there is a situation of potential blackmail. I believe the charges are extreme in this case, but if we are to enforce child pornography laws, there should be some penalty.
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen from next prior post)
This type of thing could easily be used in the future for blackmail purposes if it is permitted to go unpunished. Schoolgirl or boy gets mad at a teacher? Send them a nude photo and call the cops! The worst that will happen is, you'll get your computer taken away, but the teacher might go to jail.

I think I understand your concerns, that if a schoolgirl or schoolboy could do this without being punished, then we have a scenario where if they are caught, they would get off scott-free. Or would they?

What about the crime of making false accusations and statements to the police? And the crime of blackmail? Our instigator could be prosecuted for their actions. In fact, those are the real underlying crimes in the schoolgirl/teacher scenario, aren't they? Its not really about kiddie porn, is it?

QUOTE(Aquilla)
I really wonder about all of this. I wonder if this might not be a legal mechanism to get this child some help in the form of counseling or something like that. It is pretty obvious to me that she has some "issues" to use the venacular of the day and could use a little bit of help. I don't know the law on this, but is it possible that the law requires her to be charged with a crime in order for the court to mandate that she receive counseling? Perhaps that is the motivation behind all of this.

I thought about that too - that perhaps the police are forcing the issue, either with parental complicity (in order to scare the daughter; wouldn't be the first time parents have done something like this), or due to the belief that maybe the parents wouldn't be willing to take action, and pushing things into Court would force a Judge to do something about it. However, I have problems with both of those scenarios. The first one strikes me as lousy parenting (how lame could they get?), and the second one ignores more appropriate remedies (like charging the parents with neglect and taking remedial action, if they really are refusing to parent their own daughter).
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 5 2004, 09:57 AM)
I think I understand your concerns, that if a schoolgirl or schoolboy could do this without being punished, then we have a scenario where if they are caught, they would get off scott-free.  Or would they?

What about the crime of making false accusations and statements to the police?  And the crime of blackmail?  Our instigator could be prosecuted for their actions.  In fact, those are the real underlying crimes in the schoolgirl/teacher scenario, aren't they?  Its not really about kiddie porn, is it?


I see this as a couple separate issues.
First: It is illegal to post child pornography on the internet. Likewise, it is illegal to download it. The laws against child pornography do not require the exploitation of the victim. If proof of exploitation were needed to prevent child porn, there would be a whole lot more of it online, and those laws would be meaningless because they would be almost impossible to enforce. Some fourteen year olds might legitimately enjoy being naked and posing with sex toys for the camera. Two teens might videotape themselves and display it online with each other's explicit permission. Obviously, the crime would be worse if an adult forced a fifteen year old to perform sex acts and sent the images online than if a fifteen year old took pictures of herself and did so. Isn't it up to the courts to determine the severity by examining the intent and nature, rather than law enforcement officials?

Child porn laws will only be respected if they are enforced. Enforcement requires some sort of penalty for breaking the law. Taking away the child's computer was the parent's responsibility before things became this out of control. It isn't the government's job, then, to expect the parents to instill disciplinary measures retroactively. It is the government's job to ensure that there is some penalty associated with the activity to dissuade a repeat offense, and others from doing likewise. If the parents are determined to be criminally accountable, I would be in favor of making them liable for the girl's actions instead of the girl.

Second: It seems strange logic to me to allow a person to submit child porn without penalty, while holding those who viewed the material criminally accountable. To me this fails the reasonability test. Either make child porn legal to view and send, or punish those who view and send it. That doesn't mean a fifteen year old should receive the same penalty as the thirty year old pedaphillic sex pervert. It simply means that she should receive some penalty for breaking the law.
Piper Plexed
The questions for debate:
1. Do you believe she, or any other person for that matter, can be legitately charged with abusing themselves?

The charge of self abuse is equally as freakish as the behavior the minor exhibited. The difference is that the charge is made by individuals whom hold the status of "legal adults" and the defendant is a minor. Since when do we hold minors as equally culpable to the actions of an adult? I guess in the case of pre-meditated murder it "may" be appropriate though we are not discussing murder here are we?

2. Do you believe that child pornography laws exist to prevent the abuse of children or that they serve merely to prevent people from viewing amoral material?
I believe the laws do exist to prevent child abuse, meaning the abuse of a minor by another party, not self abuse. Self abuse belongs in the realm of psychotherapy and family counseling, not in the courts or jails.

3. Do you believe that minors should be exempt from the law if they possess nude photos of themselves taken by themselves?
Definitely exempt, as the laws were created to protect them. They are not mature enough to completely understand the danger and consequences (to themselves and others) of such behaviors.

4. Is this case a legitimate enforcement of the law or is it merely adhering to the letter of the law without any thought to the law's intent?
An investigation is appropriate to determine the culpability of others that may have instigated such behavior or the level of parental involvement in the childs life.

In the case of other adults in her life that may have put her up to this, full prosecution is in order.

If the investigators determine that this is a case of a minor acting out... then it would be appropriate to involve the State Youth and Family Services for further guidance and treatment.

As a side note, at least in NJ "where I reside" we do not require charges to be brought against anyone to initiate the involvement of our State Youth and Family Services. I do not believe that these charges applied to the child is an attempt on the part of the the Prosecutor to involve Youth and Family Services, a mere phone call from his office would have done the trick, actually a phone call from the police or for that matter a neighbor would have sufficed. blink.gif Appears to be an over zealous Prosecutor to me. ermm.gif wacko.gif

edited..typo
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ May 5 2004, 01:21 PM)
First: It is illegal to post child pornography on the internet. Likewise, it is illegal to download it. The laws against child pornography do not require the exploitation of the victim. If proof of exploitation were needed to prevent child porn, there would be a whole lot more of it online, and those laws would be meaningless because they would be almost impossible to enforce. Some fourteen year olds might legitimately enjoy being naked and posing with sex toys for the camera. Two teens might videotape themselves and display it online with each other's explicit permission. Obviously, the crime would be worse if an adult forced a fifteen year old to perform sex acts and sent the images online than if a fifteen year old took pictures of herself and did so. Isn't it up to the courts to determine the severity by examining the intent and nature, rather than law enforcement officials?

I agree that child pornography laws should not require proof of exploitation - that would open a whole new can of worms for dealing with the child pornography problem!

However, I'm having trouble understanding how proof of exploitation relates to the situation at hand. Could you expand on that one?

If you're saying that the police acted within their rights under the legal definition of distributing child pornography, I would agree with you there as well. The laws are broad and do not make distinctions for child victim/perpetrators, etc. However, it is also custom and practice for police to apply some discretion in interpreting whether or not the girl should have been arrested. In my opinion, this could have been handled in a less dramatic and more reasonable manner.

QUOTE
Child porn laws will only be respected if they are enforced. Enforcement requires some sort of penalty for breaking the law.

I agree, they must be enforced... I am just saying, lets enforce them against people for the reasons they were enacted. To fight pedophilia, child exploitation, etc.

QUOTE
Taking away the child's computer was the parent's responsibility before things became this out of control. It isn't the government's job, then, to expect the parents to instill disciplinary measures retroactively.

Well, we don't even know what the circumstances were before the arrest happened. Maybe the parents didn't even know. If they did, I would support action being taken - starting with the parents, as previously discussed. But not arresting and charging the girl with multiple felonies. My point is, the government has ways to deal with this, short of criminal action against the child.

The girl in question did not take naked photos of other minors and try to make child pornography available to pedophiles on the internet. She took pictures of herself and shared them with people she met on chat channels, with the intention of flirting with them, not to start a home grown kiddie porn store. If she had been just a couple years older, it wouldn't have been a problem. I think we've lost perspective on that.

QUOTE
Second: It seems strange logic to me to allow a person to submit child porn without penalty, while holding those who viewed the material criminally accountable. To me this fails the reasonability test. Either make child porn legal to view and send, or punish those who view and send it. That doesn't mean a fifteen year old should receive the same penalty as the thirty year old pedaphillic sex pervert. It simply means that she should receive some penalty for breaking the law.

Hmmm... how would you distinguish this, then, from something like statutory rape laws?

The age of consent here in Illinois is 17. Let's say a sixteen year old girl meets an eighteen year old boy and the two decide to mutually and consenually engage in sex. In fact, lets make it worse by setting this up such that the girl initiated the activity and instigated it.

Somehow, they get caught, and confess. The boy admits he had sex with the girl, and the girl admits it was all her idea. The authorities prosecute the eighteen year old and the sixteen year old is referred to her parents for the appropriate action. The eighteen year old now has a criminal sex offender status on his record, while the girl is grounded by her parents.

How might one integrate that with the "reasonability test" you referred to?
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Azure-Citizen @ May 5 2004, 12:07 PM)


Somehow, they get caught, and confess.  The boy admits he had sex with the girl, and the girl admits it was all her idea.  The authorities prosecute the eighteen year old and the sixteen year old is referred to her parents for the appropriate action.  The eighteen year old now has a criminal sex offender status on his record, while the girl is grounded by her parents.

How might one integrate that with the "reasonability test" you referred to?

Well...for starters, only one of those people would be breaking the law.
Azure-Citizen
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ May 5 2004, 02:56 PM)
QUOTE
How might one integrate that with the "reasonability test" you referred to?

Well...for starters, only one of those people would be breaking the law.

But you'd have to agree that it is a scenario where one person can take part in the act without penalty, while holding others criminallly accountable, right? Isn't that what you were concerned about?
This is a simplified version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.