Pedophilia: Facts and fiction about child pornography

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Facts and Fiction about Child Pornography

If you read the popular news-media you'll get the impression that the internet is full of pornographic pictures of small children being raped and tortured and that a secret mafia is making billions of $ on this business. Well, this is the kind of stories that sell newspapers, but very far from the truth.

It is true that some pedophiles are sharing their pictures on the internet, but the extent, the lewdness, and the amount of money involved has been highly exaggerated by the media. Most of the pictures show clothed children. A fraction of the pictures show naked children, typically playing on a beach or in other non-sexual situations. Within the fraction showing naked children, only a tiny fraction of this fraction show children in sexual situations, i.e. masturbating alone or touching other children in a sexual way. Since most pedophiles prefer to see children, not adults, on the pictures, you'll rarely find pictures showing adults involved sexually with children.

The traffic takes place mostly in the usenet newsgroups. Those pictures that are illegal (which only few of them are) are always posted anonymously or with a phony 'from'-address for obvious reasons. This means that it is impossible to make money on these activities. From time to time some naive fool is trying to make money on child porn - lured by the claims in the press that this is a very profitable business, which it certainly isn't. These commercial attempts have always been stopped very quickly: If the potential customers can find the pusher then so can the police. And if the police doesn't have the resources to track down a child pornographer then the mass media certainly have. The ones that are making big money on child porn are not those who attempt to sell it, but the mass media that sell stories about it!

The fact that no money is involved is actually a positive development. Anybody who would make child porn for profit is kept out of the market as long as a sufficient amount of pictures are available for free on the internet. It is, after all, less traumatizing for a child to be photographed by a happy amateur who loves children than by a greedy mafia-type believing that he can make more money the more hard-core he can make the pictures.

The anti-porn lobby keeps saying that pornography is dangerous because it inspires people to commit sex crimes. But the truth is exactly the opposite: pornography is used as a substitute for frustrated people who might otherwise lose self-control and go out and commit a crime. This is shown very clearly by statistics. The rate of serious sex crimes against children fell remarkably in Denmark in the 1960's when pornography became available.

Crime Research

Criminological research has shown that this dramatic fall in sex crimes is real. It cannot be explained as a change in the propensity to report such crimes [1] There can be no doubt that pornography prevents crimes.

The current crusade against child porn is therefore, metaphorically speaking, attacking the medicine rather than the disease.

In the 1950's, Copenhagen police hunted male prostitutes. The rumor went among the hustlers that they would get a milder treatment by the police if they said that they had been seduced into homosexuality. Hearing this persistent claim from the hustlers, police officer Jens Jersild concluded that homosexual seduction can cause permanent homosexuality in these boys, who will later perpetuate the phenomenon by seducing the next generation of boys. This theory, which Jersild published in several books and articles [2]Pornography and its effects in Denmark and the United States. Comparative Social Research, vol. 8, p. 301, 1985.</ref>, led to a vicious witch-hunt against homosexuals. This witch-hunt didn't end until the medical profession debunked Jersild's seduction theory [3]

The lesson we can learn from this story is that you cannot mix scientific research with criminal investigation. The persons interviewed during a police investigation are more motivated to tell what they think will benefit themselves that what will contribute to the advancement of science. But current research in child porn is repeating exactly this mistake. When a person is arrested for sexual involvement with a child, he may try to put the blame on something or somebody else. If he puts the blame on the child, they won't listen. If he puts the blame on pornography, then they'll listen enthusiastically and write articles about porn making people commit crimes.

Since child porn evidently prevents crimes, the only reason for banning it would be if children are harmed during the production of the pictures. And, surely, some children are indeed harmed if an insensitive photographer is forcing them to perform acts that they dislike or if scared parents tell them to be ashamed of what they have done. Other children enjoy the acts and are proud to be 'movie stars'. Anyway, an effort to protect children from the possible harm of being involved in child porn should be directed at the primary production, not the possession of such pictures and films. Most of the material that is actually circulating consists of old pictures that have been copied again and again. Trying to destroy the material that already exists can never do any good - on the contrary, it will stimulate the production of new material. If people who need child porn cannot get it anywhere they may try to produce it themselves. The more difficult it is to get child porn the more people will produce it themselves. Any attempt to remove child porn from the internet will thus lead to an increase in the primary production of pornographic pictures which is where the actual harm (if any) is done.

The media are so full of hysterical stories about child porn that it is impossible to check the veracity of all stories. But those stories that have been checked turn out to be highly exaggerated.

For example, Swedish police have claimed to have found vast amounts of child porn documenting thousands of child molestations, many of them in Sweden. An independent investigation found that most of the films were copies of the same old films, documenting only 2 cases of child abuse in Sweden in seventeen years, and 40 in the rest of Europe. A strange alliance between certain policemen, Save the Children, Queen Silvia, and the media is campaigning for a change in the Swedish constitution for the purpose of banning the possession of child pornography. One piece of evidence that has been widely used in this campaign is a five minutes excerpt from a porn film showing a boy being abused. Swedish police has claimed that this boy is probably Swedish. They say that he is drugged, probably abducted, and possibly killed. A lawyer who has seen the whole film says that nothing in the film supports these claims. In fact the boy was very awake and involved in the action. It later turned out that the boy was Dutch and that the abuser was his older brother. But such debunking of course cannot stop the emotional campaign [4] [5]

When police investigates a suspicion of child porn possession, they routinely seize all videos found in the home of the suspect in order to examine if any of the films contain illegal scenes. But the way these actions are presented in the newspapers often gives the impression that all the seized material is illegal. For example, in 1994 Canadian police raided the home of a 50 year old high school teacher and left with 875 videotapes as well as lots of magazines and photographs. On the next day, the videos made an appearance at a press conference. They were stacked by the hundreds around the chief of police as he revealed to reporters the enormity of the problem of child porn in London, Ontario. In a matter of days, Ontario's solicitor general announced funding for a province-wide task force to be headed by London police. Everyone just assumed that the videotapes contained child porn. But prosecutors never charged the man with anythig connected to those tapes. And for good reason. What the police seized was a magnificent collection of Hollywood movies and European art films [6]

The newspapers often give the impression that the typical child porn picture shows the brutal rape of small children, sometimes as young as 2 years old. But the truth is that such pictures are extremely rare, if they exist at all! The ever-wider definition of child pornography means that in many jurisdictions it covers 'children' as old as 17 years and even adults dressed up as children. They don't have to be involved in any sexual activity: Pictures of nude children or even drawings are illegal in many countries. One man has even been prosecuted for the possession of a film showing clothed children where the camera in one scene zoomed in on the crotch. The only logical reason for including such pictures in the definition of child porn is to boost statistics and fuel the hysteria so as to get more ressources for the police!

Another way of boosting the statistics is entrapment. It has become a popular sport among police agents and postal inspectors to offer child porn for sale to persons suspected of being interested in such material, and then arrest them if they take the bait. Hundreds of persons have gone to jail solely for crimes that the authorities thus have incited them to do [7] Given the fact that the only legal way of getting access to child porn in the USA is to be an entrapment agent, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that some agents have clandestine motives for engaging in this business. In fact, there is an increasing number of cases where police officers are charged with child porn or sex charges [8]

The legality of such entrapments has often been disputed, and in some cases they are definitely illegal. In the spring of 1988, Boston police recruited a hardened criminal as a secret agent in order to entrap a 58 years old man in Denmark by the name of Jørgen Jensen suspected of selling child pornography. Mr Jensen, who had never been in America before, was lured on a paid trip to Boston with the promise of a very high profit if he could deliver some child porn. Such entrapments are illegal according to Danish law, and the American agent carried out the operation in Denmark without the knowledge of Danish authorities. After a few years in prison, Mr Jensen was released back to Danmark, probably due to the diplomatic crisis that ensued over the operation of the American agent provocateur in Denmark [9]

New dubious ways of keeping the child porn hysteria alive are invented all the time, but certainly not to the benefit of the children, who can only conclude from all this fuss that their body is bad.

This article has argued for legalizing the possession of child porn. On the other hand, we have to warn the reader not to store any illegal picture you may find on the internet. In the current legal and moral climate, a single illegal picture can ruin your life!

...A pretty representative Example

Someone's funding must be up for review, because the by now extremely old. Reedy case has magically appeared on all newspaper front pages this morning with headlines like "Feds Bust Gigantic Child Porn Ring."

Odd, since we've been discussing the case since April 15th, 2000, around the time the Feebs raided and shut down the Reedys' servers. To recap, Thomas and Janice Reedy ran a popular age verification service, which offered the AVS and KeyZ codes to 250,000 subscribers who could then access over 5,000 adult sites. Typically, an age verification service will keep some of this money, and give another part of it to the sites that you visit. Anyone could sign up to be a webmaster under the program, and the Reedys were assured by their lawyers that they were not responsible for content.

The service prospered, and the Reedys lived very comfortably.

Well, apparently an enormous TWO of the adult sites in question, located in the non-internet-porn regulating jurisdictions of Russia and Indonesia, offered material featuring people under the age of 18, which was illegal in the United States, and the bowels of the governmental child-protectors were soon in a gigantic uproar.

Now the Feebs are very careful never to prosecute a child porn case they are not absolutely sure of winning, because they want to push the envelope in their desired direction, and not end up with precedents and case law where their doctrine is reversed. Holding an age verification service accountable for two of over 5,000 sites located in a foreign jurisdiction had never been done before.

Still, this is America where all the papers will print whatever outrageous bullshit the government says about child porn, without questioning it. So lead prosecutor Terri Moore, a woman in love with the Sex Abuse Agenda, who can rattle off adjectives like "chilling", "frightening", and "feeding the hunger of pedophiles," at breathtaking speed, decided to prosecute the case. Armed with a 87 count indictment from a secret grand jury (the favorite rubber stamp of prosecutors), and comments from other Sex Abuse Agenda proponents like Parry Aftab, who compared the age verification service to the World Trade Center bombing, Ms. Moore put her assault vagina in gear, and headed to the courtroom.

Lost in the shuffle were the 250,000 holders of the AVS and KeyZ codes, who found them worthless after the Reedys' servers were seized, and were damn pissed they had been collectively cheated out of millions of dollars. The over 5,000 Adult Webmasters offering perfectly legal porn were also less than amused.

The trial was a circus of metaphors, with the Reedys being compared to the madam of a whorehouse prostituting helpless little children. In the end, the jury bought the performance, and returned a guilty verdict. The Feebs had pushed the envelope even further, and age verification services were now responsible for the content of all Web sites that used their codes.

Thomas Reedy got life, even though he had never produced a single piece of child porn. His wife got a lesser sentence.

But the Feebs were not done yet. They had conducted a sting operation, over a period of two years, trying to induce people to purchase child porn videos, CD-ROMs, and magazines, and had incorporated the Reedys' list of 250,000 age verification service subscribers into the hunt. In the end, when they went public, they had gotten an astounding 144 search warrants, and made an absolutely unbelievable 100 arrests. Bear in mind the Feebs had never brought charges against anyone for having visited one of the two alleged child porn sites. All the arrests were people the Feebs had independently trolled to buy material offered by the government, completely apart from the Reedys' operation.

But that was only the beginning of the lying. The government propaganda machine spun into full gear, and newspapers began to write stories which by the usual mixture of juxtiposition, innuendo, omission, and just plan untruths, told the public the following.

That the age verification service was "the largest commercial child porn operation in the history of the United States."

That the age verification service was itself the "child porn operation" and that the Reedys were "child pornographers."

That the 250,000 subscribers to the age verification service were child porn purchasers.

That the 100 people entrapped by the Feebs had purchased child porn from the Reedys' operation.

That all the revenues of the age verification service were from child porn.

That the government had just "shut down a gigantic child porn ring and arrested its users." In reality, the Reedy case was by then old news, and the arrests of people the Feebs had entrapped had happened slowly over the prior two years.

The press, which had originally told some the truth about the case, now simply began reprinting Ashcroft's press releases...

Texas Couple Convicted in Porn Case
[suggestion that all of this is breaking news]

Associated Press Writer
August 9, 2001

DALLAS -- Thomas and Janice Reedy lived in an upscale Fort Worth neighborhood where neighbors say they threw all-night pool parties and where luxury cars would pull into their half-moon driveway at all hours of the night. They told neighbors they were in the computer business, which was partly true: They sold access to child pornography on Internet sites with names like "Cyber Lolita" and "Child Rape."

[They sold age verification codes, anyone could sign up as a webmaster, and they did not police content. Only two of over 5,000 adult sites that used their service contained material illegal in the United States.]

Authorities say it was an international operation with 250,000 subscribers that grossed as much as $1.4 million a month.

[All the age verification subscribers, and the total revenues of the business, now magically become the numbers for the "child porn ring".]

This week, the Reedys were sentenced to prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess child pornography

[Conspiracy is the usual way the Feebs proceed when they don't have an actual case based on evidence you committed the crime in question.]

On Wednesday, authorities announced the arrests of 100 of the couple's subscribers in what they called the largest child-pornography business discovered in the United States.

[The 100 people were independently trolled by the Feebs to buy Feeb-produced child porn. This had nothing to do with the Reedys' operation, or the two foreign websites, apart from the Feebs stealing the Reedys' customer list.]

"This is the worst kind of exploitation," said Ruben Rodriguez, a director at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "To think of the image of child pornography _ a child is being molested, raped, abused.You're allowing people to pay to look at this victimization of a child."

[And now a word from NCMEC, a pseudo-governmental organization, founded by the Department of Justice, and run by Ernie Allen, a close ideological associate of both Ed Meese and convicted criminal and child abuser Mike Echols.]

The Reedys' attorneys call them victims of an overzealous government.

[The attorney better watch out. The Feebs will get him next.]

Susie Boese, who lives next door to the Reedys' former Fort Worth home, said Mrs. Reedy's young daughter spent a lot of time with her children.

[A not-so-subtle attempt to suggest that the children of neighbors were in some sort of danger by being in the same community with the evil Satanic age verification server.]

When the investigation heated up, the Reedys left Fort Worth for a small home in nearby Lake Worth. They were arrested in April 2000. In court, Mrs. Reedy, 32, testified that she met Thomas Reedy, 37, in South Texas and moved to Fort Worth in 1997 with her daughter, who was then 6.

[Oh look, a paragraph of truth tossed in to confuse us.]

He was already working on a start-up Internet company, Landslide Inc. Mrs. Reedy was trained to keep the company's books. She testified that she saw offensive-sounding names of Web sites, but a woman training her in 1997 told her to ignore them. "She said, 'Don't worry. They're just names. They don't mean anything,"' she testified.

[Since Mrs. Reedy is a woman, she of course is a "victim" too]

For more than two years, Mrs. Reedy charged users a fee to view sexually explicit sites, kept 40 percent of the money and sent 60 percent to Webmasters in Indonesia and Russia. She said she learned the sites contained child pornography when a former employee tipped her off in 1999.

[By now, the reader will believe that "sexually explicit sites" refers only to the "child porn operation." And that the two webmasters in Russia and Indonesia, out of over 5,000, constituted the Reedys' only business associates.]

"I went to my husband, and he said he had contacted the FBI and it was all being handled," Mrs. Reedy said. Less than a month later, police raided the business.

[Some people are actually dumb enough to think that if they contact the FBI about child porn, they won't make themselves targets.]

Thomas Reedy didn't testify during the five-day trial in federal court in Fort Worth. His wife was the last defense witness. The couple argues they were merely collecting money for other businesses.

[A fact, namely that they only ran an age verification service, is impuned in the mind of the reader by not being simply stated, but labeled as something "argued" by the now-convicted "criminals."]

Attorney Steven Rozan, who is preparing their appeal, said the Reedys are victims -- Reedy was sentenced to life in prison and his wife received 14 years. "To lose 10 years of a person's life in prison is a helluva lot for a crime that doesn't involve death, doesn't involve maiming, but is basically a cybercrime," Rozan said. "These people were basically ticket takers." Investigators didn't believe Mrs. Reedy's claim to be ignorant of the child pornography.

[It doesn't matter if the Reedys knew there was child porn on a few websites, if they were not responsible for content. Most ISPs know there is child porn on their news servers. That doesn't make them a child porn ring. Charging for access doesn't make them the madams of a child porn bordello.]

Ron Eddins, who helped prosecute the case, said Mrs. Reedy exchanged e-mail messages with foreign Webmasters about irate customers who complained they weren't getting all they paid for. "The Reedys marketed adult-porn sites and kiddie-porn sites. They charged more for the kiddie porn," Paul Coggins, who was U.S. attorney at the time, said Wednesday.

[The Feebs are allowed to spin the Reedys' customer service email. Who knows what the actual messages said, or how many of them there were.]

After raiding the Reedys' business, undercover agents took over the Landslide Web site and contacted its users. When subscribers ordered child pornography delivered to their homes, agents moved in. Investigators focused on the most egregious U.S. offenders, authorities said.

[Again, the suggestion that all 250,000 customers of the age verification service were child porn purchasers, and that the Feebs, rather than simply stealing a customer list for an independent entrapment effort, somehow "took over" an existing child porn operation.]

Among those arrested: a computer consultant from North Carolina accused of producing videos depicting abuse of young girls, including a 4-year-old; and a West Virginia man who worked at a psychiatric hospital for sexually abused children.

[Lying by juxtiposition. None of this individual's cited activities had anything to do with the Reedys' business. The Feebs are simply looking for subscribers with outrageous unrelated criminal records, to make the story sound more sleezy.]

Most of the Reedys' Lake Worth neighbors said they didn't learn of the couple's activities until they saw Attorney General John Ashcroft talking about the case on television Wednesday. "It kind of puts an eerie feeling in you when you know it's that close to you," said neighbor Kenneth Franklin, whose young granddaughters are often at his home. "We were totally unaware."

[And what smear would be complete without the finishing touch of interviewing the smearee's neighbors so they can be quoted saying how "shocked" they are.]


References: <references>

  1. Kutchinsky, Berl: Pornography and its effects in Denmark and the United States. Comparative Social Research, vol. 8, p. 301, 1985.
  2. Jersild, Jens: Barnet og det homoseksuelle problem. Copenhagen 1957.
  3. Vanggaard, Thorkild: Normal homoseksualitet og homoseksuel inversion. Ugeskrift for læger, vol. 124 no. 39, 1962.
  4. Kadhammar, Peter: Bluffen om Barnporren. Expressen 1997, dec. 8, p. 10.,
  5. Barnpornografiutredningen: Barnpornografifrågan: Innehavskriminalisering m.m. Statens offentliga utredningar, 1997 no. 29.
  6. Bell, Shannon: Pictures don't lie. Pictures tell it all. Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 6, no 2, 1995, p. 284.
  7. Stanley, Lawrence A: The Hysteria over Child Pornography and Paedophilia. Paidika, vol. 1, no. 2, 1987, p. 13.
  8. Former porn officer is arrested. Uncommon Desires, 1987, no. 1, p. 17; citing St. Petersburg Times (FL) 7-10-87.
  9. Burcharth, Martin: Affæren om Jensen. Press 1989, no. 41, p. 59.