The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) signed on to be a special consultant in a criminal case. It involves virtual child pornography.
Christopher Handley bought Japanese manga (comics) over the Internet from his home in Iowa. Handley’s local post office was suspicious of the package. They obtained a search warrant to inspect its contents. Inside they found seven books featuring illustrated images (not photographs) of children engaged in various sex acts with adults. They then contacted local law enforcement. The police arrested Handley after he took possession of the box and took it to his home.
On October 17, 2007, a Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Handley with receipt of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, both counts in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1466A. The same Grand Jury also returned an indictment charging Handley with mailing obscene matter in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1461.
The indictment described the images with the following:
One or more drawings or cartoons, that depict a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and is obscene, and depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between a person of the same or opposite sex, which lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
A PDF copy of the 18-page indictment can be download here.
The First Amendment does not protect obscenity
As any high school student should be able to you, the First Amendment does not protect obscenity.
In the 1973 Supreme Court decision Miller v. California, the high court established what constitutes obscene material. The so-called “Miller Test” is as follows:
- whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
- and whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law.
- and whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. (This is also known as the (S)LAPS test- [Serious] Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific).
How can depicting sodomy on children not meet the burden of the Miller test?
People are actually arguing online that illustrated child porn should not be illegal. Many of them are contending that banning virtual child porn is an attack on Free Speech and the First Amendment. They will quickly point out that child porn created with a camera should be illegal because the creation of it requires the abuse of a real child. Illustrated child porn does not require an actual real child in the creation process, so it should be allowed.
I just do not understand that line of thinking.
Virtual child pornography is still pornography
I’ll don’t understand why the CBLDF feels the obligation to defend creeps who want to read books showing children getting sodomized. It’s probably because no one is trying to infringe on the comic book industry’s First Amendment rights. You know, the very reason the CBLDF exists.
Are there people who enjoy virtual child porn, but not the real thing? Someone smarter than me would need to convince of that before I would believe it. Whether it’s virtual or real, it’s still objectifying children for sexual gratification. I have a very low opinion of anyone who would defend it.