Category Archives: Sex Offender Issues

Google’s plan to eradicate child porn from the web

The Telegraph reports that Google plans to create a global database (databases seem to be in the news a lot these days) of child abuse images which will be shared with its competitors that will permit the images to be deleted from the internet en mass.  To identify what images constitute child porn, Google will rely on child protections organizations such as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).   While no one else seems to be able to define child porn in a way that doesn’t infringe on constitutionally protected speech, the IWF apparently knows it when it sees it.  Of course, a lot of people knew this 1999 Calvin Klein billboard proposed for Times Square was child porn, too.

Presumably, since the IWF declares pictures to be child porn before any court judges them to be, their determination of the age of the people depicted in the images is based on how old they look rather than on how old they are.  Child porn that doesn’t involve children hardly constitutes abuse of children anymore than porn with women in white dresses constitutes abuse of nurses.

IWF is not without controversy in terms of its precision in identifying what it calls illegal content.   Back in 2008, the IWF attempted to censor a Wikipedia article which turned out to be a “false positive” which is a polite way saying, “we accidentally declare some content to be illegal when it isn’t — too bad for you when some service provider bans it based on our say-so”.

Almost all early attempts by the U.S. to control internet content were based on restricting child porn.  Some of those attempts were thrown out in court.  Other aspects, such as today’s onerous record-keeping requirements that target legitimate adult pornography industry, survived.  More recent mechanisms to control internet content come from a government partnership with the entertainment industry to protect copyrights.  Once screening technology is in place, it can effectively be used to censor any content.

But, it should be remembered that Google is a private company and not the government, so they have the right to do what they want with data that passes through their systems.  And, as we have recently learned, Google will work with the government if asked.  The IWF already works closely with law enforcement agencies.   If they start targeting people instead of pictures, a “false positive” can destroy someone’s life.   On just the mere accusation of child porn, you won’t have a friend in the world regardless of your innocence or guilt.

If you think it’s paranoid to believe that innocent people can be sent to prison for false accusations of child sex crimes, read up on the Satanic Ritual Abuse cases that started in the 1980s.  A lot of people went to prison.  Eventually many were exonerated, but only after their lives were destroyed.  I’d give you statistics, but apparently the definition of Satanic Ritual Abuse is different depending on who you talk to.  Imagine that.

Nassau County DA proudly creates crime for fame, fortune, and something to do

This is another story of a parasitic politician feeding on ordinary people to get some free news coverage and create a name for herself in the sex crimes arena.  In the process, she destroys people’s lives while  accomplishing absolutely nothing of value for the community.  As part of a sting operation, Nassau County, New York arrested 104 men trying to solicit an undercover cop.  The DA then followed that up with a self-serving press conference and gratuitous public display of the mug shots of all the men before they’ve even been prosecuted..

As Reason Magazine’s Jacob Sullum says in the New York Daily News:

It is hard to imagine a bigger waste of law enforcement resources than “Operation Flush the Johns,” the month-long sting that resulted in 104 arrests announced by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on Monday.

Like the drug war, the preferred strategy for anti-prostitution crusaders is to set up a sting operation and con people into committing a crime.  As with most victimless crime, both parties engage in the transaction voluntarily, so neither one complains to the cops.  As attitudes about consensual “crime” have relaxed, “women’s rights” organizations have stepped up their strategy of trying to characterize all prostitution as human trafficking wherein women are forced into the business, usually as children.  To the anti-prostitution movement, any woman who says she’s doing it voluntarily, is simply in denial.  It would be hard to conjure up more of an insult to the intelligence and free will of women.

As with the drug war, keeping prostitution illegal benefits no one, least of all women in the profession. It forces suppliers and customers into a dangerous underground market where real crime thrives and there are few protections.  To claim it’s for their own good is the height of arrogant hypocrisy.

In the 1920s, the U.S. experimented with alcohol prohibition and found it to be a complete and utter failure.  We now see history repeating itself with similar prohibitions.  In an effort to limit the hazards of some activity, government outlaws the entire activity, but human proclivities are rarely so easily suppressed.  In the end, such a prohibition becomes little more than a full employment program for control freaks, law enforcement neanderthals, judges, prison employees, and overly ambitious fame-chasing DAs.

Thanks to people like District Attorney Kathleen Rice women are less safe, not more safe.

6000+ victims respond to Australian sex abuse inquiry

From The Guardian:

Australia has launched a national inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse in state and religious institutions and NGOs, a process in which more than 5,000 victims are likely to give evidence.

This can’t bode well for the Catholic Church.

The New South Wales state government had ordered an inquiry a week earlier into allegations of a sexual abuse cover-up by Catholic priests in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney. Victoria state officials had also begun investigating a separate series of priest sex abuse allegations in their state.

Since the federal inquiry was announced, more than 6,000 people have contacted staff in writing or by phone.

This is interesting:

A panel of six commissioners launched the inquiry, known in Australia as a royal commission. Witnesses can be compelled to testify and risk imprisonment for lying.

So, does this threat apply to the victims as well?  Refuse to tell what happened to you and you get to be a defendant just the like people who victimized you…

Carry a condom, go to jail

The problem with “crimes” like gambling, drug use, and prostitution is that there are no victims to file complaints with the police or testify against the perpetrator in a trial.  So, to catch people engaged in these kinds of consensual activities, police resort to sleazy deceptive sting entrapment tactics to trick people into doing something for which they can be arrested.  In effect, police become complicit in creating the crime for which they ultimately arrest someone.  This, by itself, makes the phrase “the land of the free” utterly ridiculous.  But, going after consensual criminals is a big part of the criminal justice industry, so don’t expect it to end anytime soon.

Cops have long since figured out that real criminals hide and don’t commit their crimes where anyone can see.  That makes them hard to catch.  But, ordinary non-criminal people are everywhere and they don’t hide what they do because they don’t have any criminal intent.  So, if their behavior can be criminalized, arrests would be easier and the assembly-line justice system can more easily be supplied with fresh bodies to prosecute and incarcerate.

Such is the case in New York City where, not only prostitution is illegal, but merely looking like some cops idea of a prostitute is cause for suspicion.  Suspicion then becomes justification for a search.  If condoms are found in the search, the cops can justify an arres based on the twisted logic that the person might commit prostitution in the future.  This is referred to as “precrime” and was popularized in the movie, Minority Report.

Molly Crabapple has a few words about this practice:

Like most laughably cruel tricks of the justice system, you probably wouldn’t know that you could be arrested for carrying condoms until it happened to you.

But, it’s just an arrest.  How bad can that be?

Arrest is always violent. The NYPD may or may not break your ribs, but the process of arrest in America is still a man tying your hands behind your back at gunpoint and locking you in a cage. Holding cells are shit-encrusted boxes, often too crowded to sit down. Police can leave you there for three days; long enough to lose your job. If this seems obvious, I say it because the polite middle classes trivialize arrest. They talk about “keeping people off the streets.” They don’t realize that the constant threat of arrest is traumatic, unless it happens to them or their kids.

This is not a legitimate function of a justice system in any free country.  This is state sponsored persecution, plain and simple.  Of course, historically, persecution is never recognized as such by the people doing it.  As an adult, your sex life is your business and that applies even when sex is your business.  The government should have no more control over you than they have over any other business (which, by most libertarian standards, is way too much).

The war on sex workers

The February Reason magazine has a great article by Melissa Gira Grant on the “An unholy alliance of feminists, cops, and conservatives” that targets the commercial sex industry.  Those of you who arrived at this site via Sex Hysteria! are already familiar with my past writings about how conservatives and liberals have joined forces in a fight to wrest from women the right to control their bodies, their sex lives, and their incomes.

Melissa Grant’s article presents an excellent portrayal of the movement to ban sex work, how it evolved into what it has become, and what its strategies are to eliminate the world’s oldest profession.  My few comments don’t begin to do the article justice.

While these crusaders prefer to be called abolitionists, they are much closer to prohibitionists in terms of their end goals.  They have been hard at work to recast their message in a way that makes it much simpler and easier to sell.  By focusing on prostitution as separate from pornography, the  movement has eliminated opposition from that part of the women’s movement that supports First Amendment rights.

To garner further support through the tools of newspeak, they broadened the definition of sexual exploitation to include essentially all commercial sex work. Essentially, all prostitution is now human trafficking, conflating voluntary prostitution with sex slavery, instantly painting themselves as if they were out to rescue women from bondage, hence their adopting the mantra of “abolitionists” and identifying themselves with the Civil War era abolitionist movement.

To shed the stigma associated with advocating the arrest and imprisonment of those they are claiming to be rescuing, they now define prostitutes as victims of their customers and campaign for tougher laws against soliciting prostitution.    When sex workers reject the characterization that they are victims, the prohibitionists ignore them: Anyone who claims to be selling sex by choice are simply deluding themselves.

The power of this strategy hinges on one factor above all others.  By characterizing these victims as adolescents (which can mean anyone under 22 years old), they combine the issue of sex with children, instantly disarming people’s natural skepticism.  The mainstream media totally buys into the theme and quotes these organizations without question.  The logic works like this: All prostitution is human trafficking and almost all prostitutes begin as children, therefore to voice opposition to this movement is the same as condemning children to live as sex slaves.

The extent to which these organizations distort the facts is nothing short of stunning.  They know they are doing it, but they’ve convinced themselves that they’re saving children, so the ends justify the means.  They know that they will get a warm reception by CNN and be seen by a million people, but those who actually question and investigate their claims reach only a few thousand.  They can’t lose.

And what is the ultimate result of all this crusading to deny woman the right to make their own decisions about their own lives?  The bad side is that it drives prostitution deeper into a lawless underground where exploitation, danger, and fear are an inevitability.  There is no good side.

Read the whole article.

Mom hires strippers for son’s 16th birthday

The New York Daily News has a picture.  Apparently she wanted to do something special for him.  Now it’s the government’s turn to make an impression.  The cops charged the woman with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  There were kids at the party as young as 13.  Life, as she knew it, is over for her.  She could spend a year in prison if convicted.  In today’s world the senior parent in any household is always the government.

No matter what your views are about sex, nudity, and children, the idea that a lap dance constitutes child endangerment punishable with prison time is preposterous.  But then, injecting sex into any situation inevitably brings out the stupid in people.

My wife hired a stripper for me once many years ago.  She enlisted the assistance of a number of people where I worked to coordinate the surprise and make sure the girl was escorted into the engineering lab which was located in the corporate office building.  I’m pretty certain that everyone in the building came to watch.  Later, some of them expressed outrage, of course.  I didn’t get into trouble, but there were no kids there.  It was the first and last time they had a stripper come to that company, though.  Somewhere I have two Polaroid pictures of it.

When the quarterly sales figures were good, the CEO of this company would announce it over the PA system and follow it up with a short audio clip from the restaurant scene in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.   This kind of thing would no longer be tolerated in “the land of the free” because behavior in the workplace is now ruled by those who can utter the words, “That offends me!.

Sex predator Alert!

Here is a typical example of the kind of spam sent out to inspire fear in parents that their children are constantly under threat of being abducted by a sexual predator.  I received this today.   The From line was “Child Predator Alert” and the subject line was “Child Predator Warning in Your Area“.sex-pred-spam

This particular outfit is commercial in nature, capitalizing on the sex offender paranoia to get you to send them $30 per month for membership, but their tactics of abusing statistics in order to intentionally mislead the public is a common practice among many NGOs crusading for a myriad of different causes (many of which leverage off the idea that children are under some kind of over-blown threat).

But what about the claims in this message?

No one likes statistics more than an NGO trying to justify its existence.   People believe them.   If you go to the Kids Live Safe website, you will find that they cite the U.S. Justice Dept as the source for their facts, but rather than link directly to the actual Justice Department study, they link to other NGOs.

The Justice Department study overview can be found here.

The most common abuse practiced by organizations such as this is the conflation of statistics to intentionally get you to misinterpret them.  In this case they conflate the number of children who go missing with abductions by placing the statistic next to the pictures of three highly publicized extreme cases of children who were kidnapped and murdered.  The 2100 figure comes from the total number of children reported missing in one year (~800,000 per year divided by 365 days).

Although runaway/thrownaway children reflect a substantial minority of reported missing children (45 percent), nearly as many children (43 percent) became missing because of benign reasons. Comparable percentages of reported missing children were missing because they were lost or injured (8 percent) and because they had been abducted by a family member (7 percent). Only a small percentage were missing because of a nonfamily abduction (2 percent).

Parents who are interested in knowing about sex offenders living nearby, are more likely worried about non-family (stranger) abductions, which account for only 2% of that total.  Stand by.  It gets even sleazier.

Here is what the report says about the kind of serious kidnappings that the spam message illustrates with its tree examples:

Stereotypical kidnappings. In table 3, the estimates for nonfamily abducted children include primarily crimes involving a modest amount of forced movement or detention that correspond with the way in which abduction is legally defined in most State statutes. Such abductions are rare enough that the estimates of the number of caretaker missing and reported missing children abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator are not very reliable and have very large confidence intervals. Stereotypical kidnappings are the particular type of nonfamily abduction that receives the most media attention and involves a stranger or slight acquaintance who detains the child overnight, transports the child at least 50 miles, holds the child for ransom, abducts the child with intent to keep the child permanently, or kills the child. They represent an extremely small portion of all missing children. (The Law Enforcement Study found that an estimated 115 of the nonfamily abducted children were victims of stereotypical kidnappings and that 90 of these qualified as reported missing.)

The emphasis is mine.  Ninety reported stereotypical kidnappings for the entire year falls a little short of the 2100 per day that the message cites.

I should also point out that this business gets an A rating by the Better Business Bureau, which makes an interesting statement about the BBB.

North Carolina considers criminalizing nipple exposure

There is probably no better example of the utter irrationality of the political class than laws banning mere nudity. Allow me to put this in the simplest possible terms.  Requiring that someone wear clothes that meet a particular set of rules is called a dress code.  Many cities (probably most) in the so-called “land of the free” will arrest you for not following their dress code.  Even San Francisco recently outlawed nudity.

North Carolina state representative Rayne Brown has introduced a bill that would make nipple exposure a felony.  Existing North Carolina law already outlaws nudity, but uses the laughably juvenile term “private parts” leading to some confusion about whether nipples are included under that heading.

[Brown] told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that her constituents are concerned about topless rallies promoting women’s equality held the past two years in Asheville, which is located about 130 miles west of Brown’s district.

That reminds me of Sarah Palin’s Tina Fey’s comment about being able to see Russia from her back door.

Many cities have local ordinances barring women from going topless, but Asheville does not.

Brown said a blanket solution is needed to give law enforcement officers statewide the clear authority to make arrests when nipples are exposed.

Maybe it’s time to start a Reality Thinking Hall of Shame for busy body morons like Brown.

It gets worse.  According to the Naturist Action Committee:

In thirteen U.S. states, however, lawmakers have decreed that those convicted of mere nudity must register as sex offenders.

When we include strip clubs and brothels, state governments claim the power to outlaw nudity among consenting adults even on private property behind closed doors.  Nudity for entertainment purposes is far worse than ordinary nudity.  Heaven forbid that anyone anywhere should be having a good time.

And the absolute worst part of it?  Most of your neighbors think throwing someone in prison for nudity is just fine.  Most of your neighbors think that children are traumatized by mere sight of the naked adult body.  Protecting children from harm, real or imagined, always trumps freedom.  And most of your neighbors think that this is a completely healthy rational attitude.  Think about that next time you bump into them when you’re out mowing the lawn.

When you think about it, what’s surprising is not that “the land of the free” throws more of its citizens in prison than any other country.  No.  What’s really surprising, given the willingness of Americans to criminalize everything,  is that there are still so many people not in prison.

Sex offenders: Can’t be around other people and can’t be around each other

A bill introduced by Alabama State Rep Mike Ball would make it illegal for sex offenders to live near each other.  It is already illegal for sex offenders to live within 2000 feet of schools or day care centers.  So, in effect, sex offenders are very likely to congregate simply because existing laws limit where they can live.  An extreme example of this effect was the Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony in Miami, also known as “Bookville” after Ron Book who wrote the ordinance that barred sex offenders from living within 2500 feet of a school.  At its peak more than 100 sex offenders lived in a shanty town under the bridge.

From the Wikipedia article:

In November 2011, the Miami Herald reported on the fate of the former Julia Tuttle Causeway colony, which former residents nicknamed “Bookville”. Analysts studying the colony unanimously agreed on two relevant issues: the inability to find a stable home for offenders increased the risk that they would re-offend, and the close proximity of offenders to schools or parks does not increase the possibility that past offenders will re-offend.

Grandstanding like this is common because sex offenders are fair game.  No one is going to come to their rescue, so law makers can go nuts writing new laws to get their names into the headlines.  Sex Hysteria!, covered the ludicrous restrictions placed on sex offenders by parasitic politicians who, completely devoid of any common sense, never gave the unintended consequences the slightest consideration.  And, once enacted, no politician is going to recommend backing off for fear of being labelled as soft on rapists.

Essentially, even after a sex offender serves his prison time, he is condemned to a life sentence of persecution and public humiliation.  He is permanently denied any chance at redeeming himself and returning to anything resembling an ordinary life.  Even murderers aren’t treated that harshly.  Even if you’re not opposed to the harsh treatment, one can only wonder if subjecting people who live among us to that degree of misery, alienation, and hopelessness is going to make us safer.