Redefining Childhood

Editor’s Note: In the past few weeks, news has surfaced of several incidents in which individuals have been arrested and charged with child pornography. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, the problem is, the defendants all had sexual relationships with the minors. Yet, in each of the cases, the minor had reached the age of consent according to that state’s laws, but because pictures were taken, it became a federal porn case.

Several other cases, though not mentioned in this article, show the abuse of governmental power when it comes to prosecutions. Some of these include distributing child pornography (Operation Playpen), in which after the government found a website trafficking in child pornography, it allowed the abuse to continue in order to obtain as many convictions as possible, not worrying about the repeated harm to the children involved. They have also been involved in producing child pornography, such as when a teenage boy sent a sexually explicit photo to a classmate and the police got a warrant to force him to masturbate so they could take a photo of his genitalia in order to compare it.

This article, written by K.S., looks at a few of those cases. A reminder that the views and opinions expressed by K.S. are those of him and not necessarily of #BackSoSoon. Also, #BackSoSoon does not condone any type of illegal sexual activity.

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The term child pornography, by its very terms, implies that children are involved. Due to federal misconduct, however, people can be charged with production of child pornography, even if all participants are legal adults. This is because most states (and the federal government) have ages of consent under 18, but the age of consent for porn is 18. By snapping a picture, a legal adult becomes a child.

The most recent example of this exemplar of our justice system was Justin Watson, an ex-state trooper, who was in a legal, consensual relationship with a 17-year-old, who is a legal adult under Missouri law. Though he knew the boy before he turned legal, the trooper waited until he became an adult. There was nothing anyone could do about the two of them having sex.

Then pictures were taken. Legal becomes illegal-literally in a flash.

In sentencing him, the Judge bemoaned the “grave abuse of…power” and stated how inappropriate the relationship was. Regardless of the Judge’s personal feelings, the relationship was legal. That others disapprove of an adult encounter, or long term relationship, should not determine whether or not an individual goes to jail.

Sadly, Watson is not unique. Reason Magazine and FAMM publicized a similar case, again involving a cop, going to jail in 2011 for having pictures of his ex-fiancee. A man in Ohio was charged twice for taking pictures of 16 and 17-year olds in different occasions in 2008 and 2011. Numerous courts around the country have bemoaned this problem, only to shrug it off and sentence the defendant anyway. There is no official count of how many individuals have been sentenced this way, but any number is unacceptable.

The complete lack of morality in sending people to jail for legal behavior is only exceeded by the complete lack of legality in the federal government’s prosecution in defiance of state law. No power exists to let the federal government determine age of consent; to the contrary, this is purely a state matter. The 10th Amendment further forbids the federal government from intruding on state matters. This is not an area of national power; the Constitution withholds it. Yet, because these are “bad people”, the courts are complicit, no matter how much they engage in faux hand wringing, in rewriting the rules to illegitimately incarcerate them.

It is a sad commentary on our country that this can occur once, let alone repeatedly. There is no legitimate societal interest in throwing a man in prison for taking, or looking, at pictures of activity that he may legally engage in. Once someone is recognized as an adult, pretending that they are children just for the government’s benefit, is wrong on every level. Such malleable laws are not just unjust; they are dangerous.

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#BackSoSoon is a blog dedicated to helping sex offenders successfully reintegrate back into society. Your family can view our website at www.backsosoonblog.com and our Corrlinks address is backsosoonblog@gmail.com if you would like to share it with others.