Saturday, March 5, 2011

KY - 14-year old child pornographers? Sexting lawsuits get serious

Original Article


By Nate Anderson

If a middle-aged man meets a 14-year-old girl, coerces her to film a 10-second clip of herself masturbating, then intentionally releases that clip on the Internet, the man could clearly be charged under US federal law against the “sexual exploitation of children.” But what happens when the “man” is a 14-year-old boy who the 14-year old girl likes? And what if the "coercion" to make the film is the boy's threat not to befriend the girl in their new high school without the video?

An ongoing federal court case in Kentucky is currently trying to answer some of the thorniest questions surrounding "sexting," the practice of sending sexually explicit photographs or videos to friends or lovers. Rules designed to stop predatory adults from taking advantage of children become murkier when both parties involved in sexting are kids; in fact, no federal precedent exists for these kinds of sexting suits against minors.

A new ruling in the Kentucky case will allow that lawsuit to move forward, however, with the judge deciding that even 14-year olds can be child pornographers.

The opposite of "friendship"

The case began late in 2005, when an eighth grade girl at the Montessori Middle School of Kentucky was suffering from anorexia and had to relocate to a treatment center in Arizona. After two months at the Remuda Ranch facility there, she returned to Kentucky to finish the school year.

Soon after she came back, she developed a crush on a boy; the two would attend the same Lexington Catholic High School in the fall of 2006 as freshmen. According to the complaint, the boy soon “made several telephone calls to the Plaintiff telling her that he wanted her to create a video with her telephone showing herself pleasuring herself, a video which Defendant [name redacted] said he would use when he masturbated."

The girl at first refused, but the boy allegedly told her that "he would not be her friend at Lexington Catholic High School" without the video.

This continued for some time, with the boy allegedly sending text messages to the girl in June 2006 in which he promised to “keep the sexually explicit video secret.” The girl gave in. According to the complaint, she was “finally coerced, enticed, and persuaded” to produce an 8 to 10 second video clip of herself masturbating, which she sent to the boy using her cell phone.

Fast-forward to September, when both the boy and the girl entered ninth grade at Lexington Catholic. Only a few weeks into the school year, the boy was allegedly convinced by one of his friends to transfer the cell phone video to his computer. From there, it was a small step to uploading the short clip onto the Internet, with predictable results. (An alleged attempt to upload the clip to YouTube, where it might have received even wider dissemination, was “unsuccessful because of the sexually explicit nature of the content.”)

The video was “received by students and was in many cases uploaded by Lexington Catholic High School students to their iPods in order to share the sexually explicit video with as many students at Lexington Catholic high school as possible,” said the complaint. Students at three other local high schools allegedly viewed the clip as well, and students began calling the girl in the video "a whore, 'nasty Nat,' and the 'porn queen'."

The girl's mother immediately got involved, calling the boy in question and allegedly getting him to admit that he had distributed the video. The mother then went to the police, told her story, and convinced a detective to investigate. Nothing came of the investigation, because the detective eventually told the mother that the girl "could be seen as having been as guilty as the Defendants" for producing and distributing child pornography.

The girl's family was harassed, having their home vandalized and receiving numerous prank phone calls, for three years after the release of the clip. The girl claims to have been “subjected to a daily routine of harassment” at school and eventually suffered from “depression, anxiety, mental anguish, embarrassment, and extreme stress.” She was eventually advised, for her own mental and physical well-being, to finish high school elsewhere.

She did so, eventually relocating out of state to a private school in order to finish her education, at a cost of thousands of dollars to her parents.

The tale, as laid out in the complaint, is undeniably horrific, even more so when one considers the girl's existing psychological vulnerability. But did someone break the law? And if so, what law was it?

AL - Michael Gill posts controversial signs on front lawn targeting sex offender

Original Article

I wonder if this man is part of Westboro Baptist Church?


By Margo Gray

HUNTSVILLE (WAFF) - How far does free speech really go? Signs out in front of a Huntsville mans home is creating quite the commotion.

The signs have the power to create a traffic jam, plenty of conversation and even stir up emotion.

The homemade signs on Michael Gill's front lawn in the middle of Five Points are sending a message, aimed at a neighbor.

"If I didn't do anything, no one would know that rapist is living on my block across the street."
- Not true. See below. This man received a notice in the mail about the man moving in, and I'm sure others did as well. What he is doing is nothing but disturbing the peace and harassing someone.

A couple days ago, Gill received a notice in the mail from Huntsville Police.

A registered sex offender who was convicted of 2nd degree rape of a 15 year-old moved in a few doors down, and by law, anyone within 1000 feet is required to know.

"When I get that notice, what am I supposed to do," said Gill.

So he installed 24 hour camera surveillance at his home.

"I agree with the man, I don't think he should be here and there is a whole lot of kids in the neighborhood," said resident Jody Price.

Not all of Gill's neighbors agree with his tactics.

Many who would not go on camera said Gill is creating more of a nuisance than anything else.

Some of Gill's neighbors have even reported him to police and the city over this.

He's violated the noise ordinance and was forced to reduce the size of his signs.

"I have to stay within the city ordinances, but that is infringing on my speech," Gill said.

His neighbor, though, also has the right to live there.

WAFF spoke the man. He was convicted back in 1999 and served a year for the crime. He said he served his time, doesn't bother anyone, wants to be left alone.

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