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MA: Porn debate over National Geographic photo goes to SJC

The question of whether a photo of a naked boy in National Geographic constitutes child pornography when found in the troubling jailhouse stash of a convicted sex offender goes before the state’s highest court today.

“After a summer day’s swim, a boy returns to his new bike,” reads the caption under award-winning photojournalist Lynn Johnson’s picture in “Inside the Dragon,” the magazine’s 2008 special edition on China. The Norfolk District Attorney’s Office convinced a grand jury that in the prison footlocker of convicted sex offender ____ ____, the image merited a charge of possession of child pornography in 2012.

Reached yesterday, a surprised Johnson, who wasn’t aware her photo was at the center of a legal battle, called the controversy “pretty astounding.”  Full Article

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Well, it was only a matter of time before that stash of National Geographic Magazines in my den was considered illegal.

Photographer Johnson should be more than surprised. If indeed, the person in this article is convicted of Possession of Child Pornography, she would have to be guilty of Production and Distribution of Child Pornography. How could she not be?

OH COME ON! These folks are getting loony now. Are they smoking crack as well as playing the worlds moral conscious?

If these photographs had been kept intact with their respective articles than I would take sides with the defendant. Since the photos were selectively removed and “stashed” it leads me to believe they were abused for illicit purposes. Whether or not one considers the nude form as being pornography is completely subjective. I don’t believe this man needs more time behind bars. Just some peer counseling on how to cope with this behavioral defect.

Hi Mike: I did a little time in the 80s, and removing pictures from newspapers and magazines of pretty girls from underwear ad’s was, and I’m sure still is, something most inmates do. You just dab a little toothpaste on the rear corners and stick em on the wall and presto change-o your cell is now decorated in the preferred macho manly way. This must be what Rex was doing. And if it was anything else I would consider it just one more over reaction to something done by one individual that will affect 25% of the worlds prisoners. And… Read more »

Mike:

It’s also censorship. Or should I say More censorship? This is the seed being planted.

So would it be CP if I cut it out? You? My 3rd grade child? My Grandfather? My Mother? A prison inmate incarcerated for burglary?

Was it CP when it was, all by itself, on the Photographer’s memory card?

That, sir, is one slippery slope.

I think the napalm girl is still alive. What is the affect on her by having that image clipped to show the horrors of the Vietnam war again and again? I don’t see any sex in it. What I do see is a child abused horribly because of the cold, deliberate decisions of polititions thousands of miles away. Not “sick” in the classic sense, these decision makers were dangerous to whole populations of innocent children. Still goes on today. Were are the laws which protect those children?

The “napalm girl” is still alive. As a matter of fact, she gave a talk about her life and experiences at a church in Orange County a few years ago.

I wonder if she sees herself as a victim of child pornography or a victim of a war crime with chemical weapons / weapons of mass destruction.

I had thought about going but something came up. I wish I had. But hey, I was just looking it up again and it looks like her presentation in on-line. We can all find out for ourselves.

http://libertybaptistchurch.org/kim-phuc

Very moving – thank you for sharing.

PS – I meant to give you a thumbs up there, but missed. Sorry!

I watched the presentation by the “napalm girl”. Courageous woman. The footage they show is beyond disturbing. “It looks like the baby’s clothes are hanging in shreds from his body, but it is actually his skin. He died moments later in his mother’s arms”. Yeah, but having on your phone a selfie of a topless teenager is a crime that revictimizes the victim over and over and everyone looking at it must. be. punished. severely.

I tend to agree. If the image was cut out it was literally taken out of context and put into a completely different inappropriate one.

Somewhere school teachers are scrambling to purge any National Geo’s that have pictures of topless African women and third grade boys will no longer be able to huddle with their buddies in the corner and snicker at the sight of boobies.

What’s next anatomy books? No more pediatricians I guess.

I am baffled by those who may be on this list but who feel that this man committed a crime. For anyone on parole or probation, or in prison, yes there are different rules and yes, those are subjective. When a parole / probation / corrections officer subjectively determines that those rules were violated then there is a VIOLATION. Said violation is NOT a new crime but a consequence of a CURRENT sentence for a PAST crime. I would imagine there be a ban on all nudity related imagery in prison, so for this rules violation – take away his… Read more »

okay Joe… you win.

Nick Ut, the photographer who took one of the most iconic pictures of war, “Nepalm Girl,” the naked 9-year old girl running away from a napalm attack in Viet Nam would also be considered a “child pornographer.” He lives in Los Angeles, perhaps CA RSOL can contact him for his opinion.

I have trouble visualizing this as porn but then again, I had trouble seeing an image of Jesus on a banana peel recently.

Oh dear! Is it a crime to be visualizing these things? (the photo, not the banana peel) Please report immediately to the nearest police station for a thought crime.

I’m confused. If the prison officials saw these pictures as child pornography, why did they make them available to the inmates?

They seem to be a party to the crime! There’s no telling how many times this boy has been re-victimized while walking to his bike! I wonder if he qualifies for financial compensation?

This is sarcastic. I’m also scratching my head wondering something as lame as this can happen.

The thought police have arrived.

I thought I was going to get more negative responses than that. I must be losing my touch. Anyways: @ Q: Did you really hang pictures of immature children dressed in underwear in your cell, or were these pictures of more physically developed girls? Personally, I think there is a difference. I’m keeping in mind that this individual (J.R.) plead guilty to luring two boys aged 12 and 14 off the internet and had sex with them and now he’s found collecting pictures of naked children while in prison. Obviously this behavior disturbs me more than it does some of… Read more »

HI Mike; No, I did not hang pictures of immature girls in my cell, in fact I never saw any pictures of immature girls hanging in anyone’s cell. These were all pictures from ads in the LS times, the OC Register and any number of sundry magazines that had ads in them of adult women modeling underwear, you know, they were pictures from ads. And not all pictures were of girls in underwear, any pretty girl qualified and was usually deemed worthy to be hung on the wall; that is until the unit was put through a “shake down”. Honestly,… Read more »

Q
I’m sorry. I wasn’t making any accusations, just drawing the difference between you and this man on trial. Cutting and collecting photos out of a magazine is not questionable or unhealthy behavior. It’s the material being harvested that raises eyebrows. It may earn this man an extended stay at a state mental institution. Maybe (Big Maybe) he’ll get the help he needs there.

Hi Mike:

I didn’t take it that way. I know you weren’t accusing anyone. And I hope I didn’t sound like I took it that way. I was just explaining the circumstances.

And what disturbed me the most was this sentence: “…and a tracing of a photograph of 1981 Florida murder victim Adam Walsh holding a baseball bat.” The deep hatred I have for the laws created in the name of these innocent victims makes my blood boil. The emotional manipulation politicians have wrought on the American public by parading these children’s pictures makes me want to tear up every picture I have ever seen of these children. Why include it in this article? Was he guilty of sacrilege? Does his contempt of these laws betray a greater threat to society than… Read more »

Hi SkeletonLander:

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned
that way.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Notice it’s the politicians that push these laws?

The judge’s decision makes sense. If they were legally CP that would bring up all the other issues you all describe, ie. the photographer culpable for creating and distributing it as well as anyone else who copies or distributes it, including the prison. it would really be odd if what determines what is illegal hinges on the mental state or the criminal history of the viewer of pornography. That would mean something is legal for one adult person but not for another and would generate other laws to determine what mental state or what criminal history makes something illegal. The… Read more »

You’ve made an excellent and sensible argument here and have swayed my opinion. The judge obviously has to play by the rules as he understands them. The photographs do not meet the legal definition of child pornography regardless of this mans intended use of the items. Most of my frustration is that this man has been shelved for 16 years and likely hasn’t received any rehabilitating treatment. He knows that he did something wrong and that’s about it. I hope we’ll see the outcome from this case. Thanks for your thoughtful input.

After giving this much thought, it is a bit disturbing to me that the fellow would have a collection images of nude children in his foot locker. I think this guy is in the 1.9%, if you catch my drift.

However, the right decision was made by the judge. These are lawfully published works of art. Cindy Crawford was in ads for underwear when she was in high school and they ended up being plastered all over the school she went to. If you’re gonna charge this guy, then you have to go after the magazines for distributing child pornography.

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