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.

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.

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

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 the other posters.
@ Joe
I’m too lazy to clip coupons much less pictures of naked anything. Porn is in the eye of the beholder. I do have a painting on my wall of some cherubs with exposed buttocks that I had my PO approve while I was on parole. I guess it was okay considering my offense didn’t include cherubs.
As for the photographer it does raise some interesting points. Actually I think it’s up to the editor to approve what goes in the mag. But if the photographer had been stopped at customs and they inspected her film could she have been charged with trafficking? If the photo is considered porn will the courts or DA be responsible for sending the boy a list of all the subscribers who’ve looked at his naked body? The idiosyncrasies go on and on…

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 the damage done to the constitution by these laws, a constitution that millions have given their lives to defend for the last 226 years.

I want to undo these horrible laws passed as a horrible epitaph to these children’s horrible ends.

These children were killed by individuals. Should we start grouping these killers by race? Should we start grouping them by social status? Why just former sex offenders?

I know, since the majority of these offenders are white, why not make all white people have to register? Then we will make them have to ride in the back of the bus, drink at different water fountains…

That is the problem…once you start trying to predict future events based on actuarial tables, you start to play God. And as long as you do it in the name of children, it is Ok.

And where does that line stop, what group will John Que Public end up in once all his civil liberties are gone. Don’t think it can happen?

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

–Adolf Hitler

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 defendant’s mental health is a separate issue, as questionable as anyone feels it is. We don’t need anymore court decisions that may make producing or viewing these types of images a crime for others. Aren’t we all victims of laws based on extreme actions of the few? I believe the judge was upholding the first amendment for all, not specifically excusing the behavior of the defendant. Good for him for not basing another legal action on emotion.

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.