Sexting and Photography of Nude Minors

Sensual Abigail 3

An article in The Wall Street Journal recounts one of the “sexting” episodes (usually minor teenagers sending phone
camera-generated nude, semi-nude or underwear-clad photos of themselves to other teenagers, sometimes ending with widespread — and embarrassing — exposure). (Thanks to reader “Kevin” for sending this along.)

Unbearable Lightness recently wrote that these persecutions of teens (and their parents) under threat of child pornography prosecution are “A Perversion of a Law to End Perversion.” Amen! (And I mean real child pornography charges — not the ersatz crimes achieved via Sec. 2257.)

I’ve read the Pennsylvania statutes pertaining to child pornography, and IMO this prosecutor is way over the line. BTW, the WSJ article, although datelined April 21, appears to be way out of date, since this April 1 article says that a Federal judge has enjoined the prosecutor from pursuing his “education or prosecution” ultimatum.

This kind of situation, however, sends chills up the spines of art photographers doing work like Jock Sturges’s (do art photographers emulating Jock Sturges still dare to work in the U.S.?). The U.S. has thousands of small jurisdictions like this Pennsylvania prosecutor’s, and any of those thousands of country or district or city attorneys could decide to make a name for himself by pursuing someone who takes innocent photographs (e.g., of one’s minor child in a naturist setting, which would be similar to some of Sturges’s work). Statutes like Pennsylvania’s, or their Federal equivalent — the definitions in 18 U.S.C. §2256 — do not criminalize non-sexual, non-lewd and non-lascivious photography of nude minors. Professionals who have engaged in such photography act very, very carefully, make sure that parents are involved at every step, and work with the knowledge that in many jurisdictions the minor may repudiate any release signed by her or on her behalf once she reaches majority.

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Going from the foregoing strong civil libertarian stance to the following, I admit has a strong sense of irony, or perhaps the absurd, but nevertheless ….

I have found an instance where I agree with those who would censor, those who would outlaw speech: the so-called “crush video” and other abominations of a similar ilk. This is not for those with queezy stomachs — reading the article turned mine, but see “Justices to Rule on Law Banning the Depiction of Cruelty to Animals” in yesterday’s NY Times. Just reading the two paragraphs,

[A] 1999 law was prompted by so-called crush videos, in which women step on small animals. A House report said the videos catered to “a very specific sexual fetish.”

“In some video depictions, the woman’s voice can be heard talking to the animals in a kind of dominatrix patter,” the report said. “The cries and squeals of the animals, obviously in great pain, can also be heard in the videos.”

was enough to bring me to a boil.

The article begins: “It has been more than a quarter century since the Supreme Court last recognized a new category of speech with so little value that it did not deserve the protections of the First Amendment. On Monday, the court agreed to decide whether depictions of cruelty to animals should join obscenity[, child pornography] and fighting words as speech unworthy of constitutional protection.”

Like I say, it’s an instance where I approve of speech restriction, but follow the link if you wish to read more. Unfortunately, viewed rationally from the standpoint of legal analysis, I fear the Court may be unwilling to ban the speech.

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Found on MM:

After Spring (April 2009) I will no longer do any more implied. Sorry, but I’m sick and tired of photographers wanting to get me half naked. I have no respect for any photographer that wants so shoot nudes with me anymore. I don’t care if I have that “look” or that “artistic” grace. NO MORE IMPLIED. I’m moving on, and unless your willing to pay me $3248392493 dollars, I won’t do it.

LOL. (I think.)

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Abigail was just getting warmed up for this session.

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