Robert J. Sodaro
OK, by now others may have seen this story, I’ve already seen it in a couple of places, but I thought that I’d post it here as well; sort of to “alert the troops” as it were. The story is this, just recently a Richmond, VA man was convicted for looking at cartoon images of young girls being forced to have sex with adults. He is the first person who has been convicted of a 2003 federal statute that makes obscene cartoon drawings as well as photographs an illegal form of child pornography. While I’m happy another sick-o pedophile, pervert, scumbag is off the streets and put away where he won’t hurt anyone, I can’t help thinking that that this sort of Thought Police kind of law can only wind up being bad for our industry.
Please, keep in mind that I am, in no way, shape, or form defending this guy, or what he was doing (looking at these kind of images, and printing them out on a public computer at an Unemployment office while supposedly “Job-Searching”). I can’t help but to think that there is a metric ton of this type of Anime already out there, and while it was once risqué, “blue” or NSW, it is now potentially (if not actually) illegal, and we as comicbook fans, retailers, and pros, should be aware of this.
To be sure, according to what I’ve read on the matter, the guy was already a convicted kiddy sex-offender who was, by the terms of his release, legally prevented from being around kids, or looking at any material considered to be pornographic (especially kiddy porn).
As one blogger put it,
“Nobody is defending child porn, but if a cartoon can be child porn, what about literature? Is "Lolita" child porn? Hey, even the Bible has racy stories that involve incest. How about an abstract painting with a title that suggests underage sex? How about a song about it? — Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen." To find out how a man can get incarcerated for over 1,000 years for possessing cartoons”
Personally, I find this all a little bit chilling.