A View from Riverside Drive, Commentary by Ed Hynes, July 2007
Phillip Cosby of the National Coalition For Protection of Children and Families helped organize those petition drives, and he has now organized a similar effort in the two counties of Kansas City, Kansas, and the four counties of Kansas City, Missouri. More than 20,000 people signed the petitions in the Kansas City efforts through their churches in the six counties. These petitions were delivered to the prosecutors on May 17
The petitions call for the investigation of 32 businesses – “adult” bookstores, “adult” video stores, and strip clubs – in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas, and Platte, Clay, Cass, and Jackson Counties in Missouri.
The petition law mandates that grand juries be convened within 60 days in the Kansas counties, but there is no such law in Missouri, so prosecutors on the Missouri side are free to weigh their options, which include ignoring the petitions and then running for reelection knowing the petitions were signed by thousands of voters.
With petitions and the vote, power to the people is more than a slogan in both Kansas Cities. But with petitions, it’s quicker.
In addition to strip clubs, the law applies to “adult” bookstores, “adult” video stores, “adult” movie theaters, “adult” cabarets, sexual device shops, and businesses the Ohio Legislative Service Commission calls “sexual encounter centers.”
Despite that, the owners and dancers have organized for this effort under the name Citizens for Community Standards (CCS). Some standards. The name is curiously close to Citizens for Community Values, the pro-decency anti-porn organization in Cincinnati that successfully pushed for enactment of the law.
It should come as no surprise that the dancers have named themselves “Dancers for Democracy.” Owners and dancers say all they’re doing is protecting their right to free speech and expression. Besides, business is down even in advance of the law’s September 4 effective date.
You have been abusing our kids, prostituting them and throwing them onto the street when you’re done. As Mayor of Atlanta, I have promised to listen to people. Kids are no exception. When you buy sex from our kids, you hurt them, you hurt our families and you hurt our city.
It’s over John. No more –
NOT IN MY CITY
– MAYOR SHIRLEY FRANKLIN
The Atlanta Police Department, like police in Chicago and other cities, publicize photos and other information about men who have been convicted of soliciting prostitutes
The package includes a slide show of 120 Power Point images and a 50-minute script. The presentation covers background on the nature and effects of pornography; the harms of pornography to the individual, to relationships and to the culture; the relationship between adult pornography and child pornography, and ways to integrate anti-porn education into a range of programs.
In a flyer describing the package, Professor Gail Dines of Wheelock College, wrote, “The slideshow is our first line of offense in the battle we must wage to reclaim this culture from the misogyny, racism and brute power of the pornographers.” She co-authored the presentation with Professor Rebecca Whisnant of Dayton University, and Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas at Austin.
NFAM Power Point presentations at church groups and elsewhere can help rouse public pressure for a return to obscenity law enforcement by state and federal police law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The more of this kind of activity at the grass roots level the better.
To get the package, send an e-mail to: email@example.com. Professor Dines writes, “We are asking for $5 to cover costs and a donation to the movement if anyone is feeling generous.”
The porn business trade paper Adult Video News endorsed Clinton for reelection in 1996, citing his “hands-nearly-off porn policy.” Clinton won and, in March 1998, AVN crowed, “IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE AN ADULT RETAILER. . . . The adult industry’s numbers have increased nearly 100% in five years. With a more relaxed Justice Department, some retailers felt free not only to carry but also to market adult product.” Imagine that. Marketing “adult product,” as opposed to merely stocking it, was news for AVN readers just nine years ago.
The porn producers have found the going easier each year 1993 because of a circular dynamic that feeds upon itself. The failure to prosecute leads to more hardcore pornography and the proliferation of hardcore pornography makes it difficult or causes many prosecutors to think it will be difficult if not possible to convince juries that hardcore pornography is offensive to community standards.
Things got so bad that Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard (“Rocky”) Delgadillo backed off on two obscenity cases ready to go to trial in 2002. Inexplicably, he let both defendants plead to “public nuisance” charges, for which they were required to “donate” $1,000 to the state’s “victim restitution fund,” and walk away, free to go on peddling their hardcore porn instead of facing a trial that could have put them in jail and taken their movies out of circulation.
Adult Video News reported that the defendant and his attorney in the second case were asked if either “had yet been contacted by or had been able to identify any ‘victims’ of the videotapes charged in this case” and that both “responded simply, ‘Nope.'” As we commented at the time, if this were football, AVN would have been flagged for taunting.
There are reasons to hope, as we have in the past, that this may be changing.
We can hope that the NFAM Power Point presentations will educate the public on the horrible and brutal reality of hardcore pornography, demonstrating that this material is very offensive, indeed. In addition, hardcore porn dealers are on the defensive in current cases, and prosecutors are talking tough.
Hardcore, whose real name is Paul F. Little, faced state obscenity charges twice several years ago and was brought to trial by the City of Los Angeles. In both cases, the jury failed to reach a verdict.
Charges in the current case are based on an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
The three DVDs have a combined running time of five and a half hours, filled with scenes of brutish anal, vaginal and oral intercourse, and severe violence towards the women in the videos.
U.S. Attorney Brett L. Tolman in Salt Lake City said in a statement, “The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide have stepped up the prosecution of obscenity cases, as evidence increases of the harm of obscenity to American children and families. As obscene materials continue to proliferate, they are becoming more accessible. . . At the same time they are becoming more extreme and degrading in content and present a growing threat to the well being of American families and our society as a whole.”
In Phoenix June 25, a federal district court jury convicted two men on obscenity and other charges arising out of their operation of an international pornography spamming business. Included for the first time were charges under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-solicited Pornography and Marketing Act).
The jury convicted, Jeffrey A. Kilbride, 41, of Venice, Calif., and James R. Schaffer, 41, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., on eight counts arising out of the international pornographic spamming business they organized and ran in 2004. The trial began on June 5.
Witnesses traveled from Massachusetts, Texas, Iowa, California and Arizona to describe the context in which their families, including some children, received the pornographic spam messages.
Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said, “Through their international spamming operation, these defendants made millions of dollars by sending unwanted sexually explicit emails to hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including families and children, while simultaneously using sophisticated Internet technology to try to conceal their identity.” She added that the prosecution “demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect American families from receiving unsolicited spam email.”
According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, human trafficking prosecutions “are a top priority of the Justice Department. In the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court.”