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July 11, 2016

PBS widely premiering sex offender documentary "Prevert Park"

Pervert-ParkposterAs detailed via this PBS page, tonight is the official premiere for a notable film about a notable group of criminal offenders. The film is titled "Pervert Park," and here are excepts from the PBS description of this hour-long film:

Pervert Park by Scandinavian filmmakers Frida Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors takes place at Florida Justice Transitions in St. Petersburg, Fla., founded in 1996 by Nancy Morais, the mother of a sex offender who had difficulty finding a place to live after his conviction.  It looks like your average trailer park, but this is the place 120 residents call home.  Their lives are heavily regulated: Offenders are forbidden by law from living within 1,000 feet of any place children congregate. The residents are required to check in with the Florida State Police twice a year, are monitored by satellite surveillance and are listed in a sex-offender registry easily available online as a phone app. But the park also provides space for small businesses, including a hair salon. All of the program’s staff are convicted sex offenders as well.

There are currently more than 800,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States, and the country has seen an estimated 15% increase in registered sex offenders over the past five years.  But the film offers a mindset-challenging look at this deeply stigmatized category of criminals.  According to Florida Justice Transitions president and CEO Jim Broderick, the park’s residents want to “become productive members of society and want to give back.”

The documentary does not stint on candid discussions of the offenses committed by the residents, who say they feel free to open up in-group sessions led by therapist Don Sweeney. Stories vary from that of Jamie, a 22-year-old man caught in an Internet sting after expressing interest in having sex with a minor — which Sweeney characterizes as a common case of entrapment — to far more disturbing and unforgivable crimes.

A resident named Patrick confesses to an early infatuation with pornography and a life marked by failed personal relationships. He raped a young Mexican girl, which he characterized as an act of revenge “against all women.” Several residents tell of being sexually abused as children.  Will says he was “fondled by a babysitter when I was 6 years old.”  As an adult, he exposed himself to a young girl and spent several years in jail.

A harrowing story is told by Tracy, who says her father began having sex with her when she was a child. She was later abused by her mother’s boyfriends, which “caused my body to want those same feelings.”  She eventually had sex with cousins and underwent an abortion at 11 years old; she would later have sex with her own son.  According to therapist Sweeney, Tracy was “groomed” for abuse by her father, who insisted sex was a natural way to show affection. She in turn groomed her son by asking his “permission.” He continued the cycle of abuse, later sexually assaulting a 3-year-old boy....

Pervert Park raises significant questions.  Should America give these criminals a second chance?  And can their experiences help in devising a successful strategy for reducing the growing number of sex crimes?

“The typical reaction of normal citizens is, ‘We don’t care. They committed a crime and we don’t care if they die,'” says Sweeney.  Yet one offender says it is time not only for greater public understanding of sexual crimes, but for the offenders to take the lead in stating their case.  “You have to look at the bigger picture,” he says. “Nobody will stand up and fight for us, and that’s why we’ve got to do something about it now.”

“These are the crimes that are often too painful or uncomfortable to discuss,” say filmmakers Frida and Lasse Barkfors. “These are the people no one wants to live amongst.  These are the neighbors we wish away and, through sex offender laws and labeling, literally and figuratively move to the outskirts of our towns and our lives.  And yet there they are, 1,000 feet away from our schools and our parks and playgrounds and churches.

“Although many of their crimes are unspeakable, what do we, as a community, gain from our willful silence?  If we hope to curb the cycle and culture of sexual violence, is there value in exploring the lives of sex offenders, regardless of how heartbreaking and difficult it might be?”

July 11, 2016 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

Comments

"Should America give these criminals a second chance? And can their experiences help in devising a successful strategy for reducing the growing number of sex crimes?"

There is something deeply odd about those questions. If the number of sex crimes is growing, then maybe the question isn't whether or not these criminals should get a second chance, the relevant question would seem to be whether or not these activities should even be crimes in the first place. I don't understand the line of thinking that goes, "Hey look, the problem is getting worse! I wonder if we should be nice to these people or not?" If the problem is getting worse and it really is a problem then the answer to the question is a self-evident "no" as we should be even more forceful under a theory of deterrence. I don't understand how one justifies backing off in the face of a growing threat because being lenient in the face of a growing threat can only send the message that one doesn't take the threat seriously.

So I don't see how PBS is advancing a public discussion at all, the TV special seems to be only titillating the public with sex for the sake of ratings.


Posted by: Daniel | Jul 11, 2016 12:57:46 PM

Lately, I don't think any problem is actually "getting worse." I think we're just more aware of it. The one exception may be that there is something strange about the internet. I think it provokes or leads people into behaviors that are not ordinarily within their character. People are bigger a**holes on the internet, and that takes many forms. And I don't believe that the internet "reveals true character," either.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 11, 2016 2:20:55 PM

@Fat Bastard:

"I don't think any problem is actually 'getting worse.' I think we're just more aware of it."

For some people becoming more aware of the problem is the definition of the problem getting worse. Ann Althouse has this interesting comment up today regarding race in America.

The problems are complicated, drawing them out makes them look worse, but some people think that looking at them is part of whatever progress could be made in solving them. And some people think those who are trying to expose problems are making them worse, and it would be better to stop talking about race altogether.

One could say the exact same things about sex crimes or about over-criminalization in general and about this PBS special in particular--that some people think that looking at the problems of sex crimes is part of whatever progress could be made towards solving sex crimes. If that is why PBS is doing their special I support it. Yet they are going about it in an unhelpful way. If a problem is growing then how can one ignore the reasons why it is growing? PBS asks, " If we hope to curb the cycle and culture of sexual violence, is there value in exploring the lives of sex offenders...." The answer to the question might turn on why the problem is growing.

It seems to me, however, that PBS doesn't want to face the question about why the problem is growing because they already have an answer "the cycle and culture of sexual violence". Yet what if that presumption is wrong? Where does that leave their attempt to "explore the lives of sex offenders"? It doesn't seem like much of an exploration at all but a searching for data that will justify their biases.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 11, 2016 3:18:16 PM

Oh I don't disagree with your premises regarding the show. It just seems that the whole concept of a sex offender registry and residential restrictions is driven by nothing but fear and panic, which itself is driven by a new awareness of a problem that may be confused or conflated with a growth in the problem.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 11, 2016 3:54:44 PM

I'll defer my comments until after this program is broadcast. I hope this program delves into the many categories and definitions of "sex offenders". As well as the history of the laws that have been enacted because of the very rare but heinous acts of a few. Also,the lifelong, punitive sentences all offenders must endure, etc... If this program does not attempt to delve into these issues, then I'm afraid it will only create more confusion than enlightenment.

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 11, 2016 4:00:29 PM

Perhaps the internet reveals true character. In the real world, we may not act as we wish because we are afraid of discovery and the sanctions for acting as we really want to. On the internet, there are fewer consequences (at least at the present time) and the possibility that the website administrator may kick you off the website and make you come back with a new handle and e-mail address is not a very strong deterrent to any poster giving full ride to their racist, misogynistic, misanthropic, and homophobic (among other things) true character.

Posted by: tmm | Jul 11, 2016 4:56:21 PM

"true character"? Or,is the internet stoking the fire of darkness lying dormant, (successfully suppressed) in many of us? What is this new technology doing to us personally and to our society? As an example, there are many internet child porn offenders on the registry. Is the internet helping to catch these people, or is the internet creating them? What would happen to many of us if our society decided to place free heroin on America's street corners?

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 11, 2016 6:19:06 PM

I'm not sure it's either. The internet is a very strange place from a social and psychological perspective and it isn't well understood. And when it comes to things psychological, trying to intuit the answer often provides the wrong answer.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 11, 2016 7:00:20 PM

Tommyc writes, "or is the internet creating them?"

What creates the sex offender is the law, for there is no criminal without a law which defines him as such.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 11, 2016 7:23:52 PM

some might be interested in this essay: "Should We Lift the Stigma on “Virtuous Pedophiles”? https://verdict.justia.com/2016/07/12/lift-stigma-virtuous-pedophiles

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2016 1:21:09 AM

some might be interested in this essay: "Should We Lift the Stigma on “Virtuous Pedophiles”? https://verdict.justia.com/2016/07/12/lift-stigma-virtuous-pedophiles

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2016 1:21:09 AM

Could the continued practice by Miami, FL, and other locations in the U.S. of separating all classes of former sex offenders in places like under an interstate highway bridge lead to another Dallas-type tragedy? We all know about the deranged person in Dallas last week who went on a killing spree murdering five police officers while injuring several others before he was finally stopped.

How does this relate to forcibly relegating all types of former sex offenders (not just the violent predators who target children and the infirm) to their own types of ghettoes like Miami's highway underpass? To me, ghettoizing these former offenders might have the same unanticipated and undesired radicalizing effect on them that ghettoizing blacks in major northern cities had in leading to the major race riots of the 1960's and early 1970's (and now the new confrontations that started with recent police shootings from the early part of this current decade).

One of these days, we could pick up our morning newspaper over the breakfast table, or see on our television sets, about another tragic and avoidable cop-killing, only this time involving a disgruntled former sex offender who no longer feels anything to lose by violently lashing out against these residential and civil commitment laws.

It is a wonder that few such incidents involving a former sex offender targeting law enforcement personnel for revenge murders have occurred thus far. Some such incidents, however, have occurred on a very small scale such as a bomb threat in Savannah, GA, by a former sex offender against a police station's sex offender registry. Fortunately, he was arrested before he could do any harm. Police can still count their blessings that fewer such incidents involving former sex offenders have thus far occurred in comparison with incidents involving racial/class confrontations with police.

It would be in both law enforcement's and the law-abiding public's best interest to repeal laws that could serve to give former sex offenders a nothing-left-to-lose attitude toward authority.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Jul 12, 2016 9:31:03 AM

Pervert Park was disappointing. I was hoping it would be an advocate for change but it missed it's mark.

Only one CP sting operation was mentioned when in fact, the increase in sex offences is largely due to the internet and P2P websites and "unknowingly" clicking on the wrong thing. Is there a study done on the % of non-violent, first time, non-contact offenders on the registry that are there solely because they got reeled into the large internet-fishing-net cast by the feds?

Porn on the internet is like driving by a bad car accident, the police are waving you to move on, but human nature makes you want to slow down to look. It's not that there's more creepy people out there, there's just more to see and humans want to see it all, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidently.

Those SO's profiled in the show have done their time, why not let them move on with their lives instead of forcing them to be holed up in a trailer park like animals in a zoo. On display for the neighbors who see their every move as a possible threat.

And the sack of rats found in the guy's dryer, what was that, did the police bother to investigate?

The one point I did agree with, the SO's have got to stand up and fight for justice and the abolishment of the registry. The registry was designed for law enforcement to keep tabs on violent pedophiles, instead, fear mongers have turned it in to a one size fits all eternal punishment for everyone on it. The registry has got to go.

Posted by: kat | Jul 12, 2016 11:05:09 AM

Law enforcement can keep tabs on sex offenders and probably all offenders without making that information public and available for use by municipal and county governments for systematic discrimination.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jul 12, 2016 11:32:08 AM

If you do the research you will find that those who view and download CP from the P2P file sharing programs are the least likely to recidivate. (viewers who go on to contact offending). Yes, this heinous material is offered free of charge, 27/7/365 in the privacy of one's own home without any warnings posted. Why else does this dubious crime have such a wide variety of personal profiles? (judges, lawyers, police detectives, psychologist,FBI agents, clergy, doctors), and many who have a developmental disability. Do those who view CP need help? Yes, CLINICAL help, not a criminal life long record, prosecuted solely on what someone "looked" at. Yes, they shared files. That isn't the intent for the majority of these viewers who get lured into this free material primarily because it's free and always available. Voyeurism and curiosity being their primary vulnerability.

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 12, 2016 1:25:30 PM

tommyc your definition of "recidivate" for CP offenders as "viewers who go on to contact offending" is extremely problematic. These criminals recidivate every time they watch CP, every time they download CP, every time they trade CP. "Contact offending" is taking it to the next level, not "recidivating."

Those who defend these criminals by saying they are only "clicking" are EXTREMELY misinformed. These criminals are not arrested because they only "click," they are actively downloading thousands of images of these children. Just "clicking" does not cause these files to be downloaded, one must take specific actions to download thousands of images onto their computer.

These children are being photographed being raped...these are not innocent "Coppertone" ads, these kids are being raped. But somehow it is these defendants who are being coddled by defense attorneys and judges because they are "only looking."

Yes, they need clinical help, but they are also committing a crime that most American citizens find deplorable and worthy of the harsh punishments Congress advocates through mandatory minimums. Do most of these offenders GRADUATE to contact offending? No...not most...but they also do not stop looking at CP, which feeds the market for these life ruining images. I really am disgusted by most of the postings on this blog with regard to CP...they are not "just looking" they are actively downloading images of children being raped (complete with sound) and creating a market for this.

Posted by: Kelly | Jul 12, 2016 1:39:51 PM

"These children are being photographed being raped..." no shit, so why aren't the enforcement dollars being spent on finding those perps and closing/blocking those sites instead of using them for entrapment purposes. I'll tell you why because it's easier to fatten their budgets and not get off their asses and actually do the footwork to find the generators of this crap. Repeating that same mantra about creating the market is bullshit too. Law enforcements whole strategy is based on the same premise as the drug war, which as we can see after 40+ years hasn't worked either, grab the low hanging fruit and ignore the big time dealer/distributors. "But somehow it is these defendants who are being coddled by defense attorneys and judges because they are "only looking." Bullshit again, a mandatory minimum of 10 years and lifetime registration is not coddling in my book. At some point people will see through this bullshit, stop destroying additional families and actually help those, the real victims, who need it the most by curtailing the generators of this stuff. "I really am disgusted by most of the postings on this blog with regard to CP..." too bad but not everyone is forced or needs to agree with you.

Posted by: warren | Jul 12, 2016 2:18:21 PM

@Kelly.

"These children are being photographed being raped...these are not innocent "Coppertone" ads"

Incorrect. Under US vs Knox (1992) a person can be convicted (and was convicted in that case) of child pornography even though the child was fully clothed at the time.

http://www.mit.edu/activities/safe/safe/cases/knox/94a0734p.htm

It is true, of course, that some percentage of child pornography does feature children being raped. What percentage is an open question since no one can legally study child porn.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 12, 2016 2:26:37 PM

As someone has worked with sex offenders since the mid-nineties, I can unambiguously say that the problem of sex offender management has gotten way out of hand. For instance, when I first started, I worked with families recoalesce after a crime, usually the perpetrator being the father to one of his victimized children. Nowadays, however, the reuniting process has been curtailed (sh*tcanned, actually) by people based upon fear and ignorance, rather than what's best for victims and society. In virtually every case, the offending parent is denied contact with his child until he or she becomes an adult, and may extend beyond.

The fact that sex offenses can be traumatic, the underlying fact is the victim's needs must predominate any punishment meted out by society. In my case, every family I worked with became a cohesive family unit and stayed as such through required followup interviews. Since 2004, though, the focus has shifted from reintegration to full segregation. This cannot possibly help society, other than for its collective mindset.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 12, 2016 2:44:13 PM

As someone has worked with sex offenders since the mid-nineties, I can unambiguously say that the problem of sex offender management has gotten way out of hand. For instance, when I first started, I worked with families recoalesce after a crime, usually the perpetrator being the father to one of his victimized children. Nowadays, however, the reuniting process has been curtailed (sh*tcanned, actually) by people based upon fear and ignorance, rather than what's best for victims and society. In virtually every case, the offending parent is denied contact with his child until he or she becomes an adult, and may extend beyond.

The fact that sex offenses can be traumatic, the underlying fact is the victim's needs must predominate any punishment meted out by society. In my case, every family I worked with became a cohesive family unit and stayed as such through required followup interviews. Since 2004, though, the focus has shifted from reintegration to full segregation. This cannot possibly help society, other than for its collective mindset.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 12, 2016 2:44:13 PM

@Daniel...actually using data from the Sentencing Commission, 84% of those convicted of CP get the SOC for having sadistical images, which includes depictions of rape. So, though the definition may include fully clothed images as you cite, the people who are actually being punished have depictions of children being raped. I stand by my statement

Posted by: Kelly | Jul 12, 2016 2:45:18 PM

@Kelly

So by the same token, watching True Blood or other productions that depict killing in brutal, gory manners, which last I heard was illegal in real life, should have the same level of punishment as real-life murderers. I might add that depicting a scene in which an adult graphically kills minors (such as the original Freddy/Jason movies) is preferable than seeing the same adult kiss a teen fully on the lips, let alone perform sexual acts.

I'm not actually providing a real analogy, as murder has always been a staple of fiction since time immemorial, while sexuality as only been shown more graphically (lifelike) the past few decades. However, from a cold, rational standpoint, murder is always worse.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jul 12, 2016 2:56:41 PM

@Eric Knight: Except that depicting murder on "True Blood" is done by play acting, CP is not "play acting" but actually filming children being raped! Snuff films showing actual murders are illegal, so your analogy isn't even close!!!

Posted by: Kelly | Jul 12, 2016 3:01:48 PM

"no one can legally study child porn"

The "scientific value" exception to obscenity as well as the power of at least prosecutors and the police to view the material for certain purposes leads me to question this. Is there a specific federal law that bans this? Or, does one need to go to Denmark or something to seriously study child pornography as part of expert research carried out by those with specific skills in the field?

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2016 3:24:43 PM

Kelly, at one time I shared your idealistic view. It is exploitation, but in its strictest definition. Please consider for a moment why serious attempts to block this material have not been attempted by our society, or our government. Why ISP are not penalized for allowing unfettered P2P sites to use their service? If you do your homework you will find that better than 90% of the child abuse occurs within a family unit, or by someone the victim knows. The P2P programs have opened "Pandora's Box" for all to view. I can't help but include in this post an analogy: The government, and society "allowing" heroin to be placed on America's street corners with a sign that says "Free Heroin". Kelly, would heroin use in our nation stay at the level it is at now? Decrease? Or increase?

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 12, 2016 4:07:57 PM

"...the people who are actually being punished have depictions of children being raped." soooo where are these pictures or videos coming from and what herculean efforts are being made to block them or find those responsible for originally generating them. Oh, I forgot they're also useful law enforcement tools to be used over and over again for additional stings to catch more CP viewers but do little or nothing for the original victims except perpetuate there victimization through notification of continued viewing online. Some, I believe, may be as sick as those ensnared in their wide ranging nets and all to support the altruistic goals of protecting the children.

Posted by: warren | Jul 12, 2016 4:14:49 PM

@Kelly.

You quote a statistic but don't cite any source. I would like to read whatever source you have because to the best of my knowledge (which appears incorrect) no one had ever even looked at that topic before. I'd also like to know how the sentencing commission defined its terms.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 12, 2016 4:25:15 PM

@Joe

You misunderstand the nature of the "scientific value" exception. The exception is based on the reason why the pornography was produced, not the reason why it was consumed. So an anatomically correct depiction of a child in a textbook on puberty would not be child pornography. In other words, doing research on child pornography is by definition illegal because child pornography is by definition illegal.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 12, 2016 4:34:39 PM

In my opinion, I believe that at least 50% of the convicted inmates that are not illegals to this country are in prison for judicial gain.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Jul 12, 2016 8:39:01 PM

"The exception is based on the reason why the pornography was produced, not the reason why it was consumed."

It's curious if you can produce more material if it had "scientific value" but could not view existing material -- even in the limited context of government authorized expert study to better fight child pornography especially since prosecutors etc. already view the stuff -- even if limited to material already seized. The "scientific value" exception touches upon the general reason for the ban, the exception for purposes outside those reasons. Professional study of child pornography advances the state interest of protecting children.

Thus, my interest in seeing some citations on the point. Since virtual child porn has been protected, even then, there might be some ability to research the question. Or, I guess, you would have to download and/or view the material in a country where it is not illegal for that purpose.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 12, 2016 8:54:55 PM

@joe.

Let me qualify something...when I say it is illegal to study child porn what I mean is that it is illegal for anyone outside of law enforcement to do so. For example, in the past I have seen material written by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and they get away with it because they work closely with law enforcement and prosecutors. The FBI also has produced data which they share annually with Congress. I don't know if there is a formal legal arrangement where people at NCMEC are legally deputized to view the material or whether that stems from informal prosecutorial discretion; I've never cared enough to find out.

The obvious problem with the FBI and the NCMEC is that they have an inherent self-interest in the data. The NCMEC itself has an large financial interest because the majority funding comes from the feds. So the point I am making is AFAIK there are no genuinely *independent* sources of information regarding child pornography. For example, I don't know any experts in academia who study child pornography the way there are academic experts who study pedophilia. And the reason for that is because--I have been given to understand--is that they will be arrested for CP possession if they did so.

I will make an attempt to find some more concrete sources in the next few days. It's been a long time since I've actually looked into this specific aspect of the child pornography issue so I don't have anything off the cuff.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 12, 2016 10:43:20 PM

It appears that most of these post have morphed into a expose' on possession of CP, even though most of this documentary does not have much to say on this type of offense. Interesting!

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 12, 2016 10:58:34 PM

@Kelly, I've looked at photos of Holicaust victims. By your logic, have I victimized those victims, and should I be punished? Saying that the photos depict an illegal activity doesn't explain why one should so harshly punish the viewing of that illegal activity.

Posted by: Noneee | Jul 12, 2016 11:46:35 PM

@Kelly,I hope you express your thoughts on this blog regularly. I think you would agree that we all need more dialogue on the topics of sex offender, sex offender laws. I really appreciate point-counterpoint views as it promotes open minded thinking on any subject. Thanks for sharing your views!

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 13, 2016 8:32:44 AM

@Kelly- You need to come down off your throne and join the rest of us in the real world.
Yes, you can "unknowingly" download CP, that's why the US Sentencing Commission recently changed it's wording in amendments to the laws, because it can and does happen, with greater and greater frequency I might add. One inadvertant click is all it takes.

I'd be interested in knowing where you got your stats indicating that those convicted of CP continue to view it after their lives are destroyed by the ridiculous manadatory minimums and punative registry? I believe you are very wrong.

I don't condone CP but I also don't believe that anyone deserves 5-10 and a lifetime on the registry for viewing something that they may have unknowingly downloaded on the internet.

It's easy to say how disgusted you are by certain posts, at one time I might have felt the same way. But you never know when a friend or family member of yours will wind up behind bars for this very thing. And please, don't say it would never happen to anyone you know, because the truth of the matter is, it does.

Posted by: kat | Jul 13, 2016 11:30:26 AM

@Daniel, I appreciate the caveats, which would change the equation some.

I'm not sure what independent funding scheme is likely here. Much research, even if not directly law enforcement, is federally funded in some fashion. Or, in an institution that receives such funding. Also, I respect peer review etc. enough that even if there is some bias, that the research would have validity.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 13, 2016 2:45:23 PM

@Daniel

As I said the statistic I cite comes from a Specific Offense Characteristic that is in the CP guideline. It raises the offense level for any offender who has sadistic material in their collections, which by definition includes rape. 84% of all CP defendants get this enhancement. This is decided by the judge or by plea. The Commission keeps these statistics

Posted by: Kelly | Jul 13, 2016 3:58:51 PM

@Joe

“There is no safe harbor for researching child porn,” says cyberlaw professor Eric Goldman. “This is why I call child porn ‘toxic’–there is no easy way to legally cure even a single download of child porn.”

Which is from this article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2010/10/15/i-was-doing-academic-research-not-an-adequate-defense-for-child-porn-possession/2/

btw Eric Goldman runs

http://blog.ericgoldman.org/

So understand that what the FBI and NCMEC produce is not peer reviewed by anyone.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 13, 2016 9:12:42 PM

@Kelly

Reiterating your point and waving your hands around assuring us all that the number is somewhere out there on the internet is not helpful nor is it adding to the discussion in any meaningful way.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 13, 2016 9:13:49 PM

@Daniel:

Sorry, I thought you could use a computer and find the information yourself if you doubted me. Page 46 of this link under (b)(4) shows that 1,286 of the 1537 offenders convicted of Trafficking, Receipt or Possession of CP received a four level enhancement for "sadistic or masochistic conduct or other forms of violence"

http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/federal-sentencing-statistics/guideline-application-frequencies/2015/Use_of_SOC_Offender_Based.pdf.pdf

Posted by: Kelly | Jul 14, 2016 7:00:51 AM

@Kelly

(1) First thank you for that link. It clarifies things considerably for me.
(2) Now on to your substantive point. The statistic you quote is accurate and I find it believable. I don't think it proves your point, however. What the statistic says is that 84% of federal convictions for trafficking offenses involve sadistic content. But as the following page explains child pornography can be prosecuted at both the state and the federal levels.

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-law-child-pornography

So what this statistic says to me is that feds are only likely to prosecute the worst of the worst offenders and leave the rest up to the states. It doesn't say anything about the percentage of all convictions (both state and federal) let alone anything about all child pornography produced. Indeed, when I look further at your source we see that when it comes to child pornography production there were only 82 conviction (20%) in all of 2015 with that same SOC.

Now that is interesting. In 2015 the feds successfully prosecuted almost 1300 cases of trafficking in sadistic images of child pornography yet they only got convictions on 82 cases of the production of child pornography with that same SOC. Far from illustrating they fact that most child porn is not "Coppertone" girls this data illustrates the chronic compliant that the FBI is more interested in capturing downloaders than it is in actually stopping the production of child porn.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 14, 2016 10:54:50 AM

@ Daniel
What does this statistic say about producers? Are these 82 cases prosecuted for production in the US a substantial amount? Since the USSC considers this to be a international crime, how many producers are prosecuted in foreign countries? I must point out that according to this blog's March 10, 2015 entry, "Of this year's half million reports to the tip line,
92 % were linked back to IP addresses abroad."

Posted by: tommyc | Jul 14, 2016 4:46:04 PM

Thanks @Daniel though your own caveat said certain types of research are okay if done by the right person or group. So, there must be some sort of "safe harbor" here -- hard to tell, but sounds like any random person cannot defend themselves on "scientific value" grounds there. The exact contours here, including some checks on researchers [at least over certain basic methods or some sense of it the people are trustworthy] is unclear to me.

But, I get the overall point, I guess.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 15, 2016 11:10:03 AM

@Joe

I thought I was making it clear but I guess not so let me try again: the "safe harbor" is based upon one's affiliation with law enforcement. So police look at child pornography as part of their duties for investigating such crimes. Police can deputize people to work on their behalf as part of such investigations. The other safe harbor in that sense is prosecutor discretion. Think about it in the same sense as a grant of immunity. So of course the contours of such a "safe harbor" are not clear because they cannot be clear as they depend of the grace of the law enforcement officials involved.

When Eric Goldman says there is "no safe harbor" he means there is no safe harbor written into the law that the ordinary citizen can ordinarily avail themselves of under ordinary circumstances. Law enforcement exceptions are by definition exceptional.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 16, 2016 11:54:51 AM

@Joe

I thought I was making it clear but I guess not so let me try again: the "safe harbor" is based upon one's affiliation with law enforcement. So police look at child pornography as part of their duties for investigating such crimes. Police can deputize people to work on their behalf as part of such investigations. The other safe harbor in that sense is prosecutor discretion. Think about it in the same sense as a grant of immunity. So of course the contours of such a "safe harbor" are not clear because they cannot be clear as they depend of the grace of the law enforcement officials involved.

When Eric Goldman says there is "no safe harbor" he means there is no safe harbor written into the law that the ordinary citizen can ordinarily avail themselves of under ordinary circumstances. Law enforcement exceptions are by definition exceptional.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 16, 2016 11:54:51 AM

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