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September 21, 2016

Federal District Judge reasonably asks "What’s The Deal With White Guys And Child Porn?"

Long-time readers and federal district court aficionados likely know plenty about Senior United States District Judge Richard G. Kopf, a jurist who has never been afraid to say what he is thinking (and who's gotten in trouble a few times for that tendency). As evidenced by this new post at Mimesis Law, the judge has lately been giving thought to kiddie porn and the racial demographics of certain offender groups.  Here are excerpts:

In America, there is no doubt that in most circumstances being white (Caucasian in census terms) is a benefit.... But, at least in one category, it appears that being white is not a really good thing, but rather a predictor for the commission of horrible federal crimes. I refer to the production of child pornography.

The Sentencing Commission has told us that child porn consumers[* footnote] are “overwhelming white.” U.S. Sentencing Commission, Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses, ch. 11 at 308 n. 56 (Dec. 2012). The same thing is true for producers of child pornography. That is: "Production offenders, like non-production child pornography offenders, are a relatively homogenous group demographically compared to federal offenders generally. Among production offenders in fiscal year 2010, the overwhelming majority were male (97.0%), white (85.9%), and United States citizens (97.0%)."

Moreover, child porn producers were very different than the normal federal offender.  They were employed, relatively well-educated and came from a higher socio-economic background. To be specific, ... "like non-production offenders, production offenders on average occupy a higher socio-economic status than federal offenders generally. In fiscal year 2010, 87.7 percent of production offenders were high school graduates, and 46.7 percent had at least some college.  In fiscal 2010, among all federal offenders, the typical offender was not a high school graduate (51.4%), and only 19.9 percent of offenders had at least some college education.  There was a high degree of employment among child pornography production offenders at the time of their arrests.  Of the 197 production offenders sentenced in 2010 for which there was employment data, 76.1 percent were employed."

But in all probability, you don’t know what I mean, at least on a visceral level, by the words “child porn producer.”  So let me give you an example.  Be prepared to puke. The following is an accurate media summary of a child porn production case that started off in Michigan and landed on my docket as well because the united group of producers spanned our nation.

"A November arrest in a child porn case has led federal investigators to a larger ring of suspects accused of working together online to manipulate young girls into engaging in sexual acts on camera. A complaint against a California man filed in Detroit federal court Thursday revealed details of a disturbing and elaborate operation that sought to lure minors into video chatrooms where they would be urged to perform 'dares' while their images were recorded.... Federal investigators learned that members of the group served distinct roles that included 'hunters,' 'talkers,' 'loopers' and 'watchers'."

What happened to these young girls, mostly in their early teens, was horrendous.  Suffice it state that they were cajoled or trapped into violating themselves in the most sickening and humiliating of ways, in one case blackmailed to continue the abuse, and in another case permitted to harm herself for the pleasure of the observers.

My part of this case was simple.  The Nebraska white guy, who was 31, and a hardworking man, with post-secondary education, and respected member of his community, was confronted at his home by the FBI.  He told me that he was relieved when the feds came to the door because he didn’t know how to stop.  He immediately spilled his guts.  I accepted the Rule 11(c) (1) (C) plea agreement, containing an appeal waiver, and requiring me to sentence the defendant to 35 years in prison.  His Guideline range was life.

He was very smart to have accepted the deal because I would likely have imposed a life sentence.  Despite my reservations, I approved the plea agreement to avoid a trial with the kids being forced to testify.  I also sentenced him to a life of supervised release when he gets out of prison as an old man.  He was capable of making, and I required him to pay, a substantial amount of restitution to the children.

As I reflected on the above, I wondered about the word “thug” with all the racial freight that word carries.  I asked myself how I should describe these white child porn producers assuming I see no problem with the word “thug.”  Perhaps I could call them “white devils!”  Anyway, at this point I realized that my mind was wandering, so I returned to the essential question.

What the hell is wrong with white guys?

[* footnote] As I have previously noted in Fault Lines, I have some empathy for child porn consumers as opposed to child porn producers.  See here.

September 21, 2016 at 01:14 PM | Permalink

Comments

"What the hell is wrong with white guys?"

This is disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. It's one thing to note that whites (and males) are disproportionately represented in CP, but to ascribe the sickness that these guys have to all white guys is revolting. Just as it is revolting to ascribe the behavior of African-American criminals to blacks generally.

That a federal judge actually speaks in these terms is, quite frankly, shocking.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 21, 2016 2:34:42 PM

Let me be short and sweet judge: in my view you are blaming the victim. The fact that he takes pride in satisfaction at increasing their victimization is disgusting.

I'll leave it at that.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 21, 2016 4:24:25 PM

Considering that most "child porn producers" are simply filming grotesque child molestation, that is, they are hands-on child molesters, I'm not sure why he's so revolted by this. While it is grotesquely exploitative, it is also not a hands-on offense. To me, there remains a gulf in culpability (and proportional punishment) between hands-on and hands-off offenders.

I don't really see how the judge is blaming the victims.

I wonder if CP offenders prior to the internet were as uniformly white, middle-class guys? I think part of it is the technology involved and the other part is that this is a mental illness and if a certain percentage of the population has said mental illness, then white guys are going to be overrepresented.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Sep 21, 2016 9:57:40 PM

Not all committers of this repugnant crime are male. You had an instance, for example, where a female Tea Party activist for Michelle Bachmann was forcibly using her little children to perform sex acts for adult customers who came to her house to commit this sick crime. Yes, most offenders, I fear, are male; but we have our share of females (mostly well educated white women) who commit these sordid crimes as well. Law enforcement should take such offences committed by females equally seriously as they do when the offence is committed by a well educated white male.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Sep 22, 2016 9:27:15 AM

Judge Kopf's (footnote) has an interesting ending.
His last sentence seems to suggest that if you were a rational thinking person, after getting out of prison, getting a minimum wage job and having thousands to repay in restitution and special assessment fees, that you just might want to go to the public library where you will have free access to a computer and look up cheap ways to kill yourself.

Judge:
Some towns prohibit registered sex offenders from using the public library.
Having to register as a sex offender has already "taken your life".

To even "suggest" someone might want to consider killing themselves, Judge, that's just so wrong on so many levels! You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: kat | Sep 22, 2016 9:56:01 AM

kat, I think the judge's point in the article not posted is that the CP punishment scheme is entirely too harsh for those who are first offenders and show no other tendencies toward active pedophilia, and that's in a made-up scenario where the receiver/distributor gets the mandatory minimum, which almost never happens in real life. In my observation, they get Jared Fogle sentences, without the aggravating factors (not accounted for by the guidelines) that suggest that Fogle is/has been an active, hands-on pedophile and abuser.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Sep 22, 2016 10:33:55 AM

... And what about the absence of warnings?? In our society there are warnings for everything. Yes, I know many bloggers will say that people should know better then to view this repugnant content. It's never that simple. As a civilized society shouldn't we know better than to leave our children alone in a car? Shouldn't we know better than to drink and drive? Yet, in most states there are electronic billboards warning us of both these very obvious no-no's. Just last week I rented out the movie "Apollo 13". Not only did the DVD give the viewer a FBI warning about copyright infringement, it gave an additional warning that stated this: "Piracy is not a victimless crime. Got to this ... website and see how piracy affects our economy." Now, let's talk about where this civilized society of ours places its priorities.

Posted by: tommyc | Sep 22, 2016 12:00:10 PM

FB

Fogle may or may not have been the producer himself but there was ample evidence that he was a facilitator at the very least.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 22, 2016 12:01:51 PM

All I can say is every case is different and the judicial system throws a blanket to cover ALL sexual acts from elementary school to Senior citizens. The Jury is un-educated to their job of protecting the people from the prosecutors that have no evidence. Prison or probation for life is money in the judicial system pockets.

I personally know of three generations of women that have cried rape to gain profit and used their kids. Remember a scorned woman is trouble. CPS should be abolished, no good has come out of CPS in years. Women must be held accountable for whom they decide to have sex with.

Children are bombarded with sexual shows on TV, sexual songs on Radio, school surroundings and poorly raised peers.Who is to blame?

Common sense will tell you that if a Mayor says that a 4 year old provoked his sexual desires, he obviously has a mental problem. These are the kind of sexual perverts that should be in prison.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Sep 22, 2016 1:05:05 PM

Tom,

My understanding is that in most production cases the abuser is either the parent or someone well known to the parent(s). I don't see what good warnings would do under those circumstances.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 22, 2016 1:05:11 PM

To Soronel...
I'm referring to those that view this heinous material. The production cases, in my opinion are a no brainer. If our society allows heroin to be placed on street corners throughout the nation free for the taking, without warnings that it's illegal, what do you think would happen?

Posted by: tommyc | Sep 22, 2016 1:48:03 PM

I have never heard of something like this happening in the United States before. Yeah there are guys having sex with young teens, including sometimes on camera but I've never heard of an organized ring. Is there a link available to read more about this case?

Posted by: citizen | Sep 24, 2016 1:21:49 AM

Okay I found the media summary. Anyway Im wondering how common rings are.

Posted by: citizen | Sep 24, 2016 1:30:55 AM

Soronel Haetir: "My understanding is that in most production cases the abuser is either the parent or someone well known to the parent(s). I don't see what good warnings would do under those circumstances."

Based on the stats I've read, a minority [about 20%] are abused by strangers. The majority of CP is manufactured by parents, followed by siblings and "other" family members. Same goes for a majority of sexual abusers of children. Neighbors, friends of the family, babysitters and other people within the child's "circle" make up the balance.

....

Posted by: Huh? | Dec 5, 2016 6:00:34 PM

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