Here in New Hampshire, we have a case going on of a guy who worked at a summer camp who’s being tried on child-pornography charges. He often took pictures of the campers, but was caught digitally superimposing the faces of some campers (who are under the age of 18, naturally) on to some nude photos — some very sexually explicit.
I honestly have absolutely no idea what ought to be done about this. The purpose of child-porn laws is clear: to protect the children who were abused in its production. But here, no children were directly harmed. They might have a case of defamation, but that’s a civil matter, not a criminal. And his lawyer is using a First Amendment defense.
On the other hand, it’s obviously being done for disgusting purposes, and the guy definitely has some major problems. I’m glad he was fired, and I hope he’s kept from ever working with kids again. In fact, I’ll even speculate that he’s a prime candidate to commit a real offense against a kid someday.
But our laws don’t work on the basis of “he’ll likely do something bad tomorrow, so we’ll arrest him today.” That was the subject of a bad Tom Cruise movie.
With the explosion of digital cameras and the almost-universal accessibility of photo-editing software, cases like this (and lawsuits over fake celebrity and non-celebrity nude photos) are only likely to increase. And we need to figure out just how we, as a society, want to deal with this.
For once, though, I’m going to play the wimp here and not take a side just yet. I think I’ll sit back and let “experts” like (this is quite painful to say) Attorney Mark and others kick it around it a bit before figuring out just where I stand.
(Please note that I’m not deferring to their judgment; I just want to hear their arguments.)
I hate cases like this… and it makes my loathing for the guys who do it even more intense.