Child erotica

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Child erotica is non-pornographic material relating to children that is used by any individuals for sexual purposes. [1] [2] [3] It is a broader term than child pornography, incorporating material that may cause sexual arousal such as nonsexual images, books or magazines on children or pedophilia, toys, diaries, or clothes. [3] [4] Law enforcement investigators have found that child erotica is often collected by pedophiles and child sexual abuse offenders. Child erotica may be collected as a form of compulsive behavior and as a substitute for illegal child pornography and is often a form of evidence for criminal behavior. [1]


The history of child erotica goes back at least as far as the paintings of the ancient Greeks, and continues through England's Libertine movement of the 1600s to the advent of the printing press, the camera and the case of Lewis Carroll. [5] Painters of child erotica have included, for example, Balthus. [6]

Some child erotica images are distributed over the internet and presented in a fashion similar to non-erotic child modeling. Child beauty pageantry, which has attracted millions of viewers to shows such as Little Miss Perfect and Toddlers and Tiaras , is sometimes viewed as a form of child erotica similar to child modeling in that the children appear in provocative poses in bikinis and short skirts; but some participants' parents argue that the pageants help their children build positive qualities such as poise, individuality, and confidence. [7]

Much as there has been a push to relabel child pornography as "child abuse images," the use of the term "child erotica" is controversial due to the artistic and literary connotations of the word "erotica". [8]



The Japanese Law Banning Child Prostitution and Pornography, enacted in 1999, defines child pornography as any image of a child under 18 years old "naked or partially naked, which is sexually stimulating."

DVDs and photo books of scantily clothed Junior Idols are available for sale.

The Publishers Ethics Committee of the Japan Magazine Publishers's Association checks bookstores for inappropriate publications and has issued warnings to publishers of pornographic manga (books). However, committee members have said it is not easy to determine whether an image crosses the line from art to child pornography. [9]

United Kingdom

Newsgroups in the alt.* hierarchy have included, for example, [10] and In 2001–2002, the Internet Watch Foundation and Crown Prosecution Service considered that an Internet service provider knowingly carrying such a group name could be committing an offense relating to illegal advertisements. [11]

United States

Depictions of even a clothed child violate U.S. federal law 18 U.S.C.   § 2252(a)(2) , 18 U.S.C.   § 2252(a)(4) , and 18 U.S.C.   § 2256(2)(E) if they constitute "lascivious" exhibitions of the genitalia or pubic area. [12] The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has defined "lascivious" as "tending to excite lust; lewd; indecent; obscene; sexual impurity; tending to deprave the morals in respect to sexual relations."

In the United States, some members of the Congress have proposed prohibiting certain child modeling sites. Some states are considering similar legislation. [13] Opponents[ who? ] of such legislation argue that it would probably be ruled to violate the first amendment to the US constitution.

In February 2018, a New Jersey law against child erotica went into effect. [14] The law defines to portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner as to depict a child's less than completely and opaquely covered intimate parts, or any form of contact with a child's intimate parts, in a manner that, by means of the posing, composition, format, or animated sensual details, emits sensuality with sufficient impact to concentrate prurient interest on the child; or otherwise to depict a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification. Anthony Domenick became the first defendant to be charged for possession of child erotica. [15]

Child erotica was defined in United States v. Paul D. Edwards as materials or items that are sexually arousing to persons having a sexual interest in minors but that are not, in and of themselves, obscene or that do not necessarily depict minors in sexually explicit poses or positions. In that case, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which included Neil Gorsuch, found that an affidavit showing a suspect had a history of publicly posting child erotica and making comments suggesting he was sexually attracted to the children depicted in the erotica did not establish probable cause to support a search warrant for child pornography. [16]

In United States v. Caldwell, [17] the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that child erotica is admissible to show knowledge and intent to possess child pornography, as child erotica is evidence of a sexual interest in children, and the total quantity of child erotica makes it less likely that the defendant was unaware of its presence. [18]

Similarly, in United States v. Vosburgh, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit admitted as evidence forty-six non-pornographic images of prepubescent girls in swimsuits and thirty pictures of Loli-chan, a 13-year old camgirl, finding that the "probative value of the Loli-chan pictures was not insignificant" in suggesting that Vosburgh harbored a sexual interest in children, knowingly possessed the child pornography found on his computer, and purposefully accessed a link he thought would lead to child pornography. [19] The court cited a case, United States v. Dornhofer, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled admissible a defendant's notebook containing pictures of nude children, novels dealing with incest, and teen erotica magazines. [20]

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, acknowledged possessing a massive collection of "vintage erotica" such as "a young man with his hand on his thigh". [21] His lawyer cited as another piece from the collection, "a black-and-white tintype from 1901 with a young man of indeterminate, 17- to 19-year-old age, laying on the beach after having gone skinny-dipping" [22] and claimed this collection was erotica to which the state's child pornography law did not apply. [23] Reubens ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obscenity charge. [22]

Webe Web

In July 2001, Wired News published a story [24] about child modeling web sites that described Lil' Amber, which was a website operated by the web hosting company Webe Web Corporation located in Florida. Webe Web was, at the time, the oldest child modeling site service on the Internet. In November 2001, the NBC television station serving Miami, FL, ran a story entitled "Selling Innocence." A reporter "went undercover" to contact the site operators, and then tracked down Amber (a pseudonym), the model featured in Lil' Amber, at her family's farm in Palm Beach County. The news report prompted Florida Congressman Mark Foley (R-Palm Beach County) to propose legislation banning child modeling web sites. [25] Foley later resigned from office stemming from allegations of inappropriate conduct with a teenaged boy. [26]

Jeff Libman, Marc Evan Greenberg and Webe Web Corporation were indicted in November 2006[ needs update ]in the Northern District of Alabama for conspiracy to produce images of child pornography and transportation of images of child pornography, although the images contained no nudity or sexual activity. Immediately, all Webe Web child model sites went offline after internet domains and servers were seized by law enforcement . Marc Evan Greenberg and Jeff Libman, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

In 2007 Jeff Pierson, a photographer from Alabama, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport child pornography and transportation of child pornography [27] Mr. Pierson's images were published by Webe Web. Pierson cooperated with Federal Authorities after having his home raided by law enforcement in early 2005.

Some parents said they were unaware of the imagery being taken of their children, and some had signed over temporary legal custody of their child to Pierson during the modeling session. [27] Pierson maintained that all the parents were aware of the websites.

In a separate case, unrelated to images connected to Webe Web, Jeff Libman was indicted by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida on April 28, 2009, for receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography. Libman[ who? ] was first identified by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the FBI during an investigation of Webe Web Corp., a Florida-based company. According to court documents, USPIS and FBI agents seized large volumes of computer media during the execution of a search warrant at Libman's residence in Fort Lauderdale. In his plea agreement, Libman admitted he received images that depict prepubescent children and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct. On Nov. 13, 2009, Libman was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison. He had faced a maximum possible term of 20 years in prison. [28] [29] The case was prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Chief Alexandra R. Gelber and Trial Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Marie Villafaña of the Southern District of Florida. The case was investigated by USPIS, the FBI and CEOS’ High Tech Investigative Unit. [30] [31] [32]

Company vice-president Jeffrey Robert Libman, 43, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December 2010 to serve nine years in prison. In accordance to his plea agreement he admitted that 16 images received from Pierson were child pornography as defined by the Indictment.

President Marc Evan Greenberg pleaded guilty in April 2010 to one count of money laundering, based on his processing of the money generated by Webe Web. He was sentenced in January 2011 to serve more than two and a half years in prison.

On February 9, 2011 Alabama Photographer Jeff Pierson was sentenced to 67 months in prison and 10 years on supervised release. His sentence was delayed pending the outcome of the case against Libman, Greenberg and Webe Web Corp. [33]

A Little Agency

In early 2006[ needs update ] the operators of the child modeling agencies "A Little Agency" and "The VMS," (Matthew Duhamel) were arrested on charges of child pornography. Neither A Little Agency nor the VMS distributed nude photographs, but federal prosecutors argued that they still contained "lascivious exhibitions" of the genitalia based on the six-part Dost test. [34] Federal prosecutors claimed the Web sites dealt in images of girls as young as 9 wearing scant clothing in suggestive poses. One photo reportedly shows a 9-year-old girl in "black stiletto pumps, a black lace thong, black bra, and a black jacket" sitting on a dining room table, according to court records. [34] The operators were indicted on transportation of child pornography, possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography. [34] Attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges against them arguing that the pictures of young girls in suggestive poses on the websites they operated did not rise to the level of pornography. However, the judge assigned to the case, Chief Judge Campbell, denied the motion to dismiss, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined fully clothed pictures can be considered pornographic. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Due to the international nature of the Internet, the legal status of Internet pornography carries with it special issues with regard to the law. There is no one set of laws that apply to the distribution, purchase, or possession of Internet pornography. This means that, for example, even if a pornographer is legally distributing pornography, the person receiving it may not be legally doing so due to local laws.

Jason "Jace" Alexander is an American television director and actor from New York City.

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Amateur pornography is a category of pornography that features models, actors or non-professionals performing without pay, or actors for whom this material is not their only paid modeling work. Reality pornography is professionally made porn which seeks to emulate the style of amateur pornography. Amateur porn has been called one of the most profitable and long-lasting genres of pornography.

Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is a law in the United Kingdom criminalising possession of what it refers to as "extreme pornographic images". The law was enacted from 26 January 2009. The legislation was brought in following the murder of Jane Longhurst by a man who was said at the time of his trial to have had "extreme pornography" in his possession at the time of the death. The law has been more widely used than originally predicted, raising concerns as to whether the legislation is being used for prosecutions beyond the scope originally envisaged by parliament.

Legal status of fictional pornography depicting minors

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An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. It is derived from the Latin obscēnus, obscaenus, "boding ill; disgusting; indecent", of uncertain etymology. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as "obscene profits" or "the obscenity of war". As a legal term, it usually refers to graphic depictions of people engaged in sexual and excretory activity.

Child pornography laws in the United States specify that child pornography is illegal under federal law and in all states and is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment or fine of $5000. The Supreme Court of the United States has found child pornography to be "legally obscene", a term that refers to offensive or violent forms of pornography that have been declared to be outside the protections of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Federal sentencing guidelines on child pornography differentiate between production, distribution, and purchasing/receiving, and also include variations in severity based on the age of the child involved in the materials, with significant increases in penalties when the offense involves a prepubescent child or a child under the age of 12. U.S. law distinguishes between pornographic images of an actual minor, realistic images that are not of an actual minor, and non-realistic images such as drawings. The latter two categories are legally protected unless found to be obscene, whereas the first does not require a finding of obscenity.

Simulated child pornography is child pornography depicting what appear to be minors but which is produced without the direct involvement of children.

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Legality of child pornography

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