March 3, 2010
It Is Time To Prosecute Obscenity
By Mike McManus
In Columbus, Ohio three boys, aged 11, 12 and 14 were in Juvenile Court
facing rape charges of children who were all under age 10. This was not an
isolated incident. Columbus had a dozen similar cases.
Why? Probably the boys watched hard-core porn on line and wanted to try it
themselves. There is virtually no enforcement of laws that make obscenity a
crime. Since Obama became President not one obscenity case has been filed,
and there were too few during the Bush II years.
Illegal hard-core pornography is flooding our society. It saturates the
internet, cable/satellite. It’s in hotels, libraries, convenience stores
and is readily available to children and adults.
Sexting is the latest phenomenon among children who take pictures of
themselves nude or performing sexual acts, and email them to friends.
Hardcore porn is addicting tens of millions of adults and is involved in up
to half of all divorce cases, according to attorneys and therapists.
Contrary to common perceptions, “Obscene material is unprotected by the
First Amendment,” the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled. In the landmark
case, Miller v. California, The Court defined obscenity as “patently
offensive representation of descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or
perverted, actual or simulated, and patently offensive representations of
masturbatory, excretory functions, and lewd exhibitions of the genitals.”
The Court provided a three-prong test that has held up in court in recent
The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would
find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and
the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual
conduct specifically defined by the applicable state or federal law; and
t he work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic,
political or scientific value.
Just weeks ago, a federal judge in Washington DC declined to dismiss a case
against “Max Hardcore” (John Stagliano and his company, Evil Angel
Productions) who is accused of illegally trafficking hardcore pornography
across state lines, a case
during Bush years.
Opinion polls in 2002 and 2004 found more than 80 percent of people think
federal law against internet obscenity should be vigorously enforced.
The U.S. Justice Department has an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force led by
Brent Ward, who is able and committed. But the FBI has refused to provide
agents to investigate adult obscenity cases and none of 92 U.S. Attorneys
have filed a case.
Patrick Trueman, who led Justice obscenity prosecutions in the Reagan and
Bush I Administrations was given seed money by Morality in Media, a
nonprofit organization fighting this plague, to launch a “War on Illegal
He has outlined a four-fold strategy:
Enforce the Law. No new obscenity law is needed.
Prosecute criminal pornographers that are destroying lives of men,
women and children. The FBI and U.S. Attorneys should file 8-10 major
cases each year.
Mobilize pro-family and religious leaders to demand action.
Catholics and Evangelicals and groups such as Focus on the Family,
Concerned Women for America who were once active, need to fight again
joining with feminists opposed to sexual trafficking,. They also must raise
funds to hire a national staff to lead the battle.
Congress should demand action. When the FBI and Justice
Department testify on behalf of their agencies for funding, they should be
asked about their plans to enforce the law, and be given funds to crack down
on the biggest pornographers.
The War Against Illegal Pornography is crucial. I applaud Pat Trueman’s
vision and strategy. No one is more capable of being the general of this
However, this undertaking will be a very difficult. I know
I covered the meetings of The Attorney General’s Commission
on Pornography, appointed by then AG Ed Meese. The only other reporter
regularly present was from Penthouse! The news media treated the issue as a
I got the Report published, and wrote a lengthy Introduction and summary of
its findings in 1986. However, neither Meese nor President Reagan commented
on the Report until my edition of it was published that criticized their
Fortunately, prosecution did become vigorous under such leaders as Pat
Trueman. There were results from 1987-1994: 130+ obscenity indictments, 126
convictions, a sharp reduction in obscene materials, and most surviving porn
companies would not ship to cities like Cincinnati where convictions
However, prosecution virtually stopped during the Clinton years. Under Bush
II some cases were filed, but mostly for child pornography. Now another
Democratic President is looking the other way.
If you are concerned, become informed by going to Trueman’s website,
PornHarms.com. Then urge your pastor and your Congressman to join this