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October 22, 2015
Column #1782
Where Do Candidates Stand on Pornography?
By Mike McManus

Do you remember Elizabeth Smart who was abducted in 2002 at age 14 and
found nine months later, who testified that she had been raped and physically abused daily by her abductor? He regularly watched hard core porn and forced Elizabeth to submit to similar viscous rapes he saw on videos.

She and her father, Ed Smart, testified at the U.S. Capitol last summer. He said, "Pornography provides a slippery slope to take the next step to abuse and exploitation." Violent pornography creates a desire to rape or abuse.

Patrick Trueman, President of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, who organized the event, told me on Wednesday: "Pornography is now a public health crisis and every family in America has been harmed by it, or is concerned about the potential harm. What other crisis has affected so many people than this one?

"More than half of the marriages that break up in America are caused in part by pornography." He is right. Multiple studies report that between 56% and 58% of divorces involve the addiction of one spouse to hard core pornography.

The destruction of about 650,000 marriages a year is clear evidence that Trueman is correct in asserting that "Pornography is now a public health crisis."

There is more evidence. "Child sex abuse is skyrocketing and addiction by both adults and children is widespread," Trueman asserted. Pornography is also connected to sex trafficking, prostitution and promotes violence against women and children.

I asked him what laws he would pass that could make America safer from porn's harm.

"We don't need any new laws," Trueman replied. "We need enforcement of existing laws that prohibit the distribution of hard core pornography on cable and satellite. These are felonies. Federal law prohibits the distribution of hard core porn. Every porn shop can be prosecuted, every gas station selling this stuff.

"However, the Obama Administration has said, 'No, we will protect those who distribute porn. We will not enforce the law.'" In seven years, not a single case was prosecuted. Nor were many cases prosecuted during the Bush Administration, Trueman asserted.

He would know. From 1988 to 1993, Trueman was in charge of prosecuting obscenity cases for the Justice Department. During the Reagan Administration, the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography issued a report in 1986 that concluded by a narrow 6-5 vote that "Pornography is both causal and symptomatic of immorality and corruption."

However, in its next to last meeting, only three of the 11 Commissioners appointed by Attorney General Edmund Meese concluded that the most widely available pornography was "predominantly harmful." Penthouse could not believe it. "What on earth?" asked Penthouse. "The Meese Commission conceived by prosecutors and ordained by the legions of decency had just voted that pornography could actually help families."

I was stunned and was the only reporter covering the Commission's meetings who did not work for pornographers. I wrote one column which charged, "The Commission could not agree if it was harmful, for example, for films to depict graphic portrayals of fornication, of orgies involving a number of men and women, of homosexuals doing fellatio on one another, or a man performing oral sex on a woman, or incest involving adults!"

I provided the names and addresses of the "libertarians" and suggested that readers ask them to explain the facts that `Alaska and Nevada residents buy five times as many pornographic magazines per capita as North Dakota, and have a rape rate that is six times higher. Mere coincidence? Nonsense," I argued.

"An FBI study of 37 murderers confessing multiple killings, found 29 used hard and soft-core pornography to fuel their anticipatory fantasy," I wrote.

My columns sparked about 1,000 letters. One of the liberals, Dr. Park Dietz, studied a sample of them and shifted from a liberal to a conservative position. He told the Commission that "I have spent my time with assassins, rapists and have little contact with...the day to day concerns of ordinary people. But in the citizen mail the concerns were overwhelmingly in the direction of asking us to 'do something about the problem.' And I was moved by the witnesses who came before us as victims, and by the law enforcement people who were almost unanimous in citing a link between porn and crime."

Dietz persuaded two others to join with conservatives on porn's harm, creating the 6-5 majority.

Result? Trueman and his staff prosecuted the two dozen largest pornographers in America and put them all in jail!

Trueman will ask each of the Presidential candidates if they will enforce the law.

Wonderful. Pornography is a public health crisis that must be faced.

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