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Thoughtcrime and maythinkcrime

Increasingly in Britain people are punished for who they are; but it is not a completely new trend. Here, from today’s London Evening Standard is a sad, and to me disturbing, instance of a thoughtcrime that’s been on the books and zealously pursued for over a decade:

Paul Thomas, 45, a former Hackney councillor, had more than 60 CDs of child pornography in his Bow Home, many showing underage girls in swimwear, Southwark Crown Court heard. Damian van Duyvenbode, prosecuting, said: “This defendant has stored large numbers of images of children in swimwear which the prosecution say is part of his sexual gratification.”

Thomas, who did have previous convictions, admitted 14 counts of “making indecent photographs of children” and was jailed for 18 months.

We don’t know from the account what the pictures were that didn’t feature girls in swimwear. But it is pretty clear that the swimwear is being offered as an aggravating factor. Why?

Holiday supplements of magazines and newspapers, clothes catalogues, travel brochures, and family albums are all full of children in swimwear. Though perhaps they ought to fear it, since there appears to be no defence, at least half the households in the land must therefore possess similarly “indecent” photographs without fear of prosecution.

But they aren’t downloading them from the internet and storing them on disk – which is all that “making” means in this context. They aren’t presumed to be getting sexual pleasure from seeing them. Nobody thinks that children are injured merely by being photographed in swimwear, do they? That man is being prosecuted and punished, or at least his punishment is being increased, for what he might be thinking.

This is the chain of magical contagion at work, an arpeggio of tendentious definitions: The man’s a textbook middle-aged usual suspect; the pictures he collects are indecent because he collects them; indecent pictures of children are child pornography; child pornography is child abuse, by definition. Note that it has a doubly magical property… the presumptive equivalences turn a sad case into a mass rapist and they work both ways at once. Everything in the chain is bound by taboo and high emotion. We’re not allowed to ask, “Was anyone harmed?” It’s irrelevant. The existence of indecency is sufficient to convict. And the court, taking the advice of prosecution experts, will decide what’s indecent.

So be careful what you think. Be careful, in fact, what others might think you think. That you aren’t hurting anybody, that nobody has in fact been hurt, is no excuse.

32 comments to Thoughtcrime and maythinkcrime

  • Lascaille

    I do feel the need to point out that there’s something pretty weird about having _60_ CDs full of CP.

    The problem with the (presumed) kiddie fiddlers is that they all tend to be massive hoarders, they have whole rooms or (these days) Terabytes of the stuff stashed away… it’s pretty weird and suggests strongly to me that they are acting out an obsessive/compulsive fantasy.

    But yeah, the ‘he’s got loads of it therefore he must at some point in his life going to be a mass schoolgirl rapist’ theory doesn’t really hold water. And the ‘downloading an image from the internet’ = ‘making an image’ is a total disgrace and is evidence to me that someone in the judiciary was trying to find a way to totally unbalance the scales of justice.

  • Nick M

    Don’t get me wrong here. I have no time for nonces. I also deeply suspect that anyone with 60 CDs of kiddy (soft) porn is most likely up to no good. But, Guy Herbert has a very good point. I have pictures of pre-pubescent cousins etc (in swimwear) on my shelves. They do not represent a sexual fixation for me – I’m perfectly happy with my 26 year old girlfriend for that sort of thing – they are just pictures. I could well imagine them being used against me. I remember the disgraceful Julia Sommerville case. Whilke I suspect this guy probably is a kiddy fiddler I am far from comfortable with the potential this represents for a general witch-hunt.

  • Robert

    While I agree with the idea that this sort of thing could be a long way past too far, I also presume that this piece of scum (previous convictions, therefore a statement of fact) was given a defence lawyer.
    This being the case, one wonders what else was on those 60 CD’s that the shyster was of no avail.
    Sorry, sympathy meter at zero here.

  • J

    I think the law regarding child porn is an aberration in certain countries. I understand that illustrated child porn is an offence in the UK the US, even though it obviously doesn’t cause direct harm to children. Illustrated scenes of mass torture, murder and so on are not of course banned, and it’s not really clear what argument applies to the one but not the other. Other cultures, such as scandanavia and Japan, seem less concerned by sexual portrayal of children.

  • There was a case in the states that went to the supreme court wherein a guy was busted for making hundreds of videos of children at the beach and parks with the primary focus being the children’s crotches. I can’t recall what was decided.

    There are cases, I would argue, were it is not the individual pieces of information that are of interest but rather the relationship of the pieces to each other. Its like in graph theory were it is not vertices that count but the edges that connect them. Probably everyone has images of children in their personal photos and the like that some deviant would find arousing but each individual imagine doesn’t mean anything. A vast collection of such images does.

  • James of England

    Shannon, you’re thinking of Knox v. US. The argument was that if the clothing was transparent or sufficiently clinging to reveal the contours of the genitals, it was revealing enough. The problem for the first amendment wasn’t so much here as in Ferber, when they first decided it didn’t have to be obscene to be porn if it was kiddie “porn”. Once you’re there, the rest all follows pretty reasonably.

    Robert, I’m a little surprised to come to a libertarian blog and see “he was scum, and he might have done something to deserve this sentence, so who gives a damn if the government locks him up?” Is there anything that the Police can’t rightfully do to an ex-con in your mind? At least to a bad ex-con?

  • Joshua

    James of England-

    Ferber was limited in scope, however, with Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which holds that computer generated images of children where no actual children were involved are perfectly legal – a case decided on First Amendment grounds. Though I do not really have much taste for the wording of the majority opinion (it’s all very Euan Grayish with references to community standards and benefit to society blah blah – Clarence Thomas wrote a separte concurring opinion that makes a hell of a lot more sense), the effects of the decision are completely fair. The reasoning in Ferber was that the state has an interest in protecting the children depcited from harm in the filming process – which I don’t think any of us would find reason to disagree with. Minors, after all, are not in a position to give the legal consent necessary in the adult porn industry. Once no actual children are involved, as they are not in virtual porn, there should be no problem – and that is exactly what the Court decided.

    I agree with Guy – merely thinking about having sex with children should not be a crime – and certainly the state should presume to be able to infer what people are thinking (no matter how obvious it seems – as in this case). Once someone actually tries to DO anything about his thoughs, then by all means throw the book at him.

  • Joshua

    and certainly the state should presume to be able to infer what people are thinking (no matter how obvious it seems – as in this case)

    Should obviously read “the state should not presume…” Sorry.

  • xj

    Clarence Thomas wrote a separate concurring opinion that makes a hell of a lot more sense

    Generally the case. Nominating Thomas was about the only unalloyedly good thing that Papa Bush ever did. He’s the brains to Scalia’s mouth.

  • Uain

    Zero sympathy here also for the pervert. In classic Brit fashion, the article refers to 60 CDs of “children in swimwear”. I highly doubt these pictures have any resemblence to the pictures of neices or daughters, any rational person would have on their mantle piece.
    And yes, kiddie porn does end up causing major harm if not death to children. In all cases I am aware of, child rapists and child murderers all had copious amounts of child porn in their posession, from the soft to the really ugly stuff. Guy Herbert…. you should find something more important on which to excercise your great intellect.

  • Uain – I think you’ve missed the point, but never mind.

  • The problem with the (presumed) kiddie fiddlers is that they all tend to be massive hoarders, they have whole rooms or (these days) Terabytes of the stuff stashed away… it’s pretty weird and suggests strongly to me that they are acting out an obsessive/compulsive fantasy.

    I’m no expert in child porn, nor do I possess any, but I do know a bit about P2P networks, and how these porn rings work (the latter I gleaned from reading the reports of CP convictions). It seems to be a requirement for anyone wishing to get into a CP ring to have a huge number of pictures to bring to the party and share, much the same as how the P2P hubs work. This would explain why people accused of possessing CP have so much of it.

  • guy herbert

    I highly doubt these pictures have any resemblence to the pictures of neices or daughters, any rational person would have on their mantle piece.

    I don’t. I think you are being mislead by the rhetoric of the war on ‘kiddieporn’. I am sure there were anything more to them, the prosecutor, whose interest is in presenting the situation at its worst, would have alluded to more. It was that the defendant was excited by those pictures that was being put forward as damning him. You shouldn’t assume that what you think of as sexual is a guide to other people’s experience. Some people are greatly aroused by pictures of shoes, or certain types of food.

    US readers need to understand that the law in Britain is quite extraordinary on this subject. Its subject is ‘indecent’ (not defined in law, and very broad ly interpreted) photographs or pseudophotographs of persons under 18. A pseudophotograph is a photoshopped image, so that a childs head cut-and-pasted onto the body of an adult model would be caught. US federal laws, though inspired by the same moral panic (and despite the American record of far greater prudery about sex and the body, even than that of Britain), are considerably more rational.

    The age criterion was increased to 18 from 16 only recently, in the in many other respects disastrous Sexual Offences Act 2003, and subject to an exception that clearly undermines equality before the law. It is legal to make indecent photographs (or pseudophotographs) of persons between 16 and 18 with consent, but only if you are married to them or living with them in a “familial relationship” – whatever that means. Girlfriends and boyfriends, of any degree of casualness, no. (It should be noted that the criminal investigation and intelligence services are also exempted – for any of their functions, not just the investigation of sexual offences against children.)

  • Robert

    ‘Robert, I’m a little surprised to come to a libertarian blog and see “he was scum, and he might have done something to deserve this sentence, so who gives a damn if the government locks him up?” Is there anything that the Police can’t rightfully do to an ex-con in your mind? At least to a bad ex-con? ‘

    Gee James, I must have missed the bit where I said that.
    1. Yes, he was and is scum, previous convictions give the right to infer that.
    2. Second or later offence, obviously a slow learner, so no question of him being an ‘ex’ anything.
    3. The ‘government’ hasn’t locked anyone up here, that was the judge and jury; its called a ‘trial’, you may wish to look the concept up.
    4. Child molesters have the highest recidivism rate of any criminal, so my sympathy for any who get to spend a little more time under the spotlight is limited.
    5. Just because this is a libertarian site, doesn’t mean that those of us to the right of Ghengis Khan cant enjoy it too. Just because some idiot gets (rightly) nailed doesn’t make it a Police and Government conspiracy.

    Sorry, I’ll have to go now, a black helicopter’s just landed on the back lawn…. wonder who that could be.

  • David

    4. Child molesters have the highest recidivism rate of any criminal, so my sympathy for any who get to spend a little more time under the spotlight is limited.

    No, actually recidivism is very low:


  • guy herbert

    Just because some idiot gets (rightly) nailed doesn’t make it a Police and Government conspiracy.

    James used government with a small gee, and I think that is fair enough as shorthand for ‘the power of the state’. What’s going on here is not a “conspiracy”, but an example of how public opinion, overbroad legislation, prosecutorial discretion, and court practice – no trial note, in this case, since effectively there is no defence available – combine to create arbitrary punitive power for the state.

    I don’t care whether he was an idiot or not. The point of my post is that there’s no reason to suppose he was rightly nailed, and that punishing either unacted desires or behaviour that is permitted to others is wrong.

    Even from a purely utilitarian point of view, one should be concerned if taxes are used to prosecute and imprison (probably quite expensively because of the protection and medical treatment required in prison), and ever afterwards keep tabs on, and quite possibly support because prevented from working, an individual who may have done no injury to anyone and might otherwise be living a useful life. The opportunity cost of applying police time (including rare and costly computer evidence skills) to such cases, rather than to the harder tasks of tracking those who are genuinely dangerous is also questionable, I would hope, from your soi-disant “right of Genghis Khan position.

    There is, in the latter point a hint of the public choice forces involved. Easy and numerous prosecutions help maintain the hysteria and thus the careers of the Paedofinders General, founded on a legend of pandemic rape and strange pervs lurking round every corner. There’s so much more work if you define every deviation from officially approved behaviour as a threat needing lifelong supervision, than in tackling either the stranger-rapists who are tiny in numbers and careful to cover their tracks because they know they are doing something seriously wrong, or the larger number of parents who are mistreating their own children with relative security.

    It is our old friend, virtual risk in action. Five hundred cases of real mistreatment need dealing with, but are refractory, and don’t arouse sufficient interest from the authorities until there are dead bodies. And because it is really happening, the people know that it is happening to someone else. 50,000 individuals turned into ‘child-abusers’ by the interpretation of zealots, on the other hand, and who are never to be seen or heard, so that their depravity can be left entirely to the tabloid imagination, offers scope for laws to be enacted, watch-groups set-up, specialties created and headlines guaranteed for all the brave defenders of our children.

  • James of England

    1. I’m happy to take it as read that this is a bad guy. All criminal procedural rights tend to be tested by unpleasant people. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have ’em. I can see arguments that we shouldn’t, but hardline positions demand more than mere assertion. See 5, below.
    2. The whole point of this post was that it wasn’t clear that there was a genuine offense here (at least, that’s how I read it).
    3. Wait, the judge is a private actor? Seriously? The judicial branch of government is not a branch of government? Clearly, my legal education has been deeply lacking. Honestly, it’s more focused on transactional work than litigation, so you may be right. Can you point me to the place where I will find “trial” defined as not being conducted by the authorities?
    4. As I was suggesting above, this kind of raises the question about what the police could do to ex-cons that would bother you. Once you’ve served time for a child sex offense, are there any rights you should maintain? btw, I can’t find the story online. What was his previous offense?
    5. I don’t begrudge your presence here. I’m not libertarian in all matters myself. I was “surprised”, not “appalled”. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed by the “Judge, not the government” thing. Still, although I recall a section of British politics that is in favour of hanging rapists & pedophiles, considers itself to the right of Ghengis Khan, and is not terribly fond of academic nuance, I’ll assume that that was a moment’s aberration. We all let our rhetoric get a little ahead of beliefs sometimes. No shame in it, eh?

  • James of England

    Dang it. Left the post half-written a moment and came back to find its pettiness overshadowed by an eminently more reasonable post. I’m not sure that giving the police more powers does make their job more expensive.

    A lot of the point of Whren v. US (pretexual traffic stops) and similar civil liberty reducing cases was meant to be that it made the police’s work cheaper. It makes sense that it’d be cheaper just to jail Thomas for the easy stuff rather than going to the effort of nailing him for something genuine. It does make the police scarier and more adversarial, though.

    Perhaps you’re overcompensating for your jealousy, since the state is Robert’s friend and not yours. 😉

  • Julian Taylor

    … his sexual gratification

    That does seem to be the key to this entire matter. Placing those 3 words in a sentence appears to turn any photograph albums you have of your children on holiday, playing on the lawn, at the school’s annual swimming competition etc., from ‘his family snaps’ into ‘his sexual gratification’.

    Now I may well be wrong on this but would it not be better for the prosecution to say how many actual pictures there were, rather than the number of CD’s. Images can easily be manipulated and increased in size which would require a large number of CD-R’s to store them on.

  • Robert

    Oh deary deary me, I do seem to have stirred something up here.
    Firstly, I freely admit to being a ‘hanger and flogger’ but everyone should have a hobby :).
    I had read the post that there wasa genuine offense here of owning and disseminating child porn, and that this was not a first offense. Secondly, I do not regard the Judge as an agent of the state in the sense of being ordered to give a certain verdict, or ‘get’ a certain person, and I have no doubt that this man was given as fair a trial as could be had – the jury are selected from the mass of the people after all, thats ‘us’. I fear the State is no more my friend than yours, but that doesn’t mean that I am automatically against everything they do , though I admit it’s pretty close some times
    As to what the Police could do with my blessings, thats a hard one…..if someone has a record of commiting certain offences, then it seems to me that they are reasonably kept under the spotlight, after all, they are known for commiting these types of offense. I am in favour of the idea of Police acting only with the consent of the people, but I also think we should not tie their hands when dealing with known offenders. It seems to me that many of the so called ‘human rights’ laws benefit only the lawbreaker, I do not for instance think I should have to consider the human rights of someone I find breaking in to my home, nor do I think it unreasonable of me to film the local yobs when they are going around trying the doors of parked cars; oddly enough, the Police disagree with me on both counts.
    Finally, I had thought that this man was caught as a result of a police operation aimed at paedos generally, and that there was nothing personal here.

  • guy herbert

    would it not be better for the prosecution…

    Possibly, possibly not. Remember the prosecution’s job is to justify the proceedings and obtain the greatest possible sentence, which is why I deem the quoted words so significant. Elsewhere in the same newspaper report the number of 200,000 is mentioned.

    It is hard to imagine anyone how anyone would have time to enjoy looking at 200,000 pictures, no matter what the content. The bizarre acquisitive urge of the collector would appear to be in play here at least as much as any sexual motive. But that is not the point.

    I’m not sure that giving the police more powers does make their job more expensive.

    It gives them more opportunities for incurring expense, with less effort. It is therefore guaranteed to transfer resources from cases that were hard under the old powers to cases that are easy under the new ones. The presumption of fans of peremptory power is that those are in fact the same cases and no redirection of effort comes about. It is wrong.

    The same is true of broadening offences, notionally to make them easier to prosecute. It may – but does not certainly – result in easier prosecution of formerly criminal conduct, but it also, by definition, makes things criminal that were not previously.

  • Shmuely the Zionist

    I think it’s disgusting that David Irving only got twice as long in jail as this porn collector.

    Every rational, modern, secular defender of freedom of speech knows that unorthodox opinions about the events of 70 years ago are far more dangerous to the Collective Good than paedophilia.

    True, Hitler only did one year in the pokey for trying to overthrow the state, but publishing heresy about the distant past is *much* worse.

    The Austrian prosecutors want Irving to stay in jail for at least five years. Everybody knows that Nazis are crouching in the shadows, waiting to seize power the moment they get any encouragement. We must ruthlessly stamp out these witches!

    Holocaust denial is so obviously stark raving loony that a lot of people might believe it if we didn’t silence…

    (I’ll get me kippa.)

  • guy herbert

    …genuine offense here of owning and disseminating child porn…

    But my point is precisely that “owning and disseminating child porn” is the witchfinder’s confounding of gathering herbs with summoning the devil. Perhaps the communist offence of “profiteering” would be a better analogy than witchcraft, however: there may be real acts involved, but the conclusion without more that this is a crime (in the moral, rather than the legal sense) is an ideological delusion, founded on the definitional descent that “pictures of children that someone might find exciting” = “child porn” = surpassing wickedness which should make us abandon all judgment.

    One sees something similar going on in the War Against Terror and the War Against Drugs. Terror and drugs are deemed by proponents of those campaigns to be such unquestionable evils that anything and anyone that can have the label ‘terrorist’ or ‘drug-dealing’ applied to them by association, sympathy, or contagion, is beyond all rational or legal defence and can be by labelling alone placed beyond all procedural protection. It is a surreptitious doctrine of outlawry, an excommunication for the post-enlightenment world.

  • guy herbert

    Hm. What did I do to attract antisemitic propaganda?

  • Julian Taylor

    My stepfather was very much an avid amateur photographer and amassed a truly gigantic collection (well over 100,000 prints, let alone negatives) of his children, his work and his various hobbies, all carefully dated and chronologically stored. I would suspect that if the police did ever analyse that collection they would, like any normal person should, come to conclusion that it is just a record of someone’s life; unfortunately we dwell in an age where commonsense is often overruled by the strictures of the nanny state and the performance targets imposed upon the state’s functionaries.

  • Uain

    Excellent points all. However, the trends I am aware of are that the soft stuff leads to the harder stuff until the perv can contain themselves no longer and then feel compelled to act out their dark passions on some one’s child. Contrary to another response above, and links not with standing, child molesters do indeed have the highest recidivism rate, at least in the US. There are a multitude of reliable links to support this.
    I guess my point is that I think that that it stretches the bounds of Libertarian philosophy when some people lay hold of it’s principles to engage in activity that does nothing to enrich culture or enlighten society.

  • Dale Amon

    If we put this in a purely libertarian context, it would appear the fellow committed no crime. A criminal act of force or co-ercion would only have occured if he a) Committed sexual acts with a child; b) Created explicitely sexual images using a real child

    All where the age of ‘a child’ is someone under the age of sexual consent and family photos of nekkid children running around the plastic backyard pool are normal.

    We really need to put some sensible boundaries on things. I really do not give a rats arse what someone thinks in the comfort of their own home so long as it stays there.

  • Joshua

    Contrary to another response above, and links not with standing, child molesters do indeed have the highest recidivism rate, at least in the US. There are a multitude of reliable links to support this.

    The person who posted that was kind enough to include a link. Could you please do the same? I just did an informal search on Google (querried “recidivism child molestation” and followed all the links on the first page) and there was no conclusive answer one way or the other. Two sources (one of which was the Christian Science Monitor) claimed lower recidivism rates, one reliable source claimed much higher rates (there were actually two, but I discounted the first because it only cited a paper written by a community college student calling for chemical castration of sex offenders), and one source claimed that it was simply impossible to tell given current numbers. There were, however, two recurring themes that seem to support your claim: (1) that the recidivism rate varies greatly with the kind of pedophile – and apparently unmarried men who exclusively victimize boys they don’t know have an unusually high rate (77%), and (2) recidivism happens much later for most sex offenders (as much as 20 years later), so statistics claiming low rates (recidivism stats apparently usually only cover the first three years after release) for sex offenders might be understated.

    But I think you see what I mean – it is not enough to have us simply take you at your word that links are out there. It would really help if you could supply a convincing one or two.

    That said, I don’t think many people on this site are going to support mere suspicion of guilt as sufficient grounds for jailing someone, and rightly so. Dale Amon has it right – we need sensible boundaries. It opens up a rather nasty legal can of worms if you start punishing people for things you think they might do.

  • Uain

    “I really do not give a rat’s arse what some one thinks in the comfort of their home as long as it stays there ”

    Dale, I agree completely. The problem is, how long will it stay there. The point that this bloke was in trouble for the “potentiality” of committing a crime is indeed very well taken. I too have qualms with this, but the fact is that pervs will invest an enormous amount of energy for one chance to do their damage. Again, I see the quandry here, but as so many posts point out… 60 CDs worth of kiddies in swimwear? This is a tough one but as a father, and as per a previous post, “my sympathy meter is on zero”

    Excellent post. I must ask forgiveness and forebearence. We got 18″ of new snow this morning and as I was typing the previous opinion, the plowman came. No excuses will cover my sin of not providing the URLs I had in mind, but I did get to Tele-ski the day away in champagne powder. A rare treat indeed.
    So to the point. If you Google search “pedophile recidivism” you will get many sympathetic links from advocates for the accused/ convicted and more than a little play with statistics. The lower recidivism rates appear to be those for incestuous pedophiles (probably due to pissed off family members).
    If you search “recidivism pedophiles” you will find more of the victim advocates and research type links. These sites support the higher numbers you cite, which probably relate to the non-incestuous child stalkers.

    example sites to check out;
    search “pedophile recidivism” www. atsa.com

    search “recidivism pedophile” http://www.csom.org/pubs

    By the way, no insult intended to the fellow who provided the link, but I am hesitant to follow links on any open post site. Although 99.9% are probably legit,
    I always fear the 0.1% that might be trolls.

  • Allan

    It is another manifestation of the “need to do something now” mentality that particularly afflicts the current UK government.

    Every story that becomes the “cause celebre” of the week, particularly in the tabloids, causes another minister to proclaim the necessity of yet another new law.

    I can think of a great many things that are wrong with the UK. I can’t think of one that would be helped by new laws of prohibition, but many that would by the repeal of one of the many absurdities currently on the Statute Book.

  • Baldur

    A few of you, including the original author, show intelligence – but the rest? Frankly, I’m surprised to see such stupidity among libertarians. I guess the old mantra that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” goes further than I thought. Didn’t you understand Guy’s point about “magical contagion”? Seriously believing that a child is harmed because someone else looks at an image of them, in private, possibly in a foreign country – someone who will probably never even meet them or possibly even know who they are – that is just so incredibly absurd that it is incredible to believe that people could believe it in this day and age. It is clearly an example of believing in magic.

    Meanwhile, all this attention is paid to people who are attracted to kids, and this neatly diverts attention from the people who are REALLY harming children – their own families. It’s common knowledge that children are far more likely to be raped or murdered by a relative than by a stranger, yet the police and vast networks of “child advocates” are constantly waiting, ready to whisk runaways back home if they should ever be caught – ready to put endangered children back in the clutches of the abusers they tried to run away from.

    But men like Mark Twain, Goethe, John Ruskin, Dante, Lewis Carroll – never mind the great moral nature of their work, forget their efforts to make the world a better and more decent place – judge them and condemn them solely on the fact that they were attracted to little girls, and just as all men and women who are attracted to women will rape women, surely anyone attracted to girls will rape them. And men like Lord Baden-Powell and “Chinese” Gordon – never mind their efforts to improve the life of boys, forget a lifetime of blameless behavior towards boys, because surely they would have raped boys if they had the opportunity, the same way every man and woman who is attracted to men will rape men given an opportunity.

  • Gary

    Obviously I am late to this issue, but

    Paul Thomas, 45, a former Hackney councillor, had more than 60 CDs of child pornography in his Bow Home, many showing underage girls in swimwear

    WTF? Underage girls in swimwear is child porn in the UK? Under age means under 18 as I understand it. Hell, I get off on underage girls in swimwear too. Most men do.

    There is something fundamentally wrong when it is illegal to have a picture (or video) of a LEGAL act. If child porn laws were used for their stated purpose of “protecting children” much of the confusion as to what is and what is not child porn would be avoided. Unfortunately, child porn laws are now used as a tool to regulate the sexual thoughts of adults.