Outrage #3 (& Then I’ll Stop!): Arrest G.I. For Pix of 4-Year-Old in Bathing Suit

Hi Readers — I am so sick of the endless, misguided, helping-no-one suspicion going on these days that I can barely write about this story, that was just in The Washington Post. Suffice to say a National Guard soldier in Afghanistan finds himself facing a possible 10 years in prison on charges of possession of kiddie porn. What he actually seems to be in possession of are pictures of his friend’s 4-year-old daughter taken at the girl’s birthday party, at which she was wearing a bathing suit. The soldier became close to the girl when her dad was in training abroad and the girl was diagnosed with a serious illness.

That’ll teach him to cheer up a sick kid.

Anyway, the photos were taken by the girl’s mom and by the G.I.’s mom (both hard core pornographers, I’m sure, cleverly staging birthday parties for their own nefarious reasons). And who was it that sent these evil images to the guy? HIS MOM, who wanted to ease his homesickness.

You know what? It probably worked. If I were in Afghanistan being charged with kiddie porn for possessing birthday party pix sent to me by my mom, I just wouldn’t feel very homesick for America. — Lenore

43 Responses

  1. I read about this in my paper as well. I can’t believe the military is even considering this charge! What is the Status of Forces Agreement with Afghanistan say about this? The article did not mention if the accusations were from the Afghan side of the house, but it didn’t seem like they were.

  2. I can’t even put words to my feelings about this. Outrage really doesn’t come close. Unbelievable is more in the neighborhood but I find myself using that word more and more often these days. For right now, this sums it up:

    * boggle *

  3. I think the saddest part, is that I read the rest of the soldiers unit has come back home, he is still sitting in a brig in Afghanistan, waiting for a court martial. They could at least send him home to try him, so his family could visit..

  4. Thank goodness no one sent him pictures of a family member bathing an infant!

  5. Something about this story sounds pretty fishy. I could believe that one whack job might have viewed this type of photo as kiddy porn, but wouldn’t they seek some kind of sanity check (have another lawyer review the photos) before formally charging the man? Or could it be there is something the parents don’t know (did the guy have other, less innocent photos)? It just seems almost too crazy to believe this story as reported.

  6. This is pretty disgusting. What the hell is wrong with our country??? Well, I have multiple guesses but don’t want to get so offensive with my post I have to be deleted! >_<

    I'm telling you… we should just sterilize the entire human race and let ourselves die out. Apparently we'd be doing ourselves a giant favor since every male is a sex offender in waiting anyway.

  7. Is this the same military that seems to have such difficulty preventing and punishing actual rape?

  8. Wait a minute, wait a minute. From the Washington Post story, we have absolutely NO IDEA what the evidence in this case is. The headline says it all, “soldier’s family says pictures aren’t porn” because, well, because he told them so. Undoubtedly, the pictures his mom sent him are not pornographic and are probably pretty cute. HOWEVER we have only the accused’s statement, to his mother (for god’s sake) that those images are what the case is about. Does anyone seriously think than someone who’s denying accusations of anything, but even more so child pornography, would tell his MOTHER that he’s guilty.

    Lenore, I’m disappointed in you here. The story seems to be: Accused possessor of child pornography denies charge, prosecutor disagrees. Is that such an outrage? Without knowing what the evidence is, who can tell. Let’s save our outrage for really outrageous things like BA treating men badly.

  9. I think this actually has to do with General Order #1 regarding prohibited items, including:

    “e. The introduction, possession, transfer, sale, creation, or display of any sexually explicit photograph, videotape, movie, drawing, book, or magazine. For purposes of this order, “sexually explicit” means any medium displaying the human anatomy in any unclothed or semi-clothed manner and which displays portions of the human torso (i.e., the area below the neck, above the knees and inside the shoulder). By way of example, but not limitation, are body building magazines, swim-suit editions of periodicals, lingerie or underwear advertisements and catalogues, as well as visual mediums which infer but do not directly show human genitalia, women’s breasts, or human sexual acts.”

    http://www.3ad.com/history/gulf.war/general.order.1.htm

    Not “kiddie porn” but probably a rule so as to avoid any conflict with cultural taboo, swimsuit images in general are not allowed.

  10. “Lenore, I’m disappointed in you here”

    Me too. How dare you presume innocence until this guy is proven guilty!

  11. @somekindofmuffin

    Um, I’m not sure what to do with that. Of course this guy is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and thus, I presume he’s innocent. However, it’s hardly an outrage to charge someone with, well, anything, even if he tells his mom that he didn’t do it. Seriously, there are lots of outrageous things going on out there and it’s possible that this may even be one of them, but there’s nowhere near enough information in the Post article for anyone to get outraged.

    I also find it strange that, because they won’t comment on an ongoing case (of a man who is presumed innocent), some people seem to be eager to accuse the military prosecutors and judges of either stupidity or base motives. In the absence of evidence, let’s not assume that they stupid or evil either.

    Thus, unless she has information beyond what’s in the article, I remain disappointed with Lenore for bringing this up as an outrage. There’s a limited supply of outrage in the world, let’s use it for important things.

  12. On reading the story I find it hard to believe all the facts are as the report implies. As aDad points out above – the report is a third hand account from people who, when trying to get details from the army are being told “more or less that it’s none of our business” (which is generally true of the criminal prosecution of an adult, even if they are related to you).

    Certainly if that really is the full story it seems pretty outrageous (despite General Order no. 1).

  13. Turns out it’s adult porn which does violate general order #1

    http://www.galesburg.com/news/x745465699/Army-Miller-had-adult-porn-on-computer

  14. Sounds like there is more to this story:

    http://www.galesburg.com/news/x745465699/Army-Miller-had-adult-porn-on-computer

    While we’re all aware that people do overreact sometimes, I also hope that the child porn charge is not over a kid in a swimsuit.

  15. If I had a dime for every time a family member of a criminal defendant called me demanding to know why their sweet little baby was in jail based on the completely bogus facts said defendant was feeding them, I’d be ranked higher than Oprah on the richest Americans list. While this guy may be telling the truth about what pictures or investigation are at issue, I’ll wait to see some facts.

    Frankly, even if the pictures at issue are exactly as described in the article, I’m not remotely outraged at this time. Contrary to the parent’s assertions, he hasn’t at this time been charged with any crime. This guy is simply being kept in a country pending the completion of an investigation. He’s on active duty. He’s not in the brig. He’s getting paid. He’s working at headquarters so not on the front lines. AND HE CLEARLY BROKE GENERAL ORDER # 1 so he’s not completely innocent of improper (as the military terms it) behavior and can be prosecuted as such.

    If he’s charged with kiddie porn based on pictures as described, then I’ll be outraged but I think you’ve jumped the gun on outrage here.

  16. Jerm and Jim,

    there is nothing more to the story. as someone currently in Afghanistan, i can tell you that there is more adult pornography floating around here then a person could hope to watch in a lifetime. all that has happened is that the military fucked up with the child porn charge, and in the process of looking for evidence found the same pornography that almost every other soldier has on their laptop, and in true bureaucratic fashion is trying to cover their own ass by hammering this guy with something they would normally turn a blind eye to.

    and with the wheels of military justice being as slow as they are, this poor mope who is simply doing his job is going to be stuck here in afghanistan for 2 years plus for doing exactly what the vast majority of his fellow soldiers do.

  17. The parents of the soldier are clearly anti-free range, helicopter parents. I understand that they are worried for their offspring but he is an adult, old enough to join the military and go to war. The Army doesn’t have to tell them anything. They are not being “kept in the dark.” The army has no duty to give them any information whatsoever. If their son isnt telling them what is going on or giving them the correct information, that’s his fault.

    As a public defender, I will attest that the result would be exactly the same in the states. The prosecutor will not talk to families of defendants at all other than to give them court dates. I will not talk to my client’s family about the facts of any case. If the family calls me, they are told that I will not even return their phone calls. The only information about the facts of the case that the family will obtain is through the defendant himself.

  18. I don’t know about the homesick part, Lenore. I know quite a few military guys and they say that Afghanistan and Iraq can both fall off the face of the earth (I am censoring their language dramatically ^^).

    As immortalized by Cpl. Josh Ray Person, “Why can’t we ever invade a cool country with, like, chicks in bikinis?!” It’s not exactly a weekend trip over there. These men are getting mortared pretty much daily, along with ambushes and small skirmishes very often. These men always have girlfriends and family they’ve left behind to serve their country, and are in the company of a mass majority of men until the end of their deployment. Let them have their adult porn and their family photos.

    As a disclaimer, considering the sudden change in the charges, I’m pretty sure the “child porn” charge was very much related to the pictures of the niece and the brass were looking for something else to pin on him without becoming a laughing stock. Of course, 99% of soldiers in Afghanistan have porn, so that’s an easy charge to make.

  19. Totally off-topic, but Lenore got a shout out from Treehugger. This appeared on facebook today:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/babies_below_zero.php?smid=FBTRH-FBS-ART

  20. I suspect phaedo has hit the nail on the head in this case. Regardless of the details of this man’s case, though, there’s no need to be disappointed in Lenore. She throws out discussion-starters, and we discuss. If you don’t agree that this case is outrageous (yet), then thanks for saying so and I for one respect your opinion whether I agree with it or not.

    The discussion on this topic, in my opinion, should explore why/how these foolish accusations come up in the first place. They ruin people’s lives and reputations almost as soon as they are first mentioned, and since the person accused is almost always male, there is a presumption of guilt. You never read in the paper that the accuser got it wrong; just the sensational accusation and lurid speculation.

    The root of this problem (or so it seems to me) is that the authorities never clearly define what child porn is, and what it is not. Kids in the tub, in swimwear, even in artistic photography (think Miley Cyrus and Annie Liebowitz), etc. are not. Kids doing something sexual that only adults should do – yes.

    Do they keep it vague on purpose? Why? It makes the overly-sensitive Puritan at the photo shop call the Feds if they see a snapshot of Timmy getting his hair washed by Daddy. How ridiculous.

    It is another example of “child safety” trumping everything else, especially common sense.

  21. This brings to mind a few related things.
    What if the soldier had a copy of Norman Rockwell’s ol’ swimmin’ hole painting?
    When I was in the Army, those who wanted to could go to the Stars & Stripes news stand and purchase some awful stuff. One publication, famous for “ladies” attired questionably was often referred to as “Oversexed Weekly”.
    My editor once received an irate telephone call protesting “pornography” on Page One of the local beauty queen, a 17-year-old teenager whom I had photographed in school clothes, including a skirt that revealed that she had knees. This editor listened to the ranting for about a minute and then told the caller, “We don’t have pornography here. None of us makes enough money to afford a ‘pornograph’.” Y’know, the complainer hung up on him.

  22. @ Lafe – The problem with defining kiddie porn is that any naked picture of a kid is erotic to the pedophile. To a parent, grandparent, friend, or any nonpedophile, a kid-in-the-tub shot is just a cute picture. To a pedophile, that’s akin to a Playboy centerfold. Nobody wants to think about a pedophile getting his rocks off to a picture of their kid, no matter how innocent the picture was when taken.

    So how do you define kiddie porn? Do you make all naked kids pictures illegal such that parents can’t take bath shots? Do you use prosecutorial discretion and only prosecute people who have no defined reason to have such pictures (i.e. don’t even know the kid in the shot)?

    And why do we even want to say that it’s okay for parents to take naked pictures of kids (I do have some of my kid)? Most of us would not appreciate it if our sig others were taking pictures of us in the bath or shower and passing them around to anyone who wants to look as if they were our latest vacation pictures?

  23. donna,

    saying that any naked picture of a kid is erotic to a pedophile is ridiculous. that is like saying any naked picture of a woman is erotic to a straight man or lesbian or any naked picture of a man is erotic to a woman or gay man.

  24. @phaedo – HUH? Penthouse, Playboy, Hustler, Playgirl and the countless other magazines dedicated pretty much exclusively to looking at naked people for sexual pleasure pretty much prove the point that many people do find looking at pictures of naked people erotic. Why exactly do you think people buy these magazines? Would most prefer a good porno? Probably but that doesn’t mean that they are not turned on by seeing a picture of an attractive girl or guy lying in the tub.

    So, yes, pedophiles – people who derive sexual pleasure from children – do find pictures of naked kids erotic even if it is just naked kids taking a bath. As someone who represents pedophiles, I have yet to have a kiddie porn case with some mundane naked kid pictures mixd in with the sexualized stuff. There are actually websites that specialize in nothing but routine photos of kids – some naked, some not – so as to convince themselves that no children are actually being injured in the process of making the kiddie porn.

  25. that should be “yet to have a kiddie porn case without some mundane naked kid pictures…”

  26. If I were in Afghanistan being charged with kiddie porn for possessing birthday party pix sent to me by my mom, I just wouldn’t feel very homesick for America.

    No kidding. It starts to make a religious dictatorship look pretty normal, huh? 😦

    Angie

  27. I can understand the military being concerned about pictures which could be construed as being of a sexual nature. To be fair they don’t know anything about the sort of relationship he has with this girl or that they were sent by the girls mom. But certainly all that can be solved by a simple phone call! Have they overdrawn their budget this year and can’t afford the long distance charges?

  28. Donna-

    I’ve seen some photos of women in bikinis (mostly Asian models, but I digress) that I find very erotic. Does that make them porn? No. Just because someone finds something erotic, that doesn’t make it porn, at least not in any realistic legal sense. If that was the definition, then everyone would have to take photos of themselves in no more than potato sacks to avoid breaking the law. Even then, I think there’s a fetish involved even there…

  29. Not too dissimilar is a story in our local paper today about a mural that is being painted in our small down town. Several people have complained that the picture– that of a man, his son and his daughter (who is wearing overalls without a shirt– is pornographic. The artist’s response is that she is trying to depict a simpler time… a family, enjoying one another’s company after a day working in the orchard. To her it represents a time of simplicity, of a lack of self-consciousness, and of innocence. The complaints being filed show how far from that we ahve come.

  30. Who’s the bigger pervert – the homesick soldier who has a picture of a four-year-old friend of the family in her bathing suit, or the jumped-up, self-important petty bureaucrat who sees that picture as inherently pornographic?

    Donna – so what if pedos find pics of kids in their bathers erotic? What do we do – stop taking our kids to the beach? Change our entire way of life, constantly live in fear, just on the off chance that some perv may see our kids and think nasty thoughts? Surely you’ve got enough to do without defending hundreds of parents who are guilty of nothing more than taking innocent snapshots of their kids.

  31. Here is an interview with the father on America’s Reality Check (ARC) on the 18th.

    Amazing interview

    http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=29521&cmd=tc

  32. @Donna,

    First, let me say that I have a lot of respect for what you do. I’m sure it’s often a thankless job, and one that puts you into contact with the dregs of society more than most of us could stand.

    I disagree strongly, though, with the automatic thought process of most westerners, that if a few people abuse a thing or have no self-control in a certain area, then everyone should give up that thing completely.

    We saw this with Prohibition (some people abuse alcohol, so it should be illegal for all).

    We see it with this issue (some people get naughty thoughts when they see a child, so anyone with a picture of a child should be suspected of evil, or we should all keep our children under house arrest, and not take photos of them that might be misconstrued).

    We see it with firearms (some people do bad things with a useful tool, so we need to restrict everyone’s access to them).

    We see it everytime a risk of terror or violence, no matter how small, takes away the rights of ordinary people to live ordinary lives (some people build dangerous bombs, so the 11-year- old with the empty Gatorade bottle motion detector must be stopped).

    It’s a stretch, and it defies reason, but that concept pops up again and again in these cultures.

    It makes about as much sense to me as saying, “Every time we prosecute a guy with child porn, he also has ordinary pictures of people, and many of them have shoes on. We must outlaw shoes and photos of shoes.”

    And, as another commenter has already pointed out (in a way), even if a guy takes a photo of my shoes and has a twisted desire to do naughty things with that picture in his private life, how am I or my shoes harmed? If we say “children” instead of “shoes”, it becomes an emotional hot topic, but logically, they aren’t very different things.

    On pornography, I think that societies in which it flourishes are the same ones I’m talking about, that have unhealthy, illogical fears about nudity, and tell people that it’s a bad thing in and of itself, in all situations. Banning something is the quickest way to assign great value to it and cause many to seek it more fervently.

  33. I’m really disgusted at the people who are actually supportive of the decision to call a picture of a four year old in a bathing suit porn…I think that you are sickos.

  34. @Jacqui,

    Huh? I don’t think one person on this comment thread agreed that it was. You might need to read a little more closely . . .

  35. “Miller’s father, Rodney, said the Army won’t discuss the case with the family. But he said his son has told him the charges stem from a handful of photos of the girl that the soldier’s mother e-mailed to ease his homesickness.”

    When I was in the Navy, I knew a sailor who went to court martial over child pornography. In the weeks leading up to the trial, he told us that his evil ex had tried to get him framed for totally innocent pictures of a little girl in a swimsuit on his computer. After his conviction, we found out that he actually had downloaded genuine porn onto a DOD computer.

    I believed him when he told me it was just innocent and a misunderstanding due to his evil ex. That was all the info I had to go on.

    If the only images are the ones of the family friend, then that will come out and I really doubt he’ll be convicted of anything. If not, that will also come out.

  36. @Lafe:

    Do they keep it vague on purpose? Why?

    You betcha. Vague laws with rubber meanings let prosecutors manufacture criminals out of anyone they want to.

    Harvey Silverglate wrote an excellent treatise on the subject:

    Three Felonies a Day

    @donna

    The problem with defining kiddie porn is that any naked picture of a kid is erotic to the pedophile.

    Not just naked pictures. To someone with that sort of perversion in their mind, pictures of children in swimsuits, underwear, athletic gear, and “Sunday Best” will be just as titillating, if not more so.

    Most of what makes an image (of anything) arousing to one but not to another has less to do with what’s actually in the image than what is in the mind of the viewer.

    To me, the deeper tragedy is that in 2010, centuries after the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Enlightenment began sweeping away superstition and replacing it with reason, so many people in the “free” world still find their minds fettered by hypocritical double standards based not on fact or research, but dogma.

    The American attitude toward nudity is a prime example. What, exactly, makes seeing naked people harmful to a child, but not to an adult? What makes the pictures of naked women in Playboy or Penthouse “pornographic”, but not the cover of Cosmo? You can’t tell me that those Cosmo cover models aren’t intended to be alluring, titillating and sexually provocative. Why is a woman’s naked breast “obscene”, but it’s just fine to cover it with a piece of Spandex or a string bikini, through which all the same contours can be seen?

    No, it’s nothing inherent in the naked human body. It’s all in the artifices of our culture – the dogmatic emotional baggage that we insist on carrying around in our minds.

  37. @Donna you wrote “@phaedo – HUH? Penthouse, Playboy, Hustler, Playgirl and the countless other magazines dedicated pretty much exclusively to looking at naked people for sexual pleasure pretty much prove the point that many people do find looking at pictures of naked people erotic. Why exactly do you think people buy these magazines?”

    You confuse two issues: Nakedness and eroticism. That’s something very common in anglo cultures and certainly not limited to those countries, but it’s not even the norm in Western cultures. Northern Europeans for example usually view this quite differently – naked people are just naked people and most people don’t want to see them everywhere, but it’s more a issue of taste than hysterics over here. Yes, they do sell and buy the same magazines you mentioned, but note that the poses and facial expression of those magazines often imply sexual availabilty – fetish situations (half naked in the gym, lingerie in class), placement of legs, half-opened mouth, etc. You can shoot the same kind of pictures with women in bikini and you’d get the same kind of reaction, esp in Middle European countries or 60 years ago in the west, before Playboy and Hustler upped the limit.

  38. Meanwhile our soldiers are being told not to interfere with the cultural practice of sexually assaulting little boys – even on our own bases in Afghanistan.

  39. I went looking for more articles, hoping to find more information about this case. I agree with those who have already said that there’s something fishy here – innocent or guilty, we’re not getting the full story.

    I found this article to be particularly interesting:
    http://www.galesburg.com/features/x1560343350/Galesburg-soldier-held-overseas-on-child-porn-charge#comments

    If you look in the left hand column you’ll see several photos of the family, the soldier, and two of the photos of the little girl that were sent to him.

    The first photo shows the girl in a bikini laying on the hood of a sports car. The second photo shows her in the same out fit with her hands on a bed looking back over her shoulder.
    O_o

  40. While the pose on the hood of the car may not be the most appropriate for a girl that age, I’d say it still falls far, far short of any kind of ‘pornographic’ image.

    The one with her standing next to the bed is even milder.

  41. Looks like normal play-acting for me. If suspicious at all, only if those were the only photos he had of that kid.

  42. Generally I do not make comments on blogs, but I have to mention that this post really forced me to do so. Really nice post

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