April 23, 2006

Double-Plus Ungood Thoughtcrime? [7:47 pm]

A troubling case, where virtual child porn is enough to get a conviction — thoughtcrime?  Photographer guilty in child porn case [pdf]

A Massachusetts man was found guilty yesterday of nine counts of possession of child pornography stemming from his more than 20-year association as a photographer for a youth camp in Amherst.

[...]  Each charge alleged Zidel “knowingly possessed a visual representation of a child engaged in sexual activity.”

Zidel was a longtime photographer at Camp Young Judea in Amherst, where he took photos of campers and compiled them into yearbooks. He used those photos to create what he called his own “personal fantasy,” according to a county attorney press release.

[...] Zidel was accused of juxtaposing the heads and faces of campers onto images that depicted the youngsters engaging in sexual activity. Those images, saved on a CD ROM, were accidentally given to the camp’s director, according to the press release.

While Zidel’s attorney admitted that his client knew the campers depicted in the photos were under 16 years old, the attorney argued the images were not child pornography because the children were not subjected to sexual content, according to the press release.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Nicole Fortune prosecuted the case and argued that the images were child pornography, as the law was designed to protect children from being depicted as engaging in sexual activity.

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