Research: Sexual repression

Research: Sexual repression

Child sexual repression refers to the prevention, through either subtle or overt methods, of children from fulfilling their erotic capacities. Other sources are available on PRD.

For cogent criticism of the broader discourse of sexual repression, see Michel Foucault and associated articles.

Academic perspectives

  • Prescott, J.W. (1975). “Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence,” inThe Futurist and The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists.
    Prescott links deprivation of physical affection in childhood to the eventual development of violent and aggressive behaviors. He examines various cultures, and finds that high levels of violence are strongly correlated with repression of extramarital sexual activity.
  • Sagan, C. (1980). “Who Speaks For Earth”.
“Mammals characteristically nuzzle, fondle, hug, caress, pet, groom and love their young, behavior essentially unknown among the reptiles. If it is really true that the R-complex and limbic systems live in an uneasy truce within our skulls and still partake of their ancient predelictions, we might expect affectionate parental indulgence to encourage our mammalian natures, and the absence of physical affection to prod reptilian behavior. There is some evidence that this is the case. In laboratory experiments, Harry and Margaret Harlow found that monkeys raised in cages and physically isolated—even though they could see, hear and smell their simian fellows—developed a range of morose, withdrawn, self-destructive and otherwise abnormal characteristics. In humans the same is observed for children raised without physical affection—usually in institutions—where they are clearly in great pain.”
“The neuropsychologist James W. Prescott has performed a startling cross-cultural statistical analysis of 400 preindustrial societies and found that cultures that lavish physical affection on infants tend to be disinclined to violence. Even societies without notable fondling of infants develop nonviolent adults, provided sexual activity of adolescents is not repressed. Prescott believes that cultures with a predisposition for violence are composed of individuals who have been deprived—during at least one of two critical stages in life, infancy and adolescence—of the pleasures of the body. Where physical affection is encouraged, theft, organized religion and invidious displays of wealth are inconspicuous; where infants are physically punished, there tends to be slavery, frequent killing, torturing, and mutilation of enemies.”
“…the correlations are significant. Prescott writes: ‘The percent likelihood of a society becoming physically violent if it is physically affectionate toward its infants and tolerant of premarital sexual behavior is 2 percent. The probability of this relationship occurring by chance is 125,000 to one. I am not aware of any other developmental variable that has such a high degree of predictive validity.’ Infants hunger for physical affection; adolescents are strongly driven to sexual activity. If youngsters had their way, societies might develop in which adults have little tolerance for aggression, territoriality, ritual and social hierarchy…” / “…child abuse and severe sexual repression are crimes against humanity. More work on this provocative thesis is clearly needed. Meanwhile, we can each make a personal and noncontroversial contribution to the future of the world by hugging our infants tenderly.”
  • Nelson, J. A. (1989). “Intergenerational sexual contact: A continuum model of participants and experiences,” Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 15, 3-12.
    “Cultural desexualization and denial of children’s normal sexual thoughts and feelings: Many patients who present with sex problems suffer not because they were exposed to early sexual experience but because they were deprived of the natural sexual imprinting that occurs among animals and primitive humans (Harlow & Harlow, 1962). […] In fact, they cite Kinsey et al. (1953) and Ford and Beach (1951) in suggesting that early sexual experience is often positively correlated with greater adult sexual and interpersonal satisfaction. They quote Prescott (1975) in linking repression of childhood sexuality with higher levels of adult social violence.”
  • Körperkontakt: Die Bedeutung der Haut für die Entwicklung des Menschen(“Physical Contact: The Importance of the Skin in Human Development”), by Ashley Montagu for Klett-Cotta (2004)
    The author reports on her extensive research into the many deleterious effects of insufficient physical affection during childhood.
  • Yates, A. (2004). “Biologic perspective on early erotic development,”Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 13(3), pp. 479-496.
    “Societies that permit early sex play are said to have fewer adult sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias [10]. Across various cultures, the custom of punishing children for sexual activity is associated with adult sexual restrictions and abstention from intercourse [11]. Ample skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant is associated with a sexual approach rather than avoidance pattern in adults, whereas restricted skin-to-skin contact is associated with problematic intimacy and warlike or aggressive behavior [12, 13 and 14].”

Cultural perspectives

  • !Kung Bushmen (humanity’s genetic heritage)
    “If a girl grows upwithout learning to enjoy sex, she had told me, her mind doesn’t develop normally and she goes around eating grass, like a crazy Herero woman who lived in the area” (Return to Nisa, p.156 — cited inGrowing Up Sexually)

Research: Youth sexuality

Research: Youth sexuality

Sexual activities among minors are common and do not tend to damage participants. Whilst they play an important part in learning, their diversity refutes the common myth of “childhood sexuality” and “innocent sex play”.

Sexual behaviour among youth


  • Larsson, I. & Svedin, C. G. (2001). “Sexual experiences in childhood: young adult’s recollections,” Arch Sex Behav, 31(3):263-73
    In a 2002 study of 269 Swedish students, 30% of those who had a sexual experience with a peer before the age of 13 assessed the activity as having had a positive effect on them as an adult, 66% thought it had no positive or negative effects, and 4% reported a negative effect. Except one, all of the subjects who reported a negative effect were involved in coercive activities.
  • Levine, J. (1996). “A Question of Abuse,” Mother Jones.
    “What’s wrong with these things? “They make parents nervous,” says Allie Kilpatrick, a social work professor at the University of Georgia who conducted a massive review of the literature on childhood sexual experiences, both wanted and unwanted, and administered her own 33-page questionnaire to 501 Southern women. Most of Kilpatrick’s subjects had kissed and hugged, fondled and masturbated as adolescents, and more than a quarter had had vaginal intercourse. Her conclusion: “The majority of young people who experience some kind of sexual behavior find it pleasurable, without much guilt, and with no harmful consequences.” A similar study of 526 New England undergraduates revealed “no differences…between sibling, nonsibling, and no-[sexual]-experience groups on a variety of adult sexual behavior and sexual adjustment measures.”
  • Harden, K., Mendle, J., Hill, J., Turkheimer, E., and Emery, R. (2008). “Rethinking timing of first sex and delinquency[1],” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(4), 373-385.
    “The relation between timing of first sex and later delinquency was examined using a genetically informed sample of 534 same-sex twin pairs from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, who were assessed at three time points over a 7-year interval. […] After controlling for these genetic and environmental confounds using a quasi-experimental design, earlier age at first sex predicted lower levels of delinquency in early adulthood. […]
    Although the current results are contrary to embedded assumptions, they are actually consistent with previous research. Specifically, three quasi-experimental (longitudinal or behavior genetic) studies that examined whether timing of first sex influences subsequent psychosocial functioning, controlling for psychological differences that precede sexual initiation, have all failed to find adverse effects for sexual timing. […]
    The current study suggests that there may be positive functions for early initiation of sexual activity, in that the co-twin with earlier age at first sex demonstrated lower levels of delinquency in early adulthood. This result echoes a small but important body of previous research. In one of the first pieces of sex research, Kinsey et al. (1953) concluded that premarital sexual activity resulted in minimal “psychological disturbance” and may result in healthier non-romantic relationships and greater happiness later in life. More recent research has indicated that early sexual timing is associated with popularity (Prinstein et al. 2003); high self-esteem (for a review see Goodson et al. 2006; Paul et al. 2000); positive self-concept (Pedersen et al. 2003); high levels of body pride (Lammers et al. 2000), and increasing closeness to the same-sex best friend (Billy et al. 1988). […] In the domain of adult sexual functioning, earlier age at first sex was found to predict greater coital orgasmic capacity in adult women (Raboch and Bartak 1983) and to discriminate sexually functional versus non-functional older men (age 64 years; Vallery-Masson et al. 1981). Women reporting an earlier age at first sex demonstrate less reactivity and faster recovery (as measured by cortical response) in response to stress (Brody 2002).”
  • Arreola, Sonya; Neilands, Torsten; Pollack, Lance; Paul, Jay; Catania, Joseph (2008). “Childhood Sexual Experiences and Adult Health Sequelae Among Gay and Bisexual Men: Defining Childhood Sexual Abuse,” Journal of Sex Research, 45(3), pp. 246 – 252.
    “Those who had forced sex were significantly more likely to be depressed or have suicidal ideation than those who had consensual sex and those who had no sex before age 18. There was no difference between the consensual sex group and those who had no sex before age 18. The level of well-being was significantly higher for the consensual group compared with the no sex before 18 group and the forced sex group. The latter two groups did not differ from each other on well-being. […] Interestingly, the forced sex group and the no sex group were statistically indistinguishable in their level of well-being, while the consensual sex group was significantly more likely to have a higher level of well-being than either of the other two groups. This suggests that consensual sex before 18 years of age may have a positive effect, perhaps as an adaptive milestone of adolescent sexual development.” This study was inclusive of both minor-minor relations and adult-minor relations; no distinctions were made.
  • Bauserman, Robert, and Davis, Clive (1996). “Perceptions of Early Sexual Experiences and Adult Sexual Adjustment,” International Journal of Sexual Health, 8(3), 37-59.
    “Results supported the hypotheses that positively evaluated early sexual experiences would be associated with greater erotophilia, more acceptance of various sexual behaviors for self and others, and greater sexual satisfaction.” (From abstract.)

Prevalence and diversity

Most prevalence data is limited to parentally-observed behaviour.

  • Martinson, Floyd M. (1973). Infant and Child Sexuality: A Sociological Perspective. The Book Mark.
    “By twelve years of age, approximately one boy in every four or five has tried at least to copulate with a female and more than ten percent of preadolescent boys experience their first ejaculation in connection with heterosexual intercourse, according to Kinsey. Ramsey reported that about one-third of his sample of middle-class boys had attempted sexual intercourse.”
  • Ford. C. S.. & Beach. F. A. (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. New York: Harper & Row.
    “As long as the adult members of a society permit them to do so, immature males and females engage in practically every type of sexual behavior found in grown men and women. [p. 197] […] After reviewing the cross-species and cross-cultural evidence, we are convinced that tendencies toward sexual behavior before maturity and even before puberty are genetically determined in many primates, including human beings.”
  • Reynolds, M.A., Herbenick, D. L., & Bancroft, J. (2003). The nature of childhood sexual experiences: Two studies 50 years apart. In J. Bancroft (Ed.), Sexual Development in Childhood (pp. 134-155). Indiana: Indiana University Press.
    In a 1999 study of undergraduate students, 5.2% of females and 12.8% of males reported having engaged in sex play with their peers involving genital contact before elementary school, and that 1.3% of girls and 4.0% of boys had engaged in sex play involving anal/genital insertion (with objects or fingers) or oral-genital intercourse before elementary school. By the end of elementary school, the numbers increased to 29.2% for females and 32.9% for males for genital contact and 12.3 for girls and 10.1% for boys for insertion or oral sex. Very little pressure and almost no coercion were reported.
  • Thigpen, Jeffry W. (2009). “Early Sexual Behavior in a Sample of Low-Income, African American Children,” Journal of Sex Research, 46(1), pp. 67-79.
    “Some recent studies of primarily White, middle-class children have expanded our knowledge of the types of sexual behavior observed in children without known or suspected histories of sexual abuse. These studies show that children engage in sexual play (Lamb & Coakley, 1993; Leitenberg, Greenwald, & Tarran, 1989; Okami, Olmstead, & Abramson, 1997); show interest in viewing the bodies of others, as well as displaying their own (Friedrich, Fisher, Broughton, Houston, & Shafran, 1998; Friedrich, Grambsch, Broughton, Kuiper, & Beilke, 1991; Phipps-Yonas, Yonas, Turner, & Kauper, 1992; Shafran, 1995); and have knowledge of sexual anatomy and function (Gordon, Schroeder, & Abrams, 1990a,b; Grocke, Smith, & Graham, 1995). Taken with the findings from earlier descriptive studies that document the occurrence of such sexual behavior as penile erections in male infants, genital manipulation and play, and masturbation (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Moll, 1913; Spitz, 1949), non-abused children are suggested to display a wide range of sexual behavior. Behavioral differentiation by gender has been suggested, as genital manipulation and masturbatory behavior have been reported to be more common among boys (Friedrich et al., 1998; Gagnon, 1985; Rutter, 1971). Older children are suggested to be more knowledgeable than younger children about sexual behavior, pregnancy, and sexual abuse prevention (Gordon et al., 1990a), whereas hugging and kissing, self-stimulation, and exhibitionism are reported to be more common among younger children (Friedrich et al., 1991; Kinsey et al., 1948). The findings of some studies have noted an inverse relation between age and childhood sexual behavior, suggesting that the sexual behavior of children becomes covert over time (Friedrich et al., 1998; Friedrich et al., 1991; Gagnon, 1985).”
  • Yates, A. (2004). “Biologic perspective on early erotic development,”Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 13(3), 479-496.
    “Eighty-five percent of young university women recalled erotic games and 44% recalled erotic games that involved boys [79]. Most remembered feeling sexually aroused or excited at the time. Most of the play involved exposing or touching the genitals. Insertion of objects in the vagina and oral contact was distinctly unusual. Other studies confirmed that most young adult students recalled early sex play that they viewed in a positive light as pleasurable and exciting [40, 80 and 81].”

Fetal/infant sexual capacity

  • Giorgi, Giorgio, and Siccardi, Marco (1996). “Ultrasonographic observation of a female fetus’ sexual behavior in utero,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 175, 3(1, part 1), 753.
    “We recently observed a female fetus at 32 weeks’ gestation touching the vulva with the fingers of the right hand. The caressing movements were centered primarily on the region of the clitoris. Movements stopped after 30 to 40 seconds and started again after a few minutes. Furthermore, these slight touches were repeated and were associated with short, rapid movements of pelvis and legs. After another break, in addition to this behavior, the fetus contracted the muscles of the trunk and limbs, and then clonicotonic movements of the whole body followed. Finally, she relaxed and rested.
    We observed this behavior for about 20 minutes. The mother was an active and interested witness, conversing with observers about her child’s experience.
    Evidence of male fetuses’ excitement reflex in utero, such as erection or ″masturbation” movements, has been previously reported.
    The current observation seems to show not only that the excitement reflex can be evoked in female fetuses at the third trimester of gestation but also that the orgasmic reflex can be elicited during intrauterine life. This would agree with the physiologic features of female sexuality: The female sexual response is separate from reproductive functions and doesn’t need a full sexual maturity to be explicit.”
  • Yates, A. (2004). “Biologic perspective on early erotic development,”Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 13(3), 479-496.
    “William Masters was an obstetrician before he became a sex researcher. He devised a game that he played while waiting for an infant to be born. He would bet that, if it were a boy, he could deliver the infant before the child could produce an erection. He won the game only half of the time.”
  • Yates, A. (1978). Sex without shame: Encouraging the child’s healthy sexual development. New York: William Morrow.
    “He also noted that all girl babies lubricated vaginally in the first four to six hours of life. Infants were born ready and fully equipped. During sleep, spontaneous erections or vaginal lubrications occur every eighty to, ninety minutes throughout the entire life span. (Masters, 1975) Throughout life, sleeping sexual function remains far more reliable. While awake, our conscious anxieties take their toll.
    Masturbation culminating in climax may occur as early as the first month of life. The baby girl is the most enthusiastic and proficient. With unmistakable intent, she crosses her thighs rigidly. With a glassy stare she grunts, rubs, and flushes for a few seconds or minutes. If interrupted, she screams with annoyance. Movements cease abruptly and are followed by relaxation and deep sleep. This sequence occurs many times during the day, but only occasionally at night. The baby boy proceeds with distinct penis throbs and thrusts accompanied by convulsive contractions of the torso. After climax his erection (without ejaculation) quickly subsides and he appears calm and peaceful. Kinsey reports that one boy of eleven months had ten climaxes in an hour and that another of the same age had fourteen in thirty-eight minutes.”
  • Martinson, Floyd M. (1973). Infant and Child Sexuality: A Sociological Perspective. The Book Mark.
    “Before specifically discussing the affectional and sexual behavior of infants, we will more systematically and conclusively establish that infants have the somato-sensory capacity for erotic behavior. Boy babies are sometimes born with erections, and there is no reason to believe that the capacity for such marked physiological response develops any later in girls. In a study of nine male babies of ages three to twenty weeks, tumescence (penile erection) was observed at least once daily in seven of the nine. (Halverson, 1940). […] Kinsey (1953, p. 142) reports one record of a seven-month-old infant and records of five infants under one year who were observed to masturbate. Twenty-three girls, three years or younger, appeared to reach orgasm in self stimulation. Kinsey’s unpublished interview data contains notations from interviews with a small sample of two year olds and their mothers. One mother reported that her son had the habit of rubbing against a doll’s head to masturbate. Another reported that her son’s masturbating was deliberate, prolonged, and accompanied by an erection.”

Research: Who offends and how often?

Research: Who offends and how often?

The public discourse on who offends and how often is confused by conflicting mythology. Some private organisations that market CSA products towards parents claim that “strangers” are the number one concern when it comes to protecting children from abuse. Government statistics, human rights and sex offender groups paint a different picture. This has been picked up by political opportunists who use the new data to support the equally flawed myth thateverybody is a considerable threat to children.

Who offends?

The statistics do appear to indicate that most child abuse in general is perpetrated by parents. In fact, if exposure times are to be taken into consideration, it may even be the case that parents have an abnormal tendency to abuse or have sex with their children.

From Snyder (2000): The peak “perpetrator” activity is at 14-16 (click to expand)

Conviction-wise, 14-16 are the peak ages for sexual activity with American minors, and it does appear that sexual assault laws are used to prosecute “children” in a significant minority of all cases involving a minor “victim”.

  • US Department of Health and Human Services (2006). Child Maltreatment 2006, chapter 3, Victims by Perpetrator Relationship.
    82% of child maltreatment (or more) involved a parent. 17% was known to involve a non-parent.
  • Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D (2000). Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics, USDOJ/National Center for Juvenile Justice.
    “Nearly all of the offenders in sexual assaults reported to law enforcement were male (96%). Female offenders were most common in assaults against victims under age 6. For these youngest victims, 12% of offenders were females, compared with 6% for victims ages 6 through 12, and 3% for victims ages 12 through 17. Overall, 6% of the offenders who sexually assaulted juveniles were female, compared with just 1% of the female offenders who sexually assaulted adults. (…) The age profile of offenders varied with the age of the victim (figure 7). Juvenile offenders assaulted 4% of adult victims, while adult offenders assaulted 67% of juvenile victims.”

Juvenile offending: The fallacy of “Special Treatment”

Some liberals, academics and advocates for SOR reform have argued that juvenile sexual offenders against minors are a “special case”, requiring “special treatment” because they offend on a less frequent basis and are easier to “cure”. Whilst the former is demonstrably false, it should also be noted that juvenile sexual offenders against minors are significantly more likely to re-offend than their adult peers. This does not apply to sexual or child sexual crimes in particular, however.

How often?

The actual prevalence of abusive sexual behaviours with children has been exaggerated by overbroad definitions.

  • Haugaard, J.J. (2000). “The challenge of defining child sexual abuse,”American Psychologist, 55(9), 1036-1039.
    “For example, some researchers have considered children to be those below the age of 18 (Russell, 1983; Wyatt, 1985), those below the age of 17 (Finkelhor, 1979; Fromuth, 1986), or those below the age of 16 (Wurr & Partridge, 1996). In addition, defining the term sexual behavior has been difficult. Although some behaviors are considered sexual by almost everyone (e.g., intercourse, genital fondling), there is less agreement about other behaviors, such as bathing children or sleeping with them. Finally, controversy also exists about the meaning of the word abuse. Some have argued that abuse, as used in scientific research, indicates the presence of harm (Rind, Tromovitch, & Bauserman, 1998) and that, consequently, child sexual abuse may not be an appropriate term to describe adult–child sexual encounters from which no demonstrable harm can be observed. […] First, studies have reported higher prevalence rates with broad definitions than they would have with more restricted definitions. For example, some studies with community samples have reported that as many as 50%–60% of girls are sexually abused by an adult before the age of 18 (Russell, 1983; Wyatt, 1985). These high rates raised public concern about child sexual abuse, and this increased concern may have resulted in many abused children and their families receiving services that might not have been available otherwise.”
  • World Health Organization (1986). “Child sexual abuse: report on a consultation, Copenhagen, 11-12 December 1985.”
    “In all studies most of the cases are single incidents of indecent exposure, propositions to do something sexual which are rejected by the child, and brief genital touching. Offenses involving some degree of force or prolonged or repeated abuse by the same person have been experienced by about one percent of the populations studied.”


Stereotypical child abductions by strangers are incredibly rare, even in countries where mass media have incited the most fear. Again, broad definitions of “missing” have contributed to a hyping of fears regarding abduction.

  • Of the 800,000 children who were reported missing that year, half turned out to be runaways.
  • Most “abductions” turned out to involve family members.
  • Only 115 of all the cases reported involved abduction by a stranger.

Research: Child Pornography

Research: Child Pornography

The discourse on child pornography is dominated by law enforcement agencies, child charities and others who have an interest in exaggerating its extent and impact. As this page will show, claims about child pornography in the popular media rarely bear academic scrutiny.

For legal implications, see Child Pornography Laws.

The Effects of Child Pornography

The criminalization of child pornography is, in part, justified by the assumption that it will cause viewers to commit contact offences against children. No conclusive evidence substantiates this assumption. On the contrary, child pornography appears to have a cathartic effect.

The popular “backwards logic” in child porn anecdotes is virtually redundant. After selecting a sample population who are already convicted for or implicated in prohibited pedosexual or ephebosexual behaviours, it should not be surprising to unearth regular use of pornography. Said population would also have a vested interest in forfeiting responsibility, excusing their behaviours and conforming to the prevailing clinical bias. To be accurate, research needs to survey the wider population and its use of different kinds of pornography, and then look for contact-offending behaviour.

  • O’Carroll, Tom (2000). “Sexual Privacy for Paedophiles and Children: A Complementary Background Paper.
    “Such an effect has been proposed in relation to Denmark during the few years when child pornography was openly and legally available: in that period sex offences against children were significantly lower than either before or after. (5) A similar phenomenon occurred during a period of liberalisation in West Germany, where from 1972 to 1980 the total number of sex crimes known to the police in the Federal Republic of Germany decreased by 11%. (6) Sharpe himself, whose possession of pornography was in contention, made the astute point in an interview that if child pornography led to sexual assaults, then there would have been a huge increase in assaults as a result of the allegedly much greater availability of child porn on the Internet. (7)”
  • Diamond, Milton, and Uchiyama, Ayako (1999). “Pornography, rape, and sex crimes in Japan“, International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 22, 1-22.
    “However, there are no specific child pornography laws in Japan and SEM depicting minors are readily available and widely consumed. […] The most dramatic decrease in sex crimes was seen when attention was focused on the number and age of rapists and victims among younger groups (Table 2). We hypothesized that the increase in pornography [in general], without age restriction and in comics, if it had any detrimental effect, would most negatively influence younger individuals. Just the opposite occurred. The number of juvenile offenders dramatically dropped every period reviewed from 1,803 perpetrators in 1972 to a low of 264 in 1995; a drop of some 85% (Table 1). The number of victims also decreased particularly among the females younger than 13 (Table 2). In 1972, 8.3% of the victims were younger than 13. In 1995 the percentage of victims younger than 13 years of age dropped to 4.0%.”
  • Diamond, Milton; Jozifkova, Eva; Weiss, Petr (2011). “Pornography and Sex Crimes in the Czech Republic“, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(5), pp. 1037-1043.
    “Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse. […]
    “Issues surrounding child pornography and child sex abuse are probably among the most contentious in the area of sex issues and crime. In this regard we consider instructive our findings for the Czech Republic that have echoed those found in Denmark (Kutchinsky, 1973) and Japan (Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999) that where so-called child-pornography was readily available without restriction the incidence of child sexual abuse was lower than when its availability was restricted. As with adult pornography appearing to substitute for sexual aggression everywhere it has been investigated, we believe the availability of child porn does similarly. We believe this particularly since the findings of Weiss (2002) have shown that a substantial portion of child sex abuse instances seemed to occur, not because of pedophilic interest of the abuser, but because the child was used as a substitute subject.”
  • Howitt, Dennis (1995). Paedophiles and Sexual Offences Against Children, p. 161-162.
    “Common-sense theories tend to be contradictory. For example, there is a lot to be said for the notion of fantasy as substitute for action, a largely separate stream of experience or a substitute for reality. The original psychoanalytic view of fantasy as wish fulfillment took a similar stance. […]
    One cannot simply take evidence that offenders use and buy pornography as sufficient to implicate pornography causally in their offending. The most reasonable assessment based on the available research literature is that the relationship between pornography, fantasy and offending is unclear.”
  • Ferguson, J. and Hartley, R. (2009). “The pleasure is momentary…the expense damnable?: The influence of pornography on rape and sexual assault“, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14(5), pp. 323–329.
    “Evidence for a causal relationship between exposure to pornography and sexual aggression is slim and may, at certain times, have been exaggerated by politicians, pressure groups and some social scientists. Some of the debate has focused on violent pornography, but evidence of any negative effects is inconsistent, and violent pornography is comparatively rare in the real world. Victimization rates for rape in the United States demonstrate an inverse relationship between pornography consumption and rape rates.”
  • Endrass, Jérôme; Urbaniok, Frank; Hammermeister, Lea C.; Benz, Christian; Elbert, Thomas; Laubacher, Arja; and Rossegger, Astrid (2009). “The consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending,” BMC Psychiatry, 9:43.
    “Altogether, the empirical literature does not put forward any evidence that the consumers of child pornography pose a considerably increased risk for perpetrating hand-on sex offenses. Instead, the current research literature supports the assumption that the consumers of child pornography form a distinct group of sex offenders. Though some consumers do commit hands-on sex offenses as well – the majority of child pornography users do not. […] The consumption of child pornographic material alone does not seem to predict hands-on sex offenses. […] Similar to Seto and Eke, we found low rates of recidivism among our sample. When applying the broader definition of recidivism by taking investigations and charges into account, the recidivism rates were 0.8% for hands-on and 3.9% for hands-off sex offenses. These recidivism rates after a follow-up time of six years indicate that the risk of re-offending for child pornography consumers is quite low.”
  • Kirby, Stuart (2005). “No link between child porn and sexual abuse,Life Style Extra, UK, 15 December.
    “There is no link between looking at child pornography and sexual abuse of youngsters, a senior police officer told a conference today. Studies have found no correlation between those who download graphic images of youngsters via the internet and child molesters. Dr Stuart Kirby, Detective Chief Superintendent with Lancashire Police, told the International Investigative Psychology Conference: “When you look at all the research that has been done nationally, the consensus is that there has not proven to be a link between the viewing of pornography and the committing of hands-on offences. In a follow-up study by Lancashire Police, that was found to be clearly the case.”
  • Kendall, Todd (2007). “Pornography, Rape, and the Internet.” Paper presented at the Stanford Law and Economics Seminar.
    This study found that “an increase in home internet access of 10 percentage points is associated with a 7.3% decline in [forcible] rape” of females of all ages as a group. Slate Magazine reported on this.
  • Stanley, Janet (2001). “Pornography, Child Abuse and the Internet,”Child Abuse Prevention Issues, 15.
    “Research to date has not determined whether child sex offenders are more, or less, likely to offend if they view and/or collect child pornography (Queensland Crime Commission and Queensland Police Services 2000; Smallbone and Wortley 2000). Although a Queensland study found that non-familial offenders reported using adult pornography (72 per cent) and child pornography (9 per cent) (Smallbone and Wortley 2000), these findings need to be treated with caution. The study sample was almost exclusively comprised of male incarcerated offenders who had low Internet literacy (88 per cent had not used the Internet). Thus, the characteristics of incarcerated offenders may differ from the wider population of offenders and it would also appear that the Smallbone and Wortley sample may potentially represent a different group to those offenders who target children via the Internet”.
  • Sheldon, Kerry & Howitt, Dennis (2008). “Sexual fantasy in paedophile offenders: Can any model explain satisfactorily new findings from a study of Internet and contact sexual offenders?”, Legal and Criminological Psychology, 13, 137-158.
    “Internet offenders may have less need to contact offend since they can generate fantasy more easily. The contact [offending] group may be unable to generate fantasies at all or may have weak and short-lived fantasies. Sex offenders are often described as concrete and/or unimaginative (Langevin, Lang, & Curnoe, 1998), and it is possible that contact child molesters do not have frequent or vivid fantasies and require activity with a child in order to generate later masturbatory thoughts. […] Contact offenders seem to have less sexual fantasy pertinent to their offending than did Internet offenders. Fantasy deficit may be involved in contact offending against children.”
  • Decision in R v. Sharpe by Justice Duncan Shaw in the Supreme Court of British Columbia
    “There is no evidence which demonstrates any significant increase of danger to children related to the confirmation or augmentation of cognitive distortions caused by pornography. There is no evidence that “mildly erotic” images are used in the “grooming process.” Only assumption supports the proposition that materials that advocate or counsel sexual crimes with children have the effect of increasing the occurrence of such crimes. Sexually explicit pornography is used by some pedophiles to relieve pent-up sexual tension. A person who is prone to act on his fantasies will likely do so irrespective of the availability of pornography. There is no evidence that the production of child pornography will be significantly reduced if simple possession is a made a crime.”
  • Knudsen, D.D. (1988). “Child sexual abuse and pornography: Is there a relationship?,” Journal of Family Violence, 3, pp. 253-267.
    “Perhaps the most appropriate summary of the research pertaining to pornography involving both adults and children is that there are no clear relationships that can be identified between erotica and sex crimes. Individuals for whom pornography is the primary or direct motivator of violent acts appear to be relatively rare. And most violence toward women and children is undertaken without such aids to arouse aggressive feelings, though some indirect modeling effects may be identified in lowered inhibitions. If the problem is to determine whether access to pornography directly increases the probability of sexually exploitive behaviors toward children, there appears to be a general consensus among researchers that it does not (Nelson, 1982).”
  • Williams, Katherine S. (2004). “Child Pornography Law: Does it Protect Children?,” Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 26(3), 245-261.
    “It seems reasonable to conclude that, on the evidence presently available, it is not possible even to clearly link child pornography and sexual assaults, much less to prove a causative link. In this context, to control the activity on this ground is not logical. Taylor and Quayle (2003: 80-83) found that child pornography on the internet was extensively used as a means of achieving sexual arousal and as an aid to masturbation: it was therefore actively used in the paedophile’s fulfilment of their sexual attraction to children and in their sexual fantasies. This use as a masturbatory aid is not in itself illegal nor is it of itself dangerous to children, though it may be abhorrent. If this were enough to feed and satisfy their sexual desire, then pseudo-images might be seen as having social utility even if most of us would be wholly disgusted by their existence and the use made of them by the paedophile. Kutchinskey’s work (1973, 1985) suggests that this is more likely to be the case, so pornography (adult or pseudo-photographs) might actually protect children. The crucial point remains, that there may be no necessary link between child pornography and further abuse of children and certainly no causative link.”

The Nature of Child Pornography

  • Schuijer, Jan and Rossen, Benjamin (1992). “The Trade in Child Pornography,” Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, 4(4).
    “We have called the claims about child pornography “myths.” The existence of child pornography is certainly not. The myths are the exaggerated estimates of the number of children, the volume and value of the trade, the profits that are alleged to have been made, and the horrifying damage said to have been done to the children.”
“A survey of images in commercial child porn magazines that were available in the 1970s and early 80s by Schuijer and Rossen shows that only 14% depicted children engaged in sexual conduct with adults. Most of the material, 61%, showed children either nude at play or posing erotically. (8)”
  • Bauserman, Robert (2003). “Child pornography online: myth, fact, and social control”, Journal of Sex Research, 40(2).
    “Most of the CP images themselves appear to involve adolescents or children posing nude, which is not illegal in most Western countries. However, some hard-core images of adolescent and prepubescent children having sex with each other and with adults are available. While some appear to be recycled from 1970s magazines and films, other images seem to be “sex tourist” images created by men visiting Asian or Latin American countries in search of less risky sexual access to minors. Jenkins offers no estimate of the number of minors who currently appear in CP, but fortunately they seem to number far fewer than the tens or hundreds of thousands of children (defined to include adolescents) often claimed.”
  • “Child Pornography Statistics 1984-2000
    “Less than an average of ten new series per year have been circulated on the internet since 1984. Only 14 of these series include children engaged in sexual intercourse, 32 in non-penetrative genital contact and 39 in fellatio. Most of these series include genital display only.”
  • Lanning, Kenneth (1992). Investigator’s Guide to Allegations of “Ritual” Child Abuse, Chapter 2.1: “Stranger Danger”. Quantico, VA: Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.
    “Child victims who, for example, simply behave like human beings and respond to the attention and affection of offenders by voluntarily and repeatedly returning to the offender’s home are troubling. It confuses us to see the victims in child pornography giggling or laughing.”
  • O’Donnel, Ian, and Milner, Claire (2007). Child Pornography: Crime, Computers and Society, p. 123. (Paraphrased by Brian Ribbon)
    “A recent study in Ireland, undertaken by Garda, revealed the most serious content in a sample of over 100 cases involving indecent images of children. In 44% of cases, the most serious images depicted nudity or erotic posing, in 7% they depicted sexual activity between children, in 7% they depicted non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children, in 37% they depicted penetrative sexual activity between adults and children, and in 5% they depicted sadism or bestiality.”
  • Ribbon, Brian (2008). “How can anyone believe these claims?”.
    “I could only find a small number of websites (less than 20) which contained material which would be illegal if viewed in my home jurisdiction, despite the fact that my home jurisdiction prohibits simple nudity. It is clear that there are not 150,000 child pornography websites. The websites which did depict material which would be illegal if viewed in my home jurisdiction were much tamer than government-funded organisations claim. Over 99% of the images which would be illegal in the USA/UK/Australia showed no sexual contact.”
  • Levine, Judith (2002). Harmful to Minors.
    “Aficionados and vice cops concede that practically all the sexually explicit images of children circulating cybernetically are the same stack of yellowing pages found at the back of those X-rated shops, only digitized. These pictures tend to be twenty to fifty years old, made overseas, badly re-reproduced, and for the most part pretty chaste. That may be why federal agents almost never show journalists the contraband. But when I got a peek at a stash downloaded by Don Huycke, the national program manager for child pornography at the U.S. Customs Service, in 1995, I was underwhelmed. Losing count after fifty photos, I’d put aside three that could be called pornographic: a couple of shots of adolescents masturbating and one half-dressed twelve-year-old spreading her legs in a position more like a gymnast’s split than split beaver. The rest tended to be like the fifteen-year-old with a 1950s bob and an Ipana grin, sitting up straight, naked but demure, or the two towheaded six-year olds in underpants, astride their bikes.”
  • Mirkin, Harris (2009). “The Social, Political, and Legal Construction of the Concept of Child Pornography,” Journal of Homosexuality, 56(2), pp. 233-267.
    “Most of the actual acts depicted by the young models in child pornography are legal. Although some of the older pictures have sullen, battered looking children who look like they have been drugged or coerced, that is rarely true of more current photos. Impressionistically, the largest number of pictures on pornographic sites involves clothed photographs of pretty or good-looking children. Often they are in bathing suits. These are tainted simply because of their presence on pornographic sites, but, although they often have an erotic tinge, the pictures would not be considered pornographic in other settings. The next largest number consists of nudes of diverse quality and degrees of eroticism. Some pictures of boys show erections. Videos are a media that demand movement and they often show sex play and horseplay among the youths (especially boys), but no real sex (except masturbation or attempted masturbation). Masturbation, usually alone but sometimes in groups, and oral sex are also occasionally shown in still images. Generally both boys and girls look cheerful and healthy, although obviously this could be an act. Still the smiles and playfulness are often in hundreds of photographs of the same models, and giggles are ubiquitous in the films. The attempt is to portray an innocent and joyful sexuality, whether or not that is what is experienced by the models and actors. The pictures are far less tawdry and hard core than adult porn and are more playful. Domination is not an important theme and very few images (probably less than 1%) involve adults.”
  • Quayle, Ethen and Jones, Terry (2011). “Sexualized Images of Children on the Internet”, Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 23(1), pp. 7-21.
    The authors reviewed a sample of 24,550 child pornography images from the UK’s ChildBase database. After excluding “children who had reached sexual maturity” (14+), 47.9% of the sample were classified as pubescent, 51.4% as prepubescent, and only 0.7% as “very young” (children under two). “The final total of coded images was 24,550; the majority of these images depicted children in indecent or naked poses. […] The images were initially sorted into the following categories: gender (female, male, and gender unknown), age (pubescent, prepubescent, and very young), and ethnic group (White and non-White). The decision to use these age groupings followed the publication by Cattaneo et al. (2008) of an empirical study that highlighted the difficulty in allocating an age to postpubertal individuals. It effectively meant that any person displaying sexual maturity was excluded and that the majority of the sample would have been aged 14 years or younger (Cooper, 2005). […] There were very few very young children in the current sample, and this differs from data published by the IWF (2008).”

Child pornography subcultures

“Also of interest is Jenkins’ finding that, like many other deviant groups (e.g., organized crime), the CP subculture does not represent a total break with conventional morality. This claim may be surprising, given the extent to which sexual interest in children or adolescents is socially and legally condemned. However, studies of deviant groups show that members may express mainstream or even conservative values on social and political issues, and share widely accepted goals such as material success. While subscribing to mainstream values, group members seek to rationalize or “neutralize” the illegal and socially condemned aspects of their behavior. Jenkins notes the use of techniques such as denial of victimization (the adolescent or child is said to be consenting), denial of harm, and condemnation of the condemners (e.g., as hypocrites). Users also self-label with nonderogatory terms such as “pedo” or “loli-lover.” Reports of truly sadistic and violent crimes against children (such as the Dutroux case in Belgium, in which an offender kidnapped, raped, and killed young girls) are met with expressions of disgust and anger and claims that “true loli-lovers” are interested in mutual pleasure, not violence. Jenkins considers such statements genuine expressions of feeling, not a public front, because of the private nature of the bulletin board forums.”

A Billion-Dollar Industry?

Child pornography is generally exchanged without any money changing hands. The endlessly repeated statistic that child pornography is a “billion-dollar industry” has absolutely no basis.

  • Jenkins, Philip (2001). Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet,p. 102.
    “Money is rarely involved in the child porn underworld, which is the preserve of truly motivated collectors.”
  • Bialik, Carl (2006). “Measuring the Child-Porn Trade,” The Wall Street Journal, April 18.
    “Unlike, say, the soft-drink or airline industries, the child-pornography industry doesn’t report its annual sales to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yet in a press release ahead of a recent House of Representatives hearing aimed at curbing the industry, Texas Republican Joe Barton said, “Child pornography is apparently a multibillion … my staff analysis says $20 billion-a-year business. Twenty billion dollars.” Some press reports said the figure applied only to the industry’s online segment. The New York Times reported, “the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet is a $20 billion industry that continues to expand in the United States and abroad,” citing witnesses at the hearing.
    What was Rep. Barton’s staff analysis? A spokesman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee told me the source of the number was the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a group that advocates for the protection of children. When I first talked with that group’s president, Ernie Allen, he told me that Standard Chartered bank, which has worked with the NCMEC to cut off funding to child-porn traffickers, wanted a quantitative analysis of the problem, so it asked for a measurement from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Mr. Allen faxed me an NCMEC paper that cites the McKinsey study in placing the child-porn industry at $6 billion in 1999, and $20 billion in 2004.
    But a McKinsey spokesman painted a different picture for me: “The number was not calculated or generated by McKinsey,” he wrote in an email. Instead, for a pro bono analysis for Standard Chartered, he said, McKinsey used a number that appeared in a report last year by End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, an international advocacy group.
    But the trail didn’t end there: That report, in turn, attributed the number to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as did a report last year from the Council of Europe, a Strasbourg, France-based human-rights watchdog. Both of those reports noted that estimates range widely, from $3 billion to $20 billion.
    FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told me in an email, “The FBI has not stated the $20 billion figure… . I have asked many people who would know for sure if we have attached the $20 billion number to this problem. I have scoured our Web site, too. Nothing!””
    • Bialik, Carl (2006). “Measuring Chernobyl’s Fallout,” The Wall Street Journal, April 27.
      “Meanwhile, I heard more about the number that was the subject of last week’s column — the claim, which I couldn’t verify, that the child-pornography industry generates $20 billion in annual revenue. In a 2004 report, the Council of Europe, a Strasbourg, France-based human-rights watchdog, attributed the number to Unicef. But Allison Hickling, a spokeswoman for the United Nations child agency, told me in an email, “The number is not attributable to Unicef — we do not collect data on this issue.”
      I told Alexander Seger, who worked on the Council of Europe reports, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Unicef, both cited in Council reports, said they weren’t the source for the $20 billion figure. He said the Council won’t use the number in the future, and added in an email, “I think we have what I would call a case of information laundering: You state a figure on something, somebody else quotes it, and then you and others [quote] it back, and thus it becomes clean and true. … Perhaps this discussion will help instill more rigor in the future.””
  • O’Carroll, Tom (2000). “Sexual Privacy for Paedophiles and Children: A Complementary Background Paper.
    “The production of such pictures is vanishingly rare, however, and there is no shortage of criminal law to deal with any perpetrators who are caught. Even in such cases, though, we would be hard put to blame the private viewer of such material for creating a market in it. There is no means, no even on the Internet, to buy and sell such material. Illegal images may be posted, but this will invariably be done anonymously or with a phoney “from” address – for obvious reasons. This means that it is impossible to make money on these activities. From time to time someone may naively hope do so, lured by claims in the media that it is a profitable business. These commercial attempts have always been stopped very quickly: If the potential customers can find the producer then so can the police. The notion that there is a vast child porn industry, organised by some ruthless mafia, is simply a myth.”
  • Rothery, Brian (2008). “Every image of a child being abused“,
    “By now, many journalists and activists concerned with how the police deal with the child pornography laws are aware that the American police and some related agencies are the main, and likely the sole, dealers in and publishers of images of child pornography, using them for entrapment purposes.”
  • Rosen, Jeffrey (2005). “The Internet Has Made Government Action Against Child Pornography Untenable,” in Opposing Viewpoints: Mass Media. Ed. William Dudley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
    Child pornography is often alleged to be a 20 billion dollar industry. If this is true, that would put it at twice the size of the adult porn industry: “But today, as Frank Rich reported in The New York Times Magazine last May [2002] the porn industry—much of it hard-core—generates at least $10 billion per year in revenues for more than 70,000 websites, porn networks, pay-per-view and rental movies [700 million porn rentals per year], cable and satellite television, and magazine publishers.”
  • O’Donnel, Ian and Milner, Claire (2007). Child Pornography; Crime, Computers and Society, p. 54.
    “Because there is no way of estimating the amount of child pornography that was in circulation prior to the advent of the internet, it is possible that the quantity has not increased but has simply become more available and more copied.”
  • Udo Vetter (lawyer) in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (2009). Simple Lösungen für ein komplexes Problem. Translation found on GC.
    “You cannot physically abuse children on the internet. But you can look at pictures or movies of child abuse and trade them. “Of course paedophiles use the internet to trade child porn,” says lawyer Udo Vetter, who has acted as a defense lawyer in hundreds of child porn cases. “But there is no such thing as a commercial market.” … There is no effective system of money transfer for the distribution of illegal pictures and movies. According to Vetter, “you simply can’t receive millions of dollars online anonymously.” Money flow is monitored by the authorities of many states, including the USA. According to Vetter, none of his clients ever paid for pictures or movies. 80 to 90 percent of the files found by the police are identical. “Some of these pictures are 30 to 40 years old.” In contrast to the claims made to justify net censorship the amount of child porn available on the internet is rising extremely slowly. None of these pictures and movies have been produced professionally (the only exceptions being movies with teenage victims which may have been legal when they were produced.”

Impact on Child Models

Very little research has been done into the direct effect of modeling on children.

  • Jan Schuijer and Benjamin Rossen (1992). “Interviews with Three Boys.”
    “Despite the attempt to obtain a balanced description of the events, a remarkably black and white picture emerged. The boys described their friendship and feelings for Ferdinand in glowing terms. On the other hand the attitude towards the police is unequivocally negative.”
  • O’Donnell, Ian and Milner, Claire (2007). “Child Pornography: Crime, Computers and Society”. Willan Publishing, p. 229.
    “While we might feel uneasy about an individual who took sexual pleasure from photographs of children playing on beaches, it is clearly the case that such photographs are not based on an underlying act of abuse”.
  • The Australian (2008). “Naked child in photo defends image
    Although the photos concerned are most probably not pornographic they have been criticised as such (for containing nudity and posing). ““I’m really, really offended by what Kevin Rudd had to say about this picture,” Olympia said outside her Melbourne home, accompanied by her father, The Age art critic Robert Nelson. “I love the photo so much. It is one of my favourites, if not my favourite photo, my mum has ever taken of me and she has taken so many photos of me. “I think that the picture my mum took of me had nothing to do with being abused and I think nudity can be a part of art.”” An adult critic responded: “And that the child concerned defends the photographs in my view merely compounds what has happened.”
  • Mirkin, Harris (2009). “The Social, Political, and Legal Construction of the Concept of Child Pornography ,” Journal of Homosexuality, 56(2), pp. 233-267.
    “People who were familiar with the child pornography world have told me that in Eastern Europe, where most of the current male child pornography is produced, many of the boys modeling and acting in child pornography are street hustlers, who survive largely by selling sex and who view it as an easy gig. There are many reasons for them to model, including money, showing off, coercion, affection for the photographer, a road to modeling career, and daredevil impulses to violate social norms. They do not think that being photographed nude is a big deal. The girl models in Japan are often treated like stars and have Web sites devoted to them. For long periods, photographs that we would currently call child pornography have been legal, and there is no evidence that the models were hurt. Artist models at various times have shown little evidence of harm, and the subjects of major photographers like Sturges, Mann, and Hamilton (who all have been accused, but exonerated, of making child pornography) have said that their experiences were positive ones.
    Based on the available evidence it is difficult to support the prevailing assumptions about universal harm to the young models and actors. Based on the Rind et al. studies, boys especially seem unlikely to suffer great harm. Probably some are hurt, some benefit, and most are not strongly affected.”

Impact on “Non-Appreciative” Adults

It is often claimed anecdotally that officers investigating high volumes of child porn suffer from “burn out” or may have to enter counseling.

  • Rothery, Brian (2008). “From inside the police force,”
    “We have a report from a police insider about how many of his colleagues actually reacted to both adult and child pornography […] He received his first, much of it shocking to him, initiation into the world of pornography from his older police colleagues who ‘sickened him with their canteen culture’. They pushed the first ever hard core magazines he had seen right in front of his face, as he put it, “Gloating over them.” […] Only as the number of women in the force increased, especially in senior ranks, did the macho culture of open pornographic display decrease and become more covert. […] These men were now being paid to study child pornography and soon he could hear them tell the media about fatigue and burn-out concerning images they had formerly gloated over.”

Child Producers

The criminalisation of youth is also covered in a dedicated article.

As more facts slowly float to the surface in this stringently censored medium, the more we learn about under-age producers sharing their self-made images with other young people for recreational use, thus making prohibitions unworkable and pronouncements concerning who is “exploiting” who extremely hard to define. Whilst activists have been pointing towards this trend for some time, it has taken much longer for “Child-Protection” officers to admit that minors are capable of producing child pornography.

  • The Courier Mail (2008). “Making child pornography is now kids’ stuff.
    “Teenagers are becoming major makers of child pornography in Victoria[Australia]. Statistics reveal adolescents last year outnumbered middle-aged men two to one as the main offenders in child porn production. Youths 10 to 14 were among the alleged offenders.”
  • Irish Independent (2008). “Children producing their own web porn.”
    “CHILDREN as young as 10 years of age are taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves before uploading them onto the internet — according to Ireland’s leading Criminal Intelligence Officer at Interpol […] Irish Detective Sergeant Michael Moran, who is one of the world’s leading experts in the fight against child exploitation, has warned parents to be extra vigilant about their children uploading self-made pornography. “Everything from posing naked to actual sex acts on web cams. We are seeing a lot more self-produced child pornography to the extent that self-taking child abusive material is one of our biggest problems at the moment.”
  • Inquisition 21 (2008). “The new pizza scam.”
    “The child sex abuse and child porn legislation have boosted the business of so-called ‘under-age’ minors scamming and blackmailing adult men. The latest to arise from the chat rooms is the pizza scam. […] One of our other researchers went onto that chat room and asked if anyone had been approached by individuals offering to cam for pizza and one man from London replied. He said he had spoken to a male student who lived in his local area, aged 19. The student gave some sob story and said he would give a cam show for pizza. The man agreed. The boy named a local pizza place but gave another telephone number. The man phoned the number, who took his order and credit card details. Subsequently a PayPal account was set up using that credit card and money stolen from him. He reported this to PayPal who refused to do anything without a crime number. He then reported it to the police who simply took details. PayPal responded once he had a crime number, but the police apparently performed no investigation. A source close to the police has informed us that the police have a good laugh at this kind of thing. They regard the scammed as the perverts, or the guilty ones, and the scammers as having a right to sting them.”

Also, They Can’t Reach Through the Screen and Grab Your Child, à la Freddy Krueger

Also, They Can’t Reach Through the Screen and Grab Your Child, à la Freddy Krueger

Based on surveys of young Internet users and interviews with government investigators, University of New Hampshire researchers have concluded that the risk from online pedophiles is not trumpeted often or loudly enough. Just kidding. In the latest issue of American Psychologist, they debunk the following misconceptions, as summarized by McClatchy Newspapers:

Myth: Internet predators are driving up child sex crime rates.

Finding: Sex assaults on teens fell 52 percent from 1993 to 2005, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, the best measure of U.S. crime trends. “The Internet may not be as risky as a lot of other things that parents do without concern, such as driving kids to the mall and leaving them there for two hours,” [sociologist Janis] Wolak said.

Myth: Internet predators are pedophiles.

Finding: Internet predators don’t hit on the prepubescent children whom pedophiles target. They target adolescents, who have more access to computers, more privacy and more interest in sex and romance, Wolak’s team determined from interviews with investigators.

Myth: Internet predators represent a new dimension of child sexual abuse.

Finding: The means of communication is new, according to Wolak, but most Internet-linked offenses are essentially statutory rape: nonforcible sex crimes against minors too young to consent to sexual relationships with adults.

Myth: Internet predators trick or abduct their victims.

Finding: Most victims meet online offenders face-to-face and go to those meetings expecting to engage in sex. Nearly three-quarters have sex with partners they met on the Internet more than once.

Myth: Internet predators meet their victims by posing online as other teens.

Finding: Only 5 percent of predators did that, according to the survey of investigators.

Myth: Online interactions with strangers are risky.

Finding: Many teens interact online all the time with people they don’t know. What’s risky, according to Wolak, is giving out names, phone numbers and pictures to strangers and talking online with them about sex.

Myth: Internet predators go after any child.

Finding: Usually their targets are adolescent girls or adolescent boys of uncertain sexual orientation, according to Wolak. Youths with histories of sexual abuse, sexual orientation concerns and patterns of off- and online risk-taking are especially at risk.

Here (PDF) is a press release about the study, produced by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, and here (PDF) is the full text.

“The Trauma Myth”: The child betrayed

Susan Clancy discusses her controversial theory, and how an industry designed to help children may hurt them

Thomas Rogers

Topics: Sexual abuse, Books, Entertainment News

EnlargeSusan Clancy, left.More than a decade ago, a 42-year-old man walked into the office of Susan Clancy, then a Harvard graduate student working with child abuse victims, and made a revelation that would help shift how she viewed her entire field. When he was 9 years old, the man said, a friend of the family had sexually molested him over a six-month period. The man kept the abuse a secret from his wife and family for more than 30 years and was struggling with feelings of shame and problems at work. But this wasn’t nearly as surprising as what he revealed next: When the sexual abuse was happening, the man said, he wasn’t even upset.

Clancy tells the story in her new book, “The Trauma Myth,” not only to startle readers, but also to describe the extent to which she believes many people in the medical establishment have misrepresented the realities of child abuse. The book marks a controversial break with the current line on sexual abuse, but Clancy is no stranger to controversy. A former Harvard psychologist and the current research director at the Harvard-affiliated Center for Women’s Advancement, Development and Leadership in Nicaragua, Clancy’s previous book, “Abducted,” was a much-debated attack on repressed memory. In a 2003 New York Times magazine profile about her, well-known trauma therapist Daniel Brown lashed out at Clancy’s “political agenda,” and Clancy’s hate mail has included accusations of cheering on child molesters and even abusing children herself.

Despite its provocative thesis, however, “The Trauma Myth” is a nuanced and muscular work that takes a surprisingly straightforward approach to a tough subject matter. Salon spoke to Clancy over the phone and via e-mail from Nicaragua about our society’s misconceptions about child abuse, the media’s dangerous portrayals of molestation, and why the “trauma myth” helped Roman Polanski sway public opinion.

What do you mean by the “trauma myth”?

The title refers to the fact that although sexual abuse is usually portrayed by professionals and the media as a traumatic experience for the victims when it happens — meaning frightening, overwhelming, painful — it rarely is. Most victims do not understand they are being victimized, because they are too young to understand sex, the perpetrators are almost always people they know and trust, and violence or penetration rarely occurs. “Confusion” is the most frequently reported word when victims are asked to describe what the experience was like. Confusion is a far cry from trauma.

At what point did you conclude that something was wrong with the way we think about child sexual abuse?

What was shocking to me when I started my research was the number of people who were victims of sexual abuse and hadn’t told anybody before. All day long I would interview people — my whole life was surrounded by victims — and I was hearing the same thing: This is the first time I’ve talked about it. I was thinking, How is this possible? We’ve been talking about sexual abuse and trauma on the news 24/7. You get all these people who are keeping it a secret because they’re ashamed — because what happened to them is not what is portrayed in the media or psychological and medical circles.

Why is this distinction important?

If you really want to help people, if you’re really trying to prevent and treat a social problem, you have to describe the problem truthfully. For 30 years we’ve been working on preventing sexual abuse. But we’ve skirted around what sexual abuse really is. The kids don’t know what’s going on, and they often enjoy it. They’re not going to resist.

If this is true, why hasn’t it been put forward before?

In the 1950s and 1960s, psychiatrists were very open and honest about sexual abuse, but there was also that tendency to think it was the child’s fault. Feminists were naturally infuriated, because it’s not the children’s fault! But the way they got attention to it was to portray the sexual abuse in a way that would shock people. They did that by comparing it to a rape. Before that, the reaction from the medical and psych communities was, “This is not something we really care about.” It wasn’t until feminists and child-protection advocates misportrayed it that we were able to arouse massive medical and scientific attention to the topic.

How does what you call the trauma myth hurt people who were actual victims of sexual assault?

Ninety-five percent of sexual abuse victims never seek treatment because of what they falsely assume and fear about sexual abuse. Many of them do not even think they were sexually abused. This is a huge problem. You have people who call me and say, “My uncle attempted sexual penetration when I was a child, but I’m not sure if I qualify as a sexual abuse victim.” I say, “How in God’s name do you not think you’re a sexual abuse victim?” It’s because in most cases of sexual abuse, it was not traumatic when it happened.

It’s a very fine line between what you’re saying and saying that children aren’t hurt by sexual abuse.

I will never say that. I could not be more clear. This is an atrocious, disgusting crime. People have a tendency to assume I’m saying it’s not a big deal or it’s the child’s fault. Most people don’t want to think too hard or thoroughly about these things.

One could argue that your claims could encourage child abusers — or convince them that what they’re doing isn’t wrong. How do you respond to that?

Forcefully! As I hope to have made clear in the book, sexual abuse is never OK. No matter what the circumstances are, or how it impacts the victims, sexual abuse is an atrocious, despicable crime. Just because it rarely physically or psychologically damages the child does not mean it is OK. Harmfulness is not the same thing as wrongfulness. And why is it wrong? Because children are incapable of consent.

Children do not understand the meaning or significance of sexual behavior. Adults know this, and thus they are taking advantage of innocent children — using their knowledge to manipulate children into providing sexual pleasure. Sick.

You spoke to 200 people as part of your research at Harvard. Isn’t that a small sample from which to draw these conclusions?

No, my sample is not small compared to most community samples used in social sciences research. Plus, my findings perfectly mirror the findings from national epidemiological studies that randomly sampled members of the U.S. population. This is significant. The main takeaway is that my findings were perfectly consistent with findings from the general population of sexual abuse victims.

Your previous book was a take-down of recovered memory. This book also takes a very negative view of recovered memory. Why are you so opposed to the idea of recovered memory?

Because it doesn’t exist. There is not one single research study showing that people exposed to horrifying, overwhelming, painful events “repress them” and recover them later on. Rather, people exposed to horrifying events report that they often remember them all too well. Ask any child exposed to the recent earthquake in Haiti if they “repressed it.” None will. True trauma will always be remembered. Richard J. McNally’s “Remembering Trauma” is a comprehensive critique of repression. Repression is a psychiatric myth.

What therapists in the sexual abuse field refer to as repression is actually simple forgetting. Most children who get abused don’t understand it at the time. Thus, it is not a significant experience when it happens — it’s weird, perhaps — and so they forget it, like we forget so many aspects of childhood. Later on in life they may be asked by a therapist, “Were you sexually abused as a child?” and this question will cue a memory. When this happens it is not an example of a recovered memory. It is an example of normal forgetting and remembering.

The idea of repression ultimately hurts victims. It reinforces the notion that sexual abuse is and should be a traumatic experience when it happens — something done against the will of the victims. Since for most victims this is not the case, they end up feeling “alone,” “isolated” and “ashamed.”

You write that you’ve experienced quite a backlash from your work on child abuse when you were at Harvard. Was it really that bad?

It’s bad enough I moved to Nicaragua. When I was at Harvard — the peak of my career, at the university you want to be, surrounded by all the people who were the titans in the field — there was just so much bullshit going on. People focused on a type of abuse that affects maybe 2 percent of the population, millions of dollars for funding that doesn’t apply to most victims, bestselling books written by therapists misportraying sexual abuse. I would try to tell the truth. I would be attacked. Grad students wouldn’t talk to me.

Professors would tell me to leave for other fields. I just felt disillusioned. I got this opportunity from the World Bank to do cross-cultural research on how sexual abuse is understood in Latin America. I came down to Central America, and I’ve stayed.

To what extent have movies and TV been responsible for perpetuating what you claim are false portrayals of child abuse?

I think it does a disservice to victims. There were a number of movies in the last few years where people were so traumatized by sexual abuse that they needed hypnosis to bring back the memory. In 5 percent of cases it is awful, and medical attention is required. For 95 percent of victims, that’s not what happens.

Look at “Mystic River.” In that movie child sex abuse involves a faceless priest. The child is destroyed for life. There’s a sadistic aspect to it that has nothing to do with what happens to most kids.

Do you think there’s any movie or TV show that’s done a good job of portraying sexual abuse?

There’s a moment on HBO’s “True Blood” in the first season, where Sookie Stackhouse is talking to Bill, her vampire lover, about what happened between her and her uncle, and I thought that was a very good depiction. She said it didn’t ruin her life, but it’s sad that something like that has to color her feelings about sex and intimacy as an adult. It wasn’t out of control. They didn’t make it sensational.

You argue that one of the reasons so many people misunderstand child sexual abuse is that it’s often compared to rape. How do you feel about the term “statutory rape”?

It’s outside my bailiwick to comment on legal terms, but in an ideal world I don’t think that’s the term we should use. I think there should be clear legal terms to differentiate sexual abuse that involves touching and no force, and sexual abuse that’s penetrative, and sexual abuse that involves force and violence. You have to make it clear that in all cases it is a crime, but clumping all of them under one title — when they range from genital stroking to anal penetration — is a bad thing.

Do you think that Roman Polanski should be put in jail?

The Roman Polanski case is a clear case for sexual abuse. It’s infuriating that people are losing the main point. He’s a guy who had sex with a child. If she had been beaten or if she had been rushed to the hospital, it would have been an entirely different situation, but because she wasn’t physically traumatized nobody cares. She was drugged, the poor thing. If he had slapped her around, if he had pushed her up against the wall, he would have been locked up. Ninety-five percent of children don’t fight it because they don’t understand what’s happening and because when they tell the truth nobody cares.

How do you think we should change the way sexual abuse victims are treated?

I think practically, sexual abuse victims need to hear loud and clear that what happened to you is what happens to most people. It was wrong and not your fault, and you should report the crime, and the perpetrator should be punished. I don’t think that sex abuse victims in most cases need years of therapy to get over the betrayal. What they need first and foremost is the straightforward truth: You are not alone, you have nothing to be ashamed of, it’s his fault, and this is a crime.

There’s something I would like to add. Despite all of this media and research attention on sexual abuse for the last 30 years, I still don’t hear the answer to one question: What the fuck is wrong with all of these men? Sexual abuse is not women; it’s men. Every once in a while a woman will sexually abuse, but in 95 percent of cases it’s a man that is known to the child — a teacher, a friend, a family member. These are high-functioning people in society who are choosing to molest children. All this focus on the psychology of the victim is a way to sidestep this central question: What is going on in society that so many men are choosing to get off on small children? I can find almost no studies on the subject. People will go into jails and interview a perpetrator, but most of these people don’t go to jail, and most of them aren’t caught.

Missing Children: How “Cause-Related Marketing” Fuels the Scandal

Missing Children: How “Cause-Related Marketing” Fuels the Scandal

by John Edward Gill

Geraldo Rivera was happy.

He had John Walsh, host of FOX-TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” on his show promoting telephone credit cards with pictures of missing children on them. A local missing child group in Florida organized that program and its director was with Walsh.

“I can’t tell you how much I admire them,” Geraldo said of Walsh and his companion. “I thank these two guys who are helping us make our children safer.”

He then gave out names and addresses of several local missing child groups and complemented a national group based in Alexandria, Virginia. Of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (National Center), he said, “I love these guys, too.”

Earlier in his show, aired during August, 1997, he mentioned the telephone company making such cards and the oil company which sold them through its gas stations. He didn’t mention that such cards don’t find missing children, though. They have a child’s small, postage stamp-sized picture on them and, just like on postcards, these pictures are outdated and hard to read.

Also, he didn’t mention that the National Center and approximately 35 other similar agencies are not law enforcement agencies and don’t look for missing children.

Such cards are part of that National Center’s “cause-related marketing” campaign, a promotional program designed to raise private funds. With seminars in its Alexandria office, that National Center presents companies with useless child identification programs that receive much publicity, but don’t find children. These programs include fingerprinting, videotaping, DNA fingerprinting, and pictures of children on milk cartons, utility company bills, highway billboards, grocery bags, electronic bulletin boards, and now phone credit cards.

Fingerprints dont help you locate the child, said Jim Green, crime prevention officer of the Lees Summit, Missouri, police department. All they can do is be used to identify the child.

Yet such programs produce contributions from those corporations to the National Center.

“‘Cause-related marketing’ is the National Center’s main program, not finding children,” said Nikki Abbott, founder of Services for the Missing, in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “They don’t look for children. They look for money.” Abbott founded her group in the early 1980s.

Funded with eight million dollars annually from the U. S. Justice Department and about the same amount from private corporations, the National Center does not send search and rescue teams into the field to look for children.

Newspaper reporters and law enforcement officials confirm that local and state police and F.B.I. agents actually look for abducted or lost children. They have trained personnel with bloodhounds, helicopters, infra-red sensors, night vision (or “starlight”) scopes, four-wheel drive vehicles, boats, maps, etc., which the National Center doesn’t have.

Even some of the National Center’s own officials concede that local law enforcement handles missing child cases. When learning from police about a missing child, “the case manager assigned to the case continues to follow NCMEC’s standard operating procedures until informed by law enforcement as to the resolution of the case,” said Ruben Rodriguez, head of the National Center’s Informational Analysis Unit.

He didnt say what those operating procedures were.

Other officials concur.

“We don’t do investigation,” said Ben Ermini, director of case management for the National Center. “We don’t go into it as thoroughly as the local authorities.”

“NCMEC (National Center) is dependent on law enforcement and parents to let us know about a recovery/location (of a missing child), said John Rabun, vice president of the National Center.

And on that same Geraldo show, Geraldo asked Ms. Gay Le-Clerc, New York Director of the National Center, What can a parent do (when a child is missing)?

We want them to call police first, 911, she said.

So, despite claims that it has found more than 47,000 children since 1984, the National Center hasn’t recovered one child.

“They just call the NCIC (National Crime Information Center, run by the F.B.I.) and state police to find out who is gone and who has come home,” Abbott continued. “Then they issue ‘recovery’ reports based on what law enforcement tells them.”

Conservative philosophy of the Reagan administration encouraged the National Center to use private enterprise, not police, to seemingly find children. Corporate executives soon joined its Board of Directors, with the National Center holding those “cause-related marketing” seminars to teach businesses how to make money from child tragedies.

“The National Center has worked closely with hundreds of corporate partners throughout the country to help us in our efforts to assist the families of missing and exploited children,” said Ernie Allen, president of that National Center, in its January, 1990, edition of his newsletter, At The Center. “Corporate partners have made significant monetary contributions, distributed photographs of missing children, disseminated safety tips, and implemented cause-related marketing campaigns to bring greater public awareness to these important issues.”

Such “marketing” actually began immediately after the National Center opened in May, 1984. By June, 1985, it had a commitment from Dole Packaged Foods to mail two pages of advertising inserts with coupons to over forty-three million households in America during the week of September 15, 1985.

President Reagan’s picture was on top of one page; four coupons were at the bottom. Citizens were asked to buy Dole’s products, send in those coupons, and receive up to $1.60 worth of coupons for other Dole Products.

“Help us find our missing children,” the President

was quoted as saying, next to his picture. Dole then proclaimed: “President Reagan is voicing the plea of thousands of Americans who want to stop the growing epidemic of missing and exploited children. Now, you can join Dole and respond to this call for help.”

Headlines for the ad read “Support the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with Dole.” In smaller print was the sales copy: “Bring in Dole coupons, and Help Bring Missing Children Home.” It released a statement from the President, on White House stationery, dated July 10th, 1985. “I am proud to recognize and commend Dole Food Company’s efforts on behalf of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” Reagan said.

An advertising executive for this promotion invited local missing children agencies to join local supermarkets in “Color Safety Photo Day” sessions in their stores to photograph children.

Through its newsletters, first called At The Center and now Frontline , there are lists of new members to the Corporate Partnership Roll, businesses who gave money or services and received publicity and/or pictures of missing children to help sell their products.

On the front page of its newsletter in April, 1987, for instance, there was a picture of then-Vice President George Bush with officials from both the National Center and Worlds of Wonder (WOW), a toy distributor.

Next to Bush was Donald Kingsborough, CEO of WOW, who held Teddy Ruxpin, a teddy bear who was the official “spokesbear” of the National Center. Ruxpin was mentioned in the photo caption, and it’d been given to various speakers and politicians at two national conventions on missing children held in Chicago in 1986 and 1987. The National Center claimed WOW “is our largest corporate contributor, helping us provide the Center’s vital services at no charge to families.”

Such free “vital services” weren’t explained.

However, in its October 31, 1988, edition, Business Week reported that Teddy Ruxpin was made in mainland China by 12-year-old girls working 14 hours a day while earning between ten dollars and 31 dollars a month. Working at their sewing machines seven days a week, the girls were ordered to put in one or two 24-hour shifts each month, with only two meal breaks a day.

Kadar Enterprises Ltd, the manufacturer, set the work rules and World of Wonder washed its hands of the labor conditions. Because Kadar is a subcontractor, “You don’t have much to say,” said John A. McCarthy, operations vice president of WOW, in San Francisco. “If you get into the middle of their business, they’re offended.”

Teddy Ruxpin bears sold for about 60 dollars each in America.

Sometimes the girls slept two or three to a bed in a factory dormitory, which was in Shekou, China, about 50 minutes by hydrofoil from Hong Kong. Business Week, in its article headlined, “Long, Hard Days — At Pennies An Hour,” said that workers could be blacklisted and fired if they didn’t work overtime. Written by Dinah Lee and Rose Brady, the article also said Kadar made Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls for WOW.

“We can work these girls all day and all night, while in Hong Kong it would be impossible,” said a Kadar executive on the Shekou shop floor. “We couldn’t get this kind of labor, even if we were willing to meet Hong Kong wage levels.”

President Reagan gave Worlds of Wonder a 1987 Presidential Award for Private Sector Initiatives. That company also received a commendation from the President’s Child Safety partnership “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the safety of America’s children.”

They quickly became the National Center To Exploit Missing Children, said Abbott.

Formally introduced in the January, 1990, edition of At The Center, “cause-related marketing” dominated most of the stories published in that issue. The front page featured a picture of the public relations director of a New England-based security and alarm company. Julia Cartwright, the Center’s media director, stood next to him. A story said that since 1985 that company had distributed pictures of children and that its public relations person was the first executive “loaned” to the National Center as part of its “Executive Loan Program.”

His duties were not explained though.

“One of the features of our cooperative effort (with corporations) will be a monthly all-day presentation at our headquarters structured for corporate executives, staff, and others to come and learn about the Center, its mission, the benefits and how to’s of cause-related marketing…,” that newsletter said.

Four months later the National Center promoted those seminars again with another full page in its newsletter, asking companies and citizens to join its Child Seekers Network, for a donation of $25 or more. There was a coupon to cut out and mail to its offices, but no specific details on what this Network did other than urging members to hold their own “cause-related marketing” seminars for their companies and communities.

That coupon did say, however, that the National Center was chartered to protect children from victimization outside the family.

That New England company organized a Child Seekers Week in May, 1990, to raise money for the National Center. Teddy Ruxpin, two years after that Business Week article, was displayed in many of its stores.

That same newsletter, dated May, 1990, introduced parents to DNA blood “fingerprinting” as a means of identifying their children. Called “Birth Mark,” such a DNA blood sample could provide “valuable information on child identification.” Under a headline, “National Center Recommends Use of `Birth Mark’ as Child Identification Tool, an article mentioned a Maryland medical laboratory which sold such a process to hospitals and pediatricians. There was a picture of that laboratory’s director and a notice that it made in-kind contributions to the National Center.

“For information on how to order this product (a DNA blood sample) for your child, please contact the National Center’s Development and Education Division,” that newsletter said.

Officials at the National Center would not say why they advertised private products with government money.

“DNA has been promoted by the National Center and other questionable groups for a long time,” said Abbott recently. “Nobody ever asks if DNA can find a child alive. It only identifies bodies.”

Always mindful of publicity about missing children, and not wanting to miss opportunities for “cause-related marketing,” the National Center sometimes promotes cases where children were not missing, but perished from child abuse, accidents, date rape and homicide, or from other causes.

For instance, Christina Holt, 7, was reported abducted by a stranger on October 22, 1994, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Three days later Walsh and film crews from “America’s Most Wanted” came down, despite suspicions from local police that the little girl was killed at home by her parents.

“It drives me crazy when police and the media speculate about what might have happened,” Walsh said. “The girl is missing and that’s all that matters to me.”

A day later police found samples of the child’s blood in the family home and charged her stepfather and mother with murder. A jury convicted her mother of murder on April 11, 1995, and another jury, in a separate trial, found her husband guilty of murder in December 1996. Both were sent to jail for life.

In a brash act of such “marketing,” the National Center dedicated an electronic bulletin board, or kiosk, with videos of missing children to little Christina.

“Today is exactly one year since Christina Holt was reported missing and found murdered,” said Nancy McBride, head of the Adam Walsh Center, which is now part of the National Center. “I believe Christina Holt was looking for a safe place in this world. It seems in her short life she didn’t find one.” She made her remarks at a press conference dedicating that kiosk.

Geraldo Rivera never asked Walsh how a fatal tragedy of child abuse in the home could be called a “lost child” case.

And no reporters asked how a child abuse victim’s name could be used on that “missing” child information center, erected in a Florida airport.

In its report to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services in April 1995, the U. S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect mentioned Christina Holt as a child “who died at the hands of parents or caretakers.

But that press conference yielded nice results for the National Center. News stories about the kiosk mentioned Walsh, his television show, the National Center, IBM, which donated some of the equipment, and said another private company had donated money for that project.

Using child tragedies for publicity and profit has always been one of Walsh’s priorities since he helped found the National Center. In January 1986, for instance, Lindsay Blake Householder, two-weeks-old, supposedly vanished from Winchester, Virginia. Her mother claimed stranger abduction, so Walsh and his National Center became interested because the case had generated publicity.

Three weeks later her mother confessed to killing the child and police recovered tiny Lindsay’s remains. Her mother eventually went to jail.

But, in one of its first acts of “cause-related marketing,” a month after her mother’s confession and the finding of her child’s remains, Lindsay Blake Householder’s picture appeared in a Missing Children Bulletin published by the Illinois State Police.

That Bulletin gave the National Center’s phone number, telling anyone who had seen Lindsay to contact Walsh and company. “Cause-related marketing” and the publicity it produces has caused some child care experts to oppose such programs as scaring children needlessly and misrepresenting the missing children problem.

On May 7, 1986, for instance, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial entitled Where Are The Children?

Much of the responsibility for public misperception of the missing children problem goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…. In 1984, the Center proclaimed that 50,000 children were being abducted every year. That figure was cited and recited thereafter.

Having stoked the present missing children mania, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is not doing as much as it should to calm the fears it raised. No one would argue that parents shouldnt be informed of threats to their children, but such information should not be sensationalized merely to stir up public interest.

Individual child care experts had begun to speak out also.

On Friday, April 11, 1986, the “Today” show featured the late Dr. Lee Salk, questioning how many children were gone and saying he felt fingerprints didn’t bring home children.

This show aired when a national group of shopping centers held a weeklong campaign to fingerprint children.

“Fingerprinting of kids,” Bryant Gumbel, the show’s host, said. “It’s happening at your local shopping center. Our question is, is it worthwhile or is it just frightening your child?

“Joining us this morning is John Walsh. In 1981, Mr. Walshs six-year-old son Adam was abducted from a shopping center; two weeks later Adam’s dead body was found. Since then, Mr. Walsh has founded the Adam Walsh research center, which aids the parents of missing children.

“Also joining us this morning is Dr. Lee Salk. Dr. Salk is professor of psychology at the New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center and has some problems with the fingerprinting effort…. Dr. Salk…what’s wrong with it?”

“First of all, the statistics do not justify all the fear and anxiety. What concerns me about this is that the vast numbers that are presented to people on missing children are guesstimates, at best; nobody really has accurate statistics,” Dr. Salk told him.

“Because we group runaways in that also?” Gumbel asked.

“Yes,” answered Dr. Salk. “Because, you see, parents believe that their children are about to be abducted if they walk out of the house. The facts are that there were less than 100 children who were reported legitimately — if I can use the expression — kidnapped.

“The rest are children who have run away from home. The majority of missing children, 90 to 95 percent of them, are runaways. And some of them are abducted during custody battles in an attempt to gain children….

“But you see, the anxiety that pervades this country about this, I think, is creating, putting children in an atmosphere of violence; they’re deeply concerned about the violence. And I cannot tell you how many parents have called me up in recent weeks telling me their children are waking up in the middle of the night screaming because they dream of seeing their picture on the side of a milk container.”

Gumbel spoke of fingerprinting and Walsh admitted it didn’t prevent abductions. “It’s a means of identification, if the child is found alive primarily,” Walsh told him.

Dr. Salk then mentioned a study by the American College of Pathologists which found only 68 unidentified bodies of people under the age of 18 in 1983.

Gumbel didn’t ask Walsh where his figures came from when Walsh had said in the past there were thousands of unidentified bodies of children buried each year. Gumbel did ask Dr. Salk about shopping centers and their safety programs. “Are parents being misinformed about what’s going on at these shopping centers?” Gumbel asked.

“Yes, absolutely,” Dr. Salk said.

“Suspicious of the motives?” Gumbel asked.

“Well, I don’t think anybody could question that sort of thing. I’d love to see if they would be willing to take ten percent of their profits for the week and give it to services that help children.

I’m concerned with the overall effect this has on our nation’s population,” Dr. Salk answered. “I see myself as an advocate of children and I’m deeply concerned about the fact that parents are in a state of panic. And this panic is reflected in their relationship with their children.”

“But in this case, isn’t fingerprinting a bit like chicken soup — I mean, it couldn’t hurt?” Gumbel asked him.

“Well, I think it can hurt, because it puts children in an atmosphere where violence is really surrounding them. We really frighten them with something that does not exist,” Dr. Salk said.

And the late Dr. Benjamin Spock agreed.

“The current rage for fingerprinting is ridiculous,” said the author of Baby and Child Care, among other books about children. “You’re going to scare the bejeebers out of ten million children and I’ve seen no evidence that it works. A kidnapper doesn’t say to a child, `Have you been fingerprinted?'”

Dr. Spock came out against fingerprinting of children, public displays of missing children, and inflated figures on child abduction, all of which could scare children, he said. He also felt that seeing so many pictures of missing children in public could have a negative effect on the imagination of a child.

“I just don’t think that fingerprinting will help very much to recover children and I think that it’s more likely to scare children and I am against it,” he said.

He pointed out that such fingerprinting and related publicity on missing children could hurt children in safe families, where there is no threat of parental abduction.

“Children have very morbid imaginations and they can be upset by all kinds of things that are not real threats to them at all,” Dr. Spock explained. “I think a study was made years ago of what children thought about tonsillectomy…. One child I remember thought that the surgeon slit the throat from ear-to-ear, tipped the head back and reached down into the throat to remove the tonsils. This is a pretty awesome picture that no adult would possibly imagine and no parent would think that this is what’s in the back of a child’s mind.”

Dr. Spock gave another example of a child’s active imagination, this time about a young boy who was moved from one ward of a hospital to another ward. “He worried himself sick because he thought his parents wouldn’t be able to find him because they left him in one ward and he pictured them coming back, looking for him there, and then, after searching around, going home because they didn’t know where he was,” he said.

“Again, parents would never think of this as one of the things children’s morbid imaginations can pick up,” he continued. “But I think that children reading about kidnappings and seeing pictures of missing children is going to work on their imaginations even if they’re in a very healthy family situation.”

In addition, Dr. Spock felt that fingerprinting would not help recover teenagers who run away from home. “The only good that fingerprinting will do, that I see, is to identify a child who has been murdered,” he explained. “They say that fingerprints deteriorate very fast after death….

Dr. Spock felt that policemen conducting fingerprinting programs could make children “worrisome.” To children, he pointed out, “Police are not their protectors. Police are the people who punish you, or punish adults, or punish other people when they have done something wrong. So I think that it (fingerprinting) has the wrong effect on children.”

Families and children could be scared by inflated numbers of missing children, too, he claimed. “I think that the numbers are very scary unless you know that they’re highly inflated and that most of them aren’t true disappearances. They aren’t killings. And they aren’t kidnappings.”

Dr. Spock felt it would be reassuring to parents to know that the cases of children who really disappeared are very small compared to the published figures. “I think if they (government officials) are going to discuss such figures at all they should put out non-alarmist figures,” he said.

Yet, “cause-related marketing” continues, with local civic groups and non-profit agencies working with the National Center by offering child identification days, videotaping, fingerprinting, and photographing children.

Florida hospitals now take DNA samples of newborn children. Salt Lake County Sheriffs deputies recently provided child identification kids with pictures, medical information and DNA samples for parents to use with their children. Civic groups near Dallas, Texas, distributed fingerprinting kits to more than 5,000 children. A regional non-profit missing child group in Canada even tookfootprints of small children last spring, while Parent-Teacher Associations around the country still fingerprint children.

And a national video rental chain has sponsored free videotaping of children during August for the past nine years. Endorsed by the National Center, this program taped youngsters, claiming such videos would come in handy should children become lost or abducted. That program received much publicity.

But no child has been found through videotaping.

Walsh, a one-time lifeguard and sales executive for a Florida hotel, once publicly called Dr. Spock “a self-promoter.”

And, still ignoring criticism, Walsh, along with several partners, recently promoted a company selling DNA fingerprinting kits. Parents buy a kit with materials to take samples from a child’s mouth, send them to that company, and a medical laboratory then analyzes the samples to produce a DNA profile. The process costs about 100 dollars. Newspapers carried stories of him publicizing such kits.

Also, hes received much press coverage for promoting a Victims Rights Amendment to the Constitution. It would allow parents and relatives to witness all legal proceedings against anyone accused of murdering their children.

Passing and ratifying such an amendment would take years, therefore giving it much press, Abbott said. But its only good after children are killed. How many police would it put on the street to look for lost or abducted children? And how many new runaway shelters would it finance?

Missing Children

Missing Children

by John Edward Gill

Michael Hughes - missing child. Call Missing Persons at 1-405-290-7770.

John Walsh doesn’t know that Tinze Lucinda Huels is alive and well.

He also doesn’t know that Alexia Reale is deceased and her remains destroyed.

Walsh, host of Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” claims a stranger abducted Huels in 1984 when she was 17 and lived with her husband and two small children in Tampa, Florida. Along with officials of his National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (National Center) in Alexandria, Virginia, Walsh claims Huels is still missing, her case open, unsolved, and classified as a Stranger, or Non-Family, Abduction (NFA).

Huels disappeared on the evening of October 27, 1984, saying she was going to do laundry.

Reale, eight, vanished on June 1, 1997, from Sacramento, California. She’s also classified as an NFA.

Tinze Huels
Alexia Reale

The National Center is a non-profit, non-law enforcement agency funded with $8 million annually from the federal government and approximately $8 million or more from private donations. Founded by Walsh in April, 1984, with a White House Rose Garden ceremony hosted by then-President Reagan, the National Center classified Huels as an NFA although there was no evidence someone grabbed her.

In 1997, it also classified Reale as an NFA, although again without proof.

But, as with every missing child, Walsh and his National Center never investigated Huels’ and Reale’s disappearances.

Such sloppiness and indifference about missing children makes child abduction seem much larger than it is. After all, the National Center started because Walsh and many others claimed in 1981 that there were 50,000 stranger abductions of children each year. While a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning articles in The Denver Post pointed out that the 50,000 figure was false, the Justice Department still funded the National Center. It did so, also, without an incident study to determine exactly how many children really were missing, whether as runaways, family abductions, or stranger abductions.

Even police questioned that figure. “We lost 50,000 soldiers in Vietnam over 10 years,” said William D. Carter, a public affairs specialist with the F.B.I. “Most people know someone who died there. How many people know someone who has had a child abducted?”

A New Jersey officer agreed. “Stranger abduction was the impetus behind the creation of the National Center,” said Investigator Martha Maxwell, a missing and exploited children’s specialist for the Ocean County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office. “Without that, there wouldn’t be a National Center.”

Finally, in 1990, the Justice Department released a study which said there were only between 200 and 300 such abductions. More recently, a Washington State Study on child abduction murders found that about 50 to 150 children were abducted by strangers each year.

“The list of children who are abducted and killed each year by someone who is not a family member is relatively small,” said Christine O. Gregoire, Attorney General of Washington State, who headed the three-year study.

Released in May, 1997, Gregoire’s study found that local law enforcement agencies conducting immediate searches was the best way to find and recover stranger-abducted or lost children.

And that National Center itself, in referring to the Washington State study, even stressed that the first three hours were the most important and that many abducted children are killed during that time.

“The vast majority of abducted children who are murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction,” said Carol Monaco, editor of its newsletter, The Frontline, in the fall of 1997.

She didn’t say what her agency could do in just three hours, especially since it’s in the Washington, D. C., area and has no search-and-rescue personnel.

The National Center doesn’t conduct local searches and investigations and doesn’t follow-up on many cases it claims are stranger, or non-family, abductions, as with Huels and Reale. Consequently, it often doesn’t know what really happened.

Tinze Huels
HuelsTinze Lucinda Huels ran away.

No one abducted her. That night in October, 1984, she went to a Tampa, Florida, nightclub, then left her car and started hitchhiking. She worked as a waitress in Memphis, Tennessee, for three years before moving to Arkansas. Shortly afterwards, she married a new man and took on a different name.

But in April, 1992, her new husband went to police with suspicions about his wife. Huels then admitted that she had left home voluntarily because of problems with her marriage. Police notified authorities in Florida and Huels called her first husband and their children.

Four newspapers in Florida and the Mid-West carried her story.

Yet as of this writing, eight years later, Walsh and his National Center still claim Huels as an NFA and list her case as “open” on their Case Manager’s Contact list and in their Missing Children Forum on the Internet.

And, although claiming it’s concerned with “exploited” children, National Center officials still ignore child abuse, which takes between 1,000 and 2,000 children a year. As with Susan Smith’s children, they prefer to falsely classify abused children as abductions or lost child cases.

Alexia Reale
RealeAlexia Reale died of child abuse.

Her poster, as of this writing still on the National Center’s Internet website, describes her as “last seen in the Elk Grove area of California… She is considered to be at risk,” again listing her as an NFA as of June 1, 1997.

But in June, 1999, police arrested her mother and stepfather and charged them with murdering the little girl. A California Superior Court Judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to make them stand trial, even though no body had been found. Alexia’s 13-year-old sister described to authorities how the child died and how her remains were destroyed.

Articles in The Sacramento (California) Bee described Reale’s case during the fall of 1999.

Trial dates were set for August 3, 1999, then changed to October 26, 1999, because the child’s mother pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Now a third trial date is pending.

Yet, despite these charges, that National Center continues to list Alexia Reale as a Non-Family Abduction on the Internet.

These two cases are not isolated.

An extensive investigation of the National Center’s own recovery reports for the past seven years shows that the agency distorts many cases, claiming abduction when children perished because of accidents, child abuse, domestic violence, date rape and homicide, or simply became lost. This reporter found more than 100 cases that were distorted.

According to newspaper reporters and police, F.B.I. agents and state and local police and sheriffs actually look for children, questioning suspects and searching neighborhoods or rural areas, which Gregoire’s study recommended.

National Center personnel don’t join in those searches.

Four children vanished in Illinois during September, 1990, for instance, and the National Center said they were Non-Family Abductions. But they surfaced several weeks later with their mother, who filed for divorce from their father, claiming abuse. Local police didn’t make her return home.

National Center officials not only still claimed her children as stranger abductions, but said they’d “recovered” them. And they listed the “recovery” date as November 5, 1990, which was about a month after their mother went to police.

There are cases where children drowned, no remains were found, yet local police with search dogs determined those children died accidentally. However, the National Center still claims such youngsters as “abductions” and their cases open.

For example, a two-year-old girl in Montana vanished in April, 1980. Her single mother left her outside — unsupervised — for an hour and the child disappeared. Local sheriff’s deputies searched for days and decided she’d drowned in a nearby raging, swollen river. Bloodhounds had followed her scent from her home to that river. They also said there was no evidence of an abduction.

Yet the National Center and Advo, the Connecticut-based mail order company, distributed her photo-aged picture on 57 million postcards in 1994, more than 14 years after she drowned. She’s on their Internet site today, still called an NFA and her case open.

“They’re distributing pictures of deceased children and asking for money to find them,” said Nikki Abbott, founder of Services for the Missing, in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. “That’s immoral and unfair.”

There were distortions of different kinds in those recovery reports.

In April, 1992, a little girl in Indiana perished at the hands of her uncle. Walsh said he’d “recovered” her and that she was an NFA, taken and killed by a stranger, not a family member.

A seven-year-old girl in Florida disappeared in November, 1994, shortly after the Susan Smith case. Police suspected her parents killed her, but Walsh ignored them. “It drives me crazy when police and the media speculate about what might have happened,” he said. “The girl is missing…And that’s all that matters to me.”

He quickly filmed a segment for “America’s Most Wanted,” but never aired it because police soon found her remains and arrested those parents. A jury found them guilty of murder and they were sentenced to life in prison. National Center officials still claimed they had “recovered” her and listed her as an LIM (Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing) even though she’d been killed in her home.

They treated Susan Smith’s children the same way. First, they claimed her two boys were abducted, then said they were “lost” when law enforcement found out she’d killed them. Their Monthly Recovery Report for November, 1994, listed Alexander and Michael Smith as “recovered” by them on November 3, 1994, and classified as LIMs.

Yet Walsh and his National Center never address runaway youths, child abuse, date rape and homicide, child safety and accidents, and many other dangers to children, like guns and drugs. Instead they exaggerate stranger abductions, which are rare, but, again, they never look for children.

Their “Monthly Recovery Reports,” which aren’t made public, show that nearly 70 percent of their “recoveries” are of runaway children. Yet the National Center admits it doesn’t handle runways. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center, conceded, “We couldn’t possibly handle the huge number of (runaway) cases and don’t try.”

“All calls on runaways are transferred directly to the National Runaway Switchboard,” said John Rabun, vice president of the National Center.

Yet runaways are sometimes portrayed as abductions, although never investigated by the National Center.

Anette Marie Beaman was a 15-year-old girl who allegedly was abducted by a stranger in July, 1996. The National Center claimed it “recovered” her in February, 1997, and still listed her as an NFA.

But police in her hometown of Winona, Missouri, said the girl had runaway voluntarily and had returned voluntarily. She was not abducted.

Officials at the National Center claimed 13-year-old Jessica Woehl as an NFA and as a “recovery” on April 17, 1997. The Nashua, New Hampshire, girl disappeared on March 25, 1997; however, she had run off with a 22-year-old man she’d met in person during February, 1997. They’d made contact several months earlier through the Internet; he’d given her presents and they had seen each other a couple of times before running away together.

“She went with him willingly,” said Adam Woehl, her 16-year-old brother.

Boyfriends sometimes kill girlfriends, but their victims sometimes are classified as Non-family Abductions.

Angel Ormston, 17, of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, disappeared the night of July 31, 1992. Of course, the National Center listed her as an NFA, only three weeks later, on August 21, 1992.

Local authorities found her body on December 15, 1992, and two weeks later arrested her boyfriend, Mark Sotka, 19, of Chardon, Ohio. Sotka had been a classmate and lover of Ormston’s in high school. During February, 1993, he admitted to killing her. He said they’d gone out that night in July and had driven to his home, where they’d often made love. But that night they’d argued. She’d told him she was pregnant, but couldn’t have an abortion because she was underage and her mother wouldn’t have allowed it.

“After hearing this, I went crazy,” Sotka said, “and hit her in the face with my fist. She fell down and went unconscious. I figured I had to get rid of her somehow. I ran to my garage and found a knife. I stabbed her twice.” Wrapping her body in a sheet, he bound her with rope and green duct tape and put her in the trunk of his car, he pointed out. Then he drove to an isolated area of Perry Township and left her in a ditch.

Judge Paul Mitrovich sentenced him to 20 years to life.

The National Center still listed Angel Ormston as an NFA.

Heather Kleiber, 13, of Charlevoix, Michigan, also lost her life because of a trusted family acquaintance, but the National Center still claimed a stranger abducted and killed her. Last seen on August 16, 1990, at a party, she accepted a ride home from someone she knew, but she didn’t return home that night. Walsh featured her as a stranger abduction on “America’s Most Wanted” in December, 1990. About 50 million postcards were sent out, claiming abduction.

Police found her body on May 4, 1991, in a nearby creek.

In November, 1991, the young man she trusted confessed to killing her and went to jail for life. National Center reports still claimed her as an NFA, listing her as missing on August 24, 1990, and “recovered” on May 13, 1991.

Sometimes, homicides happen in the victim’s home, but, again, the National Center will claim abduction and list those victims as “recoveries” in its monthly reports.

In fact, that National Center even claims it “recovered” Heather Dawn Church, who they claimed vanished from her home on September 17, 1991, in Black Forest, Colorado. Law enforcement authorities recovered her remains off the Rampart Range Road west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on September 13, 1993.

Police identified her killer in March, 1995, through fingerprints found in her home. The man had lived about a half mile from the Church’s house and admitted he’d murdered her as he burglarized her home.

Both the National Center and “America’s Most Wanted” had called her a Non-Family Abduction even though she’d been killed at home by a neighbor. The National Center’s September, 1993, recovery report claimed she’d been “intaked” on September 19, 1991, and “recovered” on September, 14, 1993, still claiming her an NFA.

That report admitted the recovery date “indicates when NCMEC (National Center) was notified of the recovery.”

National Center officials even confess they reclassify cases after local police find out what really happened.

In a study of 210 child homicides and accidental deaths, for instance, National Center personnel had to reclassify 93 cases after contacting local authorities in states and cities where children perished. There were numerous times when the National Center said strangers abducted and killed children when such children died at the hands of someone they knew.

In fact, its study concluded that the majority of missing children “were abducted by people they knew.” Further, “the results have shown that a commonly held teaching — ‘beware of strangers’ — is incomplete. Children need to learn that it is not always strangers who can hurt them, but that it could be someone they know and/or care about.”

Called the Deceased Child Project, this study looked at children who disappeared and died between April 2, 1982, and August 8, 1992, and was completed in May, 1994. It involved 143 homicides and 67 accidental deaths. Based on information which the National Center received from local and state law enforcement, the Project uncovered still more hoaxes — where parents claimed abducted or lost children when such children perished because of other causes.

There were approximately 30 cases where the National Center originally claimed strangers killed children, then learned differently from local police.

“For example,” the Report read, “on April 28, 1992, NCMEC received a call from the mother of (two boys, ages eight and ten)

reporting that her sons had gone to the park to play and were supposed to be home within an hour. When the children did not come home, their father went to the park to look for them.

“The case was intaked by NCMEC as a Non-Family Abduction (NFA).

“Three days later, the case manager was contacted by law enforcement with the news that the boys had been located — deceased — in the river near the park where they had been playing. The coroner had determined that the cause of death was accidental drowning.”

National Center officials immediately reclassified those boys as LIMs and as “recoveries” on their monthly reports.

Also from that Project, there was another example of false reporting. “A mother called on July 5, 1992, saying that her seven-month-old daughter had been abducted from her husband’s truck while he was offering roadside assistance to a stranded motorist,” the Project read.

Again, without waiting for local authorities to investigate, “the incident was intaked by NCMEC as a Non-Family Abduction.

“On July 28, 1992, the case manager received a call from law enforcement with the news that the child had been located in the woods near the site of the abduction — deceased — and that the father was the suspect. He had, in fact, confessed to the crime.”

That case manager then reclassified that child’s demise as a Family Abduction, not as child abuse or homicide.

This child’s death was yet another example of how the National Center doesn’t investigate missing child cases, which its Project admitted. When learning from police about a missing child, “the case manager assigned to the case continues to follow NCMEC’s standard operating procedures…until informed by law enforcement as to the resolution of the case,” that Report said.

“We don’t do investigation,” said Ben Ermini, director of case management for the National Center. “We don’t go into it as thoroughly as the local authorities.”

“NCMEC is dependent on law enforcement and parents to let us know about a recovery (or) location,” said John Rabun, vice president of the National Center.

Again, National Center officials stress the need to call local police first. The National Center lists guidelines on the Internet (APBNews.Com) on “What To Do When Your Child Is Missing.” In a section headlined “Taking Action,” it says the first step to take if a child is missing is to “immediately call the police.”

National Center officials write that parents should tell police what their child was wearing, as well as that child’s age, height, weight, etc. “After you have reported your child missing, listen to the police’s instructions and respond to their questions,” they go on to say.

Yet, Walsh, Allen, and Rabun claim they’ve “recovered” more than 49,000 children since 1984.

“Such dishonesty and distortion scares parents and children needlessly and wastes tax dollars,” said Abbott, founder of Services for the Missing.

Four polls taken in the last 15 years showed that families feared stranger abduction more than any other problem facing their children. In 1995, for example, Pizza Hut commissioned a national survey which revealed that 87 percent of parents questioned said that concern that their child would be reported missing for more than a day was their biggest worry as a parent. Yet encouraged by the National Center, and because so many parents worried about child abduction, many doubtful groups and businesses around the country received media coverage and raised money by fingerprinting and photographing children. Walsh’s own Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, in West Palm Beach, Florida, for example, boasts it has fingerprinted more than 50,000 children.

“Fingerprinting never found anyone,” said Charles Sutherland, publisher of Search Reports, a publication about missing children and adults. Search is in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “And videotaping hasn’t found anyone, either.”

Now Walsh promotes DNA fingerprinting, which identifies bodies, but doesn’t find missing children who are alive.

Critics feel the National Center’s not looking for children wastes valuable resources. For instance, more funding for police databases with names of convicted criminals might have saved a California girl’s life.

Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old girl, was kidnapped and murdered from her Petaluma, California, home in 1993 by a man twice convicted of violent crimes. But local law enforcement authorities didn’t know that when they questioned him on an unrelated trespassing complaint shortly after the girl’s abduction.

Because of a lack of funding, the state’s Violent Crime Information Center wasn’t operating when she was taken, which was Friday night, October 1, 1993.

Sheriff’s deputies in Sonoma County picked up Richard Allen Davis, 39, about one-and-a-half hours after her abduction. They ran a criminal check on him, but didn’t find those convictions, so they let him go.

Police, public officials, and missing children advocates have speculated that Polly still might have been alive when those deputies first questioned Davis.

And after taking him in, they would have learned about Polly’s abduction. Calls to the California State Police headquarters in Sacramento would have confirmed that he was on parole for those other violent crimes.

“Davis would have been had cold if that system had been in place,” said David Collins, who founded the Kevin Collins Foundation in San Francisco, California.

Polly’s remains were found by Petaluma police and F.B.I. agents on Saturday, December 4, 1993, near Cloverdale, California, about 35 miles north of Petaluma. Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Many times, however, police find children alive, despite the National Center, “America’s Most Wanted,” or claims of “Non-Family Abductions.” Local authorities ignore television, postcards, posters, etc., and use old-fashioned detective work.

Ten-year-old Katherine Beers, from Mastic Beach, New York, supposedly disappeared on December 30, 1992, from an arcade in Nesconset, New York. Both towns are on Long island. A long-time family friend, John Esposito, 45, who said he had taken her there, called police at five p.m. that day, saying she was missing.

Suffolk County police began a search, but no one in that arcade remembered seeing Katherine. They talked to neighbors, notified the New York State Police, and questioned Esposito.

On Friday, January eighth, 1993, Walsh featured her on “America’s Most Wanted.”

“In cases like this, we really like to get the child in the media,” said Ermini. All the public attention is exactly what’s needed to help locate Katie, Ermini pointed out.

Because of television, there were alleged sightings of Katherine in upstate Duchess County. Two witnesses claimed they saw her in a Hyde Park shopping Center and gave a description of the man seen with her.

But police kept questioning Esposito and even searched his house.

About three weeks after she vanished, in January, 1993, local police found Katherine alive, in a dungeon built under Esposito’s garage. She’d been there the whole time. It was a soundproof concrete bunker and officers had to raise a one hundred pound block and crawl through a narrow tunnel to reach the child’s prison.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping in June, 1994, and was sentenced to fifteen years to life in jail.

Technically, Esposito was not a family member, but he was no stranger. Katherine’s mother, Marilyn Beers, considered him family. He had taken Katherine many times to toy stores and video parlors.

The National Center, of course, listed Katherine as a “recovery” in its January, 1993, report, still claiming her as an NFA.

Since its founding in 1984, the National Center has received more than fifty million dollars from the U.S. Justice Department. “How many other children, like Katherine Beers, could have been found if that money had gone into hiring more police?” Abbott asked.

She pointed out that National Center officials just get their information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and state police and then classify missing children any way they (National Center officials) like.

“Until the government cuts off funding for the National Center, the Nation’s families will continue to be frightened and mislead,” said Abbott.

Yet despite such criticism, distortions continue. As of this writing, the National Center’s website still carries pictures of Huels and Reale as Non-Family Abductions.

And in January, 1998, Family Circle published pictures of 50 missing children. One child, two-year-old Ke Shaun Vanderhorst, was listed as a stranger abduction from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But a year earlier his mother, Tina Vanderhorst, pleaded no contest to selling her child for $500 to buy cocaine and was sentenced to between two-and-a-half to seven years in prison for abandoning her son. Her child hasn’t been found.

Another child, seven-year-old Michael Hughes, from Choctaw, Oklahoma, was abducted by his stepfather, Franklin Delano Floyd, in September, 1994. Floyd has been captured, but young Michael remains missing. However, both the magazine and the National Center still listed the boy as a stranger abduction.

In its “Recovery” reports, the National Center listed 14-year-old Karen Lofland, from South Hadley, Massachusetts, as an NFA and then as a “recovery” on January 5, 1997. However, Massachusetts authorities said the girl willingly ran away with Jimmy Ray Legate, 41, on September 19, 1996.

Legate had been living with the Loflands for some time. He’d told the family he was 21 and down on his luck, but had been ordered to leave the house when the girl’s parents learned their daughter had become romantically involved with him.

FBI agents and local police found them in a Portland, Oregon, apartment. In December, 1998, a Massachusetts court sentenced Legate to up to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to statutory rape.

As usual, no one from the National Center accompanied those law enforcement authorities when they found the pair together. Yet National Center officials still claimed they’d “recovered” the 14-year-old girl.

See also:

Copyright © 2000

Why are there NO Journalist doing investigative reporting about Child Porn to keep in check the Child Abuse Industry. Melissa Hamilton: Federal Child Pornography Prosecutions

Melissa Hamilton: Federal Child Pornography Prosecutions

Why are there NO Journalist doing investigative reporting about Child Porn to keep in check the Child Abuse Industry’s Law Enforcement arm as they create Gothic Melodramas, monster stories of child-molesting playing them out on TV news and in newsprint every day. The following is why !!!!
‘I Was Doing Academic Research’ Not an Adequate Defense for Child Porn Possession

James Kent was a professor of public administration at Marist College in New York. Back in 1999, he contemplated writing a book about the legislation of child pornography, and how to differentiate between what is and is not child porn for the purposes of criminal prosecution.
To do his research, Kent surfed various sites — including “School Backyard” (Editor’s note: Yuck!) — and downloaded lots of images. He sent a note in July 1999 to a potential collaborator on the book, “Sooner or later someone at this college is going to wonder why I keep looking at porno sites. . . Jim.”
In fact, it took a few years for someone at the college to wonder about it. It came to the college’s attention in 2007 during a virus scan. When it did, it led to felony child pornography charges for Kent and a prison sentence…
About a year after his research began, Kent decided to abandon the book project. He wrote another note to his collaborator in June 2000, “I still don’t think there’s anything in this project. . . So here I am (and I suppose you are, too) with a bunch of disks full of photos, at least some of which are probably illegal. Do you want them or should I wipe them or should I send them to somebody else?”
Kent decided eventually to delete the images. His final message to his collaborator in July 2000 was:
Well, this last batch pretty much tears it. While, as somebody’s father, I’m pretty appalled by this stuff, I also don’t want to get arrested for having it. So let’s do this – if this is a legitimate research project, let’s write it up and tell the deans (and preferably also the cops) what we’re doing and why. Otherwise, let’s drop it in the most pronto possible fashion.
I don’t even think I can mail the disk to you, or anyone else, without committing a separate crime. So I’ll probably just go ahead and wipe them. You have the URL’s if you want to pursue it.
See you sooner or later, no doubt. Kent.
Apparently they decided to drop it without alerting the deans or the cops. But seven years later, while running a virus scan, a college IT guy came across a “work” folder on Kent’s computer with images of scantily clad underage girls. The college decided to turn Kent’s hard drive over to the police.
The work folder had been deleted but remained in the computer’s unallocated space — where folders you delete from your recycling bin wind up, according to a court opinion. Further investigation yielded thousands of child porn images stored in Mozilla and Internet Explorer cached files. While surfing the pint-sized XXX sites, Kent had inadvertently been collecting and storing these images thanks to his browser’s desire to load web pages more quickly.
Kent was found guilty of 130 child porn felonies last year, and sentenced to one to three years in prison. (That seems lenient in comparison to Corey Beantree who I wrote about on Tuesday, who was sentenced to 10 years in Alabama after the Geek Squad found a child porn video on his laptop.)
Those messages sent to his collaborator were not used in Kent’s defense. Instead, they were used by the prosecution to prove that Kent knew what he was doing when he downloaded the images.
“There is no safe harbor for researching child porn,” says cyberlaw professor Eric Goldman. “This is why I call child porn ‘toxic’–there is no easy way to legally cure even a single download of child porn.”
Like TheDataDoc, the courts have little sympathy for those with child porn on their computers, though there are some judges like Jack Weinstein of Brooklyn who think that harsh child porn possession penalties are examples of the “unnecessary cruelty of the law.” (See this New York Times piece for more on that.)
An appeal, objecting to the search of Kent’s computer as unconstitutional, was rejected this week; the Supreme Court of the State of New York decided that his computer was college property, so the college had the right to hand it over to police. Kent is currently in prison, and has lost his job at Marist College.
I spoke to one of Kent’s attorneys, Nathan Dershowitz, who expressed frustration over his client being prosecuted for images that had been deleted and that he could not access, and others that he had not consciously downloaded. “I wonder what’s on your computer that you can’t get to?” asked Dershowitz.
Now might be a good time to clear your cookies and browser cache. Just in case.

In the Name of the Children: Stealing Our Freedom One Amendment at a Time

In the Name of the Children: Stealing Our Freedom One Amendment at a Time
Written by: Mike Privacy

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The above words are ones that all Americans should know by heart. They are the body and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, from the Bill of Rights. These are the fundamental protections that we were all given more than 200 years ago by a group of extraordinary men from an extraordinary time, men who were able to rise above their own limitations and the partisan disputes of the day to craft a set of supplementary principles that made the original Constitution even stronger in its protection of our liberties. One of the primary reasons why the founding fathers found it necessary to add these additional guarantees was their fear that demagogic politicians might try to twist and manipulate any gaps or ambiguities in the Constitution to serve their own self-serving nefarious purposes.
Unfortunately, the founding fathers, in all of their wisdom, clearly underestimated the cleverness of the demagogues. Just this summer, a law emerged from committee in the House of Representatives that, if passed, will basically turn the Fourth Amendment into a quaint catch phrase with no relevance to life in a post-Constitutional twenty-first-century America.
Spinning the Spider Web
In a modern context, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects certainly applies to online activities. The Internet is recognized by everyone as a private world where people have the right to protect their personal information, communications, and choices of reading material from prying eyes. This is the reason why there are passwords and anonymous usernames wherever we go, because it is a given that people do not want others to know what they have been doing when they are navigating through the virtual world from the privacy of their own computer in the sanctity of their own home.
But Congress, using the excuse that police departments and federal law investigative agencies need more access to the records of people’s Internet activity in order to effectively fight crime, is now trying to pass a new law that would force Internet providers to collect and preserve the personal information and web browsing history of every single man, woman, and child who uses the Internet for a period of one full year. The type of information that IPs would be required to save would include:
Phone numbers
Credit card numbers
Bank account numbers
Temporary IP addresses
The point of preserving all of this information would be so that law enforcement agencies could have access to it at any time of their choosing. Ostensibly, a person would have to be under investigation for a crime before such a demand could be legally made with respect to their personal Internet records. But it would take little more than a simple declaration from a law enforcement agency stating that someone was indeed under investigation to legitimize the seizing of personal information from an IP. Police departments and the FBI actually would not have to prove to anyone that a particular individual really was connected to something illegal. They only have to claim that this is the case, and the entire online history from the past year of the person they are allegedly investigating would automatically be made available for their scrutiny and perusal.
In an astonishing bit of chutzpah, the House sponsors of the bill have labeled it the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” It cannot be strongly enough emphasized, however, that this law is not aimed at individuals who are suspected of purchasing child pornography or of being involved somehow in that industry. Local, federal, and state officials would be able to seize all information retaining to the web activities of anyone identified as a person of interest in any criminal investigation, regardless of the crime involved. In fact, based on how broadly the law has been written and conceptualized, it appears that even attorneys litigating civil disputes involving “crimes” such as divorce or insurance fraud may be able to get access to this information.
Helping the Police?
Some might claim that searches and seizures of Internet records are not unreasonable when a person is suspected of criminal involvement. But there are already two laws on the books that help police investigating wrongdoers digitally: the Electronic Communication Transactional Act of 1996 and the Protect Our Children Act of 2008. The former requires IP’s to retain Internet records for up to ninety days when requested to do so by the authorities, while the latter makes it obligatory for Internet providers themselves to report any information they have that would suggest that one of their customers may have been visiting a site connected to child pornography.
With this new law, everyone will be subject to an invasion of his or her privacy based on the speculation that maybe someday all of us will commit some kind of crime. No one can guarantee that this information will be kept private when it is being preserved, nor can it be guaranteed that law enforcement agencies will always act responsibly when requesting access. Many critics of government and society have been subjected to police harassment in the past, and a law that is as broadly conceived as this one will make this kind of action much easier to get away with.
Protecting Our Children from State Despotism
The Fourth Amendment was added to the Bill of Rights because the founders wanted to make sure that the privacy of citizens could be protected from authorities who might be willing to sanction a trampling of people’s rights if they believed they were serving some “greater good.” Those who are behind the Protecting Children from Internet Pornography Act should be ashamed of themselves for hiding behind such an incendiary name that is clearly designed to manipulate emotions and intimidate civil libertarians who oppose this bill. But most importantly, their attempt to trash the spirit and the intent of the Fourth Amendment should be rejected and rejected forcefully. If this law is passed, it would give the government permission to violate our rights of privacy indirectly by allowing them to use Internet providers as unwilling proxies in their cynical and unconstitutional attempt to turn the United States into a society where Big Brother is always watching.
©2011 Off the Grid News

USB device viruses could evade all known Security; Reuters

USB device viruses could evade all known Security

USB devices such as keyboards, thumb-drives and mice can be used to hack into personal computers in a potential new class of attacks that evade all known security protections, a top computer researcher revealed on Thursday.

Karsten Nohl, chief scientist with Berlin’s SR Labs, noted that hackers could load malicious software onto tiny, low-cost computer chips that control functions of USB devices but which have no built-in shields against tampering with their code.
“You cannot tell where the virus came from. It is almost like a magic trick,” said Nohl, whose research firm is known for uncovering major flaws in mobile phone technology.
Jeffrey Coolidge | Photodisc | Getty Images
The finding shows that bugs in software used to run tiny electronics components that are invisible to the average computer user can be extremely dangerous when hackers figure out how to exploit them. Security researchers have increasingly turned their attention to uncovering such flaws.
Nohl said his firm has performed attacks by writing malicious code onto USB control chips used in thumb drives and smartphones. Once the USB device is attached to a computer, the malicious software can log keystrokes, spy on communications and destroy data, he said.
Computers do not detect the infections when tainted devices are inserted because anti-virus programs are only designed to scan for software written onto memory and do not scan the “firmware” that controls the functioning of those devices, he said.
Nohl and Jakob Lell, a security researcher at SR Labs, will describe their attack method at next week’s Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, in a presentation titled: “Bad USB—On Accessories that Turn Evil.”
Thousands of security professionals gather at the annual conference to hear about the latest hacking techniques, including ones that threaten the security of business computers, consumer electronics and critical infrastructure.
Nohl said he would not be surprised if intelligence agencies, like the National Security Agency, have already figured out how to launch attacks using this technique.
Last year, he presented research at Black Hat on breakthrough methods for remotely attacking SIM cards on mobile phones. In December, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrated that the U.S. spy agency was using a similar technique for surveillance, which it called “Monkey Calendar.”
An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment.
SR Labs tested the technique by infecting controller chips made by major Taiwanese manufacturer, Phison Electronics, and placing them in USB memory drives and smartphones running GoogleAndroid operating system.
Alex Chiu, an attorney with Phison, told Reuters via email that Nohl had contacted the company about his research in May.
“Mr. Nohl did not offer detailed analysis together with work product to prove his finding,” Chiu said. “Phison does not have ground to comment (on) his allegation.”
Chiu said that “from Phison’s reasonable knowledge and belief, it is hardly possible to rewrite Phison’s controller firmware without accessing our confidential information.”
Similar chips are made by Silicon Motion Technology and Alcor Micro. Nohl said his firm did not test devices with chips from those manufacturers.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. Officials with Silicon Motion and Alcor Micro could not immediately be reached.
Nohl believed hackers would have a “high chance” of corrupting other kinds of controller chips besides those made by Phison, because their manufacturers are not required to secure software. He said those chips, once infected, could be used to infect mice, keyboards and other devices that connect via USB.
“The sky is the limit. You can do anything at all,” he said.
In his tests, Nohl said he was able to gain remote access to a computer by having the USB instruct the computer to download a malicious program with instructions that the PC believed were coming from a keyboard. He was also able to change what are known as DNS network settings on a computer, essentially instructing the machine to route Internet traffic through malicious servers.
Once a computer is infected, it could be programmed to infect all USB devices that are subsequently attached to it, which would then corrupt machines that they contact.
“Now all of your USB devices are infected. It becomes self-propagating and extremely persistent,” Nohl said. “You can never remove it.”
Christof Paar, a professor of electrical engineering at Germany’s University of Bochum who reviewed the findings, said he believed the new research would prompt others to take a closer look at USB technology, and potentially lead to the discovery of more bugs. He urged manufacturers to improve protection of their chips to thwart attacks.
“The manufacturer should make it much harder to change the software that runs on a USB stick,” Paar said.
—By Reuters