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Major UK Child Porn Investigation Flawed 372

Posted by kdawson
from the ruining-innocent-lives dept.
Oxygen99 writes "The Guardian (UK) is carrying a story on Operation Ore, a major police investigation aimed at catching online pedophiles. This has resulted in several high-profile arrests, such as those of Pete Townshend and Robert Del Naja (both falsely accused), while attracting significant press attention. Yet, the reality of the investigation is one of stolen credit cards, wrongful accusations, and ignorance leading to a significant number of the 7,292 people on the list being wrongfully accused of a very emotionally charged crime. There have been 39 suicides and a number of other people on the list will probably never be investigated. It seems to me this case highlights flaws inherent in the way law enforcement agencies handle evidence that only a small minority of front-line officers fully understand."
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Major UK Child Porn Investigation Flawed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:44AM (#18798981)
    Online pedophiles? How can you have sex with a child online?
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis&gmail,com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:45AM (#18798995) Homepage
    cameras watching your every move, laws designed to control your behaviour [asbo and the like]. Congrats, you live in a nanny-police state.

    If only they could actually do anything meaningful with all this "order" they're creating.

    Tom
  • by slusich (684826) * <slusich AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:48AM (#18799049)
    Police are stunned to learn that people who look at child porn might use stolen credit card information to pay for it.
    Seriously, because child porn is such an emotional issue, everyone tends to leap without looking. Sadly this results in a lot of false accusations and lives ruined. Because these charges are so serious, officials must take more time before jumping to conclusions over any accusation.
  • by jcgf (688310) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:49AM (#18799065)
    The government has no interest in prosecuting child porn offenders. They have found the perfect way to get rid of someone without anyone protesting. Simply accuse them of child porn possession and you've pretty much got an open and shut case. Judges are in on the system and juries have been trained to see anyone accused of such a crime as guilty until proven innocent.
  • Credit card? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:49AM (#18799069) Homepage
    Who would seriously by Child Porn on their own credit card? You'd have to be a really dumb person. If that's all these cops are going on, then the investigations should be shut down. It should be expected that the people purchasing are using stolen credit cards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:52AM (#18799121)
    Thoughtcrime.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:52AM (#18799127)
    The reason that everyone jumps on this bandwagon is because it gets the votes.

    Everyone hates it. Everyone wants the government to "do something about it". Everyone wants it done today.

    So very little thought is put into these projects and the more people that can be swept up, the better. That way you're fairly sure, statistically, that you'll get one of the "bad guys".

    But it seems more likely that you'll catch an innocent, high profile person who's appearance in your project will reveal how flawed that project is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @10:54AM (#18799155)
    For instance, look up the Webe Web investigation here in the US... and it's all because of mass public hysteria over pedophiles... everyone is convinced there is a "predator" around every corner.

    The ironic thing is, here in the US, most of these investigations are predicated on a law pushed by Mark Foley (R-FL)
  • Re:Credit card? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:00AM (#18799277) Homepage
    What if it's not even your credit card? What if someone figured out your SSN, Birth Date, and a couple other key piece of information, and opened a credit card in your name. It would technically be your card, but you wouldn't even know you had it. How are you supposed to take responsiblity for a credit card that you don't even know you have.
  • by eviloverlordx (99809) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:04AM (#18799353)
    Absolutely. It seems to me that the rash of pedophiles is very similar to the rash of cases of 'satanic abuse' and 'daycare abuse'. I don't doubt that there are pedophiles out there, and I agree that they need to have, at the bare minimum, psychological help. However, the hysteria around this issue is nearly unbelieveable.
  • Re:Credit card? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:09AM (#18799439) Homepage
    They should just make it a lot more difficult to get a credit card. I have all the credit cards I need. I don't need any more. They should make it much harder to get a credit card account. Why should I have to monitor everything? How often should I get a report? Every Week? Because I'm pretty sure it's possible for someone to ruin my credit in less than a week.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:12AM (#18799501) Journal
    It's almost always shoddy investigations that lead to these sort of wrongful accusations (and in some cases wrongful convictions). Cops looking to boost their careers by charging people with heinous crimes (and in particular aiming at some fairly well-known people as this operation did), prosecutors looking to get a few scalps on their own belts and politicians wanting to be seen getting tough on crime all feed into a system that is incapable of cautious consideration.

    Accusing someone of accessing child pornography is just about one of the worst that one can come up with right now. It's the vogue crime-to-catch, and whether it's some prime time news magazine setting up these guys or cops running out to find every one of them that they can on the Internet, it's all about public paranoia. But once you've been labeled, I'm not sure there is a way out. Sure the judge might toss it out with prejudice if the case was particularly bad, but you're likely to be stuck with the stigma forever (He just got away with it, got off on a technicality.) and that sort of thing.

    I think the proper way to handle this in the future is for prosecutors to be threatened with disbarment and cops be demoted or outright fired if they institute "operations" like this that go as wrong as this one has. Making the people who actually have the power personally responsible is the only way to assure that in the future they think long and hard before they make public accusations that they can never really take back.
  • Re:Credit card? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:14AM (#18799523)

    You point an inherit flaw that the government and businesses work. It is your responsibility to figure out if "THEY" gave out fraudulent credit cards, SSN cards, birth certificates, drivers license.

    I would say, if businesses and the government had to pay for hardships they caused someone else they would not be so quick to shrug their shoulders when an obviously questionable situation arises.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:20AM (#18799637)
    that even being accused of it should ruin one's life. Virginia Tech shooting had a false suspect. The mistake has been revealed and he is fine now. Why should this be any different? We can not allow ourselves to become so horrified by anything that we embark on a witchhunt without due process and skepticism. Otherwise, corrupt government or an angry neighbor can ruin your life by just suggesting you are a pedophile. Or distract people from real problems - deaths in Iraq, global warming, poverty - by dishing out some juicy news to keep the media busy.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:28AM (#18799789) Homepage Journal
    No doubt. A little lesson in critical thinking applies here. If people are going to break the law to get some child porn, don't you think that they might try to hide their actions by breaking the law, too? I suppose these same police would be shocked to learn that even in jurisdications where radar/lidar detectors are illegal, many speeders use the devices anyway. Except that speeding isn't such an emotionally-charged issue as child porn; speeders are looked at as a minor nuisance to be given a fine and sent on their merry way, while pedophiles are viewed as being evil, vile creatures that must be stopped at all costs. Not that that perspective is wrong, mind you, it's just that strong emotions tend to cloud the thinking of folks who would otherwise be consummate professionals.

  • Stolen numbers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#18799815) Journal
    From what I read in some of the linked articles, in many cases it wasn't so much a case that stolen card numbers were used, but rather that the portal/payment access site processed payments for merchants both legal and illegal (but if you were found with a payment, it was assumed to be illegal). At least according to the PC Pro Mag link from the wiki entry

    For example, let's say that they found that a paypal account was used to sell illegal pornography. The smart thing to do would be to determine which goods sold were illegal, and if possible follow up on the buyers. What seems to have been done, instead, was to go after EVERYONE who bought from the seller, whether the purchase turned out to be for fuzzy bunny slippers or underage smut.

    Unfortunately, these type of charges, and the revulsion the instill, tend to inspire an automatic assumption of guilt coupled with overzealous prosecution and an lack of desire to delve too far into the evidence (after all, if there are illegal images, who would want to be the one that has to sort through them all). What I really can't understand is that while the actions against the assumed purchasers of said material were rapid and heavy, the providers of the material were left fairly untouched.

    Maybe it's just my point of view, but I'd imagine that the sellers of this variety material - especially those with enough resources to start a full payment network - would be much less than the seekers. However, it's easier for the police to leave those that actual peddle in and commit atrocious acts active, as it allows them to dragnet all the possible users. Bust the drug addicts and leave the dealers?
  • What's the Goal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#18799825) Homepage Journal
    if pedophilia is the desire to have sex with children, are there cases when people download child pornography with no intention of having sex with a child?

    Strike the 'child' part, and re-evaluate for legal adult porn. Does the downloader intend he'll be having sex with a porn star?

    and if so, are they still pedophiles?

    Repeat the above process - does the adult *wish* he were having sex with a porn star? I'd guess both cases are true - some of those folks really do think that, some would rather be happily married. Unless you go in for the whole 'adultry of the mind' or 'adultry against God' theories (then they're all going to hell, but don't suffer legal consequences).

    So, if the test is to capture all pervs who think little children are sexy, then it's a fair net. If the test is to capture all pervs who are likely to commit a crime, it's probably too wide a net. I'm not sure anybody has defined the requirements adequately. But to equate viewing pictures with intent to commit a real world crime - that's a big leap.

    That's not to say that they're not in possession of contraband or that they're not enabling the commission of crimes (they are) but that's a separate issue. Due to the high emotional impact of the various crimes they're often conflated, but that's not helpful for proper legal prosecution of the actual crimes.

    The case of CGI versions of the above really gets to the heart of the issue, because the contraband and creation crimes aspect is factored out, leaving the original question to stand alone.
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:39AM (#18799975) Homepage

    That's nice rhetoric and a few years ago I would have believed this too.

    However, having lived in the United Kingdom and having been involved in a prosecution of an offender, I can say that this could not be further from the truth.

    The truth is that it is very, very hard to prosecute somebody for child porn possession if they're will to fight it. The "It was a virus defence" almost always gets the case chucked before it even reaches a jury. There's this thing called "continuity of evidence" and it's a hard hurdle to jump over (and rightly so).

    He who alleges must prove and if you can't show any evidence that the virus didn't put it there then the guy walks free. Remember, to convict you must disprove the defence's point.

    The defence is always better funded. To see why this is so, consider this: wouldn't you be if your liberty and life was at stake? People well gladly sell their house for the best lawyer in these circumstances. By comparison, the state fights these cases with people just out of their pupillage.

    In the case I was involved in, I was certain the man was guilty. I was willing to get up on the stand and testify to that fact. He should have gone to jail for a long time and the fact he still walks the streets and cares for his children leaves me sick in the stomach.

    That said, it is better than ten guilty men go free than a single innocent go to jail. This principle is the basis of our entire criminal system. Even after this experience, I still believe in this principle one-hundred percent. If ten paedophiles have to go free to prevent an innocent man's life being destroyed, I begrudgingly have to accept that. That, as they say, is the price of freedom.

    Simon

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:40AM (#18799991) Homepage Journal
    Oh, there are defiantly people who want to have sex with kids out there. They are rare however and the chances of having your kid abducted for sex are absolutely minuscule. Still, the chance is nonzero and because it's such a sensational and heinous crime you can be assured that there will be parents clamoring for the authorities to do something about those people.

    The worst part is all of the people who are more than willing to give up liberties a-plenty to only slightly improve the safety of their children. The worst part is that they'll insist that you give up the same liberties and yet still their children aren't much (if at all) safer.

    IMHO, this situation is likely to get out of hand if we keep going on the same path. For instance, poorly thought out legislation in Miami forces "sex offenders" (which can be a very broad term these days), to sleep under bridges because they literally cannot buy a home that is not in some form of restricted zone (too close to a daycare, school, playground, mall, etc...). As a result you have people who may have had some minor mental problems before being forced into vagrancy and the myriad of problems associated with that. Not to mention the difficulty in keeping track on someone who lives under a bridge. The very laws designed to make the children safer can in fact make them less safe because they've gone too far.
  • Re:I knew someone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sokoban (142301) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:42AM (#18800019) Homepage

    Better to go to jail fighting the charge than to accept it and live with the label for the rest of your life.
    Says the person who has never spent time in jail or prison.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:48AM (#18800123) Homepage Journal
    The problem with viewing child porn online isn't so much with the viewer as it is with the producer. To produce real child porn you need real children, and that's exploitation pure and simple. If you pay for it, you're paying people to exploit children.

    This distinction gets a lot blurrier with CG and drawn porn, but from what I understand the cops tend to focus on real porn instead of the fake stuff. Otherwise you'd have to imagine a gigantic crackdown on things like the Tokyo Doujinshi shows and whatnot. 4chan [4chan.org] wouldn't still be around (although there are plenty of other reasons it shouldn't still be around). It's the stuff where real children are exploited that the cops rightfully focus on.
  • Re:Credit card? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:49AM (#18800147)
    What you're forgetting is that for most things, you don't need to steal a physical credit card, and if your credit card number is out there, you don't know until you see the bogus charges on your bill (for small charges, some people migiht not even notice), at which point it's already too late.

    As far back as in the 80s, one of the common items being traded by underground, criminal hackers were lists of credit card numbers. I would expect that to be even more common now that you can purchase online content - the legitimate owner may find the bogus transaction, but if there is no physical shipping address, tracing the fraudster is very, very difficult.

  • by EdwinFreed (1084059) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:49AM (#18800149)
    We currently give law enforcement officials far too much leeway. The individual officials involved, not the state, should be held responsible for situations where their failure to engage in responsible behavior leads to a miscarriages of justice.

    The best example of this by far is the exclusionary rule in the United States. (I don't know how this sort of thing works in other countries.) It is rare for a police officer who obtains evidence improperly to be punished for their (sometimes outright illegal) actions. Instead what we do is make the evidence itself inadmissable, in effect punishing the one innocent party in the entire situation: The victim of the crime!

    As constitutional scholar Leonard Levy argued in his wonderful 1974 book Against the Law (sadly out of print), the admissability of evidence should be determined solely by the legitimacy of that evidence. If there are indications that the evidence is bogus or fabricated, it absolutely must be inadmissable. But if the mistakes are procedural in nature and the evidence is sound it should be admissible and the police should be severely disciplined for their procedural violation in obtaining it.

    The way things work right now is that the police feel free to "roll the dice", engaging in actions of dubious legitimacy with impunity. They calculate, correctly, that it's a no-lose thing for them to do: If they get caught they lose evidence they wouldn't have had in the first place and suffer no penalty, if they don't the "bad guy" (who may be nothing of the sort) gets what's coming to them. The tacit way this encourages the police to violate rules or even laws leads unavoidably to little if any respect for the truth, and it's all downhill from there - citizens are well aware that this goes on and stop trusting law enforcement.

    But change this so that officers are held accountable for their actions and police will change their behavior accordingly. Firing or even jailing the officer responsible for, say, a blatently illegal search would send a nice clear message to other officials to clean up their act.

    In the present case I have no idea if there were procedural violations. But there were definitely serious and ongoing errors in judgment, and the odds are good that the officers responsible were never held accountable for them. Doing so of course would not change this any less of a fiasco, but it might prevent it from happening again.
  • by computational super (740265) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @11:51AM (#18800193)
    People well gladly sell their house for the best lawyer in these circumstances.

    I'm not sure that's really a shining example of justice in action, assuming the person accused was actually innocent (as were so very many of the accused in TFA).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:00PM (#18800321)

    You have no expectation of privacy in public places.

    This is one of the basic tenets of a police state.

    What other kind of laws are there?

    There are laws to create opportunity, create a budget, make treaties, adjust punishments, and guarantee the little guy basic rights.

    I fail to see how following up on actual legitimate evidence (credit cards being linked to kiddy porn sites) is evidence of a police state.

    Heavy-handed police tactics are a hallmark of a police state.

  • by computational super (740265) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:02PM (#18800361)

    Oh, that's entirely related to the story. Don't you see? Anything that protects The Children must be done, no matter what the consequences and fallout. Even if it doesn't actually protect The Children. If you're not with us, you're against us. You perv. The cops are on their way to your house right now.

  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:05PM (#18800405)
    "And as for this, I fail to see how following up on actual legitimate evidence... is evidence of a police state."

    Um, because they didn't. It appears these people had their homes searched and ended up on trial because no one followed up on the evidence to see if it was legitimate
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:18PM (#18800673)
    1. There is no thought crime involved here because wanting to have sex with children is not illegal. Acting on such desires is illegal. Possession of porn that has underage actors/models is illegal.

    2. Murder is the -unlawful- killing of another.
  • by J'raxis (248192) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:32PM (#18800875) Homepage

    The problem with viewing child porn online isn't so much with the viewer as it is with the producer. To produce real child porn you need real children, and that's exploitation pure and simple. If you pay for it, you're paying people to exploit children.

    So in other words consumption is illegal because they're trying to target the producers. Well, since that tactic has worked so well with the War on Drugs, I guess it'll work here, too.

  • Re:I knew someone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:34PM (#18800923) Journal
    So you gotop jail with a bunch of murderers and rapists who think you rape kids.. yea... you do that, enjoy your funeral.
  • laws designed to control your behaviour



    What other kind of laws are there?

    Laws to control your ACTIONS?
  • by Kythe (4779) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:40PM (#18801031)
    while the cops are torn a new sphincter for every little mistake

    IMHO it's not exactly a "little mistake" when nearly 40 people -- many evidently wholly innocent -- kill themselves as a result.

    But hey, I'm just one of the ones with "crazy priorities".
  • by SkyDude (919251) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:45PM (#18801109)

    Online pedophiles? How can you have sex with a child online?

    It's not about "sex online". It's about the exploitation of the kids that are models for the pedo pervs. And who says it's not online sex? What about the 14 year olds that do nude webcam shows for the pervs? Isn't that sex online?

    There is an attempt in stop online exploitation of children by making the consumers scared to buy the crap. It's no different than when the local vice squad starts busting johns who are in pursuit of street hookers - kill the demand for the service and it will go away.

    With the internet, I doubt it will ever go away, but the shameless exploitation of children for the pedo pervs of the world has to stop.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:49PM (#18801181)
    Rape is just one form of violent assault. There is no reason it should fuck up a woman's life any more than if someone, say, broke her arm. Both are serious crimes and should be punished, but the society shouldn't stigmatize the victims and encourage them to feel victimized for the whole life in either case.
  • by Applekid (993327) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @12:51PM (#18801211)
    ... compared to being marked with the Scarlet "Pedo" marker forever.

    (disclaimer: from a US perspective)

    Before a trial you are destroyed. Your face gets in the local paper. Reporters show up at your home and place of work and hassle you and your family. Your home is ransacked in the name of gathering evidence. Local politicians and big wigs claim it's a victory for the children and call you a monster. News interviews your neighbors who are all amazed and shocked and now they, of course, don't feel safe. They might just deny you bail on a judge's whim and toss you in a jail cell. You better believe that when guards hear "that pedophile pervert" calling for help to protect him from other cellmates they're not going to rush to his aid. You're let out? Expect lots of threatening phone calls and letters.

    Assuming you're aquitted because you didn't break any laws, the damage is DONE. Nobody will ever see you the same way again. News of your name being cleared isn't shouted quite as loudly as the accusation. What a surprise.

    Can you really blame the falsely accused in this case comitting suicide? It's really tragic how lives can be ruined just by pointing a finger.

    I know if I was falsely accused I'd probably kill myself, too.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:30PM (#18801949) Journal
    I think the proper way to handle this in the future is for prosecutors to be threatened with disbarment and cops be demoted or outright fired if they institute "operations" like this that go as wrong as this one has

    Wrongful arrest is nothing less than kidnapping and assault. Cops and prosecutors who make false arrests should get nothing less than hard prison time.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:32PM (#18801985) Homepage Journal

    The worst part is all of the people who are more than willing to give up liberties a-plenty to only slightly improve the safety of their children. The worst part is that they'll insist that you give up the same liberties and yet still their children aren't much (if at all) safer.

    The irony is that if they really wanted to make children safer, it would have much more of an effect if they monitored all parents 24/7 than Joe Random Sexoffender. A child runs a much greater risk of being molested by its parents than anyone else.

    Yes, unfortunately it's a very emotional issue, and reason always loses to emotions. The same people who would march for liberty issues will often gladly ruin the life of someone on a mere possibility of being a sex offender.

    And bad as it is, the reaction is way improportional to the crime. If you attack someone and cripple them for life, it's considered less severe than having sex with a minor, or even fantasies about sex with a minor. Mind you, most people who have had sex against their consent manage to lead normal lives. Some don't, but that's partially because it's blown so completely out of proportions. You're expected to feel devastated and incapable of going on. But even those that do get emotional scars are still not as harmed as, say, someone who has become paraplegic after being beaten up. Why should sex offense be punished harder than other violence?
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @01:57PM (#18802365) Journal
    I have a similar story. My friend's spending 4 consecutive life terms in a federal prison based on testimony of a foster child who had falsely accused every previous foster house he'd been placed with of molesting him (which information was not admitted as evidence to the trial) and accused my friend of doing stuff he's physically incapable of doing (which is why he was being a foster parent, not a biological one.) Unfortunately, my friend A: got a bad lawyer, and B: showed up visibly inebriated one day of the trial, which factors overwhelmed the positive testimony of over fifty other previous foster children on his behalf. So he's locked up for the rest of his life for something I'm 97% sure was completely fabricated.

    It taught me something, though: I have nothing whatsoever to do with children, and actively avoid being in a room with them unless their parents are there. I used to work in science education for primary students, as a volunteer and tutor, but never again.
  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:25PM (#18802769) Homepage Journal

    Your daughter is more likely to be raped by the guy she goes to the prom with than some stranger in a dark alley.

    Your children are far more likely to be sexually abused by someone in your own family than a stranger in a car offering candy.

    Your gun is more likely to kill someone you know than a criminal breaking into your house.

    Seems to me that we're fighting bogeymen we create so hard because we're scared shitless that someone we know could be capable of something like that.

  • Re:I do RC... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by just_another_sean (919159) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @02:53PM (#18803183) Homepage Journal
    I would add to this that anyone who has listened to a decent amount of his music will pick up on an underlying theme of child abuse by adults. Look at Tommy, with his crazy Uncle Ernie or Crazy Cousin Kevin.

    In my mind Pete Townshend has had do deal with a lot more abuse in his life then he's let on to the public. I think his music, his book and even his "research" were honest attempts at dealing with things in his personal life.

    I don't think he went about it the right way and I question the benefit of subjecting oneself to such material but I tend to think he was just stupid about it and honest in his intentions at least.

    Just my $.02 and I admit bias as a long time Who fan but in the end I decided I wouldn't judge him too much as I don't really think I have the complete story.
  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:09PM (#18804271)

    Luckily when I looked at her funny and asked if she normally asked strange men to be alone with her children, she laughed and said she saw my point.
    The sad thing is, given how rare such crimes are, it was entirely reasonable for her to trust you. This sensationalism only breeds paranoia which is not at all healthy for a functioning society.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:17PM (#18804405) Homepage
    Let me reformulate your post:
    if being gay is the desire to have male-male sex, are there cases when men download gay pornography with no intention of having sex with a man?

    and if so, are they still gay?


    Now, many parts of the world have legalized it and more (or less) accepted it, but surely there's plenty people now and in the past that either out of fear of the law, or fear of the public opinion, or fear of their family, or fear of their religion and so on don't practise what they desire. If you look at suicide rates of gay people they're considerably higher than for straight people, showing people have troubles with accepting their own sexuality. It is far from inconcievable, in fact more than likely that many have repressed their sexuality to the point where they'll look at it and be aroused by it, but feel so guilty about it they don't actually want to do it in real life. And this is sex between adult consenting individuals we're talking about. I'm sure you can add all those with much greater force and at least half a dozen factors more related to physical, mental and economical balance of power which would make it even worse for a pedo to reconcile his desires with his ethics. And yet almost everyone needs a sexual outlet, even if it's in the jpeg format...
  • Re:well yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexo (9335) on Thursday April 19, 2007 @04:45PM (#18804765) Journal
    > within the narrow scope of police abuse of power, i fear criminal action more than that

    You, my friend, are mistaken.
    Not stupid, not "sheeple", just plain misinformed. Happens to the best of us.

    Unfortunately, being misinformed in this particular matter is dangerous (both to yourself and to others) so I feel obliged to add to the discussion.

    For starters, please consider:

    You have more protection from criminal action than from abuse of power (police or otherwise).

    Abuse of power is criminal action, but performed by people who
    (a) are less likely to be investigated for their crimes,
    (b) are less likely to be punished for their crimes, and
    (c) have more tools at their disposal to commit those crimes.

    Corruption destroys a society from the inside.
    To me, this is much scarier than criminal activity.
  • by Cederic (9623) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:31AM (#18809871) Journal

    to be fair to the Sunday Herald, it's quite possible that they've been asked specifically not to name anybody against whom an ongoing investigation is in progress.

    I'm sure the name will come out in the future. It may even be released by the minister in question, as part of a Government statement on the issue.

    If anything it's about bloody time the media gave a little more privacy to those accused but not convicted of various crimes. Personally I loathe the anonymity given to people that make accusations of rape, child molestation, etc, and not to the accused. Give the anonymity to both, and reveal a name only after a conviction or police caution (which requires an admission of guilt).

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