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Musician Jailed Over Prank YouTube Video 538

Posted by Soulskill
from the under-arrest-by-the-humor-police dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Evan Emory, a 21-year-old aspiring musician, edited together video of him singing a G-rated song to a bunch of giggling school kids with video of him singing a song with sexually explicit lyrics, and posted it on YouTube. For this stupid joke, done many times by professional comedians (all NSFW, obviously), and admittedly done without getting permission from the children shown 'hearing' him sing naughty words, he was arrested and could face 20 years in prison as a sex offender. On the pretext of looking for 'souvenirs' of child sexual abuse, his house has been searched by police, and the Muskegon County (Michigan) Prosecutor has insinuated (with no further evidence) that Emory actually wants to have sex with children and claims he 'victimized every single child in that classroom.' Emory insists he had no such intention."
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Musician Jailed Over Prank YouTube Video

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  • by Aggrajag (716041) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @05:58PM (#35255814)
    Better jail Monty Python as well.
  • doh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PyRoNeRd (179292) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:02PM (#35255844)

    Welcome to United States of Iran

  • USA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:05PM (#35255878)

    Land of the litigious.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:05PM (#35255882)

    By railroading this guy, what the Muskegon County Prosecutor is actually doing is weakening the severity of real child abuse in the public's mind by diluting it with dumb but ultimately harmless comedy.

    Gee, I wonder why he would possibly want to do that....

  • by Scutter (18425) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:08PM (#35255896) Journal

    The moral of the story is this: If you are a male (especially a single white male over 30) in the 21st century, do not go anywhere near children. Don't look at them, don't talk to them, don't get within 50 feet of them (especially if you own a camera, even if you leave the camera at home). For the love of God, don't be in a public toilet if one happens to come in, even if Dad is there with him and especially if Dad doesn't come in with him. Do not interact with them in any way, even virtually, such as re-dubbing a video, drawing a picture, mentioning children in an e-mail, nothing. More and more often, this includes your own children.

    Remember, all men are automatically guilty even if they've done nothing wrong!

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:09PM (#35255900)
    CSI just showed somebody shooting an underage person a dozen times in the chest. Better arrest those actors for murder, then. Idiot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:14PM (#35255940)

    And since it has been removed, I can't watch the video and make my own judgment about what was said. Because I think as usual, the prosecutor is doing the prosecutor thing and using the protect the children bullshit witch hunt to boost his political career.

    Of course, the stupid ignorant easily swayed with two bit opinions dipshit public will crucify this poor guy and his life is forever fucked. Even if he's exonerated - he's fucked.

    We are not a free country anymore, no thanks to our draconian sex, drug and terrorism laws.

  • Blame the system. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:16PM (#35255948) Homepage Journal
    A system which allows a moron to become a prosecutor, fails.
  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:18PM (#35255962)

    The parents may sue him for failing to get signed model releases if they like. Accusing him of being a sexual predator is a perversion of the system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:18PM (#35255972)

    If one of the kids in this video was mine, I'd want to kick his ass from here to wherever it is people kick asses to. As jokes go, it's in seriously poor taste and he very much deserves to be on the receiving end of a shitstorm. Criminal charges, however? Making tasteless jokes about someone, even a child, does not constitute sexual abuse and to arrest him on that basis is an abuse of law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:23PM (#35256004)

    Sadly, this feels all too true. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. I am a 28 year old male. I'm in a happy, stable marriage with my wife. Nothing that I can see is unusual about me in anyway. That said, when I take my daughter alone to McDonalds, or the grocery store, or the park, or (heaven forbid it) the bathroom it often feels that every eye is on me. I see other moms with their kids staring at me and I like to make myself think they are thinking "why doesn't my husband take our kids anywhere", but in reality I know they are probably thinking "I better keep an eye on that guy, he is alone with a little girl. He may be her dad, but who knows and even if he is, all men are sexual predators because that is what the media tells me."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:25PM (#35256024)

    Wow and people wonder why males aren't entering the education system as teachers.

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:28PM (#35256060)

    His video depicted him saying sexual remarks to children. Whether or not they were actually there doesn't really matter.

    So if I step on a 3" person I made out of clay I can be found guilty of murder? Are you fucking insane?

  • by Rifter13 (773076) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:33PM (#35256096) Homepage

    Generally, model releases are needed for pay. You can take a picture of anyone, as long as they do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy. A school is a public place, hence no real expectation for privacy. He just can't make money, directly, off of it. At least, that is how I have read the statutes to be.

    They guy made a crude joke. WAY too many people have gone WAY overboard on this. Our society is being put into a straight jacket. Humor has ALWAYS had more wiggle room, than most other forms of speech. But, the way too important people are even stifling humor. It is really pathetic.

  • by ikarous (1230832) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:51PM (#35256218)
    ... has to have its witch hunt. What I find really odd about it is that some of the same people who now recoil in horror at the thought of what happened during the McCarthyism era will happily toss gasoline onto the pyre of anyone who is accused of pedophilia. Proof isn't an issue anymore; the accusation itself equals certain doom.
  • by Killer Eye (3711) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:51PM (#35256220)

    It sure seems that modern "crime" investigations need to start with these words: "alright, first: everyone kindly calm the fuck down".

    I'm tired of hearing about cases where there is OBVIOUSLY no real victim, yet the "trial" marches on. And it appears that we have a hard time presuming innocence when there's insufficient evidence to convict.

    I hope that this isn't an upward trend...maybe this has always happened to some degree, and we only hear about it more now because of the Internet. Either way, it scares the hell out of me and makes me feel like we should be putting the prosecutors on trial instead of the "criminals".

  • by grimJester (890090) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:53PM (#35256224)
    What's even bad taste about it? TF summary links to six examples of the same thing. It's a common joke. Having a character do or say something inappropriate in front of children has been done forever.

    This is just some retarded prosecutor thinking a clip of someone using dirty words in front of children is the same as a clip of someone actually fucking the children. This is just moronic. Saying "fuck" in front of little Billy is not the same as fucking little Billy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @06:56PM (#35256244)

    "If it was one of my kids, I would have gone bonkers"

    The real tragedy here is that someone as obviously stupid as you are
    is permitted to have children.

  • Re:doh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by netsharc (195805) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:00PM (#35256284)

    Too bad you got moderated troll...

    Remember how the Iranians arrested 3 American hikers and accused them of being spies? Although there's no evidence of that? How they put up a kangaroo trial where the outcome would be clear: "guilty"?

    You might know that, but do you know about the Afghanis and Iraqis who were arrested by coalition forces and were accused of being terrorists although the only evidence of that is the word of a pissed-off neighbor trying to get rid of them? How the Military put up a kangaroo trial ("Military commissions") where the outcome would be clear: "guilty"? Even with the intervention of the US justice system, some of them have still been locked in cages for 9+ years, and the Obama administration said, "even if they're not convicted, we can't release them."

    Yeah, United States of Iran indeed. Well fucking done America...

  • by kbolino (920292) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:22PM (#35256400)

    When did "sexually explicit" go from participating in sexual acts to just saying sexually themed things? Next thing you know, thinking dirty thoughts near children will be a crime.

    The fact of the matter is, whether the guy actually did it in front of the children, or merely post-edited to make it look like he did, he should not be considered a sex offender. He didn't actually have sex with the children, or even have sex (with an adult) in view of the children. He is facing 20 years in prison for making a bad joke. People who actually had sex with children have gotten shorter prison sentences.

    This hysteria has gone too far. It's one thing to investigate this video, determine that not only was no sexual act involving children committed but in fact the video was edited after the fact, and then drop the investigation. It's entirely another thing to decide to charge the creator of the video with sexual abuse of a minor. If successful, this will literally destroy this person as a human being. Assuming he survives the prison time (which most likely will involve frequent, genuine sexual abuse), he will be placed on the sex offender registry, which is essentially a life sentence. He will not be able to live or approach anywhere near any place that has anything to do with children (i.e., most of the country), his name will be publicly and legally slandered in perpetuity, and he will be unable to secure any meaningful employment. Even if the prosecution fails, his name will have been dragged the mud so badly that he may be disowned by his family and forced to move.

    All for what? Because some child somewhere may have possibly been exposed to some slightly disturbing words? Even if the video genuinely showed some guy talking trash to children, chances are they didn't understand it or found him silly and ridiculous. Children are remarkably resilient to such things.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:25PM (#35256418) Homepage

    And the producers of Kickass, which paid a child to say "giant cock" and several other lude statements.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LearnToSpell (694184) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:32PM (#35256456) Homepage
    While I agree that it should be illegal to tell bad jokes, and a 20-year prison term sounds like a pretty sufficient penalty, I... wait, what? Are you retarded? We can't have comedic material unless it's suitable for a child audience?

    Go hide under your bed. This world will scare you.
  • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:34PM (#35256460)

    Everyone had the "impression" that the child was still in the scene while Randall was ordering the pornography. Not that i agree, but that all these retarded legislators need. Normaly the "and the depiction meets either of the following conditions:" should be fine.

    Because i am a reasonable person and "i find it to be fucking hilarious" is suffisent artistic value to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:41PM (#35256502)

    Pot heads roll joints, junkies use needles. Lets not lump them into the same category shall we?

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @07:51PM (#35256552)

    He wasn't saying sexual remarks to children, how about you RTFA.

    He lied to the school to gain access to their kids.

    That is criminal trespass under almost any jurisdiction you could name.

    Without permission, he used an empty classroom as a stage for his sexually explicit performance. That again is criminal trespass.

    Without anyone's informed consent he edited videos of six and seven year old kids into his adolescent and obsene music video.

    There are well-timed cuts to particular faces.

    The video makes these kids part of the performance ---

    and that is all that Michigan law requires for prosecution on the felony charge.

    The video was posted to YouTube and played to a local comedy club. That looks less like a prank and more like commercial exploitation.

  • by DurendalMac (736637) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @08:26PM (#35256720)
    Then charge him with criminal trespass. Charging him with creating child pornography is ludicrously overboard and beyond idiotic as I seriously, seriously doubt he had any kind of sexual motivation whatsoever. It was a joke and he never actually sang the explicit lyrics to the children. The guy's a dick, and perhaps prosecution is in order, but let the charges actually fit the crime.
  • by commodore6502 (1981532) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @08:49PM (#35256822)

    >>>This is just some retarded prosecutor thinking a clip of someone using dirty words in front of children is the same as a clip of someone actually fucking the children. This is just moronic.

    Not it's tyrannic.

    Death to tyrants.
    Death to the prosecutor.
    Remind his replacement that the SAME thing can happen to him, if he suppresses the liberty of the People. It is a position of HONOR and these people should not be allowed to stain it by acting like modern-day versions of the Emperor Nero.

  • Re:The Trauma Myth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @08:52PM (#35256834)

    You know, when you treat it as an isolated thing, what you're saying is reasonable.

    But there are a lot of unintended consequences to what seems like an absurd moral panic.

    Read this thread, just down a little further, and then balance what is in it with what is written above. A whole new generation will grow up with no male role models at all. None, at least none that are sane. People who don't particularly like kids but might volunteer just to be a good guy... there is NO WAY in hell those guys are going to volunteer to work with kids now.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2003860&cid=35255896 [slashdot.org]

    What is the result? Kids raised in sterile environments, by all-female troops of social workers? Males who are still willing to volunteer are MUCH more likely to have ulterior motives, people get even more suspicious of males... ad infinitum, until the insanity is backed down a few notches.

    While in isolation, this reaction seems reasonable, I would like to point out that the hyper-paranoia that comes along with this moral dillemma might have something to do with the relative decline of youth productivity and behavior during the last 20 years. English speaking countries have unusually high levels of childhood obesity, childhood suicide and relatively low performance metrics in a variety of things such as education.

    Perhaps they're ALL completely unrelated, but the culture of fear surely can't help.

    When I think about having kids and raising them, I think that I would prefer I was in the 1940s or 1950s. I know that the kids are MUCH safer today. The rates of violence are SO much lower now than they were in the 1950s, but I feel like that comes at the expense of the "human" factor. It does "take a village" to raise a child, and that is NOT a village full of background-checked female-only therapists and social workers under constant supervision.

    My grandfather talks fondly of the old man down the road, who was a mechanic, who used to keep a bowl of candy in his shop so the local kids would come by. You could have some candy, but you had to sit and talk with him for a bit. My grandfather ended up becoming friends with him and ended up later crediting him with the inspiration to start his business, which made him wealthy.

    This would not be possible today. In fact, this guy would have the police kicking in his door.

    That's no the right reaction.

    It's not the THERAPY that is hurting kids. By all means, give the kids some means to talk about abuse, yes yes yes yes.

    But FUCK, do we have to dismantle society in the process, because we're so afraid of it?

    To me, this is a much greater issue than any one individual (or group of individuals) getting therapy...

    It's the ability to move past it and say "yeah, that sucked and therapy is good, but I'm really doing alright today."

  • Justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 19, 2011 @09:31PM (#35257016)
    Potentially jailing someone for 20 years after making a parody is a slap in the face to victims of real child rape.
  • Re:Justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @09:38PM (#35257040)

    It's not uncommon for sexual predators to get much less time than this for truly heinous crimes. For some reason when crimes are perpetrated over the net the justice system goes bat shit crazy.

  • Re:The Trauma Myth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davidwr (791652) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @09:46PM (#35257078) Homepage Journal

    On the use of the word she: Another post in this thread reminded me that female victims significantly outnumber male victims - about 2- or 3- to one according to one 15-year-old study, so I switched from the gender-neutral pronoun "he" to the gender-specific pronoun "she." No gender bias was intended.

    I take issue with your unjustified assumption that people process events subconsciously over many years

    I've known enough people for which this is true and I've read enough that I don't consider this assumption unjustified, at least not in my mind.

    . I contend that people's perception of the past is always colored by their current worldview and socialization, which of course changes over time.

    Actually, I believe this as well. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    As for the "cultural baggage" some of what you call baggage others would call desirable traits in a society.

    I will use an example which at its core is based on love but I'm sure most would agree is heavily laden with baggage: The ideal that when two virgins get married, they are able to give a gift to each other that cannot be given if they are not both virgins. For the sake of discussion assume virgins means no sexual contact at all, no petting, no heavy kissing, etc.

    Now, even if you strip away all the moral and religious reasons why virginity is a virtue, it is still true that when two virgins get married, they have two things that non-virgins do not have:
    * They can share their first sexual experience with someone they will love and who they plan to be with until they die.
    * They will not ever be comparing sex with their current love with sex or sexual activities with anyone else.
    * No sex before marriage, generally no STD infection at the time of your marriage.
    * Even among non-virgins, the fewer times a person has sexual encounters before marriage, the fewer encounters there are to compare with the current lover.

    Now, suppose we declare virginity a "nice thing to have, but not something worth sweating over."

    Enter an adult who knows this and who at an adult level understands that when the kid he is with grows up, the kid will not be able to share the gift of virginity with his (I'll switch to the gender-neutral "his" since it seems to make you feel more comfortable) future spouse. Assuming the kid is too young to understand the nuances of the value of virginity (IMHO very few kids under 14-15 understand these nuances), the adult would be doing the kid at least a minor dis-service by enticing him to lose his virginity today and he would also be doing the kid at least a minor dis-service by agreeing to it if the kid initiated the activity.

    Now, I've just shown a good reason why an adult having sexual relations with a virgin who is not clearly old enough to understand what he's being asked to give up - or what he is offering to give up if he's initiating the encounter - causes the kid at least a small harm.

    This is but one example that can show at least some harm even without baggage. There are no doubt others but I'm not going to spend time creating a list today.

    Take and the other examples I'm in too big a hurry to describe and add in the baggage that is either common to almost all human cultures in history and/or which cannot be easily removed from society without making it unrecognizable, but strip away the baggage that can be stripped away in less than 5-6 generations, and you'll still find it nearly impossible to make an argument that sex between adults and children is okay enough of the time that we as a society shouldn't proscribe it in law and custom.

    As for sexual relations between people close in age but far enough apart that there is an obvious power- and knowledge difference - those are not without harm either but labeling a 12 year old a sexual predator because he played doctor naked with his 6 year old neighbor is not the solution. Telling him "that's not nice," grounding him, telling him he ca

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @09:49PM (#35257086)

    What a terrible world that would be! Imagine, a place where people posses the unrestricted right to free expression. The horror!

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @11:31PM (#35257456) Journal

    you mean Roman Polanski? he's on the lam, and of course interpol has better things to do than bother with mere cross-border rape cases.

  • Re:The Trauma Myth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:43AM (#35257890)

    Virginity isn't a gift, it has no value

    I doubt it matters to your point, but value is always, always subjective. It doesn't have value to you, but it does have value to other people.

  • by cfalcon (779563) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @03:34AM (#35258254)

    This guy sang in front of kids, then modified that video to appear as if he was saying vulgar things instead. Somehow, this ludicrously construes child abuse or some nonsense. Ok, whatever.

    Here's the missing puzzle piece... what if someone ELSE had taken his video, redubbed it, and posted it like that?

    Lesson: if you want to do what this guy did, make sure that the redub is posted by a different user that isn't traceable. Apparently this 'crime' only happens if you are both the person who sings to high school kids with permission of the school AND the person who makes the humorous redub later- just don't be BOTH of those people (traceably) and you should be fine.

    In the meantime, of course, this is an absurd travesty of the legal system.

  • by Damouze (766305) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @03:58AM (#35258336)
    Very wise words.

    Our very western society is going down the drain because our law-givers want make rules for everything and every conceivable situation. That is not freedom. Nor does it promote acting responsibly towards one's fellow man, let alone towards children.

    The most important factor in dealing with people is using one's common sense. Unfortunately, when emotionally hot topics are concerned - like child abuse, terrorism presently, and the famous non-existing WMDs in Iraq, the Red Scare or the fear of nuclear holocaust in the past - our common sense is the first thing to go. This is because our society is programmed to lash out against anything or anyone that even remotely insinuates those things.

    Why? Because of the age old saying: "The great Masses of the People..."

    Not every Muslim is a terrorist. Heck, not every terrorist is Muslim. There are terrorists in every flavour and every vocation or religious belief system. Not every man or woman who works with children and enjoys it is a child molestor. In fact, the enjoyment part is often exactly what keeps these people going for twenty years or more. Being an educator or (surrogate) parent is a hard job and usually only pays off on the long term. I know of teachers and foster parents who were burnt out long before that!

    And here I am, quoting someone who was arguably one of the most evil people in our history. Not because I agree with his ideas, or with his motives - let alone his actions. No, because unfortunately for us, with regard to this, he was absolutely right.
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @04:50AM (#35258466)
    Now there's an idea.... anyone here work for television studios, and want a stunt? Here's one. Set up a few hidden cameras in a street. Get a child actor to hang around and look miserable, cry a bit, and obviously be in distress. Film the manner in which every man carefully avoids approaching or looking at the child, and see how long it takes before someone is finally brave or reckless enough to intervene. Use for a news story about how the culture of fear is endangering children.

    Ironically, all staff involved in the production would need to undergo enhanced-disclosure criminal records checks in this country to work with a child.

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