[LINK] News: Canberra clamps down on online perverts
Sat, 25 Aug 2001 07:34:08 +1000
At 11:40 AM 24/08/01 +1000, Irene Graham wrote:
>Note that although this legislation purports to be about "pornography",
>because it in fact covers material that is or would be classified R, it
>involves a very great deal more than "pornography".
I just learned that a 41 y.o friend of mine in the US is caught up in a
nasty stalking case. He was communicating with a 15 yr old girl [mature
beyond age, very bright girl] in another state, went there to meet her,
parents [mother] upset, local District Attorney is running for state
Attorney General and wants to make a major 'case'. FBI gets brought in,
only instead of bringing in an agent with stalking crime background or
paedophilia, they brought in an agent who knew how to observe/hack/recover
disk files. The feds realised there was no case when the agent said:
[haven't seen this myself, only got the 2nd/3rd hand report from depositions]
Agent: The guy knew the line and didn't cross it, but since he knew there
could be a problem with interacting with this girl, he's guilty, even if he
didn't do anything.
This is obviously a 'do you still beat your wife' logic, and therefore the
feds pulled back. But the state where the girl lives is moving forward on
the case. Enter the local 'police' in smallish town Arizona. They come
with a search warrant to my friend's house, with newspaper reporter in
tow! They take all sorts of things which made no sense: water bills?,
Disney videotapes, photos of relatives' children, clothing of a child that
my friend took care of sometimes for her single mother [I understand why,
but since the case involved a teenager rather than a 3 year old, it still
was over the top], and financial records. That's all I remember.
Then there was the plea bargain proposed. Self identify as a sex offender,
never work anywhere that any minors might come, and you won't serve
time. Since none of the actual charges brought were sexual crimes
[parental interference type things mostly], his lawyer advised him to turn
it down else he would have been labeled a sex offender for the rest of his
life, complete with the registration processes and neighbourhood alerts.
Somewhere in there was a Grand Jury finding of taking this to trial which
will be in October. Thankfully the trial judge is different from the
hearing judge who accepted the charges from the prosecutor/GJ.
The reason I'm telling this story is because my friend is caught in
something that got way out of hand re political ambitions, corrupt local
police, and people who don't have a clue about human beings. His life is
already ruined. He was advised to resign on bogus charges from his employer
or be sacked. His legal expenses are being paid by cash advances on his
credit card. He's selling his house after 20 years in the same city and
moving to a town in another region of the country to try and start
over. And his depression isn't doing him any good either. He's shunned by
former colleagues on the basis of them not wanting him to be around their
daughters. The isolation is nearly as bad as the legal situation. And
this is a person who was looking for connections out of need to start with,
who was a little bit introverted, and socially repressed. Now it appears
to be a bit more.
So, keep in mind that this could happen to nearly anyone given the current
situation of fear about the internet and 'predators', real or just
lonely. How sad this all has become.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
email@example.com -- http://www.primenet.com/~jwhit/whitentr.htm