Court: Even a child rapist can look at photos of naked children in National Geographic

The Supreme Judicial Court today tossed child-porn charges against a convicted child rapist found with photocopies of photos from National Geographic, a sociology textbook and a catalog of "travel packages, books, videos, and photographs" for nudists.

John Rex, currently serving 19 to 25 years at MCI Norfolk for raping two boys he met online, was indicted on seven counts of possession of child pornography after officials found photocopies of seven small photos in a footlocker in his cell.

The state's highest court agreed with a lower-court judge that the photos were not a "lewd exhibition" of children as prohibited under state law and were therefore protected under the First Amendment and the comparable portion of the state constitution.

The justices rejected an argument from prosecutors that the mere fact the children's genitals were shown in several of the photos was enough evidence of a "lewd exhibition."

None of the photos met any of the criteria set in one federal decision for labeling them as pornography and none showed any evidence of harm to the children in the photos - which is what the state law is intended to prevent, the court ruled:

In none of the photocopies is the focal point of the visual depiction a child's genitals, and the children are not shown in any unnatural poses. Rather, the children are portrayed either simply standing around or engaging in ordinary activities in unremarkable settings. The visibility of the children's genitals is merely an inherent aspect of the fact that they are naked. There is nothing remotely sexual, either explicitly or implicitly, in any of the photocopies. The demeanor, facial expressions, and body language of the children suggest nothing inappropriate. In the photocopies depicting more than one child, the children appear to be comfortable in their surroundings and enjoying each other's company in a nonsexual manner. Nothing about the photocopies indicates in any way that they were derived from the sexual exploitation of the children depicted therein, such that their possession would result in the continuing victimization of those children.

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      Comments

      The problem

      The problem isn't that had these photographs which are not even explicit... the problem is that he's in public after all that he was convicted of. Or, if you fancy, that he was released in public without his anatomy altered as a condition of release.

      Altering anatomy?

      Please explain what the heck that would accomplish - other than your satisfaction.

      Also, please read the story - he's doing time at MCI Norfolk. Lots of time. The guy is definitely not in public.

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      You

      if you fancy

      And... Ugh, I misread it, I thought it said he was finished serving his sentence.

      The problem is

      Not that he's been "released in public," because he's still in prison. The problem is that you felt it important to make a comment based on your non-reading of the article, because of your preconceived notion that Bad Guys are always Getting Away With It, or something. Try reading TFA next time.