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Baltimore video incident exposes lax attitudes towards porn
By Kevin J. Jones

.- Lax law enforcement and a society desensitized to pornography may be partly to blame for the widespread “viral” distribution of a pornographic video of two Baltimore 14-year-olds filmed on school property, one expert says.

“Widespread availability of pornography has created a voyeuristic society and those who consume porn are used to seeing others have sexual relations,” Morality in Media chairman Patrick Trueman said in reaction to the incident.

“There is certainly a link between the normalization of pornography and the spread of child pornography,” he told CNA. “It is not possible for society to be lax about adult pornography and strict about child pornography. We are seeing what happens as a result right now.”

Millions of people around the world have watched the sex video even though it is classified as child pornography, Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ reports.

The 14-year-old girl who was involved said she wasn’t aware she was being taped in the incident, which took place outside a building on Baltimore City school property.

“She was forced to do this. She was bullied, harassed into doing this,” her father, who was not identified, told WJZ.

He asked why social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allowed the video to remain posted for four days.

“They did nothing to protect my daughter and I’m furious. I mean, any parent would be,” he said.

The teenage girl involved in the video has transferred out of the school. Baltimore City police are working with school officials to investigate.

Trueman, a former U.S. Department of Justice division chief who supervised the prosecution of child pornography and obscenity, said that government inaction is allowing the spread of pornographic material.

“For several years, the U.S. Department of Justice has been very lax about enforcing adult pornography laws. President Obama and his Department of Justice have refused to enforce those laws. The result is that we have a boom in child pornography,” he said.

Trueman advised parents to warn their children about pornographic material and to monitor their children’s Internet and phone access to it.

He noted that production and distribution of child pornography are two separate crimes, both punishable by years in federal prison.

“If a child is involved, anyone who shares a link or distributes (it) can be prosecuted under federal law. Mere possession of two or more pieces of child porn is a violation of federal law.”

“Those who videotaped this and those who posted it to the Web should be prosecuted,” he said of the Baltimore video.

Fr. Michael O’Loughlin, who regularly works with youth and is the pastor of Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church in Denver, spoke about the needs of the teens involved in the video.

They need “both the comfort and support of their family as they deal with the long term consequences of both the infamy they now have as a result of the proliferation of the video, and also of the abuse of the God-given gift of their sexuality,” he told CNA.

He suggested that those who posted the video “didn’t expect these consequences--although he or she should have--and they need to understand how hurtful their actions can be.”

Fr. O’Loughlin explained that the Church teaches pornography use is sinful because human sexuality and the sexual act are “means God gave us to grow closer to each other and therefore to him.”

While Internet pornography is a new phenomenon, he noted that throughout history the Catholic Church and families have had to deal with various vices becoming more easily available.

“When this happens, we need to update our Christian ‘arsenal’ to defend ourselves and our families against the culture's acceptance and even promotion of idea and actions that separate us from God and our calling,” he said.

He suggested that parents have to help their children to “think critically” and consider the long-term effects of “even the quickest, easiest and most ‘popular’ of actions.”


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April 19, 2014

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