What’s The Deal With White Guys And Child Porn?
September 21, 2016 (Fault Lines) — In America, there is no doubt that in most circumstances being white (Caucasian in census terms) is a benefit. In fact, as pictured below one enterprising college student is hiring himself out as a white guy presumably for those who have more pigment in their skin but need a body double.
But, at least in one category, it appears that being white is not a really good thing, but rather a predictor for the commission of horrible federal crimes. I refer to the production of child pornography.
The Sentencing Commission has told us that child porn consumers* are “overwhelming white.” U.S. Sentencing Commission, Report to the Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses, ch. 11 at 308 n. 56 (Dec. 2012). The same thing is true for producers of child pornography. That is:
Production offenders, like non-production child pornography offenders, are a relatively homogenous group demographically compared to federal offenders generally. Among production offenders in fiscal year 2010, the overwhelming majority were male (97.0%), white (85.9%), and United States citizens (97.0%).
Id. Ch. 9 at 257.
Moreover, child porn producers were very different than the normal federal offender. They were employed, relatively well-educated and came from a higher socio-economic background.
To be specific,
Also, like non-production offenders, production offenders on average occupy a higher socio-economic status than federal offenders generally. In fiscal year 2010, 87.7 percent of production offenders were high school graduates, and 46.7 percent had at least some college. In fiscal 2010, among all federal offenders, the typical offender was not a high school graduate (51.4%), and only 19.9 percent of offenders had at least some college education. There was a high degree of employment among child pornography production offenders at the time of their arrests. Of the 197 production offenders sentenced in 2010 for which there was employment data, 76.1 percent were employed.
But in all probability, you don’t know what I mean, at least on a visceral level, by the words “child porn producer.” So let me give you an example. Be prepared to puke.
The following is an accurate media summary of a child porn production case that started off in Michigan and landed on my docket as well because the united group of producers spanned our nation.
A November arrest in a child porn case has led federal investigators to a larger ring of suspects accused of working together online to manipulate young girls into engaging in sexual acts on camera.
A complaint against a California man filed in Detroit federal court Thursday revealed details of a disturbing and elaborate operation that sought to lure minors into video chatrooms where they would be urged to perform “dares” while their images were recorded.
A man arrested for child pornography possession in Michigan on Nov. 16, 2015 told authorities he was part of a group that “uses the internet to entice minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct via web camera,” according to court documents.
Federal investigators learned that members of the group served distinct roles that included “hunters,” “talkers,” “loopers” and “watchers.”
“The ‘hunters’ visit social media websites commonly used by their minor victims to interact with the minors,” an FBI agent wrote in the Thursday court filing.
“They are in charge of convincing them to log-on to Website A. They provide the girls with a link to a specific chatroom that they or another group member creates on Website A. Once the minors log-on to Website A, the ‘talkers’ take over the primary job of conversing with them. They ask the minors to do ‘dares,’ which escalate into sexual activity. If a minor is suspicious of the members in the chatroom or reluctant to engage in sexual activity, a ‘looper’ plays a previously recorded video of a minor actively chatting and performing sexual acts in a chatroom. The ‘looper’ pretends to be the minor in the video. The ‘looper’ plays the video or ‘loop’ of a minor engaged in sexual activity in order to entice the minor in the chatroom to follow suit. Finally, ‘watchers’ are in charge of security. They watch the users coming and going from the chatroom to make sure that no suspected law enforcement members or other unwanted persons access the room.”
Khalil AlHaja, Michigan arrest leads feds to child porn ring that ‘hunted’ minors online, MLive (March 11, 2016).
What happened to these young girls, mostly in their early teens, was horrendous. Suffice it state that they were cajoled or trapped into violating themselves in the most sickening and humiliating of ways, in one case blackmailed to continue the abuse, and in another case permitted to harm herself for the pleasure of the observers.
My part of this case was simple. The Nebraska white guy, who was 31, and a hardworking man, with post-secondary education, and respected member of his community, was confronted at his home by the FBI. He told me that he was relieved when the feds came to the door because he didn’t know how to stop. He immediately spilled his guts.
I accepted the Rule 11(c) (1) (C) plea agreement, containing an appeal waiver, and requiring me to sentence the defendant to 35 years in prison. His Guideline range was life.
He was very smart to have accepted the deal because I would likely have imposed a life sentence. Despite my reservations, I approved the plea agreement to avoid a trial with the kids being forced to testify. I also sentenced him to a life of supervised release when he gets out of prison as an old man. He was capable of making, and I required him to pay, a substantial amount of restitution to the children.
As I reflected on the above, I wondered about the word “thug” with all the racial freight that word carries. I asked myself how I should describe these white child porn producers assuming I see no problem with the word “thug.” Perhaps I could call them “white devils!” Anyway, at this point I realized that my mind was wandering, so I returned to the essential question.
What the hell is wrong with white guys?
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)
*As I have previously noted in Fault Lines, I have some empathy for child porn consumers as opposed to child porn producers. See here.