When Pornography Goes Mainstream

Interview With Pat Trueman of Family Research Council

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WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A recent commentary in The Times of London assailed banks and credit card companies for handling payments of subscribers to a Web site that showed underage girls in provocative poses.

For perspective on the «mainstreaming» of the soft-porn industry, ZENIT approaches Patrick Trueman, a senior legal counsel at Family Research Council who has experience in dealing with the problems of child exploitation.

Trueman served as chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity section in the U.S. Department of Justice under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and the elder George Bush.

He has served in the non-profit pro-family movement since 2003 and currently works with federal, state and local law enforcement officers to combat human trafficking.

Q: In recent years mainstream media and telecommunications companies are more involved in transmitting or being associated with pornographic programs. Where will this trend lead us?

Trueman: It has made pornography much more available and has desensitized many in society to pornography. It has had the effect of making porn itself «mainstream» and acceptable.

This is why I have continued to urge the Department of Justice to prosecute violations of federal obscenity laws. The law has a great teaching effect and in the case of anti-pornography law, it teaches that sexual exploitation is wrong.

Q: Fashion styles, music, television programs and magazines for adolescents and even preteens increasingly uses sexual imagery and content once reserved for the adult-only market. What effect does this have on how today’s youth are developing?

Trueman: They try to conform to fashions and to imitate what they see and hear in the media. It makes the job of a parent much more difficult. Parents spend so much time trying to undo the influence of the culture.

Q: What can parents do to protect their children from these images? Where can people report the obscenity they receive, for example, the spam they receive on their computers, so that the violators can be prosecuted?

Trueman: People need good blocking software for each computer. To report Internet obscenity, go to www.obscenitycrimes.org.

Q: Are credit card companies accomplices to these crimes because they allow the subscribers the ability to pay for access to these sites?

Trueman: If credit card companies know or have reason to know that they are involved in distributing illegal material, they can be found guilty of obscenity crimes.

Q: In cases of «legal,» but obscene, sites, can anything be done to stop the credit card companies from providing their financial services?

Trueman: A site that trades in obscenity is not legal. However, to stop the credit card companies from facilitating the sale of illegal material, a prosecution is necessary. The federal government cannot just tell these companies to stop, because they have a right to engage in legal transactions. Until the material is determined to be obscene, the material is presumed to be legal.

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