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Child erotica is non-pornographic material relating to children that is used by any individuals for sexual purposes. It is a broader term than child pornography, incorporating material that may cause sexual arousal such as nonsexual images, books or magazines on children or pedophilia, toys, diaries, or clothes. Law enforcement investigators have found that child erotica is often collected by pedophiles and child sexual abuse offenders. Child erotica may be collected as a form of compulsive behavior and as a substitute for illegal child pornography and is often a form of evidence for criminal behavior.
The history of child erotica goes back at least as far as the paintings of the ancient Greeks, and continues through England's Libertine movement of the 1600s to the advent of the printing press, the camera and the case of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll). Painters of child erotica have included, for example, Balthus.
Some child erotica images are distributed over the internet and presented in a fashion similar to non-erotic child modeling. Child beauty pageantry, which has attracted millions of viewers to shows such as Little Miss Perfect and Toddlers and Tiaras, is sometimes viewed as a form of child erotica similar to child modeling in that the children appear in provocative poses in bikinis and short skirts; but some participants' parents argue that the pageants help their children build positive qualities such as poise, individuality, and confidence.
Much as there has been a push to relabel child pornography as "child abuse images," the use of the term "child erotica" is controversial due to the artistic and literary connotations of the word "erotica".
The Japanese Law Banning Child Prostitution and Pornography, enacted in 1999, defines child pornography as any image of a child under 18 years old "naked or partially naked, which is sexually stimulating."
DVDs and photo books of scantily clothed Junior Idols are available for sale.
The Publishers Ethics Committee of the Japan Magazine Publishers's Association checks bookstores for inappropriate publications and has issued warnings to publishers of pornographic manga (books). However, committee members have said it is not easy to determine whether an image crosses the line from art to child pornography.
Newsgroups in the alt.* hierarchy have included, for example, alt.binaries.pictures.child.erotica.male and alt.binaries.pictures.child.erotica.female. In 2001-2002, the Internet Watch Foundation and Crown Prosecution Service considered that an Internet service provider knowingly carrying such a group name could be committing an offense relating to illegal advertisements.
Depictions of even a clothed child violate U.S. federal law  The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has defined "lascivious" as "tending to excite lust; lewd; indecent; obscene; sexual impurity; tending to deprave the morals in respect to sexual relations.", , and if they constitute "lascivious" exhibitions of the genitalia or pubic area.
In the United States, some members of the Congress have proposed prohibiting certain child modeling sites. Some states are considering similar legislation. Opponents[who?] of such legislation argue that it would probably be ruled to violate the first amendment to the US constitution.
In February 2018, a New Jersey law against child erotica went into effect. The law defines to portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner as to depict a child's less than completely and opaquely covered intimate parts, or any form of contact with a child’s intimate parts, in a manner that, by means of the posing, composition, format, or animated sensual details, emits sensuality with sufficient impact to concentrate prurient interest on the child; or otherwise to depict a child for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification. Anthony Domenick became the first defendant to be charged for possession of child erotica.
Child erotica was defined in United States v. Paul D. Edwards as materials or items that are sexually arousing to persons having a sexual interest in minors but that are not, in and of themselves, obscene or that do not necessarily depict minors in sexually explicit poses or positions. In that case, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which included Neil Gorsuch, found that an affidavit showing a suspect had a history of publicly posting child erotica and making comments suggesting he was sexually attracted to the children depicted in the erotica did not establish probable cause to support a search warrant for child pornography.
In United States v. Caldwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that child erotica is admissible to show knowledge and intent to possess child pornography, as child erotica is evidence of a sexual interest in children, and the total quantity of child erotica makes it less likely that the defendant was unaware of its presence.
Similarly, in United States v. Vosburgh, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit admitted as evidence forty-six non-pornographic images of prepubescent girls in swimsuits and thirty pictures of Loli-chan, a 13-year old camgirl, finding that the "probative value of the Loli-chan pictures was not insignificant" in suggesting that Vosburgh harbored a sexual interest in children, knowingly possessed the child pornography found on his computer, and purposefully accessed a link he thought would lead to child pornography. The court cited a case, United States v. Dornhofer, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled admissible a defendant's notebook containing pictures of nude children, novels dealing with incest, and teen erotica magazines.
Paul Reubens, the actor best known for playing Pee-wee Herman, acknowledged possessing a massive collection of "vintage erotica" such as "a young man with his hand on his thigh". His lawyer cited as another piece from the collection, "a black-and-white tintype from 1901 with a young man of indeterminate, 17- to 19-year-old age, laying on the beach after having gone skinny-dipping" and claimed this collection was erotica to which the state's child pornography law did not apply. Reubens ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obscenity charge.
In July 2001, Wired News published a story about child modeling web sites that described Lil' Amber, which was a website operated by the web hosting company Webe Web Corporation located in Florida. Webe Web was, at the time, the oldest child modeling site service on the Internet. In November 2001, the NBC television station serving Miami, FL, ran a story entitled "Selling Innocence." A reporter "went undercover" to contact the site operators, and then tracked down Amber (a pseudonym), the model featured in Lil' Amber, at her family's farm in Palm Beach County. The news report prompted Florida Congressman Mark Foley (R-Palm Beach County) to propose legislation banning child modeling web sites. Foley later resigned from office stemming from allegations of inappropriate conduct with a teenaged boy.
Libman[who?] was first identified by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the FBI during an investigation of Webe Web Corp., a Florida-based company. According to court documents, USPIS and FBI agents seized large volumes of computer media during the execution of a search warrant at Libman’s residence in Fort Lauderdale. Many of the parents claimed to be unaware of the images being taken of their children, and some had signed over temporary legal custody of their child to Pierson during the modeling session.
The owners were prosecuted in both Florida and Alabama. On November 28, 2006, criminal charges were laid against the owners of Webe Web Corporation. Immediately, all Webe Web child model sites went offline. Jeff Pierson pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and mailing, transporting or shipping child pornography, while the owners of the web hosting company, Marc Evan Greenberg and Jeff Libman, pleaded not guilty.
Libman was indicted by a grand jury in the Southern District of Florida on April 28, 2009, for receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography. In his plea agreement, Libman admitted he received images that depict prepubescent children and children engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct. On Nov. 13, 2009, Libman was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison. He had faced a maximum possible term of 20 years in prison.
Libman, Marc Evan Greenberg and Webe Web Corporation were indicted in November 2006[needs update] in a separate case in the Northern District of Alabama for conspiracy to produce images of child pornography and transportation of images of child pornography. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Chief Alexandra R. Gelber and Trial Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Marie Villafaña of the Southern District of Florida. The case is being investigated by USPIS, the FBI and CEOS’ High Tech Investigative Unit.
A Little Agency
In early 2006[needs update] the operators of the child modeling agencies "A Little Agency" and "The VMS," (Matthew Duhamel) were arrested on charges of child pornography. Neither A Little Agency nor the VMS distributed nude photographs, but federal prosecutors argued that they still contained "lascivious exhibitions" of the genitalia based on the six-part Dost test. Federal prosecutors claimed the Web sites dealt in images of girls as young as 9 wearing scant clothing in suggestive poses. One photo reportedly shows a 9-year-old girl in "black stiletto pumps, a black lace thong, black bra, and a black jacket" sitting on a dining room table, according to court records. The operators were indicted on transportation of child pornography, possession of child pornography and receipt of child pornography. Attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges against them arguing that the pictures of young girls in suggestive poses on the websites they operated did not rise to the level of pornography. However, the judge assigned to the case, Chief Judge Campbell, denied the motion to dismiss, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined fully clothed pictures can be considered pornographic.
- Depictions of child nudity
- Child beauty pageants
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- Jailbait images
- United States Postal Inspection Service
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