Tom O'Carroll

What defines child pornography?

What defines illegal child pornography? In many jurisdictions this is utterly unclear, because mere nakedness may in theory be permissible, but too close a focus on the genitals may constitute an illegal “lascivious display” or an “indecent” image. An allegedly suggestive pose can tip the balance from legal to illegal, even if the child is fully clothed. The recent high profile arrest of pediatrician, Dr. Richard Keller, who practised at Boston Children’s Hospital and taught at the Harvard Medical School, has foregrounded the conundrum. He and a string of others have been arrested in the past few months on suspicion of …

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'Victim' is a serial fantasist

The star victim whose false allegations were too readily swallowed by the BBC was a known fantasist. If you read nothing else today (except this blog, of course!), check out the astonishing detailed account in the Daily Mail. I despise that paper’s anti-BBC vendetta, and their motive of further embarrassing the beeb should not be overlooked. But the story speaks for itself. Briefly, Steve Messham – or “mess ’em about” as we should now think of him – had been given every opportunity at an earlier enquiry to air all his wild yarns of alleged abuse. He was never muzzled as …

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Abused by a diamond-shaped window

From the Guardian this morning: Children who have nothing to do with Bryn Estyn have also contacted [children’s commissioner for Wales, Keith] Towler wanting to speak about what had gone on there. One teenage boy told him that he had been struck by the diamond shaped windows above the front door of the home and said it appeared to him that the house was looking at him. “He said it should be knocked down. I hadn’t thought about that,” said Towler. He hadn’t thought about it? How remiss! But hang on a minute. What is being suggested here? That this teenager …

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The media must be desperate

The media must be desperate. Since the Jimmy Savile story broke they have been phoning me, of all unlikely people, in the hope of getting further revelations. The Daily Mirror‘s chief crime correspondent, Tom Pettifor, said “name your terms”; the Daily Mail‘s reporter Lucy Osborne offered “a fee”. Both were interested in whether Savile or any other celebrities were once in PIE. The Mail, true to its chronic anti-BBC agenda, wanted to know about anyone in the beeb who might be linked to child pornography. The Mirror made a second call, this time asking if I knew Peter Righton, named recently …

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The real silenced voices

Are we in the midst of paedogeddon? Not my question, but Suzanne Moore in today’s Guardian. She gets it right that all the Jimmy Savile brouhaha and panic over paedos in Downing St is wildly OTT, but then predictably comes out with the tired old feminist mantra that child sexual abuse (CSA) is largely an ordinary family thing. She’s right that abuse – mainly emotional, neglectful and violent – thrives in nuclear families as it does in other forms of closed institution. But after decades of supposedly “silenced” victims screaming constantly through every conceivable communications medium, the truly silenced voice is …

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