Child Trafficking in Italy

The trial has begun for 24 state employees and other accomplices accused of soliciting false accusations of child abuse in order to take Italian children away from poor parents and then sell the kids in the “foster care” system.

According to Il Giornale, a mainstream newspaper in Italy’s biggest city, a social work supervisor was the center of the ring that included her friends and acquaintances eager to get their hands on somebody else’s children. The investigation began when a courageous prosecutor noticed a suspiciously high frequency of child abuse allegations in the small city of Bibbiano, near Modena.

The accused psychologists, social workers, and even a mayor are now facing 107 criminal charges, with hundreds of thousands of Euros having changed hands. The current scandal has led to publicity of similar recent cases in other Italian cities, as well as further revelations by adults who grew up in the Italian foster care system.

A man in Forteto reports that when he was a child he too was forced to falsely accuse his parents of abuse. So evidently this horrific practice has been going on for decades, if not longer. La “paladina” delle coppie gay “regista” degli affidi dell’orrore – IlGiornale.it

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Italy arrests 18 state employees for soliciting false accusations of child abuse

https://www.france24.com/en/20190627-italy-arrests-18-allegedly-brainwashing-selling-children

See also: https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2020-01-27—bibbiano–the-italian-town-of-%22stolen-children%22-.rJxg8TTobU.html

There have been similar scandals in other Italian cities, sparking outrage and calls to dismantle the foster care system. Here’s a video in Italian (you can turn on English subtitles):

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Child Sex Witch Hunts

Laboratory research on the reliability of children’s testimony has revealed several principles of good conduct to avoid soliciting false accusations (1). The voluminous scientific evidence has been available for more than 20 years and is widely known in North America and Europe (2,3,4). So how is it possible that in 2020, court-appointed experts in some jurisdictions still behave as though they’ve never heard of such newfangled ideas? (5)

Careful experiments have demonstrated that many children, and even some adults, are highly suggestible. Human memory is so malleable that with the passage of time many people can’t distinguish what actually happened to them from what a bad actor persuaded them after the fact. Even the experts themselves, including trial judges, are unable to distinguish between a child who is telling the truth from one who is claiming something that is demonstrably false.

Should we assume some psychologists or other legal experts are simply ignorant, and repeatedly taint children’s testimony unwittingly? In cases where the expert violates not one principle of good conduct but ALL of them, is there cause to suspect a deliberate attempt to help win convictions regardless of innocence or guilt?

The very minimum of good conduct requires that children be interviewed not interrogated. The interviewers should be clearly neutral, and never express any bias in front of the child. The interviewers should not selectively reinforce certain words or phrases to confirm their bias, let alone praise accusations and criticize denials. The interviewers should not make repeated suggestions. The interviewers should not introduce peer pressure. The interviewers should not emphasize their own power or authority over the child. The interviewers should not conduct repeated interviews long after the historical period in question, so that the children may eventually confuse what they actually experienced from what the interviewers suggested after the fact (errors of attribution).

There is clearly a popular ideology of children’s purity, and a crusade to censor any and all criticism of traditional anti-sex indoctrination. That ideology and crusade are a threat to the more fundamental rules of the presumption of innocence and due process in criminal justice. Let’s get our priorities straight. When a prosecutor or state psychologist even lie to a judge or try to hide what a child witness actually said, it isn’t “justice” that they seek. Where repeated violations of good conduct in child sex abuse investigations are tolerated in courts of law, the authorities have clearly regressed to the era of witch hunts.

References

  1. Ceci, Stephen J., and Bruck, Maggie. Jeopardy in the Courtroom: a scientific analysis of Children’s Testimony. (American Psychological Association, 1995.)
  2. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol: Interview Guide (U.S.A. 2000).
  3. Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 Code of Practice (U.K. 1996)
  4. Linee Guida Nazionali per l’Ascolto del Minore Testimone (Rome, Italy 2010)
  5. The Interrogators https://sexhysteria.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/the-interrogators/

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Child Torture in Italy

There is documented evidence in at least one case that certain state employees tortured a child witness to solicit information, and there are several reasons to think that this is not a unique case but merely one instance of a pattern of conduct that has been going on for years in other cases as well. A preliminary judge had the evidence of child torture right in his hands but evidently he didn’t even see it, which indicates he sees similar cases so often he has become blind to the torture of children.

Another reason to believe there is a pattern of horrendous misconduct is that the videos of several interrogations of children were edited (cut) after the interrogations were over, obviously to hide the worst moments of degrading and inhuman treatment. Some of those videos were also hidden from the court records for more than a year. Nobody noticed that either.

Despite the clear judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that torture is NEVER justified, not even of adults, and not even to solicit information regarding very serious matters like organized crime or terrorism, child torture is being tolerated in Italy not only by the state perpetrators who do it, but also by some judges.

Despite 18 recorded threats against one child, the preliminary judge responded to the child’s attempt to recant by declaring angrily “I don’t believe anybody threatened you!” The preliminary judge in this documented case risks being accused himself of covering up the torture, or at least gross incompetence for failing to recognize it and do something about it.

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Jury Trial Denied to U.S. Teacher in Italy

The trial judge has refused my oral and written requests for a jury trial. According to Italian law, a jury trial is available only in cases where the possible sentence is life imprisonment. But since there are multiple charges against me, and considering my advanced age (68), the possible punishment in my case is in effect life imprisonment. Nonetheless, the judge dismissed my request.

As described in my previous posts, even though no parent or child came to the police voluntarily to report any crime, the hysterical investigation proceeded with “maximum urgency,” spiraling out of control and leading to the sadistic torture of at least one child. This case has called into question every child sex abuse conviction in Italy in the past, and legitimizes the torture of children in future inquisitions.

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No Bail for U.S. Teacher Falsely Accused in Italy

After 16 months in pretrial detention and despite clear evidence of my innocence, a preliminary judge and the appeals court in Palermo have refused to free me to prepare my defense for the imminent trial.

Claiming there is a “concrete and current” risk that a 68-year-old teacher will attempt to taint the witnesses or repeat the presumed crimes, in reality the presumed crimes go as far back as 2011, the taint hearings are already over, and the supposed evidence has already been tainted by the state psychologists, the prosecutor, the preliminary judge, and other state employees. According to Italian law, “concrete risk” means any hypothetical risk.

Almost all of the videos of the interrogations were interrupted, in some cases repeatedly, and some videos are being withheld from the defense so it cannot be determined whether the videos were interrupted during the interrogations – or worse – if the videos were doctored after the interrogations were over.

In realty no crimes ever took place, and no presumed victim or parent ever came to the police voluntarily even years after the supposed events. Only after long, repeated and coercive interrogations did the presumed child-victims invent impossible stories that contradict the objective, physical evidence. Both of my original accusers have already recanted their accusations: “All of the things I said weren’t true…He never did anything to me.” But their retractions have fallen on deaf ears in this “justice” system.

The entire investigation seems to be a stage play to demonize an American citizen and draw public attention away from repeated pedophile scandals in the Catholic Church, as well as distract the public from the massive government corruption and waste of tax money that have nearly bankrupted this country.

Since President Trump was very vocal in defending Amanda Knox when she was falsely accused and mistreated by the Italian courts years ago, I wonder if my prosecution is an attempt to provoke Mr. Trump to “interfere” in another foreign legal case now. Or the Italians are at least trying to embarrass Mr. Trump for losing his tongue in the even more outrageous mistreatment of an American citizen in Italy while he is president and a candidate in a bitter reelection campaign.

There is some evidence that the Italian secret services were involved in the story of so-called Russian interference in the 2016 election (via Prof. Joseph Mifsud), so my hypothesis of ulterior political motives for this new witch hunt is not unreasonable.

Since I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump in 2016 and I probably won’t vote for him in 2020, he doesn’t owe me anything. Vocal support is not what I need anyway. I can’t expect a fair trial in the local courts. Everyone here is afraid to even criticize the all-powerful state employees involved. I will be facing years of legal battles in the national and international courts, while suffering the isolation of pretrial detention and post-trial detention during the eternal appeal process, before this nightmare ends.

See previous posts for more detailed information.

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Creating Victims for the Sexual Inquisition

The first time a fanatical Italian prosecutor tried to silence me through an accusation of “sexual acts with children,” there was a little obstacle: the police couldn’t find any victims. So to avoid losing that first case, the prosecutor made a desperate effort to create some victims. In the summer of 2019 after years of unrestricted fascist-style investigations, the state brought a ten-year-old girl to court and she said “He touched my private parts. I hate him.” An open and shut case? Not quite.

The accusation referred to 2014, when I visited a poor family every Sunday, brought them groceries, clothes, books and toys, took them to the beach and the zoo, and helped them with their homework. As part of my 30 years of volunteering with poor families, in some cases I have even registered children for school, got them out of bed every morning, fed them, brought them to school, then accompanied them home.

My regular contacts with the family lasted for a year, and then occasional visits over the next three years. In 2016 when the prosecutor ordered the police to illegally search my home and confiscate my computer and cell phone, the inquisitors saw my normal photographs of the children (never nude or in any sexual context) and identified their parents through my telephone records. Then they interrogated the father, who had nothing negative to say about me.

But in the fall of 2017 when it appeared that I would be acquitted of the ridiculous charge of “child pornography,” the prosecutor became desperate for evidence of some crime, any crime, so three little sisters were suddenly taken away from their parents and placed in state custody. The official excuse was that the father was unemployed and the family was now living as squatters in an occupied school. But in reality the father had been unemployed for years – not just in 2017, the children have grandparents they could have been placed with, and there were many other families living in the school whose children weren’t kidnapped by the state. (The classrooms had been converted into apartments with private bathrooms, kitchens and free electricity.)

In cases where the suspected perpetrator is a family member, teacher, or other person who is very close to the child, being isolated from the suspect may be more damaging to the child than the supposed abuse. But since there is mass hysteria over child sex abuse, state employees are rarely if ever prosecuted for being overzealous. Despite no reports of any kind of abuse, the prosecutor ordered the police to interrogate the sisters while in state custody. The children denied any abuse and had nothing negative to say about me. They even said they liked me and missed me. Frustrated, a few months later the prosecutor even interrogated the mother, who likewise had nothing negative to say about me.

Then in the summer of 2019, five years after the supposed crime the children were brought to court by the state. In theory it was a pretrial taint hearing, so the witnesses could confirm their previous accusations against me, except that the children hadn’t made any accusations against me or anybody else. The real motive for bringing the children into court was to coercively interrogate them again so they might make some accusation this time. Upon the prodding of the judge one child did make a 180 degree turn – accusing me of touching her. Note that in court the child was reluctant to say anything, probably because she had been forced to lie.

In state custody the conversation is always controlled, and the topic of sex is always related to investigation and prosecution, which may actually lead to more negative outcomes for the child such as suicidal ideation. Blind law enforcement is considered more important than the welfare of the child, and the assumed importance of assessment, “treatment” and other interventions that justify the salaries of victim advocates may be more than coincidental. At first the child refused to answer and began to cry, but the judge and state psychologist insisted that she answer suggestive questions, which indicates the state already knew that while in state custody the child had been persuaded to accuse me of something, anything, so she had probably agreed in exchange for being left alone after her testimony, and a promise of being freed from state custody eventually.

That isn’t a normal investigation, it’s an inquisition. The state can treat adult criminals like that, but not child witnesses who will eventually agree with whatever the kidnappers want the child to say. In this case the child who said “He touched my private parts” was actually five years old in 2014, and yet five years later she has a reliable memory of supposed abuse that she had denied before? She doesn’t even remember her previous statements defending me much more recently than the supposed abuse. Her accusation was made only after being in state custody for two years, after who knows how many hours of unrecorded suggestive questioning, promises, threats and other mental torture by state employees. After two years in “protective” custody the formerly happy little girl also declared “I hate everybody.” When asked if she ever lies, she replied “In school I always tell lies.”

According to Italian law, the accused is entitled to copies of all videos and transcripts or other supposed evidence, but so far I have received only half of the evidence, and always at the last minute when there isn’t enough time to prepare for the next hearing. An open and shut witch hunt, just like the many other wild west prosecutions that have gone before. I feel like the man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife and child. On top of losing his wife and child, the state then hanged him by the neck until dead.

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Do Allegations of Sex Crimes Justify Judicial Misconduct?

A prosecutor in an ongoing case in Italy requested the precautionary arrest of an American teacher on charges of child sex abuse, citing recorded “interviews” of some children as supposed evidence. The preliminary judge approved the arrest without any acknowledgment that repeated threats of the witnesses were recorded, some videos of the interrogations are missing, the interrogators used blatantly suggestive questioning, and then the prosecutor even made false assertions of what the children supposedly said. Such witch hunt tactics were not unknown in the U.S. and other modern countries decades ago, but they are still being used in Italian courts today – despite the claims of Italian psychologists and other victim advocates that they are well-informed and up-to-date on the recent research on appropriate methods of treating children who are believed to be victims or potential witnesses.

Most modern nations have an adversarial system of judicial procedure, but Italy still clings to the ancient inquisitorial model. Italian judges and prosecutors are not elected by the people or appointed by elected representatives, but are colleagues who are hired by the state bureaucracy. There is no jury trial here. Despite the international consensus that a judge is supposed to be impartial between the prosecution and defense, a judge here may be virtually in bed with the prosecutor. You’ve heard of dirty politics. What about a criminal justice system in which prosecutors make unfounded accusations that contradict the concrete evidence, but preliminary judges and even appeal court judges completely ignore the concrete evidence and instead literally copy and paste the prosecutor’s unfounded accusations word-for-word into their pronouncements?

Welcome to the mass hysteria over child porn and child sex abuse. Everybody wants to be a hero, especially if being a hero has come to mean being on the safe side of the lynch mob. Where is the heroism in being on the same side as the lynch mob? The hysteria began long ago as a reasonable and courageous criticism of real child abuse, but due to the personal agenda of political opportunists and financial profiteers, children’s health and safety are now being sacrificed and the rights of the accused to due process are ignored for the convenience of the real psychopaths in government and business who are willing and eager to exploit a child for their own benefit.

The presumption of the innocence of the accused exists because it is very easy to make false accusations. Some evidence beyond the mere verbal accusation is necessary to substantiate any charge – except when the charge is sex crimes against minors? Quite the contrary, children are the witnesses most vulnerable to suggestive interrogations (1,2). When there is reason to believe there may be ulterior motives for making false accusations, corroborating evidence becomes even more important. How dare a prosecutor or judge ignore these plain facts?

In some states fabricating evidence is a felony punishable by over ten years imprisonment, but in this ongoing Italian case the evidence against the accused was clearly fabricated by the prosecutor, and the judge is an accomplice in failing to acknowledge the evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. In theory the state needs to protect children at all costs, but in reality no child or parent came to the police voluntarily. Rather than investigating a specific report of any crime, the prosecutor ordered the police to go out and round up potential victims for coercive interrogations. (It isn’t the first time such fascist “investigation” tactics have been used in Italy.) Then after threatening several children and suggesting accusations, the prosecutor made no effort to verify any accusations. The prosecutor and judge have merely provoked as many accusations as possible and then accepted those coerced verbal accusations at face value.

An interrogator in a modern, civilized democracy is not even supposed to mention the name of the suspect unless the child makes an accusation spontaneously or there is already strong evidence of abuse (e.g. a reliable witness to the abuse, a video of the abuse taking place, or an unequivocal medical report). In that case the interrogators should ask “Who/What/Where…?” If there is a known time when the abuse occurred, or the child herself alleges a time-frame, the interrogators should establish that the child’s accusation is credible by asking details of other events during that same period. In this case the supposed victims were prodded and terrorized by the arrogant authorities, so the children made elaborate accusations of abuse that supposedly occurred years ago, but they are unable to remember the accusations they claimed two weeks ago. As far as the prosecutor and judge in this case are concerned, that’s not a problem.

When an interrogator suggests specific accusations, and interrogators claim other children have disclosed abuse by a particular suspect who they label “a dangerous person,” then any claims the child subsequently makes are contaminated. In this case despite no concrete evidence to justify the interrogations in the first place, the interrogators refused to believe the children when they said nothing happened to them. The children were then called liars, the prosecutor threatened to arrest their parents, the videos were interrupted so someone could coach the child’s testimony while the video was turned off. But the preliminary judge whose duty it is to at least check the supposed evidence, himself denied the clear evidence that the children had been threatened, and he even refused to accept a retraction. The supposed victims have changed their stories multiple times to please the scary interrogators, inventing impossible scenarios that may easily be verified to be false, but the judge doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

This same prosecutor and judge previously accused my innocent video Buddy Massage of being “child pornography,” citing the title of one of my blog posts on Emotional Incest as if the text were evidence of sexual intent. But that post actually attacks sexual abuse as “damaging and reprehensible.” Even after the investigation ended and the trial began, the prosecutor prejudiced the judge by reopening the original investigation during the trial without any justification whatsoever. The prosecutor and judge are guilty of gross misconduct by not bothering to examine the supposed evidence carefully, e.g. by ordering a translation of the English text into their own language. Rather than presuming innocence, their approach to justice is to shoot first and ask questions later.

Section 351 of Title 28 of the United States Code allows any person to complain about a federal judge or magistrate who “has engaged in conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts” or “is unable to discharge all the duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability” (e.g. the judge is overcome by the mass hysteria over child sex abuse). This law also provides for the judicial councils of the circuits to adopt rules for the consideration of such complaints. Title 28 USC §§ 351 – 364 allows any persons to complain about a federal judge who they believe has committed judicial misconduct in the U.S. Evidently, there is no such provision in Italian law.

References

  1. Lamb, Michael E. et al. (eds). Children’s Testimony: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Forensic Practice 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  2. Heaton-Armstrong, Anthony et al. Witness Testimony: Psychological, Investigative and Evidential Persectives. Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.
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Is this Child Porn?

What qualifies as “child porn” is becoming so broad as to include even the most ridiculous claims about the most innocent images. Here are the incredible arguments used by one prosecutor in Italy to justify the arrest and eventual conviction of an American teacher for his instructional video on peer massage.

Italian law is similar to U.S. law in stating that images of minors are “pornographic” if they are intended to sexually arouse viewers. In addition, Italian law requires that the images also contain genital nudity, and beyond the relatively minor charge of “possession,” the much more serious charge of “production” requires that there must be evidence of an intent to distribute the images (1). So in order to claim that my video Buddy Massage was the “production of child porn” the prosecutor cited the titles of a few of my publications in English as “proof” that my intent in producing the video was to sexually arouse viewers, but without any official translation or reference to my specific content.

For example, the prosecutor cited my novel Revolt of the Children which is actually a story about poor children in Palermo’s old quarter who rebel against physical, sexual and emotional abuse by their parents and other adults in their community, culminating in the crucifixion of an abusive priest and violence against the insensitive state. Another title cited is my short eBook Real Child Safety which criticizes the hysterical popular focus on sex crimes. Far from promoting the sexualization of children, Real Child Safety describes how to protect kids from the more serious and more often deadly dangers kids face from conception to adolescence. The prosecutor also cited my photo-documentary about puberty Girl Becomes Woman which promotes breast pride, and this very blog, even though I have never published anything that suggests kids are or should be sexually arousing, despite over 100 pages of text accompanying the photo-documentary and over 50 long blog posts in nearly 10 years. Quite the contrary, I have specifically criticized any and all insensitivity or exploitation of children, and I’ve published an article specifically about child massage which never made any reference to sex, eroticism or arousal.

Another false claim is that my publications supposedly advocate unlimited sexual freedom for children, even though I have repeatedly written the exact opposite: Children’s play should be monitored by parents. I’ve specifically warned against unmonitored play: “Children’s first sexual experiences should be carefully monitored by responsible adults…” (2). The audio narration of my video also specifically recommends parental consent and monitoring. The prosecutor also neglected to mention my clear and repeated references to the health benefits of child massage, and my references to the scientific research on child massage by the Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami Medical School.

The introduction to Buddy Massage even includes the specific disclaimer: children should always be safe and protected from any kind of physical, sexual or emotional abuse (3). Either the prosecutor has never read or understood my writings in English, or she knows very well that her ridiculous accusations are contrary to the evidence but she doesn’t care because Italian judges won’t bother to read the publications in a foreign language or require that they be translated into Italian anyway.

The prosecutor is aware of my hypothesis on the possible causes and effects of clitoral erectile dysfunction which entails the undisputed fact that little girls are capable of clitoral erections. But she makes the remarkable claim that my video on peer massage is somehow an attempt to “confirm” that hypothesis. How could a video that contains no genital nudity of any girl possibly be an attempt to confirm any such “theory?” Ask the prosecutor and Italian judges who have copied and pasted that ridiculous reasoning over and over again in their judgments. Even more outrageously, the prosecutor and trial judge claimed that in the cited publications I myself admit that such is the goal of the video – while carefully neglecting to cite exactly where I ever admitted any such thing. The very idea doesn’t make any sense: How could a video on peer massage possibly confirm any sexual theory? If the prosecutor’s conduct seems too incredible, keep in mind that she may have expected me to flee the country as soon as I was accused, so I would never see the court documents and the case would be tried in absentia with no defense whatsoever. So sorry that I have to disappoint the witch hunter!

The only specific text reference the prosecutor made is to a brief press release I sent out to the international news wire services upon the publication of Girl Becomes Woman in 2012. The prosecutor falsely claimed I had supposedly said “children are sexually castrated,” while in reality anybody can easily verify that I specifically said girls are being mentally castrated, resulting in sexual dysfunction in women. In other writings I have repeatedly referred to little girls still being the victims of physical genital mutilation by the prosecutor’s prudish allies in some third world countries, but she is too busy to mention let alone worry about that gruesome fact.

The sloppy and misleading language used by the prosecutor is only the tip of the iceberg. To support the charge of possession of “child porn” the prosecutor cites one of my personal photographs (never published) of two sisters who are sitting on the floor playing patty cake (hand jive). Even though the lower parts of their bodies are not visible at all, the prosecutor claims the children are “nude.” That’s like saying: “The photograph shows the defendant with a gun in his hand,” while in reality there is no hand – let alone a gun – visible in the image. In fact the sisters were NOT nude when the photo was made, as the mother who was present at the time can testify.

In another personal image never published a young girl demonstrates a periodic self exam of her breasts recommended by doctors (which the girl herself who is now over 21 has confirmed in writing), consistent with my numerous publications promoting breast health and criticizing the sexualization of breasts in popular culture. But the prosecutor claims the image illustrates the girl “stroking” her “nipples” – even though no nipple is visible! In that image the lower part of the girl’s body is clearly clothed. As with all the other claims which are unfounded and contrary to the concrete evidence, this claim was copied and pasted by the judge in his verdict.

As a volunteer with child cancer patients and their families for about 10 years, I have supported children at bedside in a near-death crisis, and suffered the tearful loss of several children I got to know and care deeply about. Nonetheless, the prosecutor claims I volunteered for hundreds of hours at the hospital over the course of many years only for the opportunity to take pictures of the patients, which I actually never did except once during a visit by Santa in which the child patients are viewed from behind and are unidentifiable. The trial judge even added his own bizarre claim that I volunteered with child cancer patients for 10 years in order to pursue my research to “confirm” my sexual “theories.”

Another demonstrably false claim is that “numerous” pornographic images of children were found on my hard disk, and they were obsessively copied and preserved “in practically every folder.” In reality, only a handful of images of minors with genital nudity were found, and they were present only in the original SD card that came out of the camera, the computer hard disk, and a thumb drive for back-up. Temporary files that had been deleted during editing were also found in the disk’s free space; they were not accessible to me and hence were not in my “possession.” That handful of images merely portrayed innocent family nudity or artistic portraits in everyday naturist life. Consistent with my lifelong practice as a photographer, there was not a single truly “pornographic” image of any child anywhere in my possession.

Still more absurdity: the first clip of my video on peer massage was made in 2014, in which a nine-year-old girl massages her five-year-old cousin. She is wearing long pants so her genital area is always covered, while a towel is covering the boy’s genital area and buttocks. When the boy turned over to be massaged on the other side his genital area was uncovered and exposed to the camera for a few seconds. That accidental and momentary scene was cut and deleted from the final video as unwanted and irrelevant to the project. The second clip was made in 2015 in which a ten-year-old girl massages her eight-year-old brother. Her “private parts” are always clothed, and his genital area and buttocks are always covered by a towel. There are no breasts visible in either of the clips. These two clips were edited and combined to form the final video with titles and credits, audio narration, and background music. There is no scene whatsoever exposing anybody’s breasts, buttocks or genital area in the finished video. There is no contact with any “private parts.”

Incredibly, the prosecutor claims that the momentary scene of the five-year-old boy turning over which was cut and deleted from the final video qualifies the work as “child pornography,” i.e. intended to sexually arouse viewers. Worse, despite the major difference in the first and second clips of the two pairs of children, the judge declared that the two “videos” are “identical.” Forgive me for being excessively logical, but if my intention was to sexually arouse viewers wouldn’t I leave the momentary nude scene in the final video instead of deleting it? Or wouldn’t I have included a similar nude scene with the second pair of children? Or wouldn’t I have made the whole video without any towels covering the genital areas?

Trying out her skills as a dramatic fiction writer, the prosecutor also claimed that since the massage takes place on a carpet on the floor, that is a sexual context, and the particular massage performed in my video is a simulation of a sexual act, since the children’s movements are sensuous. But in reality the term “rugrats” exists precisely because the carpet is a favorite place for children’s normal play, and there are at least 30 videos on mainstream websites like YouTube and Vimeo in which parents and other amateurs and professionals perform the identical movements in their illustrations of child massage techniques.

When I was interrogated with my lawyers present, I clearly said: “The video was professionally planned and produced, and viewing of the video was carefully restricted. It’s not like I made the video using a cell phone and then showed it to everybody.” But the state employee who transcribed the audio recording of the interrogation claimed I said the exact opposite: “I made the video using a cell phone and then showed it to everybody.” My lawyer pointed out that “error” in court, but the judge didn’t even acknowledge or respond to my lawyer’s complaint, let alone subpoena the audio recording to verify the truth. Before anybody was allowed to view the finished video I required potential viewers to answer a 20-item questionnaire to prove they read Real Child Safety and don’t have prurient interests.

The only private image of mine that does deliberately expose a minor’s genital area is a professional portrait of a nine-year-old girl sitting in a bathtub with a shower hose in one hand and a liquid soap dispenser in the other hand. I don’t claim the image is high art, but nor is it a casual snapshot either. It is similar to the portraits of actress Brooke Shields at ten by photographer Gary Gross, and is a classic scenario for family portraits of children. Assuming that nobody wears a bathing suit to take a bath and nobody has sex in a bathtub, my subject was certainly not photographed inappropriately attired or in a sexual context. Another private image is of a two-year-old girl standing normally on the floor. Those private images were never exhibited or shown to anyone, but the prosecutor has exhibited the images to who knows how many government employees without asking for the consent of the children, the parents, or the photographer who owns the images.

Still more misinformation intended to promote prejudice against me is that I supposedly purchased real estate in Italy (?), and I supposedly claim to be “perfectly bilingual,” a claim I have never made and which contradicts my repeated, humble admission that I do not speak, write or understand Italian perfectly. My accusers even claimed I have “contact with pedophiles,” even though nobody has ever offered any concrete evidence for any such thing. Apparently Italian law allows prosecutors and judges to make unfounded accusations without any need whatsoever to document what they are claiming.

Still more nonsense: Since my residence permit expired 30 years ago, the prosecutor claims I have been hiding out to evade the authorities. This claim is despite the documented fact that I went to the police station twice during the previous year to voluntarily report local crimes I witnessed, and in each case I told the police my correct, current address. This false claim began as an excuse to justify the illegal search of my home, but has now become a legend copied and pasted by others without question. Three years after that ridiculous claim was first made it is still being repeated by judges, even though I have long since requested a new residence permit from the immigration police – providing my correct, current address.

The prosecutor also distorted her portrait of me as a teacher. She never mentioned that when she ordered the Italian police to violate the privacy of my home I was teaching three classes in two state middle schools, as well as teaching free classes after school as an unpaid volunteer for students who were having difficulties preparing for their final exam.

Does this investigation, arrest and conviction asserting “possession and production of child pornography” satisfy the requirements of Italian law to violate the privacy of my home, destroy my reputation and career, take away my income, and send me to prison? According to the prosecutor and trial judge in this case, there is no reasonable doubt of guilt!

 

  1. Note: during my trial the Italian Supreme Court modified previous jurisprudence by no longer requiring evidence of any danger of distribution for the very serious charge of “production” of child porn, although the material still has to be truly “pornographic.” In theory, the new standard is not retroactive.
  2. Ideal Sex Education https://sexhysteria.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/ideal-sex-education/
  3. https://vimeo.com/127757099

 

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A Child is Called to Testify

The self-righteous know no shame. One of the children who was interrogated by the police in the sex abuse witch hunt described in my previous posts, was a 10-year-old cancer patient. I had befriended her and her family near the end of my 10 years as a volunteer in the pediatric oncology department of Palermo’s children’s hospital. Her tragic life was marked by a diagnosis of leukemia when she was only two years old, followed by the accidental death of her father in a car crash, her remission and then relapse, and another remission and relapse and her own death at 12. Since L. isn’t the only child I’ve known who I must now visit in the cemetery, I don’t think many other people have a similar perspective.

L. was always a beautiful, cheerful little girl, who had mentally adjusted to her misfortunes. I brought her little gifts at the hospital, taught her how to make a purse out of fancy cloth, we played countless card games and board games, but mostly I just kept her company. When she had to undergo an invasive procedure, she asked me to accompany her rather than the full-time professionals. Since I always had my camera with me, she once asked me to take her picture. It was against hospital policy to photograph patients, so I suggested that I let her mother use my camera to take her picture. Even without any hair, she smiled beautifully for the camera, and she even posed for a portrait with me. Since her mother was a widow, I asked for her mom’s telephone number, but then it was L. who sent me silly messages, and even tried to get me fixed up with her aunt. I was willing to meet her aunt, but I would have preferred to marry her mother and adopt L. as my own daughter.

In March 2016 when a fanatical Italian prosecutor ordered the police to search my home and break my doors down if necessary, they confiscated my computer disk and saw the pictures of L. They also confiscated my cell phone and saw the innocent messages L. and I had exchanged. So the police first tracked down and interrogated L.’s adult brother who was like a father figure, and he assured them that I was always nice to the child. Dissatisfied with that lack of evidence of wrongdoing, the prosecutor then ordered the police to interrogate the child herself without any parent or guardian or legal representative present.

At 10 she was in remission, had all of her hair, and was her usual cheerful self. In the video of the interrogation you can see that when the interrogators asked her about me, she too said I was a nice person. They asked her specifically if I had ever done anything that bothered her, and she replied: No. Over the course of an hour the interrogators repeated that question and many other questions over and over again, trying to confuse the child so she would contradict herself. As in the interrogations of the other children, the video was even interrupted so someone could coach or threaten the child while the video was turned off. Eventually the interrogators blatantly suggested that L. was lying to protect me from the state. (Gee, I wonder why?) But the brave child insisted that she had nothing to hide. Finally the interrogators threatened to make her brother come to the police station again to get at the “truth.” L. called their bluff, so they gave up temporarily.

Some time after that despicable interrogation, despite her adult brother’s defense of me, and despite the child’s persistent defense of me, the prosecutor demanded that the child attend a pretrial “taint hearing” to be interrogated again in front of the judge. In other countries the defense requests the taint hearing to determine if the witness has been compromised. But in Italy the prosecutor calls the taint hearing as an excuse to interrogate the child again. Before the date of the taint hearing L. relapsed again and died. Nonetheless, the prosecutor requested that the preliminary judge include the deceased child’s recorded interrogation as evidence for the prosecution. Evidence of what? The more names of witnesses “against” the defendant presented at trial, the more prejudice is created against the accused, and in accusations of child sex abuse where words are the only evidence, prejudice counts more than proof.

Despite the outrageous misconduct of the state in this case, legal experts in Italy have informed me that there is no chance any of the families who are victims of this witch hunt will ever receive any compensation for the stress, indignity, and financial loss we have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous government employees and “victim advocates” who claim to be “protecting” children. There have been several studies suggesting that children are often worse off after state intervention (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, etc.), but that evidence doesn’t stop some “professionals” from recommending coercive interrogations of child witnesses and even taking children away from their parents to be placed in danger of greater harm in state-sponsored group homes.

References

  1. Bagley, Christopher. Children, Sex and Social Policy: Humanistic Solutions for Problems of Child Sexual Abuse. Ashgate, 1997.
  1. Maddock, J. “Child reporting and testimony in incest cases: Comments on the construction and reconstruction of reality.” Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 6, 201-220, 1988. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Martone, M. et al. “Criminal prosecutions of child sexual abuse cases.” Child Abuse and Neglect, 20, 5, 457-464, 1996. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Myers, J. (ed.). The backlash: Child protection under fire. Sage, 1994. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Sauzier, M. “Disclosure of child sexual abuse: for better or worse.” Psychiatric clinics of North America, 12, 455-469, 1989. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Saywitz, K. and Nathanseon, R. “Children’s testimony and their perceptions of stress in and out of the courtroom.” Child Abuse and Neglect, 17, 613-622, 1993. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Tedesco, J. and Schnell, S. “Children’s reactions to sex abuse investigation and litigation.” Child Abuse and Neglect, 11, 267-272, 1987. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
  1. Underwager, R. and Wakefield, R. The Real World of Child Interrogation. Charles C. Thomas, 1990. Quoted in Bagley op cit.
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