Students, parents, and school officials are in shock over the revelation that dozens of photos of high school athletes participating in water polo, some as young as 14, have turned up on gay-oriented web sites "juxtaposed next to photos of nude or semi-nude young males and graphic sexual content."
The Orange County California newspaper, the OC Register, found dozens of photos of the unsuspecting athletes on at least five gay-oriented Web sites.
An investigation by the Register also uncovered the identity of the photographer, a dispatcher for the UC Irvine Police Department, Scott Cornelius. Cornelius remains on "active duty" while the authorities conduct an investigation.
According to the Register there may not be any "crime" committed by Cornelius, whose photos on the gay porn sites have been viewed from across the world. The issue seems to be one of "Free Speech" and photography. Evidently "photographers" are protected by the First Amendment.
"The courts have generally favored free speech. But (the fact) that these photos are on Web sites, pornographic Web sites, raises valid questions about its legality," Solorio said.Cornelius had permission to take the photos, permission granted by a media operations official to a tournament in 2007.
But Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, and constitutional law experts said the photographers are protected by the First Amendment.
"Based on our research, we have found it's very hard to regulate images on the Internet," Smyth said.
"Thwarted" by Free Speech issues, a bill is in the works, the Surrogate Stalker Act (AB534):
Assemblyman Smyth has authored the Surrogate Stalker Act (AB534) that would make it illegal to use Internet images to inflict harm on children. The bill was prompted by Jack McClellan, who last year photographed children at California schools and playgrounds and placed them on a Web site described by law enforcement officials as popular with pedophiles.Cornelius "defended" his actions in an email to the media operations official's website:
"This is exactly why we are introducing the Surrogate Stalker Act," Smyth said, referring to the water polo photos. "(The photos) show that this issue goes beyond one incident with McClellan.
In an e-mail to Gould's Internet provider, Cornelius denies any wrongdoing and said Gould had libeled him "by identifying me as a sexual predator, which is falsely accusing me of a crime, for merely taking pictures of athletes at water polo events."In September of 2006, the owner of a Santa Monica based production company of the successful "Girls Gone Wild" videos agreed to pay $1.6 million in Federal fines:
Mantra pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2006 to three counts of failing to keep the required records and seven labeling violations in connection with Mantra’s production of Girls Gone Wild films containing depictions of sexually explicit conduct. Each count refers to a different film produced or distributed by Mantra. Mantra admitted that it failed to create and maintain age and identity documents for performers in sexually explicit films produced and distributed by Girls Gone Wild and failed to label their DVDs and videotapes, as required by federal law. Source - Dept. Of JusticeThis was the first case filed under a new Federal Law designed to curb sexual exploitation of minors, which, in our opinion, seems to be what Cornelius is alleged to have done with the unsuspecting young athletes at the water polo events.
While the water polo teen photos were not sexual content when they were taken, they were later used in explicit "sexual" content websites for commercial gain. The photographer Cornelius knew the age of the boys, he knew they were minors. Cornelius was responsible for the photos ending up on the gay porn sites.
The (Girls Gone Wild) companies also admitted that in at least two instances in 2002 in Panama City they filmed minors in sexually explicit scenes that were included in two commercially released DVDs.
This is sexual exploitation, at least at the Federal level. Meanwhile, the "photographer" remains on the job as a police dispatcher.
"It is disgusting that this is where we are in society," El Toro High coach Don Stoll said.We couldn't agree more.
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