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Rick Santorum’s ‘war on porn’ would end Obama’s flouting the law, former prosecutor says

“Why should enforcement of current laws be controversial?” asked Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media.
Mon Mar 19, 2012 - 6:04 pm EST

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has vowed to vigorously enforce laws against the distribution of hardcore pornography, accusing the Obama administration of lax oversight. Media outlets have dubbed this a “war on pornography,” and have painted Santorum’s position as radical. However, a former Justice Department prosecutor says Santorum’s proposal simply seeks to end the Obama administration’s selective enforcement of the law.

On Sunday, Santorum told ABCs This Week program, “Under the Bush administration, pornographers were prosecuted much more rigorously than they are under existing law, than they are under the Obama administration.”

The statement followed a week-long media feeding frenzy about a section of Santorum’s website dedicated to “Enforcing Laws Against Illegal Pornography.”

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“America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography,” it reads, citing children’s early exposure to explicit material and changes in brain patterns from repeated viewing. “Rick Santorum believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.”

The statement praises the work of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition, which is composed of 120 pro-family groups including Morality in Media, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and many others.

Although the media have dubbed the statement controversial, the nation’s former chief obscenity prosecutor says the alliance just wants the president to stop ignoring the law.

“All we ask is that candidates agree to vigorously enforce the laws that are on the books,” Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media, which leads the coalition, told LifeSiteNews.com. “Why should enforcement of current laws be controversial?”

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Trueman, who served as Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush, says the law already prohibits “distribution of obscene pornography (hardcore) on the internet, on cable/satellite TV, in hotels/motels, in retail shops, by mail and by common carrier.”

Although the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the private ownership of pornographic material in 1969’s Stanley v. Georgia case, it did not strike down its previous ruling in Roth v. United States that “obscenity is not protected by the freedoms of speech and press.” Four years later, in Miller v. California, the Court established a test to determine whether a work is obscene, including whether a film would offend prevailing community standards.

UCLA law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh has observed, “In most parts of the country, a lot of pornography on the internet would plausibly be seen as obscene.” MIM’s National Obscenity Law Center compiles the nation’s anti-pornography laws.

However, enforcement of obscenity laws has plummeted under the Obama administration.

“When a prosecutor refuses to enforce these laws, he is essentially establishing community standards and the standards become, ‘anything goes.’ That is what is happening now due to this administration,” Trueman told LifeSiteNews.com.

Pornography’s supporters also say they have noticed a new climate since Barack Obama came to power. Louis Sirkin, an attorney who represents pornographers, said the Justice Department’s inaction under Attorney General Eric Holder represents “a substantial change of position.”

“The new administration has come in there and made a new determination,” Sirkin said. “It certainly is different than what we have seen in the past.”

Trueman told LifeSiteNews.com fears of that the federal government will imprison teenagers for watching online pornography are misplaced.

“The federal laws are really directed at the major producers and distributors of illegal pornography,” Trueman said. “I was head of prosecutions for DOJ for several years and we did not go after the individual consumer.”

 


  pornography, rick santorum

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