Today the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office in Michigan formally charged 21-year old Evan Emory with one felony count of "child abuse as a commercial activity." His crime: Posting a dubbed video of himself staging a sexually explicit song performance to first graders, and posting the edited video on YouTube. The charge, which is essentially, under law, making child porn — carries a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and having to register as a sex-offender.
The Formal Charge of Child Pornography (via YouTube)
The Muskegon Chronicle originally reported last week that Evan Daniel Emory was arraigned in Muskegon 60th District Court on a charge of manufacturing child sexually abusive material. He was freed on a $5,000 family surety bond. Today, the Muskegon County Prosecutor's office made a formal criminal charge against Evan Emory, which was delivered today to Emory's attorney, Terry J. Nolan.
The secretary from the Muskegon prosecutor's office cited to me over the phone the exact part of the Michigan penal code they plan to indict Evan Emory on (included below):
THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931
750.145c Definitions; child sexually abusive activity or material; penalties; possession of child sexually abusive material; expert testimony; defenses; acts of commercial film or photographic print processor; report to law enforcement agency by computer technician; applicability and uniformity of section; enactment or enforcement of ordinances, rules, or regulations prohibited.
(2) A person who persuades, induces, entices, coerces, causes, or knowingly allows a child to engage in a child sexually abusive activity for the purpose of producing any child sexually abusive material, or a person who arranges for, produces, makes, or finances, or a person who attempts or prepares or conspires to arrange for, produce, make, or finance any child sexually abusive activity or child sexually abusive material is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both, if that person knows, has reason to know, or should reasonably be expected to know that the child is a child or that the child sexually abusive material includes a child or that the depiction constituting the child sexually abusive material appears to include a child, or that person has not taken reasonable precautions to determine the age of the child.
You can download a copy here of the Michigan Child Pornography penal code, or get it directly from the Michigan Legislature Website at http://www.legislature.mi.gov
Does Muskegon County Want to Overrule the U.S. Supreme Court?
Do you think Evan Emory's activities constitute "child sexually abusive activity?" Is it even constitutional? Consider this: The U.S. Supreme Court's ruled back in 2002 that the image of a child used in a virtually sexual manner, in and of itself does not constitute child pornography. Simply put, the highest court in our land has already said that "virtual porn" is not child pornography.
Are Mixed Messages Being Sent?
Check out this video clip from the television series on Comedy Central, Reno 911, itself posted on YouTube. You may catch the similarities between what Emory did and this episode for cable television.