Janice Shaw Crouse

It is symptomatic of the condition of our culture today that the Express, a daily newspaper for commuters published by the Washington Post, can feature a piece in its entertainment section about an indie-rock band known as the New Pornographers without raising any eyebrows. But let someone speak out against pornography and suddenly people get uncomfortable.

We’ve reached the point where we blindly ignore gross and horrific child abuse. And we’ve become so comfortable in our upscale communities that we don’t want to acknowledge what the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) calls “the seedy and sophisticated underworld” of child porn.

The world of child porn, according to the NCMEC, is exploding around us even though it is illegal to produce as well as to access child pornography. Not only is there more child porn; it is getting worse and worse. The NCMEC reports that the images used in child pornography are “getting younger and younger.” In addition, the images are “more graphic and violent.”

When I clicked on a local NBC website I found 35,000 stories about local arrests for violating the child porn laws. These people weren’t obviously seedy characters, either. Another aspect of child porn that the public hasn’t yet recognized is that the problem has invaded public spaces and enticed and ensnared some men who move among us — teachers at local school or neighborhood day care centers, policemen in the cruisers, men in offices and men sitting in the next pew at church or synagogue. Not surprisingly, many of those addicted to porn frequent areas where vulnerable children can be found. Over the past few weeks in the D.C. area, there were news accounts about arrests, convictions or sentencing of a former Library of Congress worker, college professor, midshipman, Maryland State trooper, bus driver, and a teacher.

Two very high profile cases are in the news this week. Federal agents arrested Peter North, a local computer specialist who works for the Department of Homeland Security, calling him “one of the nation’s most prolific disseminators of child pornography.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) affidavit states that the FBI found 80 gigabytes of child porn on the external hard drive of North’s computer. North’s Internet Protocol (IP) address linked nearly a thousand times a year to child porn — much of it extremely graphic and depicting sexual acts with prepubescent children.

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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