Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Child Pornographer

The story of this child pornographer, Justin Berry (yes, he was actually a child), is all over the news these days. His story is a sad one that makes me cringe just thinking about it. Apparently at the age of 13, Justin got a webcam and was very soon inundated with messages from pedophiles. His conversations morphed over the years from friendly chats to owning and starring in several porn websites (with monthly fees) that earned Justin hundreds of thousands of dollars over 5 years.

Don't get me wrong, I think Justin was manipulated and abused, and anyone involved with this should be prosecuted and put in prison. But, the story strikes me as just a bit odd.

Justin is the one that began setting up these porn sites and charging monthly fees to his clients. He (along with his father) expanded the operation into a very profitable business, and he is the one that chose to take trips to meet up with his online clients. No one ever forced him to get on a plane.

Sure, these guys manipulated him and took advantage of him at a very young age. But, he only knew them over the Internet. If he was being abused and molested, why would he continuously get on planes and go meet these men? The websites seemed to have been making him plenty of money, so I'm at a loss as to the reasons for the cross-country meetings.

What gets me is the lack of accountability from Justin himself. At some point he was running this operation at 18 years old--legal age. He was profiting from illegal activities, as was his father. But, I haven't heard any talk about Justin being fined for the excessive amounts of money he earned from the sites. I haven't heard him take responsibility for getting other kids involved in this porn ring.

If he was 14 and killed a person, he would most likely tried as an adult in court. But, when he is 14 and willingly openning his own child porn business, he somehow is a complete victim?

Yes, he's a victim, and yes I feel for everything he has gone through at such a young age. But at some point, he's going to have to take some sort of responsibility for his actions as well.


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