Federal Appeals Court Rules on “Virtual” Child Porn

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The Second Court of Appeals, in New York, upheld the conviction for child pornography of a man for digitally pasting the faces of underage girls on the nude bodies of adults.  The court ruled that the images altered by 50-year-old John C. Hotaling were not protected free speech under the First Amendment.

Hotaling argued that no minors were injured by his actions but the three-judge panel said the girls in the images were “at risk” for psychological harm.  No evidence was found that Hotaling distributed the images.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that computer-generated images that did not involved actual minors were protected speech.  Congress responded by enacting legislation that considers any image featuring “identifiable minors” to be child pornography.

According to his attorney, Hotaling plans to appeal.

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