The blogosphere: It's full of rabble-rousers, political pundits and ... pedophiles?
For several years, self-described pedophile Jack McClellan ran a blog (which has since been taken down by the server) with the stated aim of "promoting association, friendship; and legal, nonsexual, consensual touch (hugging, cuddling, etc.) between men and prepubescent girls." He also featured how-to lists like "International cities where unsupervised girls can be found on the streets" (e.g. "Buenos Aires: I saw a number of panhandling LGS [little girls] ... I talked with and cuddled several without any problems from the cops"). McClellan also provided tips on how to "enhance the sense of touch & intensify feelings of love," for instance, through mescaline. He even posted photos he'd taken of little girls in public places.
Child advocacy groups and parents in Los Angeles, where he recently settled (though he lives out of his car), are outraged and are attempting to publicize his face, along with his admissions of attraction to young girls. A Web site has even been started -- JackMcClellan.com -- in the interest of tracking him. But McClellan has carefully worked within the law, as far as anyone knows. It isn't illegal to express attraction to underage girls, it's illegal to act on that attraction. "There is no law against someone making you feel uncomfortable," Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN. "There's a line to cross and I don't think he has yet. He's tiptoeing around the law."
Well, McClellan was successful at his tiptoeing until he was arrested this week for allegedly "violating a temporary restraining order requiring him to stay at least 30 feet from any child in California," reports CNN. He was spotted this week, with a camera in hand, near the UCLA Infant Development Program and was given a citation by police and told to skedaddle. When he returned hours later for a TV interview, he was arrested. Now he's being held on $150,000 bail.
Some are outraged and say that McClellan's constitutional right to freedom of expression has been violated. For instance, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh said, "Without showing a person has committed a crime against a child, I don't see how this can stand." Since McClellan's actions so aggressively challenge political correctness, skeptical minds might even wonder (perhaps hopefully) whether this could be a bizarre political stunt meant to make a statement about the limits of free speech. (Curiously, he says that when he was arrested on the UCLA campus, his camera had no batteries.)
Regardless, this will be an interesting case to watch. In related news, the Los Angeles Police Department discovered that some 2,100 sex offenders are living near schools or parks, in violation of Jessica's Law; starting today, they'll be told that they have 45 days to move.