Girls Gone Wild - Producer Gone to Jail

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/doc_o_day/doc_o_day.shtml

Okay, so the owner of the GGW empire has been arrested on child porn charges because, as far as I can tell from the arrest report, he paid a 17 year old and a 16 year old to get nekkid, and touch him on video in Florida while making another GGW tape.

My question is this: assuming he checked their (apparently fake) IDs and had them sign a model release/waiver and he had no knowledge that they were underage, does he have an out?

The Smokinggun says he knew they were underage, but in reading the report it isn’t clear that he knew they were underage and I would think it would be his standard operating procedure to get releases and check IDs. It sounds like they may have reported him to the police once the sobered up and realized they would be on video, internet, etc.


(Why do I somehow think this thread will get more views than my honest question about what will happen to Saddam if he’s captured?)

Its all in the release forms that all the girls must sign before they are shown nekkid and wild. If the sign that they were of legal age and had consented to having their images (and boobies) shown on video (to miilions of drooling and prepubescent Kazaa users) then Mr GGW has a big legal out. All he has to maintain is that he had no prior knowledge of the girls age before releaseing the tape. At worse he would be ordered to stop distribution and remove the underage titties from the video.

I heard this on the radio this morning and the report was that they have him on the video (not sure if it is his or a hidden camera) telling the girls to lie about their ages. (sorry no cite yet)

Although the SG report mentions drugs I was also led to believe there was a huge amount involved.

Anyway, did anyone expect anything less from a sleezeball like that? I would like to know how the girls explained this to their parents. I don’t expect they will see many spring break trips in the near future.

IANAL, but it is my understanding that if someone produces an ID that looks reasonably genuine, it’s good enough (that’s how bars are filled with underage drinkers, right?). However, the thing is about contracts (IIRC from my undergrad law courses), one way in which a contract is void is if a person is a minor. Does that apply to releases/waivers? I don’t know. I’m pretty interested in this though. I’m also pretty interested in the fact that this fellow had his own Lear jet. As the cliche goes, I’m definately in the wrong business…

I haven’t read the specific Florida statutes he was arrested under, but ‘he checked their ID’ and ‘he got a waiver’ are not neccesarily a good defense. A lot of states have age of consent and child porn laws that don’t allow ‘I checked her ID’ as a defense; NC’s law, for example, explicitly states that what matters is the age of the vicitm and not what the person believed about her age. Unless one of the elements of the crimes he’s charged with in Florida is that he believed the girls to be of a particular age, checking IDs is irrelevant - if the crime is ‘filiming a girl under 18 in a sexual manner’ and not ‘filming a girl you believe to be under 18 in a sexual manner’, all that matters for conviction is what her age is, not what he believed it to be.

As Wyld Stallyn points out, you generally can’t enter into a contract with a minor, so the waivers are probably not legal contracts anyway - he would need to have their parents sign the waivers for them to have any legal force. And, like I pointed out above, ‘she signed a waiver’ is quite possibly irrelevant to a conviction for creating child porn under Florida law.

He’s out of luck in a federal prosecution. Federal law doesn’t require that you know that the person is a minor, only that you know or have reason to know the depiction will travel in interstate commerce or through the mail. 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2251; U.S. v. X-Citement Video, 513 U.S. 64 (1994).

Here’s a better link. The one provided above points to the ever changing document of the day.

Riboflavin and Wyld Stallyn:

Well, actually you can enter into contracts with minors. You just do so at your own risk. Depending on the jurisdiction, minors are able to repudiate contracts at their whim. Say I sell a used car to a minor, and the car is shit- the minor can file a civil suit to recover the payment for the car by just repudiating the contract. There are some exceptions to this rule- courts generally don’t let people get away with using this idea to con people. Contracts for necessities, like a married minor who wants to sign a lease, are generally upheld.

Notice, though, that contracting with minors gets problematic when the minor files a claim in CIVIL court to repudiate the contract. I dont know how this works in CRIMINAL court, but I imagine a contract claiming the kid was overage wouldn’t matter because you can’t legally contract to commit a crime.

Secondarily, it’s questionable whether waivers actually EVER prevent lawsuits. If you sign a waiver, that can generally just be used to try and show assumption of risk or comparative negligence- “you knew what you were getting into.” I dont know of any district that strictly enforces contracts that wiave legal rights if the harm suffered is severe enough.

-C

A release form to allow the producer to use your image as his property becomes null and void when the person signing it is underage. Thats not the issue. Like I said, the worst in that scenario is that Mr Joseph Francis will have to stop distribution of the videos that includes footage of the underage girls. No minor undertaking. recalling all videos, re-editing and repackaging them is a serious finanacial blow.

The real issue is whether or not Mr Francis knew about the underaged girls. He can hold the release forms as evidence that he did not know but if there are other evidence that shows he knew at anytime before or after the signing of the release, he is liable for some jail time. If he knew before they signed, thats staturory rape and child pronography. If he knew after they signed and still released the video with their footage on it, thats distribution of child pornograpghy over state lines.

Didn’t a similar situation arise when Traci Lords was found out to be underage in most of videos? I recall hearing that the producers of those films were off the hook since they had asked for and recieved ID and releases and all. Of course, they had to destroy all copies of her films and photos. Have laws gotten that much tougher?

If they have a tape of this guy telling them to lie about their age, he’s toast. I imagine many people have been waiting for him to slip up for quite some time. He seems to be a pretty reviled guy from what I’ve read. He also comes across as a complete arrogant a-hole too. 'Course, no law against that else the prisons would be jammed, but I’d say there going to try to nail him if they can.

It seems a shame that if they’re 18 years old, it’s perfectly fine and above board and nobody really cares.

But if they’re 17.7 the guy’s a kiddie-porn freak, a depraved monster, and guilty of disgusting crimes against humanity.

Or so he is branded by some people.

I’d have to agree with you on that.

I think there should be a difference between mere “underage” porn and CHILD porn.

I think it’s insane that if a 17 and a half year old shows a porn producer a bunch of sophisticated IDs and the producer subsequently films her, he is somehow an Evil Child Pornographer.

And I just noticed that I injected debate into a general question. Oops. :o

If it turns out that there are 17-year-olds in the videos already sold, does that then make them child pornography?

Looking at the actual affidavit, it appears the prosecution will rest on the surer grounds that Francis was guilty of violating prostitution laws (although the underage aspect is repeatedly mentioned). Francis might be able to present some kind of defense against the underage thing by claiming he took reasonable precautions to determine the girls’ ages, but he’s going to have a difficult time denying he offered them money to engage in sex with each other and with him. (On a side note, the girls got $50 and $100. I had no idea teenage hookers were this cheap in Florida.)

Generally speaking, you’re in a world of legal trouble if you sell any pronographic material after finding out a model or actress was underage, even if you didn’t produce it or if her age was unknown when it was made.

Interestingly enough, Playboy apparently decided to test this idea. Several decades ago, Playboy was in trouble when it inadvertantly used a 16 year old (who they thought was older) as a centerfold model. They weathered the resulting legal problems at the time but in a recent publication they reran a picture of the girl’s centerfold with the acknowledgment of her real age. The picture was fairly tame by today’s standards but the girl was nude. I was surprised Playboy was willing to take the risk and also surprised when there was no subsequent fallout.

"it appears the prosecution will rest on the surer grounds that Francis was guilty of violating prostitution laws "

How about charges of public lewdness?

To paraphrase a line from Apocalypse Now, that’d be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. Francis would undoubtedly defend himself by saying the public nudity would exist regardless of whether or not he was there to record it.

Besides, I’m assuming the actual incident of the arrest probably occurred in a hotel room.