Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

crystal_sugar_80
By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

hermancain_80x80
By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Iowa child porn case has comic book collectors reeling

By Lynda Waddington | 05.29.09 | 4:10 pm

Just one week ago a 39-year-old Glenwood man entered a guilty plea in federal court to child pornography charges. The man, Christopher Handley, unlike others who have faced similar charges, did not e-mail or transfer nude photos of himself to a minor, nor did he engage in viewing online child pornography videos or pictures. His crime centered around a shipment of seven graphic novels from Japan, known as manga. And that has prompted a firestorm of activity within the collectors’ community.

Seven manga books, intercepted and seized by federal authorities, led to a 39-year-old Iowa man being indicted on child pornography charges. Similar although non-explicit graphic novels, like the three pictured above, are available at most public libraries.

Seven manga books, intercepted and seized by federal authorities, led to a 39-year-old Iowa man being indicted on child pornography charges. Similar although non-explicit graphic novels, like the three pictured above, are available at most public libraries.

The case first drew national attention in the fall of 2008 when the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund signed on as a special consultant to the defense of Handley, an avid collector of all manga including explicit lolicon/loli (named after the literary work “Lolita”), yaoi (male homosexual romance) and yuri (female homosexual romance) genres. One month later the case, and a warning to other comic collectors by graphic artist Neil Gaiman, was printed on MTV’s Splash Page blog.

“I wrote a story about a serial killer who kidnaps and rapes children, and then murders them,” Gaiman told MTV. “We did that as a comic, not for the purposes of titillation or anything like that, but if you bought that comic, you could be arrested for it? That’s just deeply wrong. Nobody was hurt. The only thing that was hurt were ideas.”

Eric Chase, attorney for Handley, agreed that there is explicit sex drawn in yaoi comics, and that Japanese cultural differences can create a visual appearance of adolescence.

“The men are drawn in a very androgynous style, which has the effect of making them look really young,” Chase said. “There’s a real taboo in Japan about showing pubic hair, so they’re all drawn without it, which also makes them look young. So what concerned the authorities were the depictions of children in explicit sexual situations that they believed to be obscene, but there are no actual children. It was all very crude images from a comic book.”

Handley, an office worker, was first investigated in May 2006 when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials intercepted a package addressed to him that originated from Japan. Upon opening the package the officials found seven manga books with sexually explicit drawings. As the investigation continued, law enforcement searched Handley’s private manga collection and found more evidence of what was deemed to be obscene material. He was indicted by a grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Iowa in May 2007.

Although he originally faced five charges under the PROTECT Act of 2003 (also known as the Amber Alert Law), Judge James E. Gritzner ruled in July 2008 that several of the charges were  “constitutionally infirm.” Handley’s plea agreement includes only two charges: One count of possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and one count of mailing obscene matter. At his upcoming sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled, Handley faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, $500,000 in fines and six years of supervised release following any prison term. He also forfeits all property seized in his prosecution.

Chase told Wired Magazine that he recommended Handley make a deal because he did not believe an adequate defense could be mounted if the jury saw the drawings.

“Naturally, we are very disappointed by this result, but understand that in a criminal case, every defendant must make the decision that they believe serves their best interest,” said Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. “Because the set of facts specific to this case were so unique, we hope that its importance as precedent will be minimal. However, we must also continue to be prepared for the possibility that other cases could arise in the future as a result.”

The organization reports that it has spent $2,400 in research preparing for a jury trial and had allocated an additional $15,000 for expert witness expenses.

“Mr. Handley now faces the loss of his freedom and his property, all for owning a handful of comic books. It’s chilling,” Brownstein said. “The Fund remains unwavering in our commitment to be prepared to manage future threats of this nature wherever they arise. This is the unfortunate conclusion of Mr. Handley’s case, but it is not the end of this sort of prosecution. For that reason, the Fund stands steadfast in our commitment to defending the First Amendment rights of the comics art form.”

Follow Lynda Waddington on Twitter


Comments

  • tokikenma

    Well i find this totaly rediculas, i mean i have over 100 Yaoi manga in my own personal collection and f any law enforcers wanted to do anything, they couldnt, because its compleatly stupid, id just laugh in there face and tell them to go fight some real crime insted of bothering Manga fans about some drawings in a book.

  • onchu

    Well this is somewhat frightening. I wonder if it's time to go through my comic book collection? I don't think I have anything wrong, but when it comes to a decade or more in prison it's probably better to be safe than sorry.

  • k_L_rage

    OH my god, what kind of crap is this??? As an avid manga and anime collector, i beg to differ on what these, these Iowans are ruling.
    Sorry Iowa. But really. Manga may be sexually explicit, but receiving it through the mail shouldn't be considered a crime. You can order porn through the mail, can't you?? I mean, this man wasn't even ordering hentai – porn. Just yaoi (which personally, i think is amazing), yuri (which usually has barely any explicit material, and focuses on the pure-love relationship angles – a refreshing type of book), and lolita (so what. Has he actually been doing anything perverted to children? I can understand the authorities' apprehension about loli, because that really is young children, but really. Aren't they taking this overboard??)
    So, my condolences to Mr. Handley – i love manga too, and i'm sorry to hear that they're confiscating yours.
    And my appreciation for Neil Gaiman's point about hurting the ideas only.
    And my outrage to those who are worried about what this man reads. It's not even real people! Since he's not flaunting it out, and is reading it privately, why can't he just do that??
    Sigh. America's comic-related rights are going down the drain.
    Most sincerely,
    K.L

  • k_L_rage

    made a mistake – only SOME manga is sexually explicit. can't believe i left that out – was too angry to notice. O.o oops. apologies to all mangaholics.

  • yaoi_fan_girl621

    WTF YAOI IS NOT A CRIME!!!

    ITS LOVE!!!!

    AND IM A GIRL TAT LOVES YAOI!!!

    • poorno

      hi babes

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lyn-Jensen/1382516452 Lyn Jensen

    What's sad it that it appears from this article that what really set the proscecutors off was the yaoi, not the loli or yuri. There may be laws against receiving porn in the mail (in Iowa) that may have been applicable, but the guy shouldn't have been proscecuted under child porn laws. No children were harmed in the making or the mailing or the possessing of the books that were at question in this case. What's implied here is that the proscecutors were using hysteria over “child porn” as an excuse to go after male homosexual content. Too bad the guy copped a plea bargain, because now he can't appeal.

  • taycollins2008

    Go to HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL We love are manga and etc. Don't you dare take away our manga or there's going to be a revolution of little kids of all manga lovers. We Love Japans work and I been working hard on my own manga so buzz of dick head… Take that as an insult. OH Yeah I have complete almost the complete set of Me& my Brother and if you destroy the part when mashi get married to her step brother,and I mean seriously thier step brother and step sister no blood relationship. You know what I say CHILDREN ALREADY SEE NAKED IN THE BIBLE SO AND THAT”S LIKE PORNO SO SHUT THE F##################################################CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK UUUUUPPPPPP. Any body that loves manga,and all the other anime would agree with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  • taycollins2008

    OH yeah im only 15 years and I started to read manga when I was 7 I loved it all the drama, love, and the adventure. Your not looking at the picture maybe your the sexafender for lust comic's and manga you dirty emzo geazzer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

  • taycollins2008

    IMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA GGGGGGGGGGGGGGIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLLLLLLL WWWWWWWWWhHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOO LLLLOOOOOOOVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS HHHHHHEEEEERRRR MMMMAAANNNGGAA

  • SmithSaxon

    I dont quite get how a legal body can be so stupid as to punish a guy who owns a collection of sketches that are stapled to be a book, and on top of that they spent $17,400 to have a catfight for this.

    Indeed a very good way to spend taxpayer's money in the middle of recession. No wonder America is getting dumb (and poor).

  • eddiebrown

    how harsh the adults turned not even thinking of their age.

    eddie brown
    ————
    Free Satellite TV

  • NolowFang

    The freedom of self expression is being repressed in this case an has made an unfair judgment of a man who has not engaged himself in any of these action's displayed in said manga.

    Thinking on it now an invasion of privates has also been touched on. In no account has Mr. Handely committed such actions by current evidence. To continue this trail would be against his rights and the rights of all who “Sell / buy / an collect” said Graphic Novel's. These graphic novels are no more then just that… a novel, pictures telling a story using illustrated art is by no means against the law.

    Further more, prosecuting a man with no illegal issues should have been dismissed in fall 2008. The question of moral issue seems to be above the law and has pushed this longer then it should have been.

    Im against people who preform in said underage actions but their is no law against the illustration of it.

  • poorno

    hi babes

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJ4RZYNDMYYXGVMEW3IGEKGOFM Eric

    didn't a federal judge rule that since animated pictures were not of actual persons, that they could not be considered child porn.

    and if so, wouldn't it apply to this case ?

    • Anonymous

      Not just a judge, but the Supreme Court.  The difference may lie in what’s considered “indecent” (constitutionally protected) and what’s considered “obscene” (unprotected).  Even so, past Supreme Court cases seemed to suggest that mere drawings, no mater how graphic, could be considered obscene.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJ4RZYNDMYYXGVMEW3IGEKGOFM Eric

    didn't a federal judge rule that since animated pictures were not of actual persons, that they could not be considered child porn.

    and if so, wouldn't it apply to this case ?

  • http://www.CoreyMondello.com/ Corey

    i wonder how many conservative christian republicans have child porn under their mattress?

Switch to our mobile site