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Amazon.com accused of aiding molesters
Posted By Art Moore On 09/26/2002 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Amazon.com has been accused by a nonprofit legal group of “contributing to the potential rape and molestation of children.”
The online retailer’s sale and promotion of the book “Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers,” by David L. Riegel, is an unfair and unethical business practice, according to a letter sent yesterday to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos by the United States Justice Foundation of Escondido, Calif.
In the introduction to Riegel’s book, released in 2000 by a publisher called SafeHaven Foundation Press, he writes that men who become involved in sexual relationships with boys “are sincere, concerned, loving human beings who simply have – and were probably born with – a sexual orientation that is neither understood nor accepted by most others.”
SafeHaven Foundation Press’s purpose, according its website, is to “publish, distribute, and retail non-fiction works on the subjects of boylove, loved boys, and boylovers. ”
The book’s introduction credits the Internet for bringing into “public awareness” a topic that has been “disparaged and forcibly silenced.”
“Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers” also can be bought through the bookseller Borders, which has a special arrangement with Amazon.com.
“For them to allow these nuts to come on and suggest that this is a good thing is an absolute travesty,” said Richard Ackerman, litigation counsel for the United States Justice Foundation, who noted that he was a victim of molestation. “I’m not ashamed that I can speak from personal experience to say how evil this is.”
‘Responsible intergenerational relationships’
Riegel also runs a website “about responsible intergenerational relationships between males.” He calls it a “discussion forum where the joys, sorrows, issues and questions of boylove can be brought for honest, thoughtful and respectful discussion in a positive manner.”
In the book’s introduction, Riegel says: “Whereas men who were loved as boys, and men who have shared their lives and themselves with one or more boys, were before almost totally isolated from one another, the Internet has made possible extended discussions among all who choose to participate.”
Ackerman charges that Amazon.com, which allows readers to post their own reviews of books, has created its own “free-for-all forum whereby pedophiles can share their darkest fantasies and promotion of child-sodomy with all Amazon.com visitors, including children.”
One reviewer wrote, “As a pedophile myself, I found this book to be enlightening in my quest to truly come to terms with my own sexuality.”
On Amazon’s site, readers can connect via e-mail with this particular reviewer, whose e-mail address begins with “minrfiend.”
Another reviewer says, “As a boylover, I found this book extremely helpful. But it is not intended for the boylover community: It is meant for the general public who fear the phenomenon of pedosexuality. As such, it sets out to explain in plain language what this phenomenon is about.”
“Amazon.com should not be used as a potential ‘dating service’ for those who would molest children,” Ackerman wrote in his letter to Bezos, obtained by WND. “How, exactly, are you going to find peace of mind if one of your child-customers happens to be lured into molestation because of your site?”
Ackerman warns Amazon that it could find itself “in the position of being sued for wrongful death, negligence or other tortious conduct should a molester and child be joined up with each other as a result of your site.”
“Even if you are not interested in doing what is morally right in this case, your commercial general liability insurance carrier should view the potential liability as an unacceptable financial risk,” he said.
A spokesperson for Amazon.com responded in an e-mail to WorldNetDaily that the company certainly does not endorse “Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers.”
“Simply because we sell a book does not mean we agree with the ideas it contains,” said Patricia Smith.
“We believe that people have the right to choose their own reading material,” she said. “Our goal is to support freedom of expression and to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any title they might be seeking.”
Smith noted that “that selection includes some titles which most people, including employees of Amazon.com, may find distasteful or otherwise objectionable. However, Amazon.com believes it is censorship to make a book unavailable to our customers because we believe its message to be repugnant.”
The Web retailer published a brief review of Riegel’s book under the company’s name, by editor Christopher Hart, which stated: “Is there such a thing as a legitimate sexual relationship between an adult male and an underage boy? Most civilized people would answer emphatically ‘no,’ and ‘Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers’ won’t convince them otherwise. Defensive in tone and amateurishly produced, this monograph uses both pseudo-scholarship and anecdotes in its attempt to justify its target audience’s actions and feelings.”
In 1999, organized protests forced Amazon to drop from its website another book that promoted pedophilia, “Varieties of Man-Boy Love,” and customers have lodged complaints about the sale of books on bestiality and incest.
The American Family Association launched a campaign against Amazon’s sale of Riegel’s book two years ago but got no response.
No law above the law
Riegel said in an introduction that the book, “while certainly bound to be controversial, and which espouses certain changes in various laws, is carefully maintained within the limits of current laws, there is nothing in it which could possibly concern any postal inspector, or which could create any legal liability.”
However, Ackerman wrote in his letter to Bezos that Amazon could face legal action under California law, based on the premise that unethical acts can form the basis for liability for unfair business practices.
“Clearly, it is an unethical business practice for you to allow the promotion of child molestation in the manner presently available on your website,” Ackerman wrote. “The potentially dangerous nature of your activities gives rise to a valid basis for seeking injunctive relief, and we fully intend on seeking such relief if you do not immediately take action to eliminate the risk to children that your site presently creates. Because protecting children is in the public interest, you may also be held liable for damages under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”
Free speech has parameters that would have been understood clearly by the Founding Fathers, insists Scott Lively, head of the Pro-Family Law Center in Citrus Heights, Calif.
In contrast, “today’s idea of free speech really assumes there is no law above the law and that any kind of speech is acceptable regardless of the consequence to society,” he told WND.
“The current approach to free speech in the United States is the French egalitarian model, that there are no standards by which we measure speech,” Lively explained. “My belief is that the Founding Fathers assumed a Judeo-Christian premise in all of the founding documents, and therefore anything that is fundamentally contradictory to the nature of human beings created in the image of God” is not permitted.
Lively believes that the societal barriers against adult-child sex are eroding quickly, following on the heels of the breakdown in social consensus on subjects such as infidelity and homosexuality.
“This is not an anomaly,” he said of Riegel’s book. “My prediction is we are going to see legalized adult-child sex within three to five years.”
He noted that in many states the age of consent has been lowered to 16 years, allowing some teachers who had sex with students to walk away free of prosecution.
“In the Title IX guidelines put out by the federal government on sexual harassment they actually have a policy asking whether or not the sex was consensual, giving discretion to the school district as to whether or not they are going to consider different policies based on whether the teen consented or didn’t,” Lively said. “So these are all things moving very rapidly in the direction of child sex.”
A book released earlier this year that condones adult-child sex is part of a wider effort by some academics to bring pedophilia into the mainstream, according to researcher Judith Reisman.
Judith Levine’s “Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex,” seeks to challenge “widespread anxieties” about pedophilia, according to a promo.
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