A former youth league sports coach and executive of the American Civil Liberties Union, who has argued against any limits on Internet access in public libraries, is facing a hearing – and the possibility of prison – for having hard-core child pornography.
Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, as WND reported earlier,
was arrested in February and was indicted earlier this month on allegations of having what a U.S. magistrate described as “the most perverted and nauseating and sickening type of child pornography” she ever had seen.
Rust-Tierney, who was president of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU until 2005 and served on the group’s board until the day he was arrested, now is scheduled to appear in a court hearing on June 1 at which local reports say he is expected to plead guilty to various charges.
Authorities have alleged he used his own credit card and his own e-mail address to access and purchase an estimated $1,000 in graphic and violent child pornography during 2005 and 2006, according to Virginia’s North Country Gazette.
Magistrate Theresa Buchanan said the material included an extended video featuring the sexual torture of children, accompanied by a song by the band called Nine Inch Nails.
He’s been indicted on a count of receiving child pornography and another count of possessing child pornography, and authorities say he could face a prison sentence of 11 to 14 years on each charge.
While serving the ACLU, he argued against any restrictions on Internet access in public libraries, claiming “individuals will continue to behave responsibly and appropriately while in the library” so those facilities should provide “maximum, unrestricted access to the valuable resources of the Internet.”
Court records indicate Rust-Tierney had subscribed to several websites featuring child pornography over a period of years, covering the same time he was serving as a youth sports league coach and arguing for an open Internet.
Twice during pretrial hearings judges had denied him bond, describing the material as some of the most sickening they’d ever seen. Authorities allege he used a computer located in his 10-year-old son’s bedroom for the transactions.
Rust-Tierney was a coach in Arlington’s Little League and had children who participated in Arlington’s flag football league, according to Arlington County Parks & Recreation spokesperson Susan Kalish. She said all the group’s coaches must go through annual background checks, and Rust-Tierney had passed all previous background checks.
Some of the children he coached had written letters of support. Several dozen people appeared at a hearing for him, urging the judge to release him from jail.
He and his lawyers have declined to respond to media requests for comment.
The federal indictment alleged he “knowingly received multiple computer files that contained photo and video depictions of minor teenage and prepubescent children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”
An anonymous chat room participant on the cannablog was distressed by the low profile in the national media over the case. When his arrested first was announced, authorities didn’t even mention either his ACLU or youth league coaching connections.
“This man was the PRESIDENT of the Virginia ACLU and while he was president, he lobbied to keep the Internet available to child pornographers via any port available, and WHILE he was president he was engaged in purchasing and subscribing to child (infant and toddler torture) pornography for his personal and sexual gratification. The ACLU. Pouring money into a machine that victimizes children. For years. And that the media is keeping this out of sight is okay with you? Wow,” he said.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called it a “horrifying” case. And he noted that the two “biggest left-wing outfits in the country – the New York Times and NBC News – ignored the story entirely.” CBS News, CNN and most of the big city liberal newspapers also failed to cover the Rust-Tierney arrest, Fox said.
Several area broadcast stations and newspapers actually have begun to cover the case as it appears to be heading towards a conclusion.
“That Mr. Rust-Tierney, a leading proponent of unrestricted access to the Internet, has now been arrested for receiving and possessing graphic child pornography should serve as testimony to the injudicious and baleful outgrowth of the legal challenges launched by the ACLU questioning the constitutionality of important legislation that protects children from Internet exploitation and content harmful to minors,” said a statement released by spokeswoman Cris Clapp of Enough is Enough, an organization dedicated to protecting children from the dangers on the Internet.
“When Mr. Rust-Tierney argued before the Loudoun County Library Board that unrestricted access to the resources of the Internet was essential for our children’s ability to learn and communicate, and when groups like the ACLU contend that acceptable use policies alone are capable of protecting children online, they fail to acknowledge the tragic and devastating effects to children and families of both intentional and unintentional access to online pornography,” the statement said.
The investigation that resulted in Rust-Tierney’s arrest was conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as well as Arlington County police as part of the Northern Virginia and District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
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