Dakota Fanning in ‘War of the Worlds’ (Paramount)

Prosecutors in Wilmington, N.C., “are aware” of a scene for the movie “Hounddog” in which the character played by 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning reportedly is violently raped, and say if an investigation is launched, authorities could consider sexual exploitation charges.

The scene, widely reported on the Internet, is in the movie where Fanning plays the role of a “precocious, troubled girl (who) finds safe haven in the music and movement of Elvis Presley,” according to Blue Line Radio, which monitors child-abuse allegations.

Connie Jordan, a district attorney in Wilmington assigned to work with such complaints, said she could not at this time confirm a formal investigation into the rape scene.

“I am aware of that situation,” she told WorldNetDaily. “The charge that would potentially apply to the scenario would be sexual exploitation of a minor.”

She said statutory rape laws would require the actual assault, and her understanding was that any assault was simulated. Third-degree or second-degree sexual exploitation would involve having or trading child pornography, she said.

But to make such a scene could be first-degree sexual exploitation of a child, a charge on the same level with armed robbery, she said.

“That is to facilitate … sexual activity for the purpose of producing material that would contain child pornography,” she said.

Carla Roberts, who runs the Yahweh Center Children’s Village for abused or neglected children in Wilmington, told WND she would have to wonder about the adults responsible for putting a child in such a position.

And, she said, she also is concerned by the ramifications for the child to whom that would be done.

Jordan said she just doesn’t understand such scenes, now described in “a file on my desk.”

The movie is an independent that had to raise additional money when some initial investors pulled their support because of the rape scene. It is being assembled by writer-director Deborah Kampmeier. Her earlier work, “Virgin,” was about a young girl who is raped, but doesn’t remember the attack and believes she’s carrying the Christ child.

In “Hounddog,” the 12-year-old Fanning plays 9-year-old Lewellen, who is told she must sing for concert tickets to hear Elvis. The script graphically describes her clothes dropping to the floor before she sings, and an assailant unzipping his jeans.

Others in the production include Isabelle Fuhrman, Cody Hanford, David Morse, Christoph Sanders, Jody Thompson and Robin Wright Penn.

According to an independent movie website, Kampmeier’s “Virgin” was “profound and exquisitely melancholy” and was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for under $500,000.

Its story is about “Jessie,” (Elizabeth Moss) who hides her suffering from being trapped by her family’s conservative Baptists beliefs with liquor, kleptomania and drugs. She has a sexual encounter after a spell of drugs and liquor and finds she is pregnant, deciding that she is carrying the next Christ child.

At that time, Kampmeier, who previously worked in the New York City theater industry, said she shot the film for $65,000 in 21 days.

Kampmeier did not return a message WND left at her Full Moon Films office.

World Entertainment News Network said the movie was a shocker for Fanning’s fans.

“She has shot child rape scenes and appears semi-naked,” the network said.

But it also said the actress’ agent, Joy Osbrink, told the New York Daily News, fans shouldn’t worry.

“It’s not just the rape scene – the whole story is challenging Dakota as an actress. And I’ve never been so proud of her in my life. I’ve seen the dailies, and in every scene she gets better and better.”

One crew member called the movie “dynamite” because of the scene, and said adult stars would have baulked at some of the situations.

In 2002, Fanning worked with Steven Spielberg as the lead child in a science fiction miniseries and she also appeared in “Trapped,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Hansel & Gretel.” She later worked with Kurt Russell in “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story,” and Tom Cruise in “War of the Worlds.”


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