Anti-porn crusade takes its toll

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The recent media blitz about the sting operations conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Customs Service on suspected pedophiles mostly overlooked the stark reality of the situation. This latest manifestation of the Reagan administration's anti-porn crusade has left in its wake not only ruined careers of more than a hundred men, but also two deaths. [...]

Among the many victims of this scam was 29-year-old Gary Benson Hester, of rural Saline County, Arkansas, On Monday September 14, 1987, his indictment for violating federal child pornography law was unsealed; he was charged with receiving child pornography through the mail June 10, and was to appear before a magistrate in Little Rock September 16. However, on September 15, in Bemton, Arkansas, he was found shot to death in his car, an apparent suicide. [...]

One of the 160 active cases that resulted from this scam involved another young man, 25-year-old Dale A. Riva. A resident of Groesbeck, Ohio, Riva must have read in the Cincinnati Post on Monday, September 14 that "Two Ohio men and an Indiana man have been indicted as part of a year-long nationwide child pornography 'sting' operation. Although he was not named in the story, Riva must have known he faced public exposure as a suspected pedophile. That day, he went out and bought a 12-guage shotgun, and by late evening was found shot to death in his car in rural Shelby County, Ohio. He had been charged with receiving child pornography from Canada. His house had been raided after customs agents posing as DHL employees delivered the merchandise. Riva is in fact the second Ohioan to kill himself as a result of a government pornography sting operation." [...]

Is there no one there with a conscience? I suppose it is difficult to expect much humanity from an administration that funds and trains killers of men, women and children in Nicaragua in the name of democracy. In the name of morality, the government reprints child pornography and sells it to the public. [Edwin] Mees [III, Attorney General] and his fellow agents are, in fact, nothing less than merchants of death. I can't believe that Gary Hester and Dale Riva died in vain. At this point we know nothing about the two; but for two young lives to be abruptly ended, starkly illustrates the incredible depths to which this administration will sink to promote its sanitized version of pro-family heterosexist America. At this stage, it may be superfluous to add that anyone who fills out a questionnaire for sexually explicit materials, or even nudist material, is placing his own livelihood and life in jeopardy.

source: Article 'Anti-Porn Crusade Takes its Toll' by Kevin Lee; Nambla Bulletin, vol. 8 n. 8; October 1987