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FindLaw columnist and federal prosecutor Barton Aronson puts this week's Supreme Court decision on "virtual" child pornography into historical and legal context. Aronson explains how the law of obscenity and "indecency" developed over the Court's history, notes the current Court's opposition to legislation that attempts to restrict speech on the Internet, and discusses the different, contrasting speech rules that apply when the FCC regulates television.
Thursday, Apr. 18, 2002

Porn and Sex Crimes

Intuitively, one would think that pornography contributes to the high rate of sex crimes being committed in society today. Porn Use and Sex Crimes!

Sex & Pornography Crimes

With the advent of the Internet, more and more citizens are facing federal and state charges for violation of sex and pornography laws. Joint and individual "sting" operations are in place by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspectors, and other state and local law enforcement.  Many of these crimes are prosecuted in the federal courts because of the multi-jurisdictional issues and the federal government's resources devoted to these issues.

The conversation started out, "Will you do something about the sex businesses, immorality and obscenity?"  As additional names were retrieved for my application for the ballot in a Justice of the Peace race, the westside constituents demanded that my campaign -- address the daily pit-stops at the topless bars for some of our men, molestation, rape, and cultural war against the family and community.  In l995, I didn't know much about the topless bars or the underground crime that supported immorality in Houston, but I went forward for the sake of morality and decency during my first election.  Anyway,  I needed votes and media attention to do it. And besides, the attention, the Houston City Ordinance regarding the SOBs was drafted during this time and passed with our group's participation while the topless bars appealed it until April 17, 2007, when the 1500 foot rule was implemented by the City of Houston.  Residents get tough with topless clubs

Since l995, the Houston Chronicle wrote political articles advising the voters on the westside, that Kristopher was a "MORALITY ACTIVITIST."  As her two daughters went off to college, leaving more time to be adventurous, the liberal press had a field day -- at times with the three political campaigns and extra curricula activities against the immorality.

Houston City Ordiance

The City Ordinance is also supported by conservatives such as Republican Council member Martha Wong, and City Council candidate Karen Kristopher equates topless bars with pornography. During a City Council hearing last January she stated:

"I am asking you to take a hard stand. You have few people here to oppose this ordinance except for males who attend topless bars to satisfy their addiction to pornography." HOUSTON TOPLESS DANCER SURVEY

"The guy in the blue Volvo had one of those rubbery, expressive faces.  "You gonna take my picture?" he hollered, sounding a De Niro-ish mixture of invitation and threat as he leaned through the open window on the passenger side.

It was a moot question. Karen Kay Kristopher, who was standing on the sidewalk near the parking lot entrance of The Men's Club, had already hoisted her Nikon One Touch to eye level and fired. The guy in the blue Volvo leaned farther out the window and belatedly mugged for the camera before cussing Kristopher and giving her the finger. As the Volvo wheeled away, he extended the same farewell to Kristopher's video camera-toting companion, who was stationed out on the median of the 3300 block of Sage.

Karen Kay Kristopher was unmoved. She'd already been planted in front of The Men's Club for more than an hour, and in that time, she figured, she had elicited 20 or so other upraised middle fingers," wrote the Houston Press in February l996.

While the Houston Business Journal wrote June 1996 -- Almost at the same time, a fax addressed to Media, Churches, Bible Studies was sent on behalf of "Operation Shutdown" Topless bars get put on the spot announcing a camera shoot at the new Treasures bar. This message from Karen Kay Kristopher requested prayers for protection "as we stand against this latest addition of the topless sex bars in Houston." The group's aim was to "take pictures of the men entering and leaving these Sexually Oriented Businesses" and to "write letters to the companies servicing them, contact the Convention Bureau and other institutions for assistance in stopping the destruction of our families."

Taking pictures of people without their permission is an aggressive, sometimes threatening act, but it is a nonviolent activity. Citizens' videos have served as crucial evidence in recent celebrated police brutality cases.

Will teams of angry citizens armed with audio and video equipment promote the cause of justice, or will they simply provoke dangerous confrontations among people who disagree? It's a question that may be answered in Houston's immediate future.

Running for political office certainly had become too exciting, as our camera crews visited the "Hub" of the topless bar industry in the Galleria before my first election.  What a fast source of education in the world of pornography and obscenity.

Our beginnings addressing the addiction for pornography and obscenity were shared at each political gathering of candidates before the voter's listening ears -- soaking-up every word.  HoustonChronicle.com - 1997 Voter's Guide The voting crowds cheered and clapped that someone would dare to do something against it.

Topless bar, after topless bar customer in their cars were photographed by our groups. Positioning the cameras just right to get their face and license plate number kept us busy in this early dangerous endeavor. The TV stations wanted to know the names of those visiting the topless bars and their pictures before the elections. Should the information be handed to the media? For a complete story buy the book being finished, DOUBLE CROSSED, "When the Lovers of Pornography came After Me", or see the movie.

After three elections, getting the pornography out of the courthouse, suing individuals and several topless bars, speaking engagements, work-on SOB city ordinance, engaging action groups, defending ourselves from the attacks from the lovers of pornography and obscenity, our volunteer group  "OPERATION SHUTDOWN" became Alleluia Ministries organizing the Houston Area Association for Decency, and then, Centers for Decency, headquarters in Houston, Texas.  Since l995, our 'research projects' were used to update and fine-tune our approach in limiting the addiction for pornography, and promoting family values.

Some early projects created by Alleluia Ministries were:

  • abstinence training of our children.
  • assisted victims of sex crimes.
  • works with the vice squad, the courts, and prosecutors.
  • fed  fresh fruits and vegetables to over 500 recovering sex offenders a week at large homeless shelters.
  • bulk email on morality and decency, battling pornography.
  • billboard(s) went up encouraging the community to stand against child pornography.
  • brought like-minded volunteers of faith and character together to serve our community.
  • offered conference speakers for Morality and Decency.
  • encouraged the temporary boycott of companies and institutions that support porn, as in Abercrombie & Fitch, Burlington Coat Factory, Victoria's Secret, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Pontiac, Ford, Dodge, Honda, Procter & Gamble to name a few.
  • assisted with recovering prostitutes and sex addicts.

By February 2002, Alleluia Ministries had received an advance ruling from the IRS for a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit with completed nonprofit rulings to follow in March 2006.  Our speaking groups from Alleluia Ministries became Centers for Decency -- emerging into a formidable speaker's organization with bulk emails across the country which impacted the definition of obscenity for each community, thereby battling pornography -- striving to defend and uplift the family.  Alleluia Ministries' street name in Houston became the Houston Area Association for Decency.

As you directly contact one or more of CfD's speakers, consider the ground rules and their needs.  Each speaker  has a different focus on morality and decency with rewarding results by motivating, educating, and equipping your family and community.   Otherwise,  if obscenity continues unchecked and undefined, our worst fears may be seen.



Centers For Decency

1415  S. Voss Road , Suite 110393

Houston, Texas 77057