Iowa Man Sentenced For Six Months For Buying Obscene Comics

Christopher Handley, who pleaded guilty last year for possessing “drawings of children being sexually abused” was sentenced to six months incarceration today, followed by three years of supervised release and five years probation, which will include limits to his internet usage and restrictions regarding contact with children, though his defense is trying to get those last two dropped. Handley will also have to take a treatment programme, including psychological examination and polygraph readings on his release.

Handley had ordered a set of manga volumes from the Japanese company Cosplay Café, which were seized by Post Office workers in 2006. They were;

Mikansei Seifuku Shōjo (Unfinished School Girl) by Yuki Tamachi (LE Comics)
I [Heart] Doll by Makafushigi (Seraphim Comics)
Kemono for ESSENTIAL 3 (THE ANIMAL SEX ANTHOLOGY Vol.3) by Masato Tsukimori et al (Izumi Comics)
Otonari Kazoku (Neighboring House Family) by Nekogen (MD Comics)
Eromon by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Kono Man_ ga Sugoi! (This Man_ is Awesome!) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Hina Meikyū (Doll Labyrinth) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)

Each of these volumes featured drawings depicting underage sex, an aspect of manga that is not illegal in Japan. Following this, Handley’s home was raided and a large collection of comics was seized, though most were returned. Eighty further volumes fitting the category of the charge brought against Handley, possession of obscene comic books without literary or artistic merit.

This is the kind of thing that free speech is made of. No children were harmed in the purchase of these comic books. Handley does not seem obsessed with this particular aspect of the medium, which means it is unlikely to suggest he might be a danger to others.

It is always forms of free speech that you personally object to, that make it more important to defend. Defending free speech that you agree with is too easy a battle. If free speech means anything, it should include speech that you find offensive. Otherwise, it isn’t free…

And once a line is drawn, so many things can suddenly be found to cross it.

More case details here and here.

Lillian Bradshaw died the other day you know. She wrote “A book censor isn’t interested in censoring a book; he’s interested in censoring the individual who wants to read the book.”

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.