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After Philip R. Greaves II wrote a "Pedophilia Guide," many people were shocked that it could not only be legal, but that Amazon would allow its sale. "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct," was available as an ebook in the Kindle store.
Initially, Amazon stood behind the sale of the book arguing that "they support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions." However they eventually gave in and pulled the Pedophilia Guide book from their store.
But now the case has taken a major new turn: Greaves was arrested in Pueblo, Colorado based on a warrant issued in Florida. He will be charged with distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in harmful conduct. He is going to be extradited to Florida to face felony charges.
So how did the authorities manage to nab Greaves? Apparently it was a set up. Undercover detectives in Florida bought an autographed copy of the book from Greaves which he sent through the mail.
But as we've discussed before, the bar for restraining speech is extremely high. Obscenity is the character or quality of being obscene; such material is not protected by the First Amendment. Obscenity is an act, utterance, or item that tends to corrupt public morals by its indecency or lewdness. It's a complicated definition and a complicated area of law. So how was Florida able to arrest Greaves based on the book?
Under the Florida obscenity statute, "[In Florida] you cannot engage or depict children in a harmful relationship," said Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd. "He actually provided a how-to guide to commit sexual battery against children ... There may be nothing that the other 49 states can do, but there is something that the state of Florida can do ... to make sure we prosecute Philip Greaves for his manifesto," Judd continued, CNN reports.
This will certainly be an interesting case to watch. Free speech is one of the benchmarks of our country, but it still has its limits. Whether the court finds that Greaves' Pedophilia Guide crosses the line could make for significant legal precedent.