Kangaroo Court

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That 1983 study (the comical "Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler" magazines by Judith Reisman) received $734,371 from OJJDP via President Ronald Reagan's first appointee at OJJDP, Al Regnery. 

Lately, Reisman, a former entertainer on CBS's kiddie show "Captain Kangaroo," has been living in Granite Bay, Calif., while leading the Crestwood, Ky.-housed Institute for Media Education, through which she publishes books attacking, among others, pioneer sexual behavior investigator Alfred Kinsey as an undiscovered pervert. Reisman asks, "Was Kinsey himself a closet homosexual, pedophile or pederast?" 

Reisman landed the non-competitive grant when Regnery's deputy, Jim Wooten, heard Reisman being interviewed on the radio by Pat Buchanan. Channeled through American University, the grant paid for, among other things, a $10,000 shipping bill to retrieve Reisman's library from Israel.

Reisman spent the next three years perusing every issue of the three aforementioned skin magazines published from 1954 to 1984.  Reisman produced a three- volume 2,000-page report claiming that the magazines had printed 6,000 pornographic cartoons and photos of children during those 20 years.

But after pocketing the grant's overhead, American University President Richard Berendzen (who later plead guilty to making obscene phone calls to child care providers) refused to publish Reisman's study. The university hired an independent academic advisor to review the study, which had acquired considerable press notoriety.  Wrote  University of Pennsylvania professor Robert Figlio, "The term 'child' used in the aggregate sense in this report is so inclusive and general as to be meaningless. This is not science, it's vigilantism: paranoid, pseudoscientific hyperbole with a thinly veiled hidden agenda. This kind of thing doesn't help children at all."

Nonsense, says Reisman in a recent interview: "It was spiked by OJJDP." Warming to OJJDP-bashing, Reisman adds, "Anyone who cares at all about children has to wonder how we've come to this sorry past," adding that "the side-stepping of the critical issues destroying our kids" has happened "on OJJDP's watch."

Reisman was delighted to learn that Flores has cited what she called her "prophetic" study that predicted what has become "almost a Holocaust against children."

Reisman has worked closely with Flores' boss at NLCCF, Bruce Taylor (a leading candidate to become Attorney General John Ashcroft's  "porn czar"). "I approve very much of what they've done" to fight child pornography, she said.


Flores himself draws mixed reviews. Fellow anti-porn crusader and former NLCCF attorney Jan LaRue, now the senior director of legal studies at the Family Research Council, calls Flores "an excellent appointment." Noting his "strong background in law enforcement," she adds, "His heart is really in issues that protect children." Over on the left, fellow COPA commissioner Jerry Berman, a former chief legislative counsel in the Washington Office of the ACLU and now director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, finds Flores "a very bright, very dedicated person who cares about these issues of child porn and children's access to adult porn sites." Flores, says Berman of the OJJDP post, will bring " a lot of vision to the job."

Characterizing OJJDP as a "two-faceted operation," NCMEC's Allen offers only that Flores "has very strong qualifications in the area of the protection of children." Allen observes that Flores is a former prosecutor just like his Democratic predecessor, Shay Bilchik, and can gain mastery of juvenile justice issues.

Bilchik, now executive director of the Child Welfare League of America, was unfamiliar with Flores when first contacted. After acquainting himself with Flores' public record, the best he could say is, "I'm hopeful." Giving Flores "the benefit of the doubt," Bilchik adds, "If Mr. Flores is not able to broaden his vision it will be a real loss" for OJJDP and the juvenile justice field.

Since the GOP victory in November, most of Flores' vision has been focused on ferreting out Clinton administration holdovers and landing official delegate status at various United Nations events, with Flores' NLCCF replacing such groups as the American Public Health Association at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. In a March 14 memo co-authored with conservative stalwart Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, and addressed to "all interested persons," Flores asked that the names of any Clinton "holdovers" be forwarded to the White House along with "a brief but specific list of reasons for concern." Flores' partisan zeal to undertake what his memo calls "critical research" on Democrats signals a return to the "defund the left" policies pursued vigorously at OJJDP in the '80s by Regnery, whose only previous link to the youth field was membership in Young Americans for Freedom.

In announcing the president's intention to nominate Flores, the White House described him as "also Legal Counsel to Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies," located in D.C. While nobody at SAIS or The Johns Hopkins General Counsel office in Baltimore had heard of Flores, he did serve as a paid legal consultant for SAIS's Protection Project, run by Dr. Laura Lederer, which campaigns worldwide against sex trafficking and slavery.

Now here's what the juvenile justice policy types and practitioners have to say: nothing. "I never heard of the guy" sums up the response from several people who track national juvenile justice policy for a living. At OJJDP itself, say colleagues, only Ron Laney and Mike Medaris of the Child Protection Division even knew Flores after he spent eight years working on children's issue in the same department. Says one former senior Justice official who worked closely with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section while Flores worked there: "I've been racking my brain, but I just can't remember him." Speculates one decade-long observer of OJJDP, under Flores it will be "like Regnery all over again, but without the personality."

So alarming is that proposal that a crisis call to the Children of the Night Hotline (800-551-1300) may be indicated. Alas, that can't be recommended. It's funded by the Playboy Foundation.

After his audit on Reisman's study, Professor Figlio told the press, "I wondered what kind of mind would consider the love scene from Romeo and Juliet to be child porn?" If confirmed by the Senate, that's exactly the kind of mind the youth field is about to meet. Contact NLCCF: (703) 691-4626 or www.nationallaw-center.org.