Police in Ipswich, Australia have arrested Kurt James Milner, 28, for possession of pornographic images of . . . Marge Simpson and the Powerpuff Girls. We have previously discussed the controversy over whether cartoon or computer generated images can be pornography. This case will answer that question in Australia.
Notably, Milner had pornographic images of the Simpson children as opposed to Marge or (God help us) Patty or Selma Bouvier. I would like to believe that, given Lisa’s repeated defense of free speech, she would question the prosecution.
Milner insists that the images were a joke and not on his computer for sexual gratification. However, police say that he first refused access to his computer and later tried to delete the images (they were found in the recycle file).
The problem for Milner was magnified by the fact that in 2003 he was convicted of possessing child exploitation material after 59 sexual images of actual youngsters were found on his computer. He received two years probation but no conviction recorded.
By pleading guilty to this latest charge, he received a sentence of 12 months jail but it was wholly suspended for five years. A conviction was recorded.
The issue of cartoon pornography remains controversial. Some cases deal with the question of whether computer generated images of children, for example, constitute exploitation or a crime against children. The cartoon porn pushes the question even further to the extremes of the legal definition. I have serious free speech concerns with prosecuting people for the possession of cartoon porn despite the fact that I find it disgusting. As in this case (and here), however, the Australians appear committed to combating the abuse of innocent cartoon characters like the Powerpuffs Girls.