Child Porn Conviction Overturned of Elementary Principal Who Pasted Pictures of Students on Bodies of Adults

While I was trying the case, the Florida appellate court issued an interesting ruling that a former elementary school principal was wrongly convicted of child pornography when he pasted the faces of some of his 11- and 12-year-old students over pictures of adult women. John Stelmack is already serving five years for the crime.

The pictures were found in Stelmack’s briefcase in a closet in his office in 2007. He was then the principal for the Scott Lake Elementary School and under investigation for possible inappropriate hugging of fifth-grade girls, according to the Lakeland Ledger.

The case was remanded for a directed verdict of acquittal.

I find it interesting that he was not given the opportunity to remain out of jail during his appeal given the clearly novel and controversial nature of the conviction. It is hard to see how this would fit into a definition of child pornography that would pass muster under either the state statute or the Constitution. While this case focused on the state statute, federal courts have dealt with analogous issues. In 2002, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, Congress could not criminalize virtual pornography because it constitutes “speech that records no crime and creates no victims by its production. Virtual child pornography is not ‘intrinsically related’ to the sexual abuse of children.”

Of course, this is a very sick man and he deserved to be removed from his position. However, it does not meet the definition of child pornography and the Court resisted considerable public animus in finding in his favor.

Jonathan Turley

19 thoughts on “Child Porn Conviction Overturned of Elementary Principal Who Pasted Pictures of Students on Bodies of Adults”

  1. Thank you BIL, your input is always interesting and relevant and I’ll read those when I finish posting this reply. @$^*, “You are posting too quickly- slow down”

  2. Anon nurse, Thanks for the link. The following is also an ‘oldish’ but relevant link, the other part of the ‘how’ your link details. Apparently through nearly limitless expansion and budgeting for totally opaque, new, redundant intelligence agencies and contractors that simply don’t bother to talk to each other or much of anyone else. They do love themselves some new buildings and perks though. Scary stuff.

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/

  3. “Of course, this is a very sick man”

    I did not realize you were a psychiatrist or psychologist.

  4. Blouise,

    lol

    (password to kick off the Wikileaks cascade = “Mossad sharks” without the quotation marks…)

    e-mail sent…

  5. lottakatz
    1, December 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm
    anon nurse, Lol, one would think NSA wold have bigger fish to fry

    anon nurse
    1, December 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm
    lottakatz,

    Here’s the current “buzz” around the NSA: “It’s not just the big fish anymore!”

    =========================================================

    I keep tellin’ you guys … it’s Mossad sharks!

    (Don’t tell anyone but I think HenMan raise them on his super secret farm in cow-land.)

  6. lottakatz,

    🙂

    Here’s the current “buzz” around the NSA: “It’s not just the big fish anymore!” 🙂

    Seriously though, I hope you’re able to figure it out…Here’s that article, which may be old news to you…:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10561911

    Domestic spying indicates changes at the NSA Supersecret agency moves to gather wide spectrum of info in real time

    By Robert Windrem
    Senior investigative producer NBC News updated 12/21/2005 6:16:36 PM ET

    ANALYSIS

    It’s not your father’s NSA, and that may be at the heart of the current domestic spy scandal. (and the article continues…)

  7. His picture is an amazing portrayal of chilling emptiness or a vacuum of the human spirit. Such an cold shell of a person… he could have had a career in the media or politics if he had been given the right guidance.

  8. “Yo are posting too fast- slow down” WTF? -lottakatz

    I’ll say, WTF… -anon nurse

    I’ll have to post this article that resurfaced the other morning while I was waiting for my car to be inspected — I only have a hardcopy and have to retrieve it from my overloaded briefcase… One of the things that I recall is the ease with which the NSA is able to look into our computers in real time…

    lotta, you’re on their radar and getting personalized messages… 🙂

  9. Will not let me post with 1 link- a second posting without links did not post either and a message came up “Yo are posting too fast- slow down” WTF?

    This is the third posting.

  10. ID,

    …or somethin’… (Whatever it was, I wasn’t left with warm, fuzzy feelings, seeing him there. His appearance was a cross between Lurch and a ghoul… and I’m not kidding.)

    (Blouise, as I recall, you mentioned “ghouls” in another thread — the Lee Harvey Oswald/auction thread.. Let’s not even go there… 🙂 )

  11. When I was in high school, I had this Lurch-like chemistry teacher who liked to rub up against the girls — at least I think it was just the girls.. Later in life, I came to believe that he was a frotteur. At the time, I thought of him as a very, very creepy guy. (He was an excellent teacher and his creepiness was tolerated…) Anyway, many years after graduating, I returned to area for a funeral. Imagine my surprise when I went to “calling hours” and spotted “Lurch” working a second “job”…

  12. Guy is sick, in a position of authority…the convicted crime…stupidity….where is the “Star Chamber” when you need it….Michael Douglas we are looking for you….

  13. Why should this guy be held during the appeal of this novel charge?

    Because terrorists and pedophiles are magic! They have supernatural powers! They’re like Hannibal Lecter and must be imprisoned, bound, gagged, blindfolded and have their ears plugged at all times, lest they use their magic powers to do evil!

    Being a subset of, or equivalent to witches, special procedures must be used to determine their degree of guilt. (Remember, if they weren’t evil, they wouldn’t be charged with such crimes!)

    Special laws must be created that would seem wildly insane if applied to other realms of behavior. (“He deleted Widget-tronics’ name from the spreadsheet and typed in WidgetCo… He’s engaging in virtual insider trading!” or “He drew a stick figure of his boss, then drew lots of arrows poking into him.. He’s engaging in virtual murder!!!”)

    Don’t you get it? The rule of law is “quaint” and inappropriate when dealing with these VERY SPECIAL CASES!

  14. It is important to note that the decision rested solely on the court’s interpretation of the state of Florida’s child pornography statute. The court did not address any state or federal constitutional arguments.

    I think there are some potential distinguishing factors between the facts of this case and the “virtual child pornography” prohibited by the statute at issue in Ashcroft. Namely, the children involved here are real people. It might be the case that a carefully drafted statute could prohibit creation or possession of these images without running afoul of Ashcroft.

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