What a concept. Sometimes the Universe has a very interesting way of getting one’s attention. Tonight I was looking through some files after getting yet another heartbreaking email from a person who was trafficked in a pedophile/porn ring in the Detroit area in the late 1970’s. I was thinking about this person’s questions and suggestions on how to start some kind of out-reach for the many victims of these monsters. I looked at files I had on a man I believe may have been a photographer on Fox Island, the file I have on the late William Shaffer, a pedophile and child pornographer from Birmingham, MI, and one on a 30-year-old man from Farmington Hills who died by “suicide” back in early March of 1977, who I also believe was involved in trafficking kids. Shaffer and this 30-year-old were turned in as suspects to the OCCK task force back in the day.
In the photographer’s file, I found copies of microfilm pages from the Traverse City Record-Eagle. I don’t know why those documents were in this file and not in the “Fox Island” file. I had seen all of the articles before except one–an editorial in the Record-Eagle dated June 17, 1977, entitled: State needs porno laws. 2019-12-30_191653
Even enlarged, it is hard to read. But it is really important for three reasons: 1. Substantively; 2. The date–June 1977; and 3. The fact that is is in a Traverse City newspaper, not The Detroit News or The Detroit Free Press.
STATE NEEDS PORNO LAWS
Even people who profess to take pornography in stride are revolted by so-called “kiddie porn”–films and photographs showing pre-pubescent children engaged in sexual acts with each other or adults. Some of the children are as young as 3 years. And some of the adults are their parents. The very thought of it is depressing and sickening.
There is no way of knowing how many American children have been involved in pornography. But Investigator Lloyd Martin of the Los Angeles Police Department estimates that 30,000 boys and girls are sexually exploited by adults in that city every year.
Martin arrived at his estimate by interviewing molestation victims, adult molesters, pimps and pornography producers. “I would say that of that 30,000, it would be very conservative to say that 25,000 had their pictures made,” he said.
But as our own region well knows, child pornography is by no means confined to the large cities that are often the destination of runaway youngsters. In rural Franklin County, Tenn., a defrocked Episcopal priest was sentenced June 3 to between 25 and 40 years in prison for having run a “house of boy prostitution” that supplied photographs of wayward youths engaged in homosexual acts to adult male “sponsors” across the country. One of those sponsors was Ann Arbor millionaire Francis Shelden, who owns North Fox Island off Grand Traverse Bay, where acts of child prostitution and pornography purportedly took place. Shelden and cohort Dyer Grossman are still at large and being sought as fugitives from justice.
The leading crusader against child pornography is Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, a New York psychiatrist. Densen-Gerber is president of Odyssey Institute Inc., an organization that treats youth drug addicts, some of whom were victimized as children by pornographers. “They are emotionally and spiritually murdered,” she says.
Testifying before the Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary on May 23, Densen-Gerber acknowledged that efforts to suppress child pornography could run afoul of the First Amendment guarantee of free expression. However, she argued: “Common sense and maternal instinct tell me this goes way beyond free speech. Such conduct mutilates children’s spirits. They aren’t consenting adults. The First Amendment isn’t absolute.”
Arizona, Minnesota and Tennessee already have adopted laws making it a felony to use minors in pornography, and similar measures are being considered in about two dozen additional states, including Michigan. Since the laws are aimed at curbing child abuse, their sponsors are confident that they will survive court scrutiny.
But even if child pornography were to disappear tomorrow, its legacy will be felt for years to come. Many of the young victims, unable to erase their emotional scars, will turn to lives of crime, drug addiction, or prostitution. The social and moral cost to the country is incalculable. Michigan should not hestitate in enacting its legislation. It’s already too late for many
. . . SO DOES NATION
The national conscience is also being stirred by the revelations of homosexual pornography and prostitution of boys. Legislation is now pending which would make it illegal to transport young makes across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. A similar law protecting young girls has been on the books for years. The need for such laws is tragic but cannot be ignored. The bill should be approved.
The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Michigan, JUNE 17, 1977.
As I was reading this powerful and prescient editorial from many decades ago, I got a Google Alert for the Oakland County Child Killer. That link took me to an editorial dated December 29, 2019, in the Record-Eagle.
Here the Record-Eagle editorial board reveals what its readers thought were the top 10 stories of the decade. The editorial describes the readers’ responses and further explains: “We humans are a mixed bag, and we connect to a variety of stories. This year our online readers wanted information on the potential breaks in the Oakland County child killer case, a former pastor arraigned on multiple sexual assault and meth charges, and a mysterious Lake Michigan ship wreck.”
What are the odds of me getting a Google alert to a December 29, 2019 editorial from the Record-Eagle mentioning that its readers (in Northern Michigan) want answers about the status of the OCCK case, while I am reading a June 17, 1977 editorial from the Record-Eagle about child pornography and pedophelia? I’d say the message is that the Universe is really sick of this shit–all of it. Human trafficking, child pornography, pedophilia, pedophile rings and the unsolved OCCK case. And the silence of Oakland County and the Michigan State Police.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle editorial of yesterday ends with “We found that, once again, we are moving in the same direction as our readers. We don’t move in lockstep, and we don’t always agree, but our care for the community and the role a free press plays in it is the same.”
I have more to say about Shaffer and the many men who keep turning up like bad pennies in documents and emails. Read that June 1977 editorial and think about this: That shit never stopped and no one protected those kids.