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Pre-2008 Posts

Ex-ACLU President, Opposed Restrictions on Public Library Internet Access, Charged With Possessing Child Pornography

Saturday, February 24, 2007
By Martin Barillas  

Charles Rust-Tierney, a coach of Virginia children’s sports teams and former president of the state chapter of the ACLU, was arrested in Arlington on a warrant for the possession of child pornography.

…According to a federal criminal complaint, Rust-Tierney had used his email address and credit card for a subscription and access to a child pornography website. According to the criminal complaint, Rust-Tierney has subscribed to multiple child pornography websites over a period of years.

…Rust-Tierney had achieved some notoriety in the last few years when he argued the ACLU’s case against restrictions on Internet access at public libraries. Rust-Tierney wrote “Recognizing that individuals will continue to behave responsibly and appropriately while in the library, the default should be maximum, unrestricted access to the valuable resources of the Internet.”

A coach of child sports team in Arlington Virginia, Rust-Tierney is accused of possessing video child pornography that portrayed the forcible rape of pre-pubescent girls, some of whom could be seen to weep in the videos while others were restrained with ropes.

Rust-Tierney served as president of the Virginia ACLU chapter.

Courtesy of Donna Hughes Dignity Listserv, Link




13 thoughts on “Ex-ACLU President, Opposed Restrictions on Public Library Internet Access, Charged With Possessing Child Pornography

  1. Well that sucks.

    And of course people who hate the ACLU will exploit this specific case to demean the work that the ACLU does. UNRESTRICTED INTERNET ACCESS = CHILD MOLESTATION!

    How often will I have to read that the criminal is the “coach of a child’s football team” or “works as a teacher”? It’s already been too often.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 25, 2007, 4:14 am
  2. Not everyone who hates the ACLU is rightwing, Gingermiss. The ACLU is only interested in protecting the speech of certain people and feminist women are just about the last people they would ever be willing to help. There’s no money or fame in helping feminists, the way there is helping the most reprehensible of white men.

    Posted by Rich | February 25, 2007, 5:14 am
  3. Gingermiss, there seem to be far too many foxes guarding the various henhouses (particularly child porn/abuse).

    They gravitate towards where there will be a plentiful supply (Ian Huntley, school caretaker), or where they can adversely affect policy/effectiveness (senior police officers/judges, even just regular police officers).

    Posted by stormy | February 25, 2007, 12:45 pm
  4. Yes, Stormy.

    And the archetypal fox guarding the henhouse is the paterfamilias.

    Who is to protect us from our protector(s)?

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | February 25, 2007, 12:58 pm
  5. The ACLU has done some good work on issues like reproductive rights and sex education, and, for example, to its credit, it is helping Amber Abreu, the young woman who recently was jailed for inducing her own miscarriage. But as with most leftist organizations, it’s not a friend to women around issues of pornography, rape or sexual harrassment.

    Diana Russell has a good article up about a book Nadine Strossen, once president of the ACLU and a defender of pornograpy, wrote a while back. Here’s an excerpt:

    Strossen devotes a helfy chunk of her book to a vehement and demonizing attack on Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. Assuming that all the rest of us agree with everything MacKinnon or Dworkin has ever said, done, or written, Strossen both scapegoats those two and makes invisible many other prominent feminists who have also opposed pornography. Besides me, for instance, she does not mention Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Susan Brownmiller, Susan Griffin, Nikki Craft, Kathleen Barry, Florence Rush, Ann Simonton, Melissa Farley, Jane Caputi, Catherine Itzin–all of whose commitment to this issue is public knowledge.

    Strossen spends most of the book arguing against censorship, claiming that MacKinnon and Dworkin and the rest of us unmentionable clones are virulent advocates of it. Although censorship appears to be Strossen’s favorite word, she never even attempts to define it. From the examples she cites, though, her definition appears indistinguishable from what most people would consider the exercise of their free speech and civil rights.

    Strossen accuses Dworkin, for example, of censorship for organizing a protest campaign against “A Woman’s Book of Choices”. A particular passage included advice on how women could qualify to get an abortion by falsely claiming to have been raped. The passage explained how women could increase the credibility of such a false rape claim “by wearing torn clothes and borrowing semen from a friend or lover to spread on their clothes or bodies.” When the publisher and the authors claimed it was impossible to revise this passage, Dworkin organized a successful campaign to get them to change their minds.

    This incident inspired Strossen to criticize “the censorial impact of such coercive tactics as boycotts.” To call any protest censorship is utter nonsense. In the context of the First Amendment, censorship involves state-based action to prohibit the publication of literature before it reaches the stands. There is a vital distinction between state action and acts of individuals. Dworkin’s campaign involved individuals, myself included, exercising our First Amendment rights to exert pressure on the authors and publisher to change an appallingly misogynist paragraph.

    Strossen insists that anti-porn feminists are the darlings of the media. Nothing could be further from the truth. Strossen, like other female feminist-bashers (Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Katie Roiphe, for example) had the media falling over themselves to publicize her pro-porn views.

    …Whether some women get off on what Strossen approvingly calls “rape scenes and scenes dramatizing the so-called rape myth,” that does not mitigate the fact that many other women feel violated by such images, that some are violated by acts inspired by those images, and that some who were used to make those images are exploited or abused in the process. In her myopic individualism, Strossen repeatedly fails to address the consequences of pornography for women or for male consumers in general.

    Here is another Strossen gem delight pornographers: “The more unconventional the sexual expression is, the more revolutionary its social and political implications become.” I suppose rape doesn’t qualify as unconventional sexual expression anymore — but would child porn qualify as revolutionary? Or images of sexual mutilation and woman-killing?

    I know what would be revolutionary: Strossen keeps telling us how much women love pornography, so why not pictures of gangs of women raping men, sticking broomsticks up their asses as they smile and ejaculate and say, “Encore,” snipping their balls off with pliers, sticking wire up their penile openings? Why haven’t pornographers saturated the market with these kinds of images to match what they’ve done to women? Isn’t this evidence that porn is discriminatory?

    But Strossen denies there is any inequality in pornography. She even contests that “women have historically and consistently been subjugated in the realm of sexuality.” She thinks the conditions for women in the porn industry are just dandy, and that there is no reason “to believe that force or violence are endemic in the sex industry, or more prevalent there than in other sectors of our society.” In the event that the odd problem emerges, says Strossen, there are a “panoply of criminal and civil remedies for women who have been physically or psychologically abused in the production of sexual materials.” What a bunch of fatuous Pollyanaisms.

    …But Strossen complains sexual harassment laws are having a chilling effect on the joys of finding sexual affirmation in the workplace. She calls sexual harassment (a concept referring to unwanted sexual advances, not those that are welcome) a “stigmatizing epithet.” She can’t seem to get the difference between sex and sexual abuse.

    …Many people share Strossen’s opinion that men who consume porn but who have never raped a woman disprove the theory that porn can cause rape. This is comparable to arguing that because some cigarette smokers don’t die of lung disease, there cannot be a causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer. Only members of the tobacco industry and some seriously addicted smokers consider this a valid argument today. Although the scientific evidence that porn can cause rape is at least as strong as the evidence that smoking can cause lung cancer, many people are so ideologically committed to the view thatporn is harmless that they find a multitude of excuses to disregard it. Strossen and the ACLU’s strategy seems to be to ignore information, arguments, and theories that they find too difficult to tackle, no matter how much dishonesty and misrepresentation it takes.

    The entire article is well worth reading.


    Posted by Heart | February 25, 2007, 5:10 pm
  6. Not everyone who hates the ACLU is rightwing, Gingermiss. The ACLU is only interested in protecting the speech of certain people and feminist women are just about the last people they would ever be willing to help. There’s no money or fame in helping feminists, the way there is helping the most reprehensible of white men.

    Rich: I can see where you’re coming from with this. I wasn’t trying to imply that everyone who hates the ACLU is a right wing nutcase. People have some very valid gripes with the ACLU. I appreciate their presence because they do manage to successfully fight the system on some very important issues, for instance some of the things that Heart mentioned above. From your perspective, I can see how the ACLU is doing more damage than good.

    They’re not a faultless organization, but they are made the target of a lot of criticism for defending things that many other people won’t defend because the issue is too unpopular or difficult. I am interested in the information both you and Heart have provided on the subject and will look into it further.

    Stormy, I know you’re completely right. They do gravitate towards professions that would enable their behaviors or give them the power to change/circumvent policy, which of course is exactly what happened in this case. Just as domestic abusers and psychopaths gravitate towards positions of power and influence like law enforcement or military service. I think part of the reason people don’t do more to fight this or acknowledge it is because it’s so frightening and so prevalent – which, of course, is horrible and prevents any progress or change to the status quo. Also because of the “MY son/husband/father would never do that, and could never be a sexist in any way” mentality.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 25, 2007, 5:51 pm
  7. My goodness, I wish I hadn’t eaten before reading that. One more person I wish hell existed for.

    Posted by veravenom | February 26, 2007, 1:25 pm
  8. Some issues the ACLU just does not bother to analyze too deeply. They have consistently defended the porn industry. I think this says it all, “Strossen and the ACLU’s strategy seems to be to ignore information, arguments, and theories that they find too difficult to tackle, no matter how much dishonesty and misrepresentation it takes.”

    Of course this plays well with the male left. I would think child porn crosses the line of acceptable speech for the ACLU, but who knows. Speaking of male liberal ideas of tolerance, it does not seem to bother Barack Obama to warm up his political rallies with a song by British glam rocker Gary Glitter, currently serving a three year prison term in Vietnam for molesting two young girls. Glitter has denied the charges, but apparently that choice of music does bother Laura Flanders, who I heard ranting about it on her Air America show Radio Nation. Presumably the Obama campaign is unaware of this. There does not seem to be much on the web about this yet, but I did find this through Google:

    Posted by Aletha | February 27, 2007, 6:31 am
  9. Sorry to come to this so late, but I just found an article from a student paper (picked up by the UWire, the college paper version of the AP Wire) that mentions Obama’s use of that song:

    “Tieless with a dark sports coat, slacks and a white shirt, Obama walked down a catwalk to a raised platform where people cheered, screamed his name and held up “Obama ’08” signs — all as Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” played.”

    And as for the former ACLU president, yuck yuck yuck yuck. Even if it makes the left look bad, I hope this story gets more well-known. The left has kept their abuse of women silent for too long by saying, “but if you let this get out it’ll make OUR CAUSE look bad!” Fuck that. If they’re so damn worried about their cause, they would do well not to do things that make them look bad in the first place. (Of course, ideally we’d argue that they not condone rape and abuse because it’s wrong, but I can’t even give leftist men even that much credit anymore.)

    Posted by mekhit | March 2, 2007, 4:27 am
  10. Mekhit, your comment was also in my spam queue. UGH. I am going to be upgrading my blog to a server soon, even had someone offer to have me hosted on theirs. 🙂

    On to seriousness, what the hell is up with Gary Glitter’s horrifying self being inserted into an Obama rally? The hell?

    Glitter jailed over child porn

    Pop star Gary Glitter has been jailed for four months after admitting to a collection of 4,000 hardcore photographs of children being abused.

    The BBC’s Stephen Cape reports: “Gary Glitter is tonight behind bars”
    The admission comes just hours after the rock idol was cleared of eight counts of sexually assaulting a teenage fan nearly 20 years ago.

    Solicitor Henri Brandman said Glitter would appeal against the sentence. He will be placed on the sex offenders register.

    Reappearing at Bristol Crown Court, Glitter admitted 54 offences of downloading porn from the Internet dating between 3 January 1997 and 18 November 1997.

    He replied “guilty” in a strong, clear voice after the first count was put to him and his voice became less clear with each subsequent charge.

    The judge, Mr Justice Butterfield, described the pictures in Glitter’s vast library as “filthy and revolting” and of the “worst possible type”.

    The charges came after a member of staff spotted the material on Glitter’s computer, in for repair at PC World in Bristol.

    Mr John Royce, QC, told the court that a technician tried to correct the fault and in order to see if he was successful had to look into a file. But what he found, said the QC, was “disturbing”.

    A police sergeant arrested Glitter when he returned to collect his computer.

    An initial examination of the computer revealed that it stored “the most appalling images” of very young children engaged in most humiliating sexual acts, said the QC.

    The examinations, said Mr Royce, revealed firstly that he had downloaded the material and secondly “that it was carefully, deliberately and enthusiastically done”.

    More than 4,000 such images, mostly of young girls but many of young boys, were found.

    Mr Royce said they showed “very young children, some appeared as young as two, in the main ranging from three, four, five and six up to possibly about nine or 10”.

    In mitigation the defence said Glitter had downloaded the pictures solely for his own use and was simply in possession of them, but the judge rejected this, saying Glitter had diligently visited sites worldwide.

    News of the initial arrest prompted further allegations of assault in a newspaper – dismissed by a jury earlier on Friday.

    The singer had always denied four counts of indecently assaulting a girl in the early 1980s when she was under 16.

    He also denied four charges of serious sexual assault against the same girl, who is now 34 and married with children.


    After the verdict the Press Complaints Commission said it would investigate revelations that a newspaper paid the woman who made the allegations.

    The court was told that the woman had taken £10,000 from the News of the World in exchange for her story and would receive £25,000 if the star was convicted.

    The judge had branded the pay-out “highly reprehensible”. He said: “It is not illegal but it is to be greatly deprecated.”

    The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has also called for a full report from the judge over the payments.

    Gary Glitter, charged under his real name, Paul Gadd, smiled as the not guilty verdict was greeted by cheers in the public gallery. He turned to the jury, put his hands together and said “thank you”.

    Suicide threat

    She told the News of the World that she had met the artist aged 14 when he invited her on stage and she sang a song with him.

    The woman claimed that the friendship, which was encouraged by her parents, developed into a sexual relationship.

    The jury was told that during their stormy relationship the star convinced her he was serious about their affair and would threaten suicide if the woman tried to end it.

    The woman told the court that she went to the News of the World in 1993 to “get him to leave me alone”. She received £10,000 for revealing that he was “bald and a wig-wearer”.

    She then approached the newspaper again after hearing of his arrest.


    And yeah, re leftist men, Mekhit. They are no more likely to be friends to women than right-wingers.


    Posted by womensspace | March 4, 2007, 4:53 pm
  11. Aaiiii! This is so-o-o familiar (unhappily), as I work for the Public Library system in my city of residence. We have a strong filtering policy, though we do remove filters for the adult lab computers upon request. However, *all* computers at all libraries are arranged so that library staff can routinely visually monitor what people are looking at. I myself have terminated sessions for several patrons, one of whom got pissy with me about his ‘rights’ to view porn, and when I told him he legally had no right to view pictures of rape and sadism in a public place, this genius then tried to tell me that the ‘only reason he was looking at the site was that his computer at home was down, and he was the site webmaster’. He didn’t seem to understand that claiming this only added increased culpability to what he was doing– in addition to viewing, he was purveying (if what he said was true)– and with true chancre-daddy self-righteousness, he kept claiming that he was ‘a businessman’ and that he had a right ‘to take care of his business from a public computer’ as he was escorted off the premises by the security guard. He eventually received a system-wide ban for a year for his behavior, meaning that he couldn’t even set foot in a library to pick up a tax form, and — Thank the Great Celestial Turtle-Mother!! — he has not been back, even after the ban elapsed.

    The latest problem we’ve been having is that the PL recently installed wireless at all branches, so people can use their laptops, and you guessed it: we have had to eject male patrons trying to hide in study carrels so that they can view porn without us knowing. This means that now most branches with study areas which were originally designed for quiet must designate people to make ‘unscheduled sweeps’ to make sure that no one is pulling up porn in an area that is intended for students doing homework.

    While I really love my job, and I enjoy helping library patrons (even the occasional cranky one) with research, I have to say that I absolutely hate having to police the male chimps and their jerk-off boxes…

    Posted by akkarri | March 6, 2007, 1:51 am
  12. GEEZ, Akkari! That is contemptible. I heard the most recent thing is porns on cell phones; I wonder how many more car accidents men will have!

    I sure enjoy your posts. 🙂


    Posted by womensspace | March 6, 2007, 7:12 am
  13. Thanks much, Heart, for the good vibe! I like your blog a lot! I have been reading a number of the earlier entries and comments, and you make many, many good points. This particular story caught my eye since it was library-related, and I have to tell you that the main reason I think we have the filtering system and anti-porn policing that we have is because most of the upper management of the PL system which I work for is Female.

    While I don’t like censorship, I really think that porn (as opposed to depictions of sex) needs to be shut down tighter than the proverbial drum, as it is basically nothing more than assault and battery in a sexual ‘venue’. Just as it is not okay to walk up to someone on the street and begin to beat them up, it is equally not okay to do this in the bedroom (and in many cases to a minor at that) and claim that this is in some way acceptable because it is ‘a kind of sexual expression’. No, it’s just plain old garden-variety assault and battery, like any other beating is, no matter where the assault is delivered. If it leaves marks, if it is facilitated via coersion, it is violence, period, end of sentence. We have laws that say as much, and they need to be enforced strenuously. People who claim that porn is equivalent to sex are like someone claiming that adding cherries and whipped cream to a bottle of strychnine magically transforms it into an ice cream sundae. Just as the strychnine remains strychnine, so does brutality remain brutality, despite the ‘sexualized setting’.

    The reasons that I think this is not more readily seen are legion, and would probably easily take volumes to set out properly, but I think the ‘Top Three’ are 1) the ‘demonizing’ of sexuality in general by patriarchal religions, 2) the ‘demonizing’ of Women by same, and 3) the erosion– or outright forcible removal– of child-through-adolescent male socialization from the hands of Women by the restructuring of dominant human culture along patrist lines. In short, it has not been a good thing for humans in general that men discovered paternity, and male groupings that have formed around the enforcement of paternal dominance (a.k.a. male breeding-rights) have been more or less disastrous; the oft-displayed thuggery of males-in-groups intimidating men as well as Women. I remember hearing in one of my college classes that someone did a psychological survey of a group of men, asking them all what their greatest fear was. Far and away, it was ‘being physically assaulted/injured by another man’.

    I remember thinking to myself that this explained both the insane ‘I’m badder than you’ posturing as well as the ‘I won’t help you if you are attacked’ wussing-out among the biggest posturers: they do all from the level of terror-stoked self-interest. To stop it requires that it be exposed, which is why I like it that Women blog and ‘call the perps’ on their inability to function sanely in a variety of social settings. Talking about it deprives it of the tacit sanction of normalcy that arises out of intimidated silence, which silence the perps put to good use.

    This is also why, even though I am Female-to-male in my sexual orientation, that I think that Woman/Woman, man/man, etc., sexuality is extremely important. It has always been with us, in our species. The diverse relational arrangements that humans naturally express allow for what I call ‘vectoring from different viewpoints’: we can see that love and tenderness derive from mutual trust, respect and support, and the FACT of long-term, stable, supportive and life-honoring lesbian/gay relationships shows that Love is the same for all Beings. Such relationships also throw into stark relief the utter lack of anything that even remotely resembles Love in many hetero ‘partnerships’, which are in fact nothing more than nuclear-family-sanctioned sexual slavery.

    Which brings me back to porn: in order for it to thrive, the giving/receiving of natural, human support and tenderness must be thwarted and denied, especially when it comes to expressing these things sexually. Because of the thwarting of the forthright expression of Compassion via sexuality, people are then made to ‘settle for less’, thanks to the compelling quality of sexuality itself.

    The main matter of importance is not the sex of the person I am in a relationship with, but rather, is the relationship mutually supportive and respectful? Porn is not about loving relationships. It is strychnine.

    Posted by akkarri | March 6, 2007, 9:41 am

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