Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kiddie Porn at Work

Pornography is big business, and internet child porn is a big subset of that business. Here is a story from an Insurance industry publication in which an employer is found liable for the internet porn viewing habits of employees. The employee cruised kiddie porn sites at work. The employer told him to stop, but didn't report him to anybody.
In 2000, there were reports that the employee was acting “strange” in shielding his computer screen. Suspicions that he was visiting illicit sites were confirmed in 2001 by the IT director and by senior managers who found child pornography. They discovered the employee had been posting images of his 10-year-old stepdaughter to a child pornography site. Authorities arrested him and seized the computer, finding thousands of pornographic images, including child pornography.

The minor's mother sued XYC, alleging it had breached its duty to report the employee to authorities for his child pornography computer activity. The mother claimed the company's failure enabled him to continue secretly photographing the stepdaughter and molesting her.

Interesting detail not highlighted in this story, which is after all, an insurance publication: the man did not photograph his daughter. He photographed his stepdaughter. Research shows that children are in far more danger from unrelated men in the household than they are from their own fathers. And, children are in more danger from their mothers' boyfriend, than from their mothers' husband.

Do Teachers get a Pass for Child sexual abuse?

Here is a different child sexual abuse story. The different twists: the predator is a female teacher; she is getting a ten year sentence and the school district is not being sued, as far as I can tell, in any way shape or form.
One other interesting tidbit: the story mentions as an aside that the typical sentence for teachers convicted in similar cases is 18 months to 2 years.
Is this form of child sexual abuse less serious than what the priests did? Why aren't teachers who abuse children treated as toughly as priests? Just wondering.

A sixth-grade science teacher who was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old student has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Rachel L. Holt, 35, had pleaded guilty to second-degree rape. She sobbed in court Friday as Superior Court Judge Calvin L. Scott gave her the mandatory minimum sentence.

Prosecutors had wanted Scott to sentence Holt to the maximum of 25 years.

Holt was initially charged with 28 counts of first-degree rape.

Police accused her of having sex with the boy that many times during an intense weeklong affair. She was also accused of plying the boy with alcohol and allowing him to drive her car.

Holt's attorney, John S. Malik, said the sentence was much longer than what teachers convicted in similar cases got. He reviewed 40 such cases and found the average was 18 months to two years.

Score Another Point for Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza, author of The Enemy at Home, has been getting beat up over at National Review Online. Now, I have no expertise on the subject of Islam, what Muslims actually beleive, and whether we are likely to find any Muslim allies, and if so, of what kind. That is what he is getting beat up about. But, I do think his position on domestic politics is exactly right: the Left fears George Bush and the Right far more than it fears Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Whether the Left has an explicit handshake with the Jihadists, a wink and a nod, or just a coincidence of interests doesn't really matter. I think it is now quite obvious that the American Left wants America to lose the war in Iraq.
Be that as it may, the WSJ reported yesterday that the British Left is actually forming political alliances with their domestic Muslims. Read it here.

Violence Against Women?

The University of Kentucky Kernel reports that the Center for Research on Violence Against Women will get the opportunity to raise more money for itself. Whoops! I mean, they will get money to conduct a survey of violence against women, to prove that the subject needs to be studied and funded further.
Fox guarding the chicken coop anyone?
Will there be a Center for the Study of False Accusations Against Men? Don't hold your breath. Although, maybe some Duke University alumni could fund such a study at Duke....

Gender Imbalance

One of my newsletter readers picked up on the point in my Women's Studies speech where I pointed out the problems of educated women having no one to marry. She writes:
Was I the only one to say uh-oh, when Oprah decided to fund a highly unique education experiment with 40 girls in South Africa?

My very first thought was "Who are these girls going to marry?" If Oprah had really wanted to create an "idyllic" scenario for the girls, she should have had a boys companion school with 200 boys, so those 40 grown women could have a real choice of men. Men seem to manage just fine in marrying less educated women.

My daughter attends what used to be a girl's finishing school in southern Virginia. It was created as a sister school to VMI - and the plan worked well for over 100 years.

It is still politically incorrect to mention this, but yes, women find it easier to "marry up," than men do. In fact, women themselves don't like to "marry down." Since we aren't allowed to talk about anything assymetric between the sexes, don't hold your breath for the MSM to pick up on this problem.

Women's Studies

One of my newsletter subscribers sent me a post she did on the inanity of women's studies programs. A member of the Northern Alliance of Radio bloggers, Janet Biehoffer writes from the campus of Saint Cloud State Univeristy in Minnesota.
You can subscribe to my newsletter here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Women's Studies at University of Virginia

I just returned from the University of Virginia, where I debated the topic "Are We Getting it Right? The State of Women's Studies." My opponent was Amy Richards, one of the founders of the Third Wave Foundation. The debate was jointly sponsored by the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW, an alternative to feminism women's group), Feminism is for Everyone (FIFE), College Republicans, The Virginia Advocate, the Jefferson Literary and Debate Society and the Washington Literary and Debate Society, in cooperation with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
I was surprised by how tame the feminists were. My opponent did not seem to have much "fire in the belly." I got no sense of what was important to her about being a feminist. For all I could tell, her view is that a Women's Studies class should be a combination self-esteem therapy and Great Books class. There were many students who identified themselves as feminists by wearing a little pink sticker saying, "This is what a Feminist Looks Like." I expected tough questions from the audience, given the number of them out there, but they were really quite mild.
The full text of my prepared remarks is on my other website, here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Response to the University of Kentucky Kernel

Last month, I visited the University of Kentucky and gave a speech entitled, "A skeptical Look at Domestic Partner Benefits." That speech was well-received by many in the community, and may have even played some role in the ensuing debate in the state legislature.
However, the article in the student newspaper was not very well-informed. I have my doubts as to whether the author even attended the lecture, since she did not seem to know what time of day it was held. So I wrote a reply to the editor of the Kentucky Kernel (no, I'm not making this up: that is the name of the student newspaper.) But they have not published it as far as I know. So, to set the record straight, I am publishing the letter here.

To the editor,

I write in response to the February 15, 2007 article entitled, "Legislators, speaker 'skeptical' of benefits.” As the “speaker,” I consider myself qualified to know what I said and didn’t say. For benefit of anyone who was unable to attend the lecture, I have posted the entire talk, complete with footnotes, on my website:


People can decide for themselves whether I “just talked about what I felt” or whether my factual claims have empirical support.

As for the questions from the audience, several students seemed to want to minimize the importance of the research on cohabitation. So let me reiterate: years of research on cohabitation among opposite sex couples has shown convincingly that cohabitation is not equivalent to marriage and is in fact, inferior to marriage. Domestic violence, including child abuse, is more common, and relationship satisfaction is lower among cohabitors than among married couples. In response to one question, I agreed that these effects are stronger among people with lower levels of education and earnings, but the independent effect of cohabitation persists even after taking account of income and education.

Perhaps the law students in the audience believe that as educated people of relatively high income, the impact of cohabitation will be negligible in their own experience. Maybe you think you’ll be able to dodge the statistical bullet. But the University’s plan would subsidize not only cohabiting couples among the faculty, but among the clerks and cooks and custodians of the University.

There is nothing “progressive” or “tolerant” about a policy that provides ideological gratification to the rich while harming the poor. Encouraging opposite sex cohabitation, a lifestyle known to be destructive, is bad public policy. The taxpayers of Kentucky should decline to pay for the University’s domestic partners proposal.


Jennifer Roback Morse

Rejoinder to Glenn Sacks.

Rejoinder to Glenn Sacks

I want to take this opportunity to thank Glenn Sacks and the Gentlemen of the Fathers’ Rights Movement for their thoughtful response to my article “Are Dads Disposable?” I apologize for not responding sooner. But Glenn’s posting came just as I was leaving for an intense and exhausting travel schedule. This is my first opportunity to formulate a reply. I continue to believe that the lesbian custody cases will not prove helpful to the interests of fathers, quite apart from Glenn’s hopes.
Here are the crucial issues for the lesbian custody cases. How shall parental rights be established for a same sex couple who wish to jointly parent a child? For opposite sex couples, their marriage suffices to establish the paternity of the husband. The marriage law radicals and same sex marriage advocates want to apply a similar rule to legally valid same sex unions. The second issue is how much discretion shall family law courts have in determining parentage? I maintain that the “bright line” rules of the common law are good precisely because they limit judicial discretion. Instituting a new category of “de facto parents” parents” gives judges way too much discretion, and is completely unnecessary for meeting the needs of same sex couples who wish to parent together.
The common law for opposite sex couples held that a woman’s husband is presumed to be the father of any children born to her during the life of their marriage. In the Miller-Jenkins case, Lisa and Janet decided together to raise a child. But suppose instead that Lisa had come home pregnant with the child of the proverbial milkman. Who, besides Lisa, has rights and responsibilities to that child? Does Janet automatically have responsibility for the child who resulted from her partner’s infidelity? Does the father of that child automatically lose his paternal rights? There is neither justice nor common sense in applying the “presumption of paternity” to this case.
For opposite sex couples, that presumption of paternity was not intended to protect either the wife or the husband. The presumption was intended to protect the Marriage: under the presumption, the Marriage could survive the wife’s infidelity. In a same sex union, the presumption does not and cannot serve any such function. If one partner comes home pregnant by a man who is by assumption, outside the union, there is no purpose to be served by the law pretending something which can not be pretended, namely, that the other partner is the parent of the child.
For parental rights to be clearly established within a lesbian couple, some specific steps need to be taken, in addition to them establishing a legally recognized union and having sex. The paternity rights of the father need to be terminated. The parental rights of the second mother need to be established. Everyone would be better served by making these decisions explicitly, rather than implicitly. Glenn quite correctly noted that if a man donates his sperm to a sperm bank, he automatically relinquishes those rights. My point is that, one way or another, he must relinquish his rights before the lesbian partner can take up any parenting rights.
This is what the dissenting judge in the Washington state case was saying. The legislature has specified criteria for establishing legal maternity in the case of opposite sex couples. These criteria cover all the possible cases, including giving birth, sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy and of course adoption. Judge Jackson maintained that these criteria can be applied to same sex couples, without creating a new category of “de facto parent.” The couple lived together for several years after the birth of the little LB. Therefore, there was plenty of time for the lesbian partner to take steps to legally adopt the child. Since she did not, she was not a parent. No matter how nice she was to the little girl, no matter what the ladies talked about over the course of their relationship, she is not a parent. The court has no business making these detailed enquiries into the understandings of the parties. She didn’t adopt the child when she had the chance to do so. Therefore, we may presume that the birth mother did not give her consent to share parenting rights with her.
This would have been a superior ruling in both the Washington case and in the Miller Jenkins case. The two women would have had to confront the question of parentage directly. The lesbian partner would have had to ask herself, do I want to adopt this child and have all the responsibilities that entails? More importantly, the birth mother would have had to ask herself, do I want to allow this person to adopt my child and share all the legal rights of parenting that I have?
One may reasonably suspect that in both the Washington case and the Miller-Jenkins case, the birth mother was reluctant to assign parental rights to her partner. Perhaps they had misgivings all along. It is impossible to say in retrospect. But in both cases, the couples had the legal opportunity to do a second party adoption and did not.
The Washington Post published an article about the Miller and Jenkins case since I published my original article. The WaPo article reported facts originally unknown to me, which strengthen my original contention that these cases do not portend any good for displaced fathers. A social service worker advised the lesbian partner that she really ought to do a second party adoption. Miller and Jenkins now dispute whether they even discussed adoption as a possibility. But whatever they may or may not have discussed, the fact is that they didn’t do an adoption.
Moreover, when the birth mother first retained an attorney, she hired someone she found in the Yellow Pages. As it turned out, the attorney she randomly picked out, was a gay rights legal activist. That attorney advised her client that her partner had parental rights and she just needed to get used to that. The attorney applied her own rereading of the common law dictum, “children born into the union are the children of both.” She declined to advise her client that this legal presumption is rebuttable and that she had the right to try to rebut it. In my view, this was legal malpractice, but let that slide. The activist attorney made her position clear: the law should treat same sex couples exactly like opposite sex couples, even when they aren’t alike. This is the position of the radical marriage law advocates, as well as of the gay rights advocates.
This brings me to the second point: how much discretion should judges have? The marriage law radicals want to institute “de facto parent” as a status that supplements biological parents. Family law judges would have discretion to assign parent status to biologically unrelated individuals. In my view, the innovation of “de facto parenting” gives far too much discretion to judges.
Glenn seems to think that I ‘sympathize’ too much with the biological father in the Washington case who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple. My sympathy should be irrelevant. Glenn’s sympathy should be irrelevant. More to the point, the judge’s sympathy should be irrelevant. The only relevant fact is that he is the child’s biological father. Unless and until he relinquishes his parental rights, or the court terminates his rights due to his unfitness, he should be recognized as the father.
The institution of “de facto parenting” is in fact designed to break down the distinction between biological parents and the parenting function. To become a de facto parent, the person need not use the already established procedures for becoming a parent, through biology or adoption, or some form of surrogacy contract. A person becomes a de facto parent by convincing a judge that he has met some multi-part standard for care of the child. This system gives the maximum discretion to the judge.
I can not see for the life of me, how fathers can expect to do well in a system that allows people to present their sad stories to the arbitrary decisions of family courts. This is precisely the system that has served fathers so poorly up until now. Women are likely to prevail over men in any system that relies on generating sympathy and presenting oneself as a victim. Men don’t look like victims and they don’t like presenting themselves as victims. Judges, male or female, are more likely to view the “little woman” as the victim. And as Warren Farrell has pointed out, men are suckers when women cry.
On a slightly irrelevant note, I must say I found it amusing that Glenn described me as a “conservative columnist.” I actually think Glenn is more conservative than I am, in that he appears to accept things as fixed features of the social landscape, simply because they have been established through time and (relatively) long usage. But I am unwilling to accept as given things which I believe to be wrong.
For instance, I do not take as given the current legal institution of “anonymous sperm donors.” This legal fiction allows women to have children without having a relationship with the child’s father. This means that the woman is making a life-long decision that her child shall have no relationship with his or her father. Now I can understand why a woman might wish to do this. What I do not understand is why the law should assist her.
The law deliberately separates children from their fathers and mothers and fathers from each other. This separation is a completely artificial creation of the state, not possible in the ordinary course of male and female interactions. It is a profoundly anti-social act. There is no public purpose served by creating this permanent estrangement among individuals who ordinarily would be forming the most basic and most intimate of social unions. And incidentally, it contributes to the entirely pernicious social vision that fathers are unnecessary.
And why does the state do this? Simply because the woman wants it.
I accept as a fact that under current law, becoming an anonymous sperm donor is one way for a man to relinquish his paternity rights. But I do not take the institution of anonymous sperm donorship as a given. It is a deep injustice in which the state should decline to participate.
Glenn, I truly wish you well in trying to defend the rights of fathers who have been unjustly separated from their children. But I do not think the lesbian custody cases will serve that end.