Alvin Greene Cops A Plea to S.C. Obscenity Charge

COLUMBIA, S.C.—Pity poor Alvin Greene. Having risen from complete obscurity to become the Democratic challenger to incumbent Jim DeMint's seat in the 2010 U.S. Senate race—besting the far better-known judge and state legislator Vic Rawl in the process—Greene has now entered a pretrial diversion program on the single misdemeanor charge of "communicating an obscene message to another person without consent," even though there's little doubt that if he'd gone to trial, he would have won. (Though, on the other hand, he is black, and this was South Carolina...)

As AVN previously reported here, Greene, an unemployed veteran, allegedly showed sexually explicit pictures to Camille McCoy, an 19-year-old coed, in the computer lab at the University of South Carolina, from which Greene had graduated in 2000, then asked if he could come to her dorm room.

"It was kind of scary; he's a pretty big boy," McCoy, who is white, told Mother Jones magazine. "He could've overpowered me."

McCoy's paranoia aside, and though the incident was allegedly captured on the university's video surveillance system, prominent D.C. attorney Jonathan Turley commented on his blog that the mere fact that Greene sat down next to McCoy and asked her to look at the porn website that was then on his computer screen "is usually not enough for a criminal charge."

"Moreover, it is hard to imagine that the police could show for sure which image was showing on the screen at the time," Turley opined. "There are often complaints of people watching pornography on airplanes or college computer labs. Such conduct can result in expulsion from a public area or even a school, but rarely rises to the level of a criminal charge. We will have to know more about the case to see why this resulted in an arrest."

Greene was also charged with a felony, "disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity," but after Greene, as expected, lost the election to DeMint, no more about the case was made public, and he quickly faded into obscurity once again—until June 6, when he accepted the Richland County prosecutor's offer to enter a pretrial diversion program which would expunge his record of both charges after completing a course of counseling and community service.

"I'm denying it," Greene told Associated Press reporter Jeffrey Collins after accepting the prosecutor's deal. "This is all ridiculous. I didn't do that stuff."

Of course, the charges, which came out early in his senatorial campaign, were "a God-send" to Republicans, who were universally overjoyed at Greene's candidacy. And why wouldn't they be? The inarticulate Greene had no campaign committee to speak of, tended to give speeches to supporters lasting less than a minute, and during an interview with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, it took him upwards of 10 or 15 seconds to formulate his replies to Olbermann's questions—and even appeared to be coached in those answers by an off-screen presence. Even the execrable DeMint would have no trouble surviving that "assault."

So count Alvin Greene as yet another poor slob who'll have to serve time (albeit merely doing public service and attending counseling sessions) because he didn't have an attorney who could challenge his accuser's version of events—though again, considering that Greene is black, his accuser white, and that the case would have been tried in a state that, until 2000, still flew the confederate flag from the top of the State House dome, perhaps he made a pragmatic decision after all.