ObscenityCrimes.org Logs 70,000th Complaint

NEW YORK - ObscenityCrimes.org, launched in 2002 by the group Morality in Media, logged its 70,000th complaint on Feb. 23.


The site is designed to be a place to register complaints about possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws. The mission of the site, according to literature from Morality in Media, is to collect complaints from people who are unintentionally exposed to pornography on the Internet, or whose children are exposed to pornography online.


According to the website, each complainant must be at least 18 years old and is asked to provide the Internet address of the site he or she was unintentionally exposed to and not include any knowingly false or fictitious statements, since "the information you provide is forwarded to U.S. attorneys, and a federal law prohibits the making of a false or fictitious statement in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Justice Department."


It is not made clear on the website how many of the 70,000 complaints have led to investigations by the Department of Justice.


Statistics listed on the site show that large numbers of complaints come from historically conservative areas of the country, including Texas, northern Georgia, northern Illinois and central California.


"ObscenityCrimes.org was intended to provide a link between citizens, whose homes and children are assaulted by Internet obscenity, and federal prosecutors, who enforce federal Internet obscenity laws," said Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media. "The site was pattered after CyberTipline.com, which allows citizens to report possible violations of child pornography laws."


Peters said the success of ObscenityCrimes.org has exceeded expectations.

"Prior to launching the project, we wondered whether citizens would make complaints and whether the (Justice) Department would welcome these complaints," he said. "We now have more than 70,000 complaints, and after [the site's] launch, the Justice Department expressed appreciation for the project on several occasions, including in testimony before a Senate committee."


But Peters also noted there could be improvement in the area of Internet obscenity crime prosecutions, saying the Department of Justice and the FBI have focused more on curbing sexual exploitation of children and trafficking in women and children.


"These, too, are important battles, but 'adult' obscenity (hardcore pornography that does not depict actual children) also causes great harm," Peters said.


That harm, he said, includes sexual harassment and violence against women and the breakups of marriages because of addiction to hardcore pornography.