Sexual-Materials Laws Challenged in Oregon

Article excerpt

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and the American Library Association's Freedom to Read Foundation have joined 13 other plaintiffs in challenging two state laws that criminalize the provision of "sexually explicit" materials to minors. Filed in U.S. District Court April 25, the suit says that the statute, which is aimed at sexual predators, is so vague that it could intimidate Oregonians from giving youngsters sex-education materials and other constitutionally protected works.

David Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, said that the statutes "do not take into account whether someone's intent is to harm the minor." Instead, he said, they "criminalize all acts of furnishing 'sexually explicit' material no matter who is doing it and no matter for what purpose." The group notes that under the law a 17-year-old girl could be prosecuted for lending her 13-year-old sister a copy of Judy Blume's Forever and advising her to "read the good parts."

The laws, which went into effect January 1, make it a crime to provide sexually explicit material to children younger than age 13, or to a minor under 18 if the intent was to arouse or satisfy sexual desire or induce the minor to engage in sexual conduct. …


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