Megan's Law and the Protection of the Child in the On-Line Age

American Criminal Law Review, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Megan's Law and the Protection of the Child in the On-Line Age


Professor Nadine Strossen v. Professor Ernie Allen Moderated by Mr. Walter Pincus April 15, 1998 Georgetown University Law Center

PAUL KAPLAN: Good afternoon and welcome to the Third Annual American Criminal Law Review Debate. My name is Paul Kaplan. I'm the Editor-in-Chief of the ACLR and it's my pleasure to welcome all of you to the event this afternoon.

This debate series was inaugurated three years ago to mark the ACLR's twenty-fifth anniversary at Georgetown, and this event is the centerpiece of our summer issue each year. Past events have brought a number of noted and vibrant speakers to campus, including Alan Dershowitz, Johnnie Cochran, Stephen Bright, Akhil Amar, Judge Alex Kozinski, and the late Judge Harold Rothwax. Today we are very pleased to add to those ranks once again.

To introduce today's participants to you, I'd like to turn over the event to the organizer of this debate, the ACLR's Executive Editor, Robert Kwak.

ROBERT KWAK: Thank you. My name is Robert Kwak and I'm the Executive Editor of the American Criminal Law Review. On behalf of the Journal let me also welcome our distinguished speakers, students, faculty, and members of the administration to our annual debate, this year entitled "Megan's Law and the Protection of the Child in the On-Line Age."

Before I introduce today's participants, a word about our format. Our moderator will direct each question to one participant. He or she will have five minutes to respond, and our other speaker will have three minutes for rebuttal. At the end of the debate each participant will have five minutes to make a closing statement. I now have the distinct privilege of introducing our distinguished guests.

Ernie Allen is the co-founder, president, and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Based in Arlington, the National Center is a private, non-profit organization which has aided in the recovery of close to thirty-nine thousand missing and abducted children. In addition, his organization helps to train local law enforcement to combat child abduction and exploitation, operate the child pornography tip line in cooperation with the United States Postal Service, and has recently established the Cyber Tip Line, allowing individuals to report incidents of child pornography and sexual exploitation through current on-line services.

Prior to his current post, Mr. Allen worked in public service in his native Kentucky as Director of Public Health and Safety for the city of Louisville, and Director of the Louisville Jefferson County Crime Commission. Mr. Allen, a graduate of the University of Louisville and the University of Louisville School of Law is a member of the Kentucky Bar. In addition to teaching at his alma mater, he has held faculty positions at the University of Kentucky, Indiana University, and has served as visiting faculty at Northeastern and the University of Wisconsin. We are honored to have him here today.

Debating against Mr. Allen is Ms. Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union. Founded in 1920, the ACLU is considered the nation's foremost advocate of individual rights. It has been involved in some of the most famous and infamous litigation in our nation's history, including' the Scopes anti-evolution case, the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and most recently in overturning the Communications Decency Act. Ms. Strossen was elected to her current position with the ACLU in 1991 after serving as general counsel to the organization since 1986.

In addition to her duties at the ACLU, she is a professor of law at New York Law School, where she teaches constitutional law and international human rights. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. A native of Minneapolis, Professor Strossen graduated with high honors from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review. …

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