CREEPER Act would turn law-abiding Americans into sex offenders

By Jeremy Malcolm . . . In December 2017 the Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots Act was introduced into Congress by Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and 12 bipartisan cosponsors. This more memorably-named CREEPER Act would expand the Federal ban on importation of obscene materials to include child sex dolls. Similar bans have resulted in the prosecution of doll owners in the United Kingdom and Canada, though the Canadian prosecution is subject to a constitutional challenge.

The concept of a child sex doll disgusts most ordinary people. So it’s unsurprising that experts believe these dolls are being purchased not by ordinary people but by pedophiles; those whose sexual attraction to prepubescent children is anything but ordinary. As disgusting as this attraction is to think about, it is not illegal to be a pedophile, just as it is not illegal to have other disgusting thoughts—unless you act on those thoughts by breaking the law.

This is just as well, because if it was illegal simply to be a pedophile, that would mean criminalizing up to 8 million Americans, which would more than double the existing population of felons. Since experts believe that pedophiles don’t choose to be attracted to children, it also seems unfair to criminalize them for what may be an unwanted condition, especially since most of them never go on to abuse a child.

While CREEPER would not make all pedophiles into instant sex offenders, it would do so for purchasers of child sex dolls. One of the justifications that its proponent gives for the Bill is the claim that 85% of those found with sex dolls in the United Kingdom also had possession of illegal child pornography, ie. images of real children being abused.

But that means that 15% of them didn’t, and that we would be criminalizing them for possession of what is, essentially, a masturbation aid. And since when is possession of something that is merely correlated with illegal activity separately punishable? Even though there is a correlation between those who purchase miniature ziplock bags and those who sell drugs, the possession of ziplock bags is not illegal; nor should it be.

In fact, the use of child sex dolls by pedophiles may actually reduce sex offending. The current scientific consensus is that pedophila is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured, but can be managed in ways that don’t harm children. For some pedophiles, sex dolls may be one such harmless outlet. Although there hasn’t yet been any peer-reviewed scientific research on this question, similar research on the availability of pornography shows that it is negatively correlated with actual sexual offending—including offending against children.

If this is true of sex dolls also, then CREEPER would do nothing to reduce the number of sex offenders in the community. It would do the opposite. Apart from instantly creating a whole new class of child sex offenders out of those who buy these dolls, it may also deprive non-offending pedophiles of one of their only legal sexual outlets, and perhaps drive some of them towards more harmful methods of sexual gratification.

The CREEPER Act’s preamble makes a number of untested scientific claims about sex dolls, such as that they “normalize sex between adults and minors” and “cause the exploitation, objectification, abuse, and rape of minors.” These assertions rely on the cherry-picked opinions of one expert, but they ignore or contradict the testimony of a growing number of other experts who disagree. What does seem to be agreed is that more research is needed on the effects of these dolls—whether positive, negative, or perhaps both.

We should also consider whether criminalizing the possession of a latex doll would be consistent with U.S. constitutional values. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the government to impose a blanket ban on the possession of sexualized images of minors in virtual or cartoon form. Since these too can be used by pedophiles as a substitute for images of actual children being abused, experts have supported pedophiles having access to them. It’s hard to see how dolls are any different.

It’s easy to understand how his revulsion for pedophiles led Rep. Donovan to introduce this bill. But revulsion probably isn’t the best impulse for us to be guided by when writing new criminal laws. The CREEPER Act is at best premature, and at worst could harm those it intends to protect. Let’s avoid making a new class of sex offenders out of those who may simply be trying to manage an unwanted sexual attraction in a way that keeps real children safe.

Jeremy Malcolm is the Senior Global Policy Analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Elliander Eldridge 3 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #32869 Reply
    Robin Vander Wall
    Robin Vander Wall
    Admin

    By Jeremy Malcolm . . . In December 2017 the Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots Act was introduced into Congress by Rep. Dani
    [See the full post at: CREEPER Act would turn law-abiding Americans into sex offenders]

  • #32952 Reply
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    D

    Once big government gets its foot in the door it just keeps going and going now you can rape plastic! Just admit it you want to make all men felons so the women can rule the world don’t think it has not be noticed. I say make small vibrators illegal too they might be fantasizing about a young boy while using it. Oh but it never goes the other way women are free to explore their sexuality to its fullest anything goes. They can buy vibrators to wear under their cloths so they can masturbate in public and nobody is saying anything about this. Of course we really need to get into the mind control and have a look at what everyone is fantasizing. This S6!!T has got to stop!

    • #33151 Reply
      Avatar
      R M

      While we’re banning things, let’s ban stuffed animals and baby bottles too. Maybe children or anyone with a teddy bear think of sex with a animal. Maybe babies and toddlers drinking milk from a bottle are training to be sodomites. The list could go on and on. Oh yeah, let’s ban… well, everything!

  • #32970 Reply
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    Tim Lawver

    I wonders about small dildo and vibes that look like child penis. Where that fits into this equation. Lord knows the sell a lot of sex toys.
    Where do we draw the line?

  • #33110 Reply
    Avatar
    Phys Ed

    The insanity never stops, but grows ever worse!

    Now child sex doll manufacturers are the new witches?
    Pile the ‘faggots’ of seasoned wood still higher, so that the witch is actually burned instead of just dying of smoke inhalation! “Inherit the Wind”!

  • #33119 Reply
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    theantifeminist

    Presumably the definition of ‘realistic child sex doll or robot’ involves anything that looks under 18, as with general laws on child porn. This wont just affect ‘paedophiles’ hoping to buy ‘child sex dolls’, it will mean the manufacturers of these dolls (and soon sex robots), at least in the USA, will go out of their way to avoid falling foul of the law. In other words, expect American sex dolls and robots to look around 30 with massive breasts.

    Also, a note on UK terminology on ‘child abuse images’. All ‘child porn’, which can include a 25 year old posing sexually dressed up in a school uniform, has to be referred to as ‘child abuse images’ under British guidelines. So when 85% of ‘child sex doll’s have been found to have images of children being abused, remember that a young looking sex doll is a ‘child abuse image’ according to the crazies who makes these laws.

    • #52317 Reply
      Avatar
      Elliander Eldridge

      @theantifeminist
      That is a very good point! For all we know, the images found on their computers were just the cache in their computers from when they went to the website selling the dolls in order to purchase them. Their laws would clearly interpret it that way. and since no one has said that any of them has ever harmed a real child, we can infer that the dolls helped them, which would mean that 100% of the time dolls have prevented harm to a child.

  • #33164 Reply
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    Raj

    Insanity that is America

    • #35785 Reply
      Avatar
      D

      Next we are gonna unemployed all those strippers in school girl dresses why is this not illegal too. We need to make illegal human sexuality I mean if America actually was honest about human sexuality what is normal and could read everyone’s mind it would be arresting everyone.

  • #33177 Reply
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    Saddles

    Robin I’m ashamed of you posting something like this. And your the person that said on here “and I can’t even go to church”. Sure we all have our ups and downs in this sex offender registry but sometimes its too much pressure to let this go to one’s head.
    Facing facts is facing facts. Excuse me ladies but women have always wanted to dominate every since the garden of Edren. Now lets don’t discuss that right now, everybody has their views. Women are no better than men ok…. We are all carnal by nautre if that loosens the pressure a bit. One doesn’t jump on women and than there are morals and things of that nature. What women do is their business just the same as men. Fact that gal could hallow rape on a man anytime and if their a sex offender who are they going to believe?
    Is this sex offender registry getting so out of hand that people assume that all women have their joy and folly with artifical stimulation devices. We shouldn’t even go there. We are all men and women and should conduct ourselves respectable. Sure some might have Christian ethics and sure offenses will come. I guess if one even looks at a woman to lust they are considered a sex offender. Lets take care of this registry thing first and formost. As far as myselfI’m thinking really hard to write a letter to the Government to get a redress of grivance to address a lot of this. Sure their are ways to rape in many wsays and raping the mind is no good. I believe we all still have a conscious

  • #33500 Reply
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    Saddles

    I want to correct myself to Robin as this article may help others or understand that “the creeper” mentality can get one carried away with a fetish of some sort but its the character of the person that makes the person. Sure we can all get in some sort of false value and want to go with an artificial type of human indulgence but that is a fantasy stigma and does not make us a “creeper type”. It is speculation at best.
    While a lot of us live in the real world and these sex sting operations and other sexual acts go on I have to say that the internet sex sting operations are the big tickets. Now I am not to pleased with these internet sting operations as well as others. Here is an article on this very issue that I hope everybody checks out. As far as the sex toys and stuff that is rubbish to some. I think we all gave our playboy and hustler magazines up years ago, and I don’t think that was kiddy porn.
    https://www.teensafe.com/blog/sting-operation-law-enforcement-catches-online-predators/

  • #33683 Reply
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    Peter

    OMG. They are idiots! Sex dolls must be absolutelly legal!

  • #33894 Reply
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    Chris

    Im not into them or saying I agree with these dolls but its not a real person/child. My point is Bestiality is Illegal but you can still go buy a Dildo that looks like a Horse, Dog, or quite a few other animals genitals. You can also make porn using them along with cosplay outfits to look like dogs or whatever animal. So whats the difference? It really should be to each their own sexual gratification if its not hurting anyone else. I thought this was the land of the free. Ha Freedom went out the window along time ago more like land of the Rules Regulations Laws and unsuspecting criminals without the King Of England if ya ask me.

  • #35501 Reply
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    John Smith

    Dear all ,

    Rest assured knowing once this law is passed which i have no doubts that the standing oligarchy will do, i will send these dolls to each of their home addresses just for a nice gift gesture. How very American of me. Hopefully Amazon has em to deliver at a poetic moment during family dinner. ( i will be sure to read up if its illegal to send it to them sounds to me like possession is illegal but ordering for a true friend to Capitol Hill is not?)

    Truly ,

  • #35631 Reply
    Avatar
    david

    I suppose plastic guns are OK.

    You know a big steaming pile of hypocrisy? Our lawmaker’s are RELAXING guns laws!!!! Hey i thought “if it saves one life” blah blah blah……

    I agree, child sex dolls, disgusting….but so are assault rifles, esp. the ones that have been used in school shootings, yet THOSE GUNS ARE STILL LEGAL WTF!!!!!

  • #48897 Reply
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    Bill

    #1. How much of a doll must be present to be punishable? What about a headless doll? Just the torso? Just the waist down? An arm?

    #2 how much detail is required to be applicable? A plain white mannequin with no face?

    #3. What about a life sized barbie doll or Disney teen character doll? Couldnt that be used to fulfill sexual desires?
    What about if you remove the clothing of the barbie doll, is it now a sex doll?
    A lot of parents would be criminalized when their daughter removes the outfit with this bill

    These arguments must be shared with the legislators

  • #49916 Reply
    Avatar
    Chris

    I am the kind whose OCD gets ticked when people use human nouns to name inanimate objects, like call Amazon’s Alexa “she”, or that atrocious talking head that Abyss Productions has created for their Real Doll line of sex dolls. These THINGS are not alive, so why do we even debate this? Toasters, remember! Unless we even suspect self awareness of these intelligences we strive to create, let us not forget we are dealing with objects. Again, toasters!

  • #52308 Reply
    Avatar
    Elliander Eldridge

    I remember reading a very interesting study years ago. It was the single most comprehensive study on sexual deviancy I ever found, as it impartially examined the laws and crimes of countries around the world spanning decades. I wish I could find it (if anyone knows of it, please let me know! It would help with my criminal justice minor) but suffice to say, these were the results:

    When pornography as a whole was criminalized in a given country, the rates of rape and sexual assault went up. In countries that specifically outlawed bondage porn cases of rape were significantly higher. When evaluating child pornography, some countries had bans on just production while others had a ban on mere possession with differences. Overall, the rates of child sexual abuse were lower than child porn was available, but the same reduction was observed in cases of simulated child porn.

    The reverse was also true, meaning that when things were made legal crime rates went down proportionally. This was observed in countries around the world. Be it a country that never had sexual freedom before, or a country that had sexual freedom, then lost it, then gained it again.

    The study was quick to point out that since real child pornography is produced through an actual crime (as opposed to bondage porn which can be between consenting actors) they do not in any way support the allowance of real child porn – and neither do I.

    While the study did not evaluate sex dolls (to the best of my knowledge), the results would seem to apply here: By outlawing a doll, it can increase the rate of sexual assault against children by eliminating an outlet. Even those cases of individuals who were found to have had real child pornography may have been in the process of trying to get a handle on their conditions, and nothing I have read suggested that any of them ever directly harmed a child so it can also be written that 100% of the individuals found to have a child sex doll in the UK were innocent of harming real children themselves (although, again, the production of child porn itself harms children).

    There’s actually an interesting analogy we can look at though. According to Arizona revised statutes Title 13 criminal code 13-3555 – 13-3556 , even a verified real adult consenting to a sexual activity can be interpreted to be a child if the adult in question either “masquerades” as a child (meaning pretends to be one through appearance or action) or is referred to as one in either a production description or a title, this adult is interpreted to be a child for the purposes of prosecution. Additionally, a verified adult who acts like a minor, or even one who doesn’t but is implied to be one or referred to be one in the title of a given work. When combined with 13-3554 which says it’s illegal to have sex with someone you believe to be a minor or should suspect to be a minor (even if they are an adult and you never thought of them as a child) it is fairly obvious that Arizona is trying really hard to criminalize consensual sexual activities between adults as if it involves children for the same arguments made against dolls. But then, this is the state that convicted a man of changing his child’s diaper because he couldn’t prove that there was no sexual motivation in doing so, which, really, no one could prove, so if any American state is a good reference of how extreme laws affect child trafficking rates it’s them.

    and, a quick search later, shows a series of reports from 2017 showing that there has been a recent increase in sexual assaults. So, yeah, having such extreme laws in place only creates more victims. This should be evidence enough to counter the arguments made by the bill sponsors.

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