A man from Newfoundland Canada has just been charged criminally with possession of child pornography because he ordered a sex robot (doll) from Japan that has the appearance of a child.
Here’s the deal… a Japanese company that produces ultra-realistic, ultra-hi tech sex dolls has started to produce a line of sex dolls that look like children. For most, and me certainly included, this seems absolutely repellant. I don’t even feel a need to expand on this, but suffice to say that I, like most, am pretty disgusted by anything invoking the idea of sex with a child.
But I’m also a lawyer by training, and a pretty fair minded guy. So, as I think about the complexity of this, a few thoughts popped to mind:
- Charging this man with a crime? He has certainly done nothing to endanger actual children in ordering or possessing a doll like this. Isn’t one of the tenants of criminal law that there has to be harm done or attempted? Surely we have not become so big bother, though crimeish that its criminal to possess material that one would use to fantasize about awful, harmful and criminal acts. This is way too Orwellian
- And assuming this will be struck down as a crime, is it possible (just possible) that there may be benefits on having dolls like this available. Its is pretty well established in science that people with pedophiliac desires have no control over there propensity for that desire. They can control whether they act on it, but the desire is innate. And there is further science to suggest that the vast, vast majority of individuals with the desires desperately do not want to act on them… they know its wrong. And finally, there is filter scientific evidence that giving people with these desires a non-harmful outlet for that urge can play a positive role in helping them curb their desire to act on it in real life. So, what I am learning is that maybe its better that people like this guys from Newfoundland have a sex doll that looks like a kids… as it may help him not harm real kids.
The real world is messy and we are often faced with second best choices (thats a term economists like). And in this case, maybe these dolls are a pretty good second best option… because we cannot stop people from having desires that, for most of us, are extremely off-putting and dangerous.