back to article US mums sue anti-sexting crusader

The mothers of three high-school girls threatened with child-pornography charges have fired back with a lawsuit that accuses their district attorney of retaliating against them for refusing to attend a "re-education program." The crime that George Skumanick, Jr., district attorney of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, believes …

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Paris Hilton

DA scum

We can only hope that most people will think trying to put some daft kids on the sex offenders register is bloody stupid and not vote for the money/vote grabbing git.

Paris 'cos she might have a loose one but the DA is a much bigger one.

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Flame

Polititard

This is something that always happens in the states. Some twat polititard

decides to run for higher office/re-election and then look for some issue to

give them a boost in the polls. These girls did *nothing* wrong, except exercise

poor judgement, which young people frequently do (and some of us old people as well).

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Ah, we've found the witch hunter general...

Reminds me of the 1700's when they used to use all kinds of punishments against people of this and older for doing anything vaugely un-churchworthy. It sounds like certain parts of the US have turned the clock back, or perhaps never moved forward although I always thought it was the south that was truly backwards.

They might also want to sue the school while they're at it for unlawful taking of the phones and when they win this, sue the DA for handling stolen goods. Not sure that'll go down too well in his re-election bid.

Either that or Barack - you've really gotta start sorting out the more insane bits of your country before it becomes more of a laughing stock than it currently is...!

Btw, wonder what happens if they move out of the state - can they still be "prosecuted"?

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Paris Hilton

D.A. Skumanic

George Skumanic, Jr. is a Republican in a Republican state, so he hasn't gotten the word that government oppression is considered a Bad Thing now.

It's good to hear that the minions of the law in Pennsy have so little major crime to prosecute that they can spend time abusing under-age girls. Being a Republican, I expect he has investigated them for witchcraft before coming up with this garbage.

Paris, because she has enough money to frighten off these muppets.

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Politicians thinking process

"those "naughty" photos we found during our probably illegal confiscation and inspection have aroused me

We must punish these wicked girls and their parents"

"Will no one think of my erection, Ummm I mean election?"

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Anonymous Coward

So what did these kids reveal?

This is where we have a problem with child porn definitions. Not only are they wider-ranging than adult definitions of porn--swimsuit shots?--but once the allegation is made the images are hidden.

It's quite possible that these three sets of parents are being hassled over swimsuit shots, but how can we know?

And, with an election coming up, this District Attorney can describe the pictures pretty much as he likes.

I hope the pictures are just swimsuit shots, and I hope the DA loses big before the election. There could be all sorts of things wrong with the course, but the basic idea isn't so bad. The trouble is, he seems to be acting as if there are no limits to his power.

There's no checks on his actions short of a court case. And better this than risk your kids being convicted of sex felonies.

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Anonymous Coward

Corrupt

He probably gets a kick-back from whatever commercial outfit is running these "classes" for each "offender" that he sends.

You might think that sounds over-the-top, but there was a very recent case (not much reported here) where two judges were found to have received payments from a private prison company for sending them as many "offenders" as possible.

Like this case it was in Pennsylvania, and like this case it involved children. Here's the Times' coverage:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5864483.ece

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Black Helicopters

where's the parents?

why the parents are allowing their kids to have "camera" phones is an interesting avenue to pursue here. There are still phones on the market that do not have cameras. This would still allow for texting and calls, but prevent the casual picture taking that leads to sexting. The pure text messages with explicit content I would think would fall under freedom of speech laws (unless you're a moral crusader) but lead to a good grounding with parents that actually keep tabs on their kids phone usage. I think the real issue here is that parents need to pay more attention to what their kids are doing and do less catering to their kids wants. But then that's been an increasing issue here in the states since the 50s.

Black helicopter because soon enough the gov will make it a nanny state if it keeps up in this direction.

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Re-education

"the girls must discuss why their conduct was wrong and what it means to be a girl."

The DA can get some tips on how to do this from the Chinese - it was a standard trick during the cultural revolution, to indoctrinate and brainwash anyone who dared to disagree with the party line.

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Alert

I thought Americans..

Had a fairly rapid approach to this sort of thing, either involving tar and feathers, or a shotgun.

Why do they keep wingeing about being allowed to keep their guns, if they won't use them to dispose of vermin like this?

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Unhappy

What an asshole

Title says it all.

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Pirate

Sue the school system as well

They definitely did an illegal search, they usually don't have the money to fight a big lawsuit, and it should force them to think twice about trolling through student's electronics.

Pirate icon because I'd like to keelhaul the whole lot of the bastards. Hang 'em all from the yardarm.

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Black Helicopters

Thanks, AC

I'm sure it's been around a long time, but I'm going to be using the term "politard" quite a bit now.

ta

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Love it love it love it

It's about time someone gave George Skumanick the old one two. He has been a bully in office for the last 20 years and it doesn't speak well about our elected County officials, either. Most people let him get away with it. I'm very, very glad that those girls families stood up to him. I support them every step of the way!!!

Here's another thing. He thinks he's beyond the law and that he doesn't have do very much to campaign for re-election....this isn't the first time he's embarrassed the county!

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Stop

@What An Asshole

You are so correct.

The parents should use all and every legal means to their disposal to de-rail his election bid. Support his opponent, heckle him at campaign appearances; get the local media to keep hounding him about his "judgment"?

The best way to rid themselves of this asshole is the application of the voters boot out of office. And if that does not work, then I suggest an ice water enema administered with a high pressure fire hose (then we all will know that he is not full of $#!t anymore!).

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Alert

Re: Corrupt

@AC: You mean like El Reg reported on the 18th Feb http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/18/pa_corrupt_judge_scandal/

Anywhos... While I might be a wee bit wary of my teenage daughter sendin' pics of her skimpily clad self around, I'd be damned sure I'd be considerably more pissed off at some stuck-up-his-own-arse Mary Whitehouse wannabe trying to turn her into a criminal for it...

Ordinarily I hate this sue-everyone-now culture, but on this one, I hope the parents win... and shame on the other parents for rolling over and playing possum

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Scum-manic

Nuff said

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Anonymous Coward

It's too late anyway

3 perfectly innocent kids now have much less respect for the law, authority and their country; not that they're thinking about that as they try to handle their new found fame amongst their peers.

"America polices the world"- it shouldn't be allowed to police itself.

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Pirate

Do an illegal search on the prosecutor

As previous DC convictions have shown, its the people who are most into this shit that seem to fight the hardest against it.

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The guy's logic fails

". Frankly, it's sad to me that their parents don't realize this is wrong and they should be encouraging them to take the classes"

"Parents thinking their children's behaviour was wrong" is not equivalent to "parents thinking their children's behaviour is criminal" or "parents thinking their children's behvaiour means they need to attend a re-education program". It's very possible for their parents to be standing up for their kid's rights without them endorsing their behaviour, and well done to them.

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Bend over country

"All of the parents and students knuckled under and got re-educated. Except for the three mothers who filed the lawsuit on Monday on behalf of their minor daughters."

The mind boggles. These "parents" must have lost all compass directions about the real world and think they are in some kind of dictatorship where Persons of State are to be unconditionally obeyed. Wonder why americans need guns when they can't even muster the rage to rough the DA up a bit when he visits.

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Let's do the math

The USA has a population of 300 million of which - according to the census stats - about 32 million are juvenile females of the target age. If we assume that the number without camera mobiles is balanced by the number of teenage boys who receive this 'child porn' and 22% are into sexting, I make it about six and three quarter million juveniles that they need to lock up for seven years to, er, protect the children.

Better start building them prisons, because factoring in the juveniles under 10 who come into the target category means that the number will go up by 900,000 inmates per year until the time the first wave of juvenile child pornographers are released.

That will stop the little buggers from being disrespectful and playing on my lawn.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not just America...

Ok - it's barmy we know (though the girls and their parents probably don't think so). But things are getting just as mad here in the UK. It's not all that long since a 15 year-old boy was placed on the sex register for having sex with his similarly-aged girl friend. Not ideal certainly - but criminal?

If we read a few history books, we find one of the first moves towards a police state involves criminalising as many of the population as possible - for therein lies control. It used to be communism - these days it's terrorism and/or paedophilia - all cynically used to scare the population into accepting measures no-one would otherwise dare suggest. Both the USA and the UK have a long history of witch-hunts - the populations of both countries seem incapable of ever learning the lessons. Once again, they may well end up with the kind of government they deserve...

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Paris Hilton

Two different things going on here

Sending nudie pictures of yourself to others is poor judgement (whatever your age. frankly). 'Poor judgement' is not code for 'criminal behaviour'. Children and teens should be discouraged from exercising poor judgement; but not demonised, still less criminalised for it.

Sending nudie pictures of someone else is a whole other kettle of fish. Depending on the (initial) recipient, child pornography charges are most likely a gross overreaction; but you may still be looking at a serious invasion of privacy, at the very least. You may argue consent, but:

1. A minor cannot give consent.

2. How do you prove any consent was not given under duress - and peer pressure is very real duress to a kid.

Unless there was an adult involved, the involvement of the criminal justice system seems inappropriate; but that doesn't mean that this is necessarily just the harmless sexual exploration that comes with puberty. If the girls objecting are the ones having their pictures put about, then maybe the senders do need little education in right and wrong.

Paris? A salutory lesson as to what happens if you let someone take naked pictures of you (as in that they'll get all over the internet; not that you can build a successful career out of them).

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@Bend over country

It isn't about losing direction, it's about what's the expedient thing to do. Most want it all to go away as quickly as possible and are more than willing to be doormats for this bugger. Sadly he most likely won't see this as railroading a bunch of kids and their parents, only more proof that he was right and he gets another feather in his glory cap.

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RW
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I just wonder....

What would happen if these "evil" girls went to the classes and diligently challenged each and every bullshit assertion made by whoever runs them.

It would also be amusing if each of them arrived with a recording apparatus so as to keep impartial records of the proceedings.

Don't fight the assholes: monkey wrench them.

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I'm surprised...

That no one has gone to the trouble of trying to set bastards like these up with "being in possession" of child porn. I think the best pics would be the under the skirt pics of a Catholic school girl or to have them in in a semi undressed state with the heads cropped. Of course you'd have to be sure to send the pics when these bastards are out it public and others can see them looking at their phone at the time, so that there are witnesses to the event. Shouldn't be too hard to do if you get his cell phone number and use a pay as you go phone. Just be sure not to send the pics from places you often go to or live at and not have the phone on in those places either. That way they should never be able to trace who did it.

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Twisted old fuckheads

As a child I was talking to my best friend about another guy from school, I said there was something queer (meaning odd) about the third guy. My friends earwigging mother then threw a shitfit convinced the primary school was a hotbed of prepubescent sexual deviancy and in the process destroying any "innocence" we might have had (such as only knowing one meaning of the word queer). At the time I remember thinking "What a daffy old poisoned bitch" but now that I look back decades later I can see that she was just a daffy old poisoned bitch.

It all seems to stem from getting your sexual mores from an invisible friend.

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IT Angle

No sex, please. We're American.

The silly girls should know that Americans don't have bodies and are delivered by a stork.

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If they're going to think of the children...

If they're going to think of the children... (at least not in the pedo way), they could at least do it in a worthwhile way: http://whatstheharm.net/children.html

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Anonymous Coward

@So what did these kids reveal?

That was explained in the article, wasn't it? Two of them were shown from the waist up wearing bras, and the third was wearing a towel that (OMG!) didn't cover her breasts. Now I don't know Pennsylvania law, but that certainly doesn't meet the federal definition of child porn.

In fact I would hesitate to say there is anything wrong with teenagers taking and sharing pictures like that whatsoever. Yes it's "risky" (and risqué), but risky and wrong are two different things. People take lots of risks in their lives and quite often they never regret it.

And if the likes of Mr. Skum kept their noses out of this, the worst that could happen would be a little embarrassment later on.

P.S. I'm all in favor of bringing back tar and feathers for this guy.

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Silver badge

Child porn ? Fuck off !

Let's make one thing clear : child pornography is when an _adult_ takes pics of minors in various states of undress or suggestive poses.

If the minor takes pics of him- or herself, it's no longer child porn ! It may be stupid, but it cannot be labeled as child porn.

This whole case reeks of zero-tolerance, overreacting do-goody twoshoes whose actions are way out of line with whatever the intent was. And I'd like to see a lawsuit come up to determine just how those pics were dug up in the first place.

After all, if American cops start random mobe searches in US universities and schools, I wager we'll hear a lot more about child porn soon, and possibly about regular porn as well !

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I am the paedo-finder general...

...and I find you all GUILTY of paedophilia!

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wtf?

Surely there has to be a difference between a 13 year old having semi-nude photos of other 13 year olds and a 40 year old having the same photos?!?!

Young teens are going to have photos like that from sleep overs etc, there is no criminal intent with that!!

Madness

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Alert

you're right

he's a total asshole (or arsehole as we like to say)

I suppose this wouldn't have happened if they had found pictures of someone having their fucking head blown off, coz that's ok. But show a nipple and go straight to jail.

AAAAARRRRRRRRRSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHOOOOOLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE !

I hope he hears that.

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Anonymous Coward

i cant beleive nobody else hasnt posted this

Pics or it didnt happen

anon cause i m ight be called a kiddie fiddler for that Jesting comment

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Who's wrong?

"Frankly, it's sad to me that their parents don't realize this is wrong"

To me, this quote sums up the problem with the whole saga. He has decided they are wrong, and is attempting to impose his morality and standards of behaviour on people who have different and more enlightened attitudes to it all. I'd be standing up and challenging him in court as well, just on principle. Although, the other option is to turn up to the classes and calmly challenge all the brainwashing attempts, but you probably have to be more mature, rational and self-confident than I remember being as a teenager to really succeed at that.

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Anonymous Coward

the whole

The whole child porn/child sex/peadophile roster of laws needs tearing up and writing by someone who is competent, sensible, not affected by the media , and not elected. These laws are for the most part badly written knee jerk bulls--- wide open to interpretation and abuse, and a large part are completly useless except for feel good factor and moral one up man ship.

But that'll never happen. I'm making a funeral fire over here for free will, choice, and justice if anyone has anything else to throw on it I'm sure it'll fit.

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good for them?

I know it is an unusual opinion, but perhaps if teenage girls talk and share images of themselves with each other (in a non-sexual way) then they will have a more realistic about what a woman should like rather than having to only look at unrealistic media images of women???

Isn't this another issue that we hear talked about and here we have children fixing it better than any adult has so far!

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What a boring life.

When I was a kid we were left unattended in a classroom and played "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours". Maybe we're more raucous in the UK but there's always a kid who'll get out his/her assets for a laugh, how's it suddenly worse because they're using camera-phones? If they were selling the photos on the net, then I can see, yes, it might offend our western sensibilities a bit, but they're not.

Although this reminds me of the case five years ago when a 13 yeard old got added to the (UK) Sex offendors register for looking at kiddie porn. (On the grounds that the porn was of adults abusing children.) It's hardly the same thing. Childhood would be f*cking boring if it was illegal to make a fool of yourself.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Destroy all Monsters, @ John

"These "parents" must have lost all compass directions about the real world and think they are in some kind of dictatorship where Persons of State are to be unconditionally obeyed"

Or maybe they looked at the options and decided that the risk of having their child sent to juvie for 7 years and being on the sex offenders register was far too great given the alternative was 5 lots of 2 hour boring lectures. Principles are great, but it is one thing to stand up for yourself and another to fuck your child's life up big time - remember that it is legally arguable that the said offenses were committed. Absurd, but legally arguable (the next step obviously is to prosecute under 16s suspected of masturbating themselves for child rape).

However, an important question is that if said politician has children then surely there will be something in the photo album that constitutes child porn, babies in baths type of thing.

"It's not all that long since a 15 year-old boy was placed on the sex register for having sex with his similarly-aged girl friend. Not ideal certainly - but criminal?"

Yes, criminal. The age of consent in the UK is 16, therefore if you have sex with someone under that age or have sex yourself under that age it is an offense. Without some reference to the specific case you are talking about though it is impossible to actually decide if the punishment was appropriate or not (it may be the girlfriend was really 10, or he was a repeat offender or something else that makes it more than just a couple of teenagers shagging).

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Like Mike Nifong

This guy Scum-anic is trying to get reelected using these girls, much like Mike Nifong tried to use the Duke Lacross players in his election. People who destroy other peoples lives for their gain should be sent to prison, and not the girls.

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Paris Hilton

Wanker

And unfortunately there seems to be a lot of these wankers around imposing their morality on others - particularly in the puritanical, 'Land of the Free' (ROTFLMAO), US of A where even low-slung, baggy trousers drives some into a state of apoplexy.

Next they'll be hanging drapes over statues with bare breasts lest someone gets a hard-on ... oh wait ... the American Taliban have already arrived.

Paris : Who can send me a ePic any day.

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xjy
Paris Hilton

Half a nipple time

I like the enema with freezing water delivered through a hose-pipe! A combo of tar & feathers, the stocks and a pillory would be nice too. Seven years in jail... Being paraded naked around the town with a big dunce's hat on... This could be made into a film!

Wonder why the Electronic Freedom Foundation hasn't been brought in (yet)?

Playing doctor should also be punished by seven years in a playpen..

Re-education rules!! Only in the bad old days when the West had to pretend to have some moral superiority over the Evil Empire, this was called brainwashing (or, during the Cultural Revolution, as Christophe mentions, "re-education" - fie fie fie!).

The Law, Sir, is a Ass!

Wanna make a quick buck? Start a pre-adult entertainment industry... or show a teenager wrapped in a towel during the SuperBowl.

(Paris, cause she might strain at a gnat. but she'd have no problem swallowing a camel)

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Value of sex-offender register?

If this is what it takes to have your name added, then soon everyone will know that being labelled a sex-offender means absolutely diddy-squat. Whatever value the register might have had will be reduced to zero.

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Stop

@Two different things going on here

Fair enough a child can't give consent but lets use some consense here i often think there should be a sliding scale applied by age (or possible IQ ) to use the uk as an example sexual consent is 16 but to star in porn is 18.

if i catch my 17 year old daughter texting her boyfriend half or naked pictures i'd probable except it (provided i liked the boy but in this case we will assume i do ) a they could be having sex anyway and be i'd trust i brought her up right and shes not stupid

if i caught my 15 year old daughter sending it to a boyfriend who was 15-17 i'd speak to her try not to be annoied and make sure it was her choice to take it and who got was her choice i'd warn her of the dangers of the pictures getting out and make sure she was happy

if i caught my 13 year old daughter send these pictures to any one that person recieving the pictures life would end either in prison or by me

but hey i'm relatively open minded as my family have always be open and honest about sex.

i know this the above only really applys to the UK and i suppose if the people getting the pictures were alot older 5+ years than my daughter at any age i'd investigate more

but in this case the photos don't appear to have been sent and was when the girls are with each other having fun

basically the DA is a Giant cock and while some education may be in order for the girls (inform of a gentle talking to by understanding parents (general mothers) if i was the DA i'd be investigating the school for invasion of privacy and child porn charges (after all they went into the phone to look at the pictures of the girls)

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eh?

Yes there's a spectrum, but the foolish children featured surely haven't got anywhere near the criminal offence part. I'm sure the parents do think the girls were wrong, talk about sledgehammer to crack a nut!

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Heart

"71% sent them to their boyfriends."

And of course 10% sent them to their girlfriends (statistically speaking).

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Anonymous Coward

@Mike Groombridge

I think you should stop your 8 year old posting under your account and also have a quiet word with his English teacher.

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You send me yours.....

This is almost identical to the you show me yours, and I'll show you mine (which lets face it happens to humans of all ages once they realise there's a difference).

The big problem is that there is a permanent record of it, the kids were too stupid to realise that the pictures could exist forever*, they need to be told (just the once, probably by a parent) but not attending a course for weeks, that's lame.

*Imagine in 5 years time the 18 year old bloke looking back at a 13 year old girls naughty bits he got sent remembering how it was great to be a kid, maybe a little smile on his face (oh yea, that would make him a paedo, and nobody in their right mind could justify that)

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