While he awaits sentencing, a convicted pornographer continues blogging from his jail cell. Convicted two years ago on charges stemming from distribution of child pornography, he faces up to fifteen years in jail. He posts to freecasey.com as often as he can, via phone calls to friends and relatives who transcribe his words onto the Internet. The blogs have been temporarily disabled on the advice of Casey’s attorney, who “doesn’t want to take any chances” going into Casey’s sentencing hearing this week.

Although the details are shady, Casey’s arrest and prosecution arose from a New York Times article published in 2005 about an underage “Internet pornography star” named Justin. Convinced by the Times reporter who interviewed him to hire an attorney, Justin proceeded to give up the names of several other teenage boys whom he knew to be involved in the webcam Internet pornography business, Casey among them.

Casey’s conviction may well have been appropriate, and it may be true that justice was carried out in this matter. However, questions remain regarding the actions of the Times reporter whose initial intervention with Justin led to Casey’s prosecution and ultimate conviction. He is to be applauded for “saving” a teenage boy (Justin was eighteen when the reporter assisted him), but did he do the ethical thing in finding this boy a high-powered Washington attorney, helping him win prosecutorial immunity (provided that he cooperate in turning in other boys like Casey)– and then publishing an expose about the entire process?

In the hype surrounding the subpoena of Judith Miller to reveal her sources in the ex-CIA agent case, it was argued that once journalists become part of the prosecutorial process, they cease being journalists. This reporter may well have assisted a young boy in need, but in doing so, overstepped professional and personal boundaries.

–Laura Keane

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