Christopher Handley, the manga collector from Iowa who pled guilty to possessing child pornography, has been sentenced to six months in jail, followed by three years of supervised release and five years of probation. The case is notable because the material in question was manga which contained only drawn depictions of illegal acts. Anime News Network has thorough coverage:
The seven books are:
* Mikansei Seifuku Shōjo (Unfinished School Girl) by Yuki Tamachi (LE Comics)
* I [Heart] Doll by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
* Kemono for ESSENTIAL 3 (THE ANIMAL SEX ANTHOLOGY Vol.3) by Masato Tsukimori et al (Izumi Comics)
* Otonari Kazoku (Neighboring House Family) by Nekogen (MD Comics)
* Eromon by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
* Kono Man_ ga Sugoi! (This Man_ is Awesome!) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
* Hina Meikyū (Doll Labyrinth) by Makafusigi (Seraphim Comics)
Each of these volumes of manga, according to court documents, contained minors engaged in sexual acts, sexual abuse on minors from adults, or minors engaged in bestiality. In addition, when law officials searched Handley’s home, they seized more than 1,200 items, including manga and other documents. However, most were returned to Handley after they were determined to not “constitute or contain contraband.” More than 80 books were retained. Court documents revealed that many of the books retained were from the anthology Comic LO (LO meaning “Lolita Only”). Handley admitted to buying the aforementioned seven books from a place called “cosplay café,” and told officials he had ordered “similar materials earlier from ‘Jlist’ in Japan and ‘Mand[a]rake.com.'”
The Comic Book Legal Defense fund had supported Handley earlier in his case, but was no longer involved after he pled guilty.
While many have questioned Handley’s conviction and the legal premise that drawn pornography should be treated the same as pornography involving actual people, the prosecution stated that Handley made it clear he was seeking out his material for its prurient nature:
As part of the prosecution’s argument, although Handley did not have any criminal history nor did he possess any real child pornographic images, Handley admitted he searched the Internet for manga with stories involving the sexual abuse of minors. The prosecution also stated that “The works at issue do not even have arguable scientific, literary, artistic, or political value, such as Vladimir Nabokov’s famed novel, Lolita, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or even Alan Moore’s recent, but controversial, graphic novel, Lost Girls. By the defendant’s own statements, the works for which he was convicted of receiving and possessing are clearly obscene.”
Because he cooperated with authorities, Handley will not be registered as a sex offender; however he will undergo psychological testing as part of his sentence.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.