Friday, December 2, 2011

Sticks, Stones, and Camera Phones

    “The charges against your son are very serious, Mrs. Dédé.  The Gérémie family in particular is pushing to have him tried as an adult sex offender and unfortunately, they have some pull with the District Attorney.”

   “Yes.  Clarice Gérémie is Augustine’s first cousin but I’ve known Clarice since our cotillion days and she always was a spiteful witch.  My son is an honor student and a gifted violinist who just happens to be bi-racial.  Clarice is trying to lynch him because that alley cat daughter of hers sent him a few suggestive pictures and now everyone in our set is saying that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” 

Throughout her twenty-year career as a public defender in the juvenile court system, Cynthia Knapp’s greatest satisfaction had come from making sure that young people, especially young black men, got a fair hearing.  She worked hard to keep young brothers charged with petty crimes like constructed possession of narcotics out of jail and she pushed for sentencing provisions that would help even the violent offenders rehabilitate themselves. She regularly referred clients to psycho-therapists, GED classes, and job training programs no matter how their cases turned out and she kept a closet full of Goodwill suits and dress shoes in her office so that her clients could look their best in court regardless of their financial circumstances.  Money would not be a problem for the Dédé family, she surmised but the case was one of the thorniest she had encountered. 

    “The laws governing new social media technologies are not well defined, Mrs. Dédé.  Edmond has been charged with felony distribution of pornographic materials involving minors.  If you all could clarify for me how those pictures ended up on his Facebook page, it would help me develop a strategy for his defense.”

    “It’s all very simple but no one will listen to my baby.  They kicked him out of Saint Andrews even though he’s never caused a moment’s trouble before.  I’m going to sue them all from here to kingdom come as soon as this farce of a criminal trial is over.” 

    “Yes, but how did the pictures like this one end up on his page?” Cynthia asked, pointing to the evidence on her computer screen.

   “A bunch of sleazy girls got a notion to take naked pictures of themselves with their fancy cell phones and send them to my son after he starred in the school musical.” 

    “They started an Edmond Dédé fan club site.  It was a joke,” said Edmond. 

   “I should charge them with corrupting an innocent.  My baby never asked anyone to send him nasty pictures.  Did you, Edmond?” 

   Edmond shook his head.

    “But you did post those pictures to your Facebook page?” Cynthia pressed.

Edmond nodded.

    “And you invited your friends to see them?” 

  “Not my friends,” Edmond protested.

    “If they had access to your Facebook page, they must have been your friends.  Or friends of your friends.  Don’t you have any privacy controls on your account?” 

   “I don’t understand this whole Facebook thing anyway,” broke in Mrs. Dédé.  He has hundreds of ‘friends’ on there but he says he didn’t want his real friends to see those pictures.” 

   “So you posted naked pictures of these girls on Facebook to show to people whom you don’t consider ‘friends?’” 

“They’re just a bunch of guys,” Edmond shrugged.

    “But you wanted them to see the pictures even though you wouldn’t show them to your ‘friends?’”

    “I wanted them to stop calling me names.”

    “Did you anticipate that they would post comments and call the girls names instead?”

    “They think I’m a punk because my mom’s white and I play music instead of sports.  They kept posting nasty comments on the fan club site.” 

   “Oh sweetie, you can’t let other people label you.  It’s who you are inside that counts.” 

   “I just wanted them to stop saying I’m gay.” 

    “Well are you?” Cynthia asked, cutting to the crux of the case. 

   “I don’t know,” Edmond murmured after a long pause. 

What do you think about “sexting” cases?  Should juveniles who circulate suggestive pictures of themselves or their peers through social networking media be prosecuted for distributing child pornography?  If convicted should they be required to register as sex offenders?  Can a minor be held criminally accountable for receiving pornographic images even if they were not solicited?  How should parents, school officials, and the courts handle the kind of cyber bullying that drove Edmond to make a very poor decision?

The real Edmond Dédé was a free man of color born in New Orleans in 1827.  He moved to Europe in 1857 to further his musical studies and earned some renown as a violinist and composer.   He married a Frenchwoman and settled in France, returning to New Orleans only once in 1893.

Here is a link to a performance of Dédé’s “Rêverie champêtre:”

And if your dolls would like a sleek shag cut like Cynthia Knapp’s, here is a tutorial on making the wig:

 À Bientôt


  1. Well, I can not see charging a minor for sexting under a charge of child pornography. It can certainly be considered as bullying in some cases. Some type of consulting would be needed to determine if this is a case where one person is trying to seduce another or whether several people are bullying another. All of that takes time and money, I know. But it is money better spent when they are young than later.

    I'm thinking that even if we are talking about seduction, someone needs to teach why electronic seduction might backfire on the seducer.

  2. Hi Ezekiel's daughter. Thanks for commenting. I don't think any of the parties in this case was trying to use the "sexting" photos for seduction but you raise the question of whether a person who publishes suggestive photos of him or herself on-line is guilty of producing pornography. And what if a couple consensually creates photos or videos of themselves in intimate scenes and then shares them on-line?

  3. Great story and great questions. It was just late last year that I even knew that sexting would lead to people being labeled as sex offenders. I think labeling children as sex offenders for sexting is just wrong on all levels! There needs to be another charge other than that. A sex offender label pretty much ruins a person for life. How can we allow that to happen to kids who for the most part, weren't trying to harm anyone. You had some classic lines in that story that brought a smile to my face. Love momma's look and son's moustache and tears.

  4. Hi Vanessa,

    Thanks for your comments. Edmond is one of my 50 cent finds from the last doll show. He has a perpetual silly grin which made it hard to shoot him in a serious story. I'm glad the tears worked for you.

  5. Interesting story, Limbe Dolls. Yes, the tears were effective. I like the close-up where Mrs. Dede's hand touches her son's hand. That struck me as a moving scene and not something I think would ordinarily be shown.

    Oh and I like how you gave Edmond a slight moustache. I don't like the top he wears - reminds me of these new male "cleavage" tops that I saw on the JLS dolls and singers. Not a good look IMHO, lol.

    As for minors and sexting: if a minor sends a nude photo of himself or herself, I wouldn't necessarily charge them. Reprimand, yes. Label sex offender, no. If the minor were to post photos of someone else - another minor or not, then, yes, I would fine their spiteful a$$. I wouldn't label them a sex offender, though. I would reserve that terminology for people who actually commit some physical activity.

    I am so glad we didn't have texting/sexting back in my teen years. The level of meanness today couldn't be reached as easily then as it can be now.

  6. Thanks for your comments, D7ana. Edmond is a High School Musical doll with a shorter, slimmer body than regular Kens. I put him in the outfit that my Jake from the Liv series came in because it was just about the only thing I had that would fit even though I thought it was a bit casual for consulting with an attorney.

    Not only am I glad we didn't have "sexting" back in the day. I am glad I didn't have kids so I don't have to deal with this stuff now. My nephew, who will turn 12 next week just got a cell phone. I hope he will get some instructive benefit from the story.

  7. Hello from Spain: history is very real. With Internet and the new technologies we are not out of danger. In the television of Spain is emitting a called series 'Law and order' and they dealed with a subject similar to the one your history. Very good photos and the clothes of your boys are pretty. I like the close-up where Mrs. Dede's hand touches her son's hand. Very lovely. Keep in touch

  8. Hi Marta,

    Thanks for your comments. I suppose the problem of "sexting" could even be international if minors from one country send suggestive photos to minors in another country. Could one country then prosecute a minor who is not a citizen or resident?

  9. Hello from Spain: The answer is difficult but I believe that really the guilty are the parents not to control what their children by Internet do. The solution is not easy. We follow in contact of blog blog

  10. I was sent here from who had a picture of a doll with an afro wig, shown here I was told that you make them. My little sister really wants one for her barbie doll, and I was wondering if you sell them on Ebay or Etsy?

  11. Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for your interest. I do not currently sell these wigs on eBay or Etsy but if you email me:

    We may be able to work something out.

  12. Dear Lady Elaine,

    Thanks for taking the time to read the story and comment.