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Christopher Handley Pleads Guilty to Possession Charges (Update 2)

posted on by Egan Loo
Iowa man faced charges stemming from seizure of package of manga

The Chicago Tribune newspaper reports that Christopher Handley has pleaded guilty on Wednesday "to possessing drawings of children being sexually abused." The Iowa man faces up to 15 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine, although sentencing has not been scheduled.

Handley was accused of receiving and possessing obscene manga, as opposed to child pornography, via the United States Postal Service in May of 2006. The judge in Handley's case struck down some of the charges against Handley and ruled parts of the PROTECT Act of 2003 unconstitutional for restricting free speech. However, Handley still faced charges for possession of obscene material because it was "moved in interstate commerce," and his defense had been negotiating a guilty plea for a possible lighter sentence.

Update: MangaBlog notes that the United States Department of Justice has issued a press release on the guilty plea. According to the press release, Handley's original package from Japan contained "obscene material, including books containing visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, specifically Japanese manga drawings of minor females being sexually abused by adult males and animals." With a search warrant, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service seized "additional obscene drawings of the sexual abuse of children" from Handley's home.

Handley pleaded guilty under "Title 18, United States Code, Section 1466A(b)(1), which prohibits the possession of any type of visual depiction, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct that is obscene." He also pleaded guilty to one count of mailing obscene material, and he agreed to forfeit all seized property.

Update 2: People who had commented on the Handley case included Handley's lawyer Eric Chase, Newbery Medal-winning Neil Gaiman, Dark Horse Comics manga editor Carl Gustav Horn, Eisner-nominated Manga: The Complete Guide author Jason Thompson, and lawyer Lawrence A. Stanley.

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