Protection Versus Privacy: U.S. Manga Collector Convicted For Possession Of Lolicon Material



Back in 2006, avid manga collector Christopher Handley’s life changed dramatically. Expecting to receive a new shipment of manga direct from Japan, Handley was greeted by his local police. The traveling package was marked as suspicious by U.S. Customs agents and protocol required them to open and inspect the contents. What they found among the various manga were seven books containing cartoon representations of minors engaging in sexually explicit acts, read loli-hentai.  Further search and seizure at his home revealed numerous anime related sites (animesuki, animenewsnetwork) and an extensive collection of animated DVDs, some being hentai as well.  A lengthy court battle ensued with the prosecution portraying Handley as would-be pedophile; the defense highlighting the fact he is a “prolific collector”, not one who focuses on specific lolita type manga, but all manga. 

Last week Handley pleaded guilty for lesser charges of possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material, although many feel Handley was duped into taking the guilty plea rather than continuing the fight. Now comes the sentencing part, Christopher Handley faces up to a 15 year prison term along with $250,000 in fines and of course the loss of his manga. For a collector this can be a death sentence and if imprisoned, the real death rates in prison among pedophiles is higher than other convicted felons. While he is not charged with pedophilia, I doubt convicts will understand the nuances of acquiring and looking at drawings of characters who do not actually exist when the U.S. government doesn’t grasp this concept either.   

 The 2003 Protect Act under which Handley was charged outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” I am not advocating any type of exploitation of children, but I consider manga having artistic value. At no time during the search of his home or computer records did they find real child pornography nor advocacy of it. Drilled down to the core arguments, this was a guy, who likes reading manga, who has a smaller collection of loli-themed manga engaging in sex acts, in his own home, who is now being punished for a crime, with a max sentence of 15 years. Once again manga are comic books, he is not abusing children and somehow this translates to justice. 


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13 Replies to "Protection Versus Privacy: U.S. Manga Collector Convicted For Possession Of Lolicon Material"

  1. Luna says:

    Stupid laws, I don’t see how this is wrong. I would think this is better than this happening to real children.

  2. Angelywind says:

    Why they don´t understand that manga and anime are just a world of FANTASY in everyway <..< poor guy $250,000 and 15 years -.-

  3. Velcor says:

    Torrents : 1
    Buying : 0

  4. Khaim says:

    He should had never even had it. As simple as that.

    Now on a stupider development: should be taken down on base of this?

    I still dont see a reason to consider benefical, if not downright bad to have lolicon manga with explicit sexual stuff

  5. Khaim says:

    This still does NOT beat the kind of restrictions that are around at Chile. They have practically forbiden hentai downright.

    • Velcor says:

      Mexico made a fuss about it around 4 years ago.
      Distribution of Hentai material on newsstands calmed a little but there are still a few strong mags around. . .

  6. Kuroneko says:

    i guess that’s the problem with this kid of material… its only taken serious on the wrong terms…

    nut not really as an art form… while i agree that he shouldn’t have had it or at least, i don’t know… find a way to be more discreet, nor am i a big fan of Lolicon (though I’ve read some), comics, manga, animation and such aren’t really treated as artistic material…

    especially more so when it deviates from their comfort moral/mental zone.

  7. Eric says:

    I guess the spirit behind the law making these fantasy representations criminal, is that it would encourge actual criminal activities against children. But then, what about the rest of all disgusting things we as a society are expose to through movies, tv, literature, music and even art and religion? This is such a double standard. And they would say, but can anyone find this to be a form of entretainment, and not advocating in favor of it, but again it is a hipocratic double standar, because we do find other disgusting crimes portrait on the afore-mentioned, as legal valid forms of entretainment produced by multibillion dollar industries. So we sit and watch, read or listen to all sorts of other type of, should we say “respected” and/or “legal”? criminal acts, to which they even give gramys, billboard awards, oscars, pulitzers, etc. While this guy is sent 15 years to prision. I wonder if he even knew what was the full content of every mag in the box. I do believe that all criminal acts portrait on entretainment have a negative effect on society, but find it disgusting a hipocrat to have this sort of double moral standard.

    • Sol says:

      It is a double standard. This is a trash in, trash out argument. I think the major point of contention is the “think of the children”. In this country, and a rise in others, children are easier to be morally corrupted. And if an individual MIGHT have the possible desire to influence a child in a negative manner, they are hit hard with the book.

      Japan however has a different culture about this and takes more of a prosecution of the crime against a child. When it comes to indecency and children it is a mine field, especially in the US.

      • Eric says:

        I wish we did think of the children. So doesn’t our “legal” entretainment industry morally corrupt our children. Why aren’t these companies executives behind bars? Do you honestly think, based on your strong argument, that a quick line stating “parental advice” recomended is enough to portrait sex on a Video Game that is obviously intended for children to play, like “God of War”? What about softporn that appears as advertisement on regular magazines that are sold without age restriction? What about Comcast showing actual porn on Superbowl night in Arizona? So a fine and a $10 discount to subscribers is ok for them whom actually DID influence in a negative manner moraly corrupting them, while this guy goes to prision for he MIGHT have had the intention or possible desire to influence a child in a negative manner? You know what, I’m not an American, and I’m not in America. But I am so amazed by how you are all lead to believe that you are actually protecting your children by portrainting the bad wolve on the wrong people. I have no simpathy for this guy. But the real big bad wolves are the entretainment and marketing industries that have feed so much trash, influencing our entire world morally, that it is unbelievable how no one really stands up for our children. Your strong and valid argument must be a straight forward one moral standard for all types of entretainment and publicly distributed media. Did you noticed how High School Musical 3 shows a clear gay like character that even flirts with another school boy? Isn’t that influencing a child negatively?

        • Sol says:

          I agree with you that “parent advice” may be inadequate, but there is a balancing act between self-regulation by companies and regulating bodies (gov’t). The ESA is a good example of this. However as civilization evolve so do their moral standards. Depending on who you ask this may be a good or bad thing.

          There are many who criticize media/fashion/entertainment industries for giving the wrong impression to children. You can look at Gossip Girl, Secret Life of a pregnant teenager, young girls that have “juicy” emblazoned on the back on their soffee shorts etc…

          I do agree with your argument that children should be protected, but there is a line between protecting a child and disagreeing with content as an adult then seeking to criminalize it. Which I feel the latter applied in this case.

          Children do need to be protected, but parental involvement goes much further than any regulating body can.

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