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Posted 22 Oct 2001   For week ended October 19, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 18Oct01

By Kent Larsen

Porn Czar is Educator, Not Prosecutor

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Eight months into the job, Paula Houston says she spends most of her time is spent explaining what is and what isn't pornography to Utah's citizens, who have filed 1,500 complaints with her office during that time. Houston, believed to be the first state official whose role is solely to fight pornography, finds that most people need education about what is and what isn't legal. No pornography cases have resulted from her efforts yet.

Houston, who is an LDS Church member, explains that most of the complaints she has received are about Internet spam and pornography from outside Utah -- things she can't do anything about. Many of these, as well as many of the rest, are material that some people find offensive, but that is legal under current laws. She often advises filing protests with the material's producer because that material is legal, if offensive.

But, even if she had a case, Houston says prosecution isn't her role, "I'm not supposed to prosecute. I'm supposed to educate." Her boss, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, also Mormon, says that the first 1,500 complaints are proof that her role is necessary, "Those are the ones that decide if taxpayers dollars are well spent. In this state the concern about pornography is huge."

But, Utah ACLU attorney Andrew McCullough can't see any benefit, "She's harmless enough, but it's a terrible waste of taxpayer's money," McCullough said. "She is not doing anything important for society. She is making people feel good."


Utah's 'porn czar' handles 1,500 complaints
Phoenix AZ Republic (AP) 15Oct01 T2
Associated Press


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