Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« Keeping It Real | Smoke-free Nightlife, Cali-sty... »

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Re: The Justin Berry Story: Webcam Porn

Posted by on December 21 at 14:43 PM

I had a long email exchange with a friend about the Justin Berry piece in the New York Times on Monday. Like Josh, we were uncomfortable about the story told in the piece and some aspects of the piece itself. Here’s our chat…

I am sitting here reading the NYTimes article on the kid who ran a porn-cam biz from home starting when he was 13. He made tons of money, and did it on his own. Why am I not understanding why this is anyone’s fault but his own? Or maybe half his fault? It is creepy, but he could have turned off his computer at any time. Help me on this. V.
the problem here is the long-distance grooming behavior that lead this kid to engage in this behavior. adults plying him with praise and gifts, in hopes of gradually seducing him - granted, at a distance - into performing for them sexually. he wasn’t old enough or mature enough to consent to be a porn star. he was bribed, really, into performing sexually for strangers.

and eventually it lead to real-time, real-life abuse. that’s where the grooming lead - and he was abused, it seems, not just by strangers, but by his own father.

it’s sad, and he’s party responsible. but he was 13 when it started, and therefore not capable of making decisions like, “Do I want to be a porn star when I grow up?” the operative words being “when i grow up.” he was a child. through the Internet, men entered his bedroom and talked him into making porn. that’s illegal - communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, etc. i wouldn’t want guys talking to DJ about sex, or asking him to remove his shirt or boxers, in front of a webcam at age 13.

adults exploited him. that’s the issue. yes, he exploited himself too. but they were adults and he was a child.

and he’s going to be fucked up for the rest of his life, sexually at least, because of this “business” of his. he is, in a sense, ruined. he could have grown up to be a well-adjusted porn actor, if that’s what he wanted to do, or someone’s very nice-looking boyfriend.but now he’s going to be a mess.
dan

So when I finished reading the article I got to the gross stuff, but let's say that he never met anyone in person and just had his web cam—still explotive? Not saying it is healthy or good or that I would want DJ doing it, but he seems like an adult at that point. He still seems like he had all the power,if it is just the web cam. The in-person shit is gross, though, I agree. V.
well, it's illegal to watch child porn even if a child is making it. the law sez, and i agree with it, that a minor isn't mature enough to consent to all sorts of stuff - including appearing in porn.

i mean, did you notice the times in the piece when kids who were doing this were threatened with blackmail if they stopped? they didn't anticpate that - cuz they're kids, not mature enough, naĂŻve, not savvy. but the adults manipulating them into doing it in the first place were able to use the screen grabs they'd already taken to essentially force them to keep doing it. consent goes out the window.

and, again, a minor can't legally consent to this. and an adult can't legally watch or consume or encourage it. and for good reasons.
dan

after finishing the article I woiuld make the argument that the Times is exploiting him as well. yikes, what a sappy ending. V.
YES! that's exactly what i thought.

the piece has a sappy, exploitative, self-satisfied quality. and the story didn't need to be illustrated with all those pics, either. what privacy will this kid have now? he's once again basking in the attentions of adults, adults who he believes care about him. but it they did, they would have told him to keep his name and face out of the paper. there's a salaciousness to the layout and the storytelling in the piece, and he will regret consenting to it one day.
dan

the writer and the TIMES are making a buck off of him and his image just as the creepy men on their computers. the writer is much more sanctimonious about it however. I must admit that I read it because it was provacative. V.
that's the prob with writing about this stuff. you almost can't avoid salaciouness. dan

CommentsRSS icon

I agree, either way this kid is going to be a mess. I am a social worker who works who juveniles victimized in manners similar to this kids. I hope that he gets the help he is going to need so he himself does not perpetrate against others in sexual or other violent ways. I also hope the adults involved go to prison for a long time.
What a mess.

Dan, this is a classic confused young man who turns out to be homosexual story, but writ large on the internet. The facts:

1) Experimented w/ men, first online then IN PERSON. That's a big step. As a teenager no less. Straight teenage boys tend to be obsessed with girls and the mysterious body parts related to.
2) Exprimented w/ women (maybe I'm NOT gay), online, in person but with paid professionals (no emotional contact) and under heavy influence of drugs alcohol.
3) Heavy use of drugs/alcohol to numb...
4) Religious guilt fostered by Baptist mother and grandmother that he wants nothing more than to please.
5) Right now he seems to be in the last-ditch-effort phase of embracing religion (If I had a nickel for every gay man I've heard of that went to seminary school) to quash the "evil urges".

Unfortunately the internet seemed to provide him with the most unhealthy way to discover his true sexual identity.

While, I am not condoning the actions of Justin Berry, you can hardly hold him accountable. No one can understand, in depth, through a newspaper article. When he DID turn off his camera, his father encouraged him to turn it right back on. Ridiculous. And for the record, he isn't gay... I'm sure through the article, it could have been interpreted as so, but really, the kid is straight.

In a nation where an 11 year-old is ruled triable as an adult in criminal court, I can certainly hold Justin Berry accountable for acts undertaken with free will. After the first time, where, at 13, he was paid $50 to remove his shirt on his webcam, Justin Berry entered into an accelerating spiral, but one of his own choosing & largely of his own design.

Where Eichenwald's piece makes it sound as if young Justin was receiving offers of thousands of dollars out of the blue, the details say otherwise. As young as 14, Justin Berry was advertising himself for what he was willing to do on cam, was setting prices for various acts, including visiting his admirers to perform acts of more-traditional prostitution, and was orchestrating competition among these men that drove his prices ever-skyward.

Had he been a Fortune 500 CEO, his stockholders would have voted him a bonus. Instead, while someone mature enough to create this criminal enterprise, there was still a child-part of him that was impulsive and reckless. This led him into drug & alcohol abuse. From the news of our Hollywood celebrities, it's easy to see that plenty of adults are still part-child as well. Shall we absolve them similarly?

Lastly, when confronted with overwhelming evidence of prostitution, pandering obscenity, and contributing to the delinquency of minors on his part, Justin did what any Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, or Jeff Gannon would do: he admitted his sin & promised to overcome it with the help of Jesus (and a reporter-cum-advocate from the New York Times, an all-expenses-paid drug rehab, a fully-paid-for attorney, and a sweetheart deal with a Federal prosecutor who knew Justin was the subject of a sympathetic piece to run in the times).

Justin Berry is part angel & part devil. Eichenwald, in this story, largely airbrushed out the devil, leaving us with a distorted picture, one painted by a journalist with a definite point of view & a personal involvement in Mr. Berry's life.

Berry is culpable for the lives he ruined, Eichenwald is culpable for tossing the canons of journalistic ethics out the window, and we are culpable for our tacit acceptance of a social system in which both of their "crimes" were not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Is Justin Berry gay? Maybe. So far, the public has yet to see him engage in sexual activity with anyone where he didn't have a financial motivation, so the jury is still out.

Yet, he says he was looking for a girlfriend, and is recovering from his ordeal with the help of God. Many who have been publically outed as homosexual turn to the formula of overcoming the sinful temptation through Jesus. Check out the Jeff Gannon case for a good example.

So, Bunker sees him as gay, Whatev sees him as straight. I see him as a rather shameless opportunist and manipulator taking advantage of public revulsion over homosexuality and the gross excess of panic welling up in this country over children, sex, and the Internet.

I am appaled to learn of this. I know Knute and Justin from his massage place in Mexico, and there was a controversy here about webcams in the massage rooms while people disrobed. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that maybe my naked body and my wife's is on the internet somewhere. If this is true, may he rot in hell!

While I don't condone what happened to Justin, it sure seems like he brought a lot of this on himself and was more that a willing participant.
I had a similar situation happen to me when I was younger with a neighbor (nothing to the extent of Justin) in the pre-internet days.

i knew justin and greg mitchel personally and i just want to say that greg is very manipulitive. he will do anything to get his way and considering that plus his size compared to justin it is no wonder he was able to control justin in the way he did. as for the guy who said my justin rot in hell. lets keep in mind that justin was very easily made to do things that maybe he didnt really want to do. i spent a lot of time with justin when was with greg and i know that he is a good guy deep down he just got pushed down the wrong path. when i needed someone to lean on he was there for me i only wish he could have leaned on me as much. it breaks my heart to know this happened to him and i hope that all works out for him b/c really he deserve it after the things hes been through.

I can feel for Justin. I admire him for telling his story on Oprah, it takes nerves to say what happened to him.

Kelly: You're just plain wrong! You'll hear more.

hi i think it is sooo good what justin did it took alot of guts i was watchingn oparah today and i was like omg good job justin i would have just stopped and not tell but justin good job!

I agree with the above statement that Justin was somewhat responsible for what happened to him. I'm sure that a boy of his age, especially a smart one with honors, would have eventually known that something was up the minute someone told him to take off his pants, though most will say that childhood inoocence would have steered him clear of that gut feeling. And someone who knew so much about computers would know about how fast things can spread the minute you put them on the internet. I am very impressed that he was able to build up the courage to go on Oprah dispite death threats. I only hope that he will be safe and that he can continue along the road to recovery.

Dearest Justin, we all do things that may be good for us and mabie not good for us i know that im not perfect, i have done things that i thought were good for me at the time. I have done somewhat the same things in my life but i had to go and live it to see if it was for me me.
I have to admit i injoyed everything i have done to men. i mean i was getting so much attention intimently, sexauly, romance i was being spoiled going out to candel light dinners, movies, it's all fun..besides i was making them happy as my self.I think you will be ok God is with you always..God loves you. God understands everything it besides it realy dosnt matter what anyone else thinks anyways....my prayers are with you always Sincerly, Joseph

OMG!!!!! I just watched the oprah show and was horrified. Then coming onto this site and seeing where people are throwing blame on JUSTIN.....Get A Grip People. There are sick, evil individuals out there are in postions to harm other children on a daily basis.What are we doing??? We should all be asking what we can do to help so this won't happen to other kids. I know that we can't stop it all but I pray I can at the very least stop it from happening to my own son.

i cant beleive there are websites out
there like this, does anyone know what
they are called

why does everyone focus on one thing is he gay, he wasnt coming out he was revealing a deep secret he could no longer hide, yes he knew it was wrong but as a child ther very easy convince into to doing what ever and then feeling start taking part and its hard to turn back cause things feel so good, until your tired of being used, and feeling cheap and having to hide it from the one you love thats whats more hurting so i believe that his sexuality is his own business, he's been throught enough let him live

I just watched Oprah's show, and I truly agree with Oprah about how kids are lured into these type of things. This isn't something a kid would automatically agree to if all of the sick and disgusting things were laid out immediately. I blame Justin Mother for not being involved with understanding what his son was doing with all of his time in his room behind closed doors, and then the trip to Las Vegas that Justin took at the age of 16 by himself. Why didn't his mom check out where he was going and with whom, and how things were being paid for. My son attended a football tournament in Las Vegas, that I chose not to attend with him. Although he was with trusted people, I still researched the event, as to where it was being held, the times my son would be participating, where he would be staying, where he would be eating, and whatever activities he would be doing inbetween, inwhich everything was verified because I stayed in communication with him randomly throughout his stay there. So, yes I blame his mom for not researching where his money was coming from, and what type of activity he was doing, online, and behind clothes doors. Then for Justin to be able to continue his activity in the rented apartment, and his mom didn't even know about that. Where was she all of this time, that he was doing all of this, and when he was taking the drugs. The NY Times reporter was able to see how strung out Justin was on drugs, why didn't his mother see any of those signs. Or, did she. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered by his mother. I am very proud and thankful for Justin sharing his story on the Oprah show. It helps validate the awareness that I need to stay informed to try to protect my kids. Thank You Justin, and God Bless You.

The problem is that everyone is looking for someone to blame. Everyone is asking all the wrong questions. Who cares if Justin is gay or not. That's his choice. Why are we judging? We should be asking ourselves how we can help other children from getting into this situation.
And for all these people that keep saying God bless you this and that, While blaming his mother or saying that he's partly responsible. What's wrong with you? In the bible we are taught not to judge. You should be happy that it didn't happen to you and be praying that God will forgive you for judging him and his family. We need to be asking questions like, why are the adults that participated in this whole ring of prostitution of minors not arrested? Why did it take so long to finally rescue his friends? Justin didn't tell his story to get people to feel sorry for him. He wanted people to become aware of these predators that lurk for innocent children.

Justin Berry -


Thank you, Katie for saying something that needed to be said. Justin's sexuality, be it gay or straight, is not the issue here. The issue is the protection of our children. The issue is the EDUCATION of parents and the caregivers that have the best interests of children in mind. The issue is awareness that this can happen, not only at soccer practise, or at church, or after school. This can happen in your own home. To put blame on Justin at this point is ridiculous. Justin should not be judged, he will judge himself for his role in everything in his own time. He probably already does, and it won't help him if he ever stumbled upon comments such as some of the ones above.

What is the first thing that a victim does when a crime is committed against them? Especially molestation or rape. Victims blame themselves. Justin is the victim here. People shouldn't forget that. The important thing here is he is using his voice to help other children NOW.

My heart goes out to Justin, and I sincerely wish that I had some way of writing him a letter. He is a brave, brave, brave boy who grew up too fast. I also hope he gets the help that he needs. He will do great things to help children in his lifetime, I can guarantee it. THAT is what we should be focused on.

Because of what happened to him, he is an expert. An expert in the subject of child pornography, as well as an expert on pedophiles. He is also young enough for kids to really listen to. He posseses the power to change many childrens' lives and I sincerely hope he uses his expertise in such a way.

What can WE DO? This is my question. What can an average citizen do to help?

Oprah has set up many charities and programs and ways of helping people, I think this is yet another avenue that needs to be explored.

Not necessarily by her but by a collective group of people. Mothers and fathers would be a good start.

One idea: a website that educates parents and kids?

Justin, wherever you are, Good Luck to you on your journey through life and no matter what, keep your head held high.

Dear Justin,

I think you are very brave and courageous to come forward and tell your story. It saddens me that this has happened to you! I think the there sould be a BAN on web cams. God Bless You Justin, I wish you all the best!!!!

this is stupid he new what he was doing al along he just wanted to have sex sex sex!

My heart goes out to Justin, now his whole life perhaps runined. The thing to remember it was the ADULTS, the so called leader, instructors, care giver who are SICK. These people knew his weak points, its sad, all he wanted was a FRIEND, sure a good option turned out wrong. I give him a standing ovation, for stepping to the fore and now making all of us aware. Think about this, how many more victims are trapped? How many???

There is an awful lot of material out there on the web about Justin. The message boards from eb15.com have a lot of information as do the public court documents from the two criminal cases against Justin’s partners, which are available through the Federal Courts Pacer system. From this it is possible to make up a timeline of Justin’s activities since he turned 18. It is quite interesting.

July 24, 2004. Justin turns 18. About this time he starts advertising his services on the internet as a “male escort”.

Nov. - Dec, 2004. Justin has a dispute with his business partner, Greg Mitchel, and quits the webcam business. His sites go dormant.

May, 2005. Kurt Eichenwald discovers Justin and starts communicating with him. Justin supposedly has no idea that Eichenwald is a reporter. At this point Justin has been out of the webcam business for about 6 months.

Mid-June 2005. Justin and Eichenwald have apparently been communicating for several weeks now. For no apparent reason Justin travels to Virginia and makes a deal with his former business partner Greg Mitchel to start up Justinsfriends.com. Mitchel brings in Tim Richards help set up the website.

June 19, 2005. Justinsfriends suddenly becomes active again. Richards and Justin whoop up the site and Justin starts doing shows. EB15 advertises Justinsfriends.com. At this point Justin is almost 19. The site has a statement that all performers are over the age of 18.

June 19-25. Justin puts on several shows (these are legal, Justin is almost 19). On June 25 Justin leaves a message on the eb15 message board saying that he has to go to Mexico for a few days for business. (Justin’s dad, Knute, is in Mexico).

June 30, 2005. Eichenwald meets Justin in Los Angeles, and supposedly gets Justin to agree to quit. At this point Justin has been back in business exactly 11 days.

July 3, 2005. Justin puts on a show. (So much for his promise to Eichenwald).
July 4, 2005. Justin pays 2 young men $80 each to put on a show.

July 5 or 6, 2005. Justin telephones Eichenwald and claims that his business partner Greg Mitchel is chasing him because he has quit (but he hasn't) and Eichenwald flys Justin for Texas for rehab etc.

So Justin has made some mistakes in his young life.(He was most definitely a child when this all began....he needed more guidance than he had at that time). Many of us (myself included) can remember how this feels. What matters now is that he gets out and truly makes changes. I hope it is not too late for Justin and that he will be able to be a success in life doing something honorable. Telling his story on Oprah was a good way to start.

God bless you Justin, and shame on your father for encouraging this instead of being horrified at what had happened to his child.

Justin may be 19, but he's not naive. He's still a very attractive young man, and has many years of sex ahead of him, should he choose to follow that path, whether it be with men or women -- it really doesn't matter -- I mean, is it really that important to know the sexes? I think not.

However, I believe he's "damaged goods" at this point, and may God help him thru his life from here on. I admire his decision to help others in his past position, and I truly hope it has an effect on the impressionable young people in the world we live in. It's a tough order, and kids will be kids. The parents really need to monitor their kids correctly.

Predators will exist for all eternity, but it's important to spread the news about them and minimize the damage. Get with the program, folks. The world has changed, and we all need to be aware of those changes.

-RJC

Stephen: You're timeline is interesting. Not sure the facts are exactly correct. It's only a small part of this story. The rest is yet to be told.

After reading so much about this Justin Berry case, I am inclined to believe that Justin knew from the beginning what he was doing.

He isn't the "completely" innocent teenager that people are trying to make him out to be.

RJC above said that Justin was damaged goods ? I doubt that very seriously.

I do believe that the only reason Justin went on Oprah was because the report\cop that found him out and met him eventually threatened him in some way and told him he better "switch sides" or face certain repercusions.

I just saw Justin on Larry King with the NYT reporter and I couldn't help but wonder if this was another exploitation in his life. I mean people make choices about things and even at a young age you know what is right and wrong, even my 1 year old dog knows this. I do feel it is a bit of gay bashing with all the comments made and nothing said that the vast majority of these sites are of young women or girls. I was especially taken aback when the talk of his great new girfriend started. I'm sure all America was happy to hear he was "normal" again. It was intersenting to learn that he went back to the business when he was 18 and 19! He seems like a smart kid and I'm sure he will always be out there promoting himself in some way or other. Sorry but this is the reality of the cyberspace world we live in.

Hey wasup Justin...i think that it is very brave of you to tell yo story on live tv,im watching it right now.You have alot of courage,and i look up to you for that..p.s. Stay strong dude mad love..

The funny thing is that this really has nothing to do with Justin's culpability. This has to do with adults who prey on children, willing or no. I think some of you fail to realize that at 13-16 children are not emotionally or mentally stable and developed enough to effectively make the choices that are being thrown at him.

The child brigades created by the ex-President of Liberia are accepted as a "crime against humanity," and you yahoos think that this child's actions should remove some sort of guilt for the adults who encouraged the behavior?

These adults are the issue. They need to be removed from society. They are destroying our society by destroying our youth. They must be removed from free society immediately. The fact that they weren't is criminal on the government's part.

While some of you want to deify and other demonize this very troubled young man, the real culprits have gotten away with sexually molesting him and other young people. His agreement, tacit or otherwise, doesn't change what the adults did, so why not focus on the 1500 adults who willingly encouraged the behavior and got enjoyment out of watching and/or having sex with children

Thanks to people who decided the story was about justin and not 1500 pedophiles, they are free to find more kids to exploit.

little prick deserved it, i dont think he complained much about it when he was getting all them gifts. Now what more money off a book, or mabye a movie? give me a break

I must apologize when I say that I am a taken aback by the arguments as to what degree of responsibility Justin Berry should acknowledge he had in the midst of what took place in his life. The reality remains that if there hadn't been an audience, he would never have been lured into the life of what he did. The fact that these 1,500 or more men "preyed" upon Justin and used him to satisfy their own depraved appetites is the issue — because I fear one of them might be someone I know. If that were the case, I would want to know. It is difficult enough to attempt to raise a child in these trying and often turbulent times let alone now fearing to even let your child out of the house for fear of what might become of them. Thus, you pray that others will look out for your child as you would — such as his/her teachers, friends, neighbors and so on. Yet to discover that one of the predators is someone living right next door you? Who cares what Justin did? I care more about the depraved predator living next door that paid money to see him do it. As one woman said in an interview having deal with sexual predators like that of who went after Justin — "the only time [we'll] ever stop is when [we] are dead." That is frightful to think. I raised two boys who are now just entering their thirties and I am blessed to say nothing like this ever happened to them. Yet, knowing so much about where the world is going, the scars are still there because they now don't want to have children .... what do they have to offer them? So they help look after others. Am I am proud of their caring nature toward those children already caught up in the mess of this world. Consequently, whatever Justin did I really don't care about and will not spend one minute attempt to ascertain to what degree should be his responsibility. All I care about is catching the 1,500 or more men that paid into his service and then putting them behind bars. Until then, every child is a potential target, and times-a-wasting trying to ascertain what is really not the issue. Just a thought.

STEVE BRACK, you are a crank... a total headcase.
Justin was victimed. Period.

Shane: I was thinking the same thing, is Justin again being exploited? By this reporter? others with their anti child porn agenda, even if their hearts are in the right places. The fact is Justin now seems like a sitting duck, 1,500 people are very ticked off at him, and one has been reported as telling that Greg guy, "if Justin is talking to the authorities he would kill him," That is what I fear for Justin, that at least one of these 1,500 people are going to want revenge, putting his live in danger, and who put it in danger? The reporter by (possibly manipulating Justin, again) persuading Justin to come forward?

Plus I see it this way, even though it was wrong for the adults to feed his website, Justin had to know what he was doing, too many unanswered questions, why didn't he stop? Why didn't he go to someone for help? Why did he keep going on these "sex trips?" Why did he start up his business again after he turned 18?

Justin appears to me and being ADD, and possibly Bipolar, and possibly liking being the center of attention. But as was stated above, what choice did Justin have when this reporter came calling? Justin could have just figured he would have to open up so to speak, make him look more of a victim than he was already, to get people on his side AKA more attention so he can "get out of the possibly trouble." The thing is, WE DON'T REALLY KNOW THE TRUTH. But it is hard enough having someone come to you saying they would spread rumors about you and try to manipulate you in doing something, let alone if they had proof. Even Justin did it himself to another young teen, Justin seen the other kid as competition for a #1 ranking and MANIPULATED/THREATENED that kid into shutting down his site or Justin would send the pics to his parents? Justin seems to be manipulative as well. How did those other kids get involved with this? Did Justin have a big role in getting them involved in child porn? Or was he a major player in persuading other kids to do it? Or the only one? e just don't know, but looking at this from all sides Justin doesn't seem so innocent, and it leads to questions on what he did in the past, why he agreed to come forward, and his future.

We cannot really speculate on Justin's past, too many questions, many will never be answered. But I see him as being in the wrong place yet again, with going to the press, on TV, in front of Congress, being exploited or exploiting himself yet again, and possibly putting his life in danger. I hope I am wrong, but I am guessing when all the attention dies down, and Justin sees that a lot of people did not consider him that innocent, he will turn again to where he can get attention, back to doing porn, I see this happening within the next 18 months. It is what he knows, he seems to have enjoyed it, and now he will have the possibility of having one of the biggest audiences in the world, as those who did not know of him in the past, now know of him, as he would be like a celebrity, look at porn sites that have videos of celebrities, they are a huge hit.

I hope I am wrong, but I just see it ending up that way, Justin going back to porn.

I also agree this is not and should not be about if Justin was gay or not gay, that does not matter. If anything this should show every one, including parents that this is like a DRUG! It could happen to ANYONE, even your child, if you think it cant then you are BLIND as those parents thinking your kid could/would never do drugs. Speaking of parents, I cannot blame Justin's mom, but I am sure she is feeling very guilty for not seeing the signs. We do NOT know everything that went on and did not know what she knew, as well as what she didnt know. She was like most parents and she even delt with kids like this, it was the "Not my kid" syndrome, as well as she was manipulated.

I've apparantly been in a stupor or something because I just heard about all of this and saw some of the Congressional footage of Justin Berry. I agree to a certain extent with almost all of you. The most important thing is to protect our kids. In order to that you must accept certain realities. For example, like many American boys, my parents were divorced. My father an alcoholic. My mother married and divorced three times. I was physically and sexually abused as a child from the time I was 4 yrs old. I confronted my mother when I was 30 yrs old and a father of three girls only to find that she knew all the time. Her basic response was, "it was so hard to find a good babysitter back then." OK so there's my crybaby story... Guess what, I never raped anyone and certainly never touched another kid. I was a virgin when I got married and have never cheated on my wife. No one ever touched me in an abusive way after my 13th birthday because I told them I would scream to the mountain tops and call the cops, as I was doing everything in my power to put them in the hospital.
It is important to recognize that Justin is most certainly partly to blame for all he did after the age of 13 because your kids may have friends just like Justin. Besides, Justin isn't going to straighten out his life at all without recognizing his own responsibilities in his life.
Yes, there's lots to learn and lots to do regarding child abuse and child exploitation. Still too many people involved here are doing the same thing... exploiting the situation for financial gain, or to fulfill some sorted fantasy. Who knows how many people in that room while Justin testified or in Oprah's audience already "knew" Justin because they'd seen him naked on their computers - including the cops, the members of Congress, the news people, the clergy, and everyone in this chat room. One of the reasons such stories are so compelling and draw such a tremendous crowd is because many more people lust after children and love to at least hear about these stories than anyone wants to admit. Often times the people most crying wolf are the ones you most need to protect your children from. Many have gotten rich off this and many more will continue to get rich exploiting this story and the kids involved, including our dear friend Justin. That kid is a genius when it comes to business... yes, he's a victim and a victimizer. He was a kid and blah blah blah. Wrong is wrong, period. If you want to protect your kids, you have to recognize ALL of the threats around them, including the other kids...

These days a six year old knows how to yell "stop or I'll tell". These days 13 year old kids are calling the police on their parents for disciplining them when they refuse to clean their rooms. I agree that all child abuse, child manipulation of this kind, child pornography, etc is dead wrong but let's be careful not to give all the children a free ticket to freedom of responsibility. You don't help them doing that. Too often we teach our kids they don't have a choice or have no control over the environment they live in especially against older people. Of course they do and we better show them how to make correct decisions. Like all the recent cases of teachers having sex with their willing 13 or 14 year old students. Sure, put the teacher in jail and take away the teaching license. But also place sanctions on the children that they can't make any money from book deals or movie deals about their stories or benefit in any way from their wrong doing (yes, their wrong doing. Remember we aren't talking about a child that is kidnapped and forced to do things against their will here or otherwise coerced beyond their control - that of course is a different story. Punish the adult at their level and hold the child responsible at their level). Restrict their lifestyles in ways that will teach them about consequences to wrong choices.
We try to get people to stop taking drugs, stop smoking cigarettes, or stop abusing alcohol. The only form of success we've ever really had has come from educating the potential users (or victims if you will) of the "evil" substance. Many child abusers are friendly and look to excite the child's physical and emotional appetites. They aren't looking to hurt them in any obvious way that might scare off their prey. Don't lie to your kids about the reality of those feelings and appetites. They are human beings and it feels good when someone touches you sometimes. Most abusers don't kidnap, beat, torture, or murder their victims. Little boys and girls touch themselves all the time to the horror of their moms (especially when it happens in public) because it feels good. Period. Don't be shocked by the obvious and don't scare your kids into thinking there is something wrong with them if they like it. Children must learn (and a 13 year old can certainly understand) that just because it feels good doesn't mean it's good for you, or it's the right thing to do, or that it will bring good consequences into their lives. You want to stop child abuse? Continue to put all abusers in jail (Hell, kill them all if you want and invite me to the party) but focus your preventative efforts on kids and teaching them to make responsible decisions (a three year old understands that if you put your hand in the fire of a stove you're going to get burned). Teach them they are more in control of their destiny than anyone before ever wanted them to believe. They are powerful and can make the right decisions in many of these cases. Antifreeze tastes sweet; you might actually like it if you drink it; but it will kill you because it's poison! Just because it feels good doesn't mean it's good for you. AND TEACH THEM THAT TELLING ON BAD GUYS IS NOT A BAD THING TO DO!!! Teach them that everyone older than 8 years old knows to keep their hands to themselves and if someone tries to touch you let them know forcibly you don't want them to. If the person touches you anyway, tell on them right away (in fact tell on them just for bringing it up in the first place) no matter who it is that did the touching - some times it might be best to make sure you don't say anything until there are other people around to protect you when you say you're going to tell but you can still tell. I'm so sick of hearing kids and even adults say, "I'm not a tattle tale." TELL THE WORLD WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE AND TELL THEM TO KEEP THEIR HANDS TO THEMSELVES. Every child must know how and why to say that and do that if we're ever going to get a handle on this problem. Justin Berry is a perfect example of someone who should have known to say no. Yes, he was a victim (and to a degree still is a victim I suspect) but he got out of it what he was looking for in many ways with little or no regard to the price he would pay later. He was able to understand that concept at 13 years of age and probably did know to some degree. Someone should have made certain he understood it at long before his first encounter with a child abuser. Let's make sure all of our kids understand fully before it's too late.

If Justin Berry would have molested an eight-year old girl when he was 13 years old. Would any of you have said he was too young to know better or that he was only a victim of his circumstances???? A 13-year old boy knows more about life than most parents want to believe.

This whole Justin Berry thing is complicated, it cant just be black and white, thing of ALL the circumstances. 1. Justin was a 13 year old boy who was getting money for something as easy as showing himself off. It was a sweet deal in his eyes and you cant blame the kid for that, he just got ahead of himself and didnt realize the consequences. At the same time, he isnt a complete moron, he should have known at least a little that this would lead down a bad path. Also, the mother has to be the largest blame for all of this, no child can hide things from a good parent, I cant even sneak into my house without saying goodnight to my mother. At the same time, Steve Brack is right, Justin is a detriment to any future child Molestation cases. The Father is another factor, encouraging his son to do these things is the most sickening thing, he should be locked up. I just think Justin should be left to think about his life so far, where things went wrong and figure his life out and how he will grow out of this. I wish him the best of luck.

Justin Berry is just another story of willing prostitution. His speech falls short on the details of how he kept coming for more "action" once he got paid the first time. His mother either is an idiot or a prostitute herself, since she didn't notice from where her kid was cashing those large bills. This "kid" knew what he was up to from the begining, no doubt about it. Early homosexuality or previous sexual contacts with others kids are left out of his "excuses" and the blame is put onto the adults for whom he was an easy and desirable prey. No kid agrees to meet with someone the age of his father on a motel or a private spot just for the sake of "making friends". Wonder why he mentioned that he didn't have any friends around, not his age at least and decided to take on this instead. This guy knew what he want it from the begining. Maybe he was already having sex with some more grown up kids earlier on his life, maybe he was truly molested at a much more young age. But the fact remains that he really make a huge amount of money of this "abuse" and turn into a profitable source. Where did the money went? Therapy, I seriously doubt it.

There are a lot of sick people in this world,it's time that something will be done about it.Justin must have been very lonely to do this,I feel children that are left home by themselves too much are inclined to look for some excitment not realizing what can really happen. I hope in time he will get straightened around,i think he is very brave to speak out about these men that have used him how tragic,his father doesn't deserve the title father,I sure wouldn't want a father like him.I sure hope these men will be punished for what they have done to him.

There are a lot of sick people in this world,it's time that something will be done about it.Justin must have been very lonely to do this,I feel children that are left home by themselves too much are inclined to look for some excitment not realizing what can really happen. I hope in time he will get straightened around,i think he is very brave to speak out about these men that have used him how tragic,his father doesn't deserve the title father,I sure wouldn't want a father like him.I sure hope these men will be punished for what they have done to him.

I am entirely shocked at the responders here who are judging Justin's behaviors and decisions the same as one would an adult. Children are NOT adults and do not have the capacity for the kind of critical thinking that might otherwise have changed the course of the events that followed. I am a gay man in his 40's, and having had my share of questionable contact with older men in my youth, I am now of the mind that young people might not be capable of adult thought until their mid 30s. As such, the actions of a boy between the ages of 13 and 18 can hardly be criticised for his lack of restraint. I've seen it asserted here and elsewhere that he shares responsibility for all that happened on his websites and with other children he committed the acts with. Is no one familiar with the statistics that abused children often become abusers? Thrown into a world of child pornography it only makes sense to me that an impressionable young boy would make a plethora of questionable decisions when looked at in hindsite with adult sensibilities. It hardly makes any difference at all if Justin is gay or straight. He was abused, no matter if he initiated the first act by removing his shirt for $50. The fact remains that he would not have taken that first act if there had not been encouragement by an adult on the other end of the computer pulses. For goodness sake, look at the next 13 year old you see and try to imagine him or her waiting for an opportunity to be sexual for the pleasure of adults. I cannot imagine that anyone could see anything other than the fragility of youth, moreover that anyone would want to do anything other than protect and preserve it.

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).