Doe v. Boland, No. 11-4237 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
To help defendants resist child-pornography charges, technology expert and lawyer Boland downloaded images of children from a stock photography website and digitally imposed the children’s faces onto the bodies of adults performing sex acts. Boland’s aim was to show that the defendants may not have known they were viewing child pornography. When the parents of the children involved found out about the images, they sued Boland under 18 U.S.C. 2252A(f) and 2255. Section 2252A(f) provides a civil remedy to “[a]ny person aggrieved” by child pornography, while 2255 provides a civil remedy of at least $150,000 in damages to minor victims who suffer a “personal injury” from various sex crimes. The district court granted summary judgment to the parents and awarded $300,000 in damages. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. If Boland felt compelled to make his point with pornography, he could have used images of adults or virtual children. Instead, he chose an option Congress explicitly forbade: the choice was not protected by the First Amendment.