"Alleged"

| Comments (2) | Misc
In the comments on this this post about unredacting digital photos, Adam Roach writes:
Here's something that's confused me about the coverage of this case: whenever referring to the man in the pictures, the media has taken care to describe him as an "alleged pedophile."

Alleged.

Based on the descriptions of the portions of the photographs that haven't been published by the mainstream media, these are photographs of the man having sex with clearly under-aged boys.

I can see how you would need to be careful if you were attaching a name or specific identity to the statement -- any identified person would merely be an alleged pedophile until the case goes to trial and a conviction is obtained.

But the man in the photos? The man in the pictures that depict him engaging in pedophilia is a pedophile.

Well, yes and no.

First, I haven't seen the pictures—and no, please don't send them to me. So, I can't attest that they represent pedophilia at all. Rather, Interpol and those who have seen them allege that they do.

Look at it this way: the dude's face was obscured. Someone unobscured it. I think it's reasonable to assume that the unobscuring actually got the original face before the transformation was applied. On the other hand, it's certainly possible that the face we're now seeing was photoshopped onto the body of someone engaging in pedophilia (Rugbyjock, one of the Fark photoshop regulars, specializes in photoshopping people's heads onto gay pornography). If that were true, then while I guess it's true that the pictures show someone engaging in pedophilia, the referent of "the man in the pictures" starts to get a bit fuzzy.

To get a little more exotic, it's possible that the original source material was of someone having sex with under-age boys, but that the adult's face and body has been photoshopped to look quite a bit not like him. At this point, the referent of "the man in the pictures" starts to get extremely fuzzy. And then there's the possibility that the pictures were completely photoshopped, for instance, by photoshopping adults to look under-aged.

Do I actually believe any of these things are particularly likely? No. But they're not impossible and that's the sort of doubt "alleged" is intended to preserve.

2 Comments

Interesting side note....apparently one component of R. Kelly's defense in his child porn trial is that the videotape was altered.

Didn't you mean to say, "Adam Roach allegedly writes?"

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