Sex and 2007’s biggest open records story

Hundreds of traditional media outlets (like this one) and dozens of blogs (like this one) are talking about the release by District Attorney David McDade of a videotape of 17-year old Genarlow Wilson, now serving 11 years for child molestation, engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old.

McDade is the District Attorney in Douglas County, Georgia. He gave copies of the tape to about 36 people, including the local press, after he received a number of requests for it under Georgia’s open records law.

The tape clearly shows the faces of several minors–teenage girls–who were engaged in sexual behaviors with Genarlow Wilson. FOIA and open records activists everywhere — who often can’t get a copy of a public record, much less an unredacted public record, to save their sweet lives — might join me in a mood of bitter bemusement.

A federal prosecutor, David Nahmias, has indicated that releasing the tapes may have been a violation of federal laws prohibiting the distribution of child pornography.

What a mess.

Some links:

Yesterday, 2000 activists marched on the Douglas County Courthouse seeking justice for Genarlow Wilson.

Late last week, presidential candidate Barack Obama (that link goes to a YouTube video) compared the different ways that Genarlow Wilson and Scooter Libby have been treated in the justice system.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has comments and links.

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One response to “Sex and 2007’s biggest open records story

  1. Pingback: Citizen journalism and open records « State Sunshine and Open Records

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