An American lawyer who specialized in defending those accused of child pornography is under arrest in Brazil, charged with violating that country’s laws against child exploitation.
Lawrence Allen Stanley, 47, was arrested June 8 after police in Salvador say they found more than 1,000 photographs and more than 100 videos of young girls in swimsuits and underwear.
The arrest came days after the Brazilian magazine Epocha reported that Stanley, a fugitive who has lived in Brazil since 1998, had built an international business photographing Brazilian girls and selling their photos through the Internet.
Epocha “pressured the police into arresting [Stanley] and carting off all his negatives, hard drives, CDs and books, without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing other than the lies in the magazine article,” a spokesman for Stanley’s Internet company wrote in a statement July 4.
At a hearing July 8, a Brazilian federal judge ordered that Stanley remain in custody until trial after receiving the report of an investigation from Rita Sanchez, head of the Center for Human Rights. Stanley faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Under the alias L.A. Stanaman, Stanley operated the “MiniModels” Web site, featuring photos of girls ages 8 to 14 in what police Officer Rui Gomes described to the Associated Press as “sensual poses.” Police said Stanley paid the girls $20 to $40 for each photo session.
An official of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for information on Stanley’s case.
Stanley has been identified as the owner of Alessandra’s Smile, a New York company that sells erotic material about girls. He is also the publisher of Ophelia Editions, which produces books with pedophile themes, and Uncommon Desires, a newsletter that has called itself “the voice of a politically conscious girl-love underground.”
Stanley has a criminal record. He was charged with “sexual aggression” against a girl in Quebec in 1990, but Canadian officials never sought extradition. In 1998, a Dutch court convicted Stanley in absentia for sexual abuse of three children ages 7 to 10, Epocha reported. He faces a three-year prison sentence if he returns to the Netherlands. Brazil has no extradition treaty with the Netherlands.
In 1989, federal authorities accused Stanley of conspiring with a client, photographer Don Marcus, to import child pornography. Marcus who fled to France to escape prosecution and is still a fugitive asked Stanley to pick up a suitcase that was found to contain child pornography. His attorney argued that Stanley did not know what was in the suitcase, and a jury acquitted him in 1993.
He has written several articles about child pornography, including one in 1987 in the Dutch pedophile journal Paidika. “Law enforcement officials have exaggerated the incidence of possession of child pornography,” Stanley said. “Only 14 percent depicted children engaged in sexual conduct with adults,” he said, referring to photos in child pornography magazines.
Those assertions were expanded by Stanley in a 1988 Playboy article, “The Child Pornography Myth,” in which he argued that pedophiles were a “small, essentially insignificant group.”
Stanley’s work was cited by Judith Levine in her recent book, “Harmful to Minors,” which several critics said promoted pedophilia. The Levine book was sold by one of Stanley’s Web sites, which praised it as an “important and compelling book” debunking “myths that adult attraction to children is a serious and pervasive threat.”
As lawyer in the mid-1990s, Stanley defended efforts by the North American Man Boy Love Association to operate as a tax-exempt group.
In 1998, U.S. Customs officials seized a large shipment of European nudist magazines addressed to Stanley’s company, Alessandra’s Smile. In 1999, a federal judge ruled the magazines obscene, but the decision was reversed by an appeals court. panel.