A three judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Dwight Whorley on child pornography charges last week, and ruled that there is no necessity that an actual child be involved for a conviction, according to the Associated Press. Whorley had argued in his appeal that the 20 anime he'd received on his work computer, which reportedly depicted young girls being forced to have sex with men, were protected speech; two of the three judges on the panel rejected that argument.
In the majority opinion, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer stated that under the PROTECT Act of 2003, under which Whorley was convicted, “it is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exists.”
Whorley is currently serving 20 years in prison; he was convicted of 74 counts of child pornography and obscenity charges, including receiving photos of real children having sex.
Christopher Handley, who did not possess any photos of real children, is currently facing charges under the PROTECT Act for possession of manga (see “Yaoi Titles in Manga Child Porn Case”). That case goes to trial in early January. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is assisting in the defense.