Nude family photos vs. child porn: Where is the line? - New York News

Nude family photos vs. child porn: Where is the line?

Posted: Updated:

One day after Mankato State University head football coach Todd Hoffner was charged with using minors in child porn, many people are asking if he really crossed the line after learning the details of the case.

After speaking with prosecutors, defense attorneys and psychologists, it's clear that there is plenty of room for discussion, but a general rule is to avoid taking videos or photographs of anything you might question.

Many parents take pictures of their children naked, so when does it cross the line?

"If you have a child that's nine years old and you are taking a picture of that child naked, if that child is posing in some way, I think that's a very high risk for being seen as intentionally and sexually exploiting a child," explained Mindy Mitnick, a child psychologist who has spent more than 30 years working with children who are sexually exploited.

Mitnick read the charges against Hoffner, which involve three family members between the ages of five and nine. Now, the question is whether the videos found on his university-issued cell phone are creepy or criminal.

"There's a difference between those cute photographs and taking something where a child is explicitly doing something that looks sexual," she said.

Defense Attorney Paul Engh has worked on a lot of pornography cases, and he says the case against Hoffner is unique because there are only three videos. Usually, child pornographers hoard multiple images.

"The difference is: With pornography, there is sexualization of the child," he explained. "There's usually a point of view from the image focused on the genitals rather than the face."

Still, Engh urged parents to be cautious when taking nude photos of their children, saying he wouldn't do it.

"Why put yourself in harm's way? After all, a child is just as cute clothed as they are naked," he said.

Another thing to consider is that, whether the intent is innocent or not, kids feelings about certain photos or videos could change as they get older.

"It can mentally hurt them for life because there's this constant sense of vulnerability, of, 'Will someone someday see that? Will they know it's me?'," explained Mitnick.

Mitnick said every child is different, but most will give clues that they are uncomfortable with adults seeing them naked. Signs include preferring to dress alone or bathe in private. She said that change usually occurs when kids turn seven -- and she said parents need to respect it.

Join our Facebook family

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:04:50 GMT
    The brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
    The brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
  • Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:03:40 GMT
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices