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Phillip R. Greaves

Phillip R. Greaves

Phillip R. Greaves, author of a self-published book on pedophilia, was released yesterday after spending more than three months in jail.

From BBC News:

Phillip Greaves pleaded no contest on Wednesday in Florida to a charge of distributing obscene material depicting minors engaged in harmful conduct… He was arrested in December after he sold a copy of the self-published book to an undercover detective in Florida.  He was arrested in Colorado on behalf of prosecutors in Polk County, Florida, and was extradited to the southern US state. (Read the full article).

It all started last fall when Anderson Cooper spearheaded CNN’s crusade against Greaves. The goal, at first, was just to compel Amazon.com to stop selling Greaves’s book.  Amazon initially responded by saying that it supported the author’s rights to free speech:

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.

Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.

Viewers of AC360 were then encouraged to boycott Amazon.com until the website pulled the book.  Predictably, Amazon eventually reneged on its commitment to the First Amendment, removing the book from its website within a day.

But here’s what CNN and Cooper failed to mention.  Nobody besides the author had ever read, purchased, or even heard of this book until CNN started giving it free publicity.  To hear the CNN pundit tell it, it was as if the book were a national bestseller.  But in reality, Greaves’s typo-filled book hadn’t even been published by an actual publisher.  It was only available in Kindle form.  Absolutely anybody is eligible to sell their crap on Amazon in Kindle form.  But neither Amazon nor Greaves were getting on account of this book.  In fact, guess how many copies had sold before CNN went berserk?  Just one.  So even though CNN ultimately succeeded in preventing Amazon from “selling” the book, the cable news network likely caused more readers (including real-life pedophiles) to buy the book than Greaves ever could have sold himself in the absence of a national freak out.  (Let this be a First Amendment lesson for all major media organizations: if your goal is to censor distasteful material, don’t provide it with free advertising).

But whatever good fortune the boost in Kindle sales brought to Greaves was no doubt offset by what came next.  During the global outcry surrounding Greaves, a self-righteous Florida sheriff saw an opportunity to get famous.

From Bay News 9:

Sheriff Grady Judd saw all the national attention about the book and wanted to do something about it. He had his detectives order the book.

When it got to Polk County, Judd had a judge sign an arrest warrant. Two deputies then flew to Colorado to arrest Greaves.

Greaves has no other connection to Florida.

Judd was criticized for spending money on the case. Today, Judd defended his decision to send his detectives to Colorado.

“What’s that worth to the parents across the United States? I would say an investigation like that is priceless and it cost us very little,” Judd said. “And if at the end of the day it only saved a child in Colorado from being a victim, who would argue with that? I am proud of that expenditure.”

(See news video about arrest).

It was an outcome even CNN never intended (but nonetheless celebrated).

Though ordered to serve two years probation, Greaves does not have to register as a sex offender because he was never accused of actually molesting a child, only thinking about it and fantasizing about it in writing. He told Bay News 10 that he intended to celebrate his release with a pizza and a Dr. Pepper in a local motel last night.  Today, he will attempt to purchase a bus ticket back to Colorado using social security checks that accumulated during the

As Greaves was released yesterday, he told told reporters:

I don’t really think that I did anything that was so terribly wrong. I was trying to be objective, I was trying to reach out and help people that everybody hates and it backfired on me.

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