KIDDIE PORN OR BAD TASTE?;AFA'S TRUEMAN SAYS JEANS ADS CROSS LEGAL LINE

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For Patrick Trueman, the American Family Association's director of governmental affairs, Calvin Klein's flirtation with child pornography laws could go beyond the gray area of shocking imagery and into the b&w issue of criminal law.

"Hustler and Playboy may try to portray models in a childlike way, but Calvin Klein's ad campaign went far beyond this," said Mr. Trueman from his Washington office.

He's certainly in a position to know. Mr. Trueman was chief of the U.S. Justice Department's child exploitation and obscenity section from 1988-93. When the Clinton admini-stration came to power, he moved to the AFA.

What alarmed Mr. Trueman and his conservative group-and attracted the FBI's attention-was the appearance that underage models were used in sexually provocative poses. A Calvin Klein Inc. spokesman said the company was confident no federal laws were broken.

"Knowing how the FBI works, it is highly unusual for them to get orders from an outside group," Mr. Trueman said, referring to the current buzz that politicians or conservative groups pressured the FBI into the investigation. "The ads were blatant and in-your-face, and the people and the FBI reacted to them in the same way-with disgust."

If the FBI finds underage models were used and a court determines child pornography laws were violated, Calvin Klein could face up to 5 years in prison.

Mr. Trueman feels confident that the ads exploit minors and may have breached the laws. He said he has seen child pornography rules reinterpreted and rewritten, reduced and expanded in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. With Knox vs. U.S., the federal courts, which formerly equated nudity with pornography, decided that images of clothed children placed in sexual positions could be pornographic.

In Knox, Mr. Trueman said, the courts established a six-point test to help define "lascivious acts and determine how these images differ from those found in, say, a Sears catalog." The test rates the sexual content, design and intent of the photographs, and analyzes the image's environment, sexual coyness and emphasis on the underwear region.

"These six points are instrumental [in defining child pornography], and Calvin Klein can meet the test, " said Mr. Trueman. "The public reaction has been almost universal. Calvin Klein was condemned for this campaign. The message is not acceptable to the public."

No other ads have gone that far, he added. "Kate Moss is an adult. Those ads may have been distasteful, but [not pornographic]. If Calvin Klein gets into a federal case, it would have quite a curbing effect on advertisers using child pornography.'

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