KLEIN'S RISQUE JEAN ADS DODGE KIDDIE PORN RAP FROM THE FEDS

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When it comes to sex in advertising, Calvin Klein may do the unexpected; but the U.S. Justice Department, as expected, has decided not to prosecute him (AA, Oct. 30).

Last month, Justice's probe of the designer's "kiddie porn" campaign stalled over the question of whether models in the ads were actually underage as the American Family Association and others had charged and some of the models maintained in interviews.

The TV, print and outdoor jeans ads showed baby-face models in lascivious poses. Just prior to the announcement of Justice's probe last August, Mr. Klein announced he was yanking the $6 million campaign though most of the ads, created in-house by Calvin Klein Inc., had already run their course.

In a letter dated Nov. 15 to Klein attorneys, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin V. Di Gregory wrote "The Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division has independently verified that minors were not used as models in the particular photographs that raised questions regarding the applicability of the federal child pornography statutes."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, waiting since August for the case's referral by Justice, had to find out the probe was dropped by listening to the radio.

Opponents of the ads, led by the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association, Tupelo, Miss., vowed to fight on.

"We are planning a boycott of any stores that sell Calvin Klein's products. We know several retail outfits are upset with Klein and many are in cooperation with us," the Rev. Wildmon said.

"We will not let this one die. It will be a political issue in the 1996 campaign. If Bill Clinton puts his stamp of approval on child pornography then he will have to suffer the consequences."

Mr. Wildmon has also been a vocal opponent of Mr. Klein's recent provocative underwear ads featuring 20-year-old model Joel West, who in at least one appears aroused.

But, First Amendment and child pornography expert attorney Amy Adler said, "It was a far-fetched case to begin with, so maybe Justice is saying they couldn't prove any of the models were underage just to save face."

Mr. Klein's company in a statement noted, "Based on our full cooperation, Justice confirmed no laws were violated."

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