Getting off easy

Via Atrios comes the story of a high-profile GOP activist who pleaded guilty to “production” of child pornography.

Delgaudio, who has no prior record, was arrested in November 2001 with a book of obscene photographs he had taken of 15- and 16-year-old girls, according to court documents. The teen-agers went with him on several occasions to a hotel on Pulaski Highway, where they had sex and he paid them to pose in erotic positions for his camera, records show. The girls told Delgaudio their ages, according to police.

Let’s get this straight: Delgaudio is a predator who went to community parks to meet underage girls, then on multiple occasions paid them to have sex with him. That isn’t just “production of child pornography;” it’s statutory rape. What sentence does this jackass pillar of the community receive? Two years probation.

Isn’t that just precious? Fortunately, we’re told by one of Delgaudio’s attorneys that Delgaudio is “brilliant and eloquent.” The judge went out of his way to note that “This type of thing is a mortifying experience.” You know what’s even more mortifying? Prison sentences for child predators.

What else do we know about Delgaudio? It’s hard to find much, because most of the websites pointed to by Google are down. Fortunately, Google keeps caches. He’s the “author” of China Doll – Clinton, Gore and the Selling of the U.S. Presidency and Peril in Panama (about the takeover of the Panama Canal by Red China). Delgaudio was Chairman of the Western Conservative Conference, where he was described as a “life long conservative leader.” Back in 1998, Delgaudio was a prominent advocate of Clinton’s impeachment:

Richard Delgaudio, president of the Legal Affairs Council, took that request a step farther, warning Republicans who vote against impeachment that they will be considered “deserters by all principled GOP activists and voters now and in the future.”

“This is no time to break ranks,” he said.

Delgaudio was one of the “rule of law” thumpers who spit up so much bile at Bill Clinton. Will Delgaudio, who called Clinton “a terrible example to our nation’s young people,” continue his role as president of the Legal Affairs Council? (An agency that raised over $300,000 for Oliver North’s legal defense, rushed lawyers to aid Paula Jones, and plans happy conservative field trips to the Reagan Museum.)

It’s not necessarily news that a prominent political activist turns out to be a scumbag—- it’s not his particular kind of hypocrisy that surprises me. But the slap-on-the-wrist consequences are a telling reminder of the kinds of “moral clarity” we’re dealing with here.