Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Curious Case of Jack McClellan

Lock up your daughters, because apparently they can't lock up Jack McClellan.

The unzipped fly in the ointment of the LAPD, millions of fearful and frustrated parents, and a seemingly helpless legal system is back on the street after being arrested not once but twice in a period of a few hours. Monday evening, the homeless drifter and self-proclaimed pedophile -- at least in the figurative sense -- was stopped on the UCLA campus, directly outside of the school's child development building. Found among his things: A camera -- a detail which America's entire corps of idiot newscasters paused in unison before proclaiming, in an effort to give the revelation the requisite heft as well as display their own almost-human level of distaste. A couple of hours after that initial bust, he was taken into custody again while doing an interview with a local TV station -- once again on the UCLA campus.

All of this is just the latest in the bizarre ongoing saga over just what to do with, and about, Jack McClellan.

He first came to the attention of law enforcement officials several months ago through his blog, which he used to extol the dizzying splendor of little girls. The website was quickly shut down, but obviously McClellan stayed on the radar of the California legal system, which was determined to keep as close an eye on him as possible and take whatever action it deemed necessary to keep him out of arm's-length of children.

Here's the thing though: Jack McClellan has never been arrested for anything even remotely related to the molestation of a child.

So far, all he's done is talk a good game, and according to the law, you can't arrest someone for something he or she hasn't done yet -- no matter how badly that person might actually want to do it. The era of Philip K. Dick's "Pre-crime Unit" is still a long way off.

Needless to say, this presents one hell of an ethical dilemma, and has now put it front-and-center in the public consciousness.

It's also created an almost surreal cat-and-mouse game between McClellan and those who want to stop him -- some, by any means necessary. A couple of weeks ago, Anthony Zinnanti -- a lawyer from Santa Clarita and a guy who may have more in common with his quarry than he'd care to admit, given their equal affinity for TV cameras -- filed a lawsuit on behalf of his own daughters and the children of every other concerned Californian which prohibits McClellan from coming within 30-feet of a child. It was a similar order to this one, issued by a California judge on August 3rd, that McClellan supposedly violated on the UCLA campus Monday evening. Legal experts concede however that both orders are likely to be shot down in flames as they seem at face value to be the furthest thing from constitutional.

McClellan meanwhile continues to test the fence of society, like a lion stalking a village.

Or maybe the legend of a lion -- nothing more than a ghost story.

It's impossible to tell.

No decent human being would be an advocate for a pedophile, but the rights of a person who technically hasn't broken the law is an entirely different story. It's hard to believe that McClellan can control the fact that he's attracted to kids -- and for the record, there's always been a small part of me that's felt a very real pity for anyone afflicted with such a vile sickness -- but as far as the legal system is concerned, he has yet to act on that attraction.

You know what that makes him, despite the breathless assertions of contemptible worms like Nancy Grace?

A law-abiding citizen.

And attempting to do an end-run on the constitution to undo that fact and make illegality come to him instead of vice-versa is ridiculous.

Admittedly, some may see this negligence as leaving a gaping hole in the aforementioned fence when it comes to protecting the young girls to whom McClellan has already confessed a sexual attraction -- and it very well may. But such is the often difficult price of our freedoms: It's simply not illegal to think hideous thoughts, and restricting someone's freedoms because of such considerations is nothing less than underhanded.

There's no denying that McClellan, provided he isn't staging all of this as some sort of twisted bid for attention, should probably get help -- and get it quickly. As I hinted at, I can't imagine what it's like to go through life with the knowledge that the one thing that gets you off is the single most despicable and forbidden sexual proclivity known to man, and that seemingly nothing can curb your covetous nature in this regard.

On the other hand, I have a tough time believing the intentions of those alinging against McClellan to be entirely lacking in solipsism. The fact that his persecutors seem to have never met a microphone they didn't like serves only to confirm the likelihood that their agenda is as obvious and intransigent as the one they prescribe to McClellan. There's a certain amount of entertainment though to be gleaned from the peculiar back-and-forth over America's most famous pedophile. In an age in which every form of anti-social behavior -- every kind of act outside the norm -- has been assimilated, homogenized and silk-screened onto a black t-shirt at Hot Topic, the maniacal fury over one homeless boogeyman is a fascinating curiosity to say the least.

Which takes nothing away from the possibility that that boogeyman may, in fact, be very dangerous.

Which changes nothing when it comes to the fact that until he does something legitimately illegal, there might not be a whole lot anyone can do about it.

(Also on this subject: Idiot vs. Predator/3.1.07)


VOTAR said...

Ah but you see, if we don't fight him THERE, we'll have to fight him HERE.

We have to rid him of his WEAPONS OF ASS DESTRUCTION* before he can use them on our children. Because, don'tcha get it?

Children want freedom!

What we need, see, is to organize a coalition of the willing, to rid our playgrounds of his Axle of Evil.

This will be a battle of endurance. It will be LONG. It will be HARD. We need staying power. We must remain FIRM. We must THRUST into this fight, into the THICK of it. The situation will be TIGHT. The fighting will get HOT. We must SURGE forward, SWELL with pride! An ERUPTION of SHOCK and AWE! ...until our eMISSION is accomplished!

We cannot afford to wait until the proof of his biological threat is a massive writhing mushroom overshadowing our kindergartens and elementary schools.

So, remember, if you're not with us, you're with the pedophiles.

* (I've been waiting so long for a chance to use that one)

Chez said...

Don't you have a NAMBLA meeting to get to?

Alex said...

How does a homeless drifter keep a blog?

Phaeolus said...

Alex, I was wondering that too. I was also thinking that his attitude toward his sexual proclivity is perhaps not the same one that Chez is hoping it is. The fact that he had a pro-pedophilia blog, and that he is purposefully hanging out around child development buildings, does not really say that he is trying to deal with his pedophilia in a healthy way (and incidentally, seems like he might be a bit of an attention whore). Instead of trying to get weird court orders that prevent him from entering a college campus, maybe some serious therapy is in order?

Shane said...

While I agree with you that there is something almost pitiful about the attractions of the common pedophile (Little Children, anyone?), I am hard-pressed, in this instance, to believe that Jack McClellan has any desire to fight his inner-demons.

You know, as well as I know, that publishing a blog of any sort is at least a round-about exercise in narcissism. So, to my way of thinking, this guy is not only getting off on kids, he's getting off on the fear he is instilling in parents and children alike. He reminds me of Mason Verger, the character in Hannibal who was too impotent too actually molest, so he got off on collecting the tears of the children he frightened. And I'm not sure which one is worse, to be quite honest.

Is there a damn thing we can do about it legally? Nope.

But, if your evil twin can wish death on Tyra Banks simply for the banality of ANTM, surely to God he could pray for a little vigilante justice to be visited upon this jag-off before he actually does take the next big step.

Of course, this could all be a really well orchestrated cry for help, asking the public and law enforcement at large to monitor him.

Who the fuck knows? It is damned interesting story to watch play out, though. I just hope the denouement doesn't involve years of pain and therapy for some child.


heatdamaged said...

Yeah, I think I got a little turned on reading Votar's comment. I am a sick fuck.

I am leaning more towards this being a bid for attention. The usual M.O. for a pedophile is to blend in and not attract attention, so that parents will leave children in their care.

The press that this guy gets just serves to propagate the myth that the usual child molester is the stranger hiding in the bushes, rather than the trusted friend or family member.

Laurie said...

As a mother of two little girls it's easy to get my dander up over an issue like this. But the bottom line is still the bottom line -- he has broken no laws that anyone knows about.

That said, this cretin's blog was his "nyah nyah nyah" to the media and to law enforcement -- his Gary Hart moment, just daring the powers that be to catch him with his pants down. He'd better hope that the ones who are watching him are Woodward and Benstein wannabes, not snipers.

Anonymous said...

It's like watching Alien vs. Predator. Two entirely shitting options, and we are supposed to think either one is ok? Nah, thanks, I'll hop on the 'desensitized past the point of real caring' train at the next commercial...unless I see him on mah propertay. Hallelujah 2nd amendment.

Lorenzo said...

I'm surprised we don't see more pissed off idiots commenting today. Meh.

mrmook said...

McClellan appears to be acting in a deliberate, organized- if somewhat irrational- and willfully malicious manner.

He's gone to no small trouble to clearly state his desire and has taken actions in that direction, repeatedly even in the face of prosecution.

Either he's a genius prankster dangerously testing limits (and I find genius to be in very rare supply)or he's a child raper who hasn't taken the final step or more likely hasn't yet been caught taking it.

Therapy has been mentioned in the comments and will most likely be mentioned in the future. That's a nice idea. Therapy has also been offered to make my Gay friends straight and my horny friends stop from sticking it so eagerly where it may not belong. Results? Come on.
I just get the feeling that when it comes to sexual proclivity, "Therapy" may not be the best "solution".

The Law? They just got beat by a homeless cretin and will continue to get bitchslapped by their own courts, thank the Gods.


nope. got nothing.

There's a hyena lurking, waiting to pick off the weakest and most vulnerable......
so welcome to the jungle.

Harris said...

I don't know what I find more disturbing, that McClellan may be lurking in my bushes or that Votar might be lurking in my bushes. Kudos to you, sir.

heatdamaged said...

I don't know what I find more disturbing-the fact that I am not pissed off or the fact that I am generally not an idiot. But I can pretend I am the ball-licking conspiracy theory stereotype idiot, so maybe I can give lorenzo a little taste. Don't want him to walk away without a little seminal blame on his lips.

There weren't any pedophiles in the "Leave it To Beaver" era, right? This is not a media pedophile epidemic. Like anything, it doesn't actually exist unless CNN covers it. My mom wasn't fucked by her uncle in 1959, because pedophilia didn't actually exist back then. There just wasn't such a thing in good Christian families. And because she and her husband were such good Christians, her daughter couldn't have been abused by a cousin in 1985. Again, that just doesn't happen in Upper middle class Wasp families under the goddamn Reagan era. But I looked out for that stranger in the bushes. Yessir, nobody in the bushes, but what about that guy next to my bed... .

I need proof that the incidence of pedophilia has significantly increased within the last 20 years in order to justify the media coverage aka hysteria. Has there been a sudden upshot in the number of pedophiles in America or has the media figured out that every fucking parent, liberal or conservative, wants to stir-fry the balls of pedophiles- conservatives in the name of punishment, liberals in the name of justice?

Pedophilia is the uniter. We will all dismantle the Constitution to prosecute the pedophiles. Eventually we will figure out that the conservative Christians won, and they fucking lied, and they lied while thrusting their dicks into your son's ass while blaming his sore hole on that one weirdo down the block. 'Cause the pedophile is never the "good guy", we can legislate good parenting, and God should control every aspect of our lives, including the uteruses of nonbelievers.

Yeah, I said it. Pedophilia is an overinflated media/dominionist construct to destroy the Constitution. What of it?

Chez said...

Heatdamaged -- a lot of good points. Might I suggest reading the link at the bottom of the post. You'll see how much I agree with you.

the sieve said...

The "law-abiding citizen" argument only holds true if you accept that legal and illegal are the same thing as right and wrong. They aren't.

I have no idea what he wrote on his blog but if he was using it to advocate victimizing little girls, whether he actually did it or not, he crossed the line.

He has done nothing illegal only because this hasn't happened before so the law doesn't exist to close his loophole, not because he's done nothing wrong.

While I believe in most personal freedoms, including the right to free speech, I do not believe the right of this person to say what he wants supercedes the right of children to be protected from harm.

If I proclaim on national television that I'm going to rob Bank A at a given time, and I'm walking into Bank A at the time I said I would with a gun and a mask and a money bag, should the cops stand by until I actually hold up the bank and walk out with the cash, possibly hurting someone in the process, or should they stop me on my way in?

VOTAR said...

If you announced on national television that you were going to take photographs of Bank A at a given time, then showed up at Bank A with a camera, would the police be justified to arrest you?

I'm only passingly familiar with this guy's case, from what I see on the news, and -- as I seem to have a reputation around here for attracting ad hominem punchlines in response to my broader attempts at humor -- I'll only briefly add this: As far as I know, this guy's website glorified observing and photographing children at play in various situations and locales. The fact that he admits getting off sexually to the imagery is abnormal, yes, but it also happens to be private.

That is the moral and legal dilemma here, one which he is rather brazenly pioneering. You can't arrest someone based on your suspicion that they might commit a crime later on, unless you have a reasonable, factual expectation based on evidence of an imminent act.

Law enforcement's best bet is to treat this guy in a way similar to Klan leaders or other hate crime instigators, for something like "incitement to violence" so as to prevent his self-proclaimed status as a pedophile from serving as inspiration for others that could act on their unnatural urges.

the sieve said...

I see your logic, Votar, but I still think this case is different.

It is true that at this point, the only thing he has apparently done is take photographs and admit to getting off on them.

But consider this: if he went to the parents of these children and asked permission to take photos for his own private sexual gratification, how many do you think would consent?

Legal or illegal, is it right that this man should be able do just that on the sneak, regardless of whether he goes any further?

After posting the last comment, I poked around a bit and found a mirror site some vigilante posted of McClellan's original site. Not only was he glorifying photographing children, he was providing how-to instructions for other pedophiles, such as the best places to find children and how to loiter around elementary schools without suspicion. (For example, according to him, schools in areas where there are businesses and such across the street are best, since adults won't attract much attention.)

McClellan has clearly crossed the line between private pervert and public menace.

That said, I'm not sure what the law *can* do about it. You may be on to something with your idea that he should be treated like someone who incites violence. It's a stretch, but maybe they can prove other pedophiles were driven to act by his site. I don't know the answer. But they can't just sit and wait for him to do something worse.

Also, on a completely unrelated note: I find your "broader attempts at humor" fucking hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I like what heatdamaged said.
Also, did it ever occur to anyone that he may not even be a pedophile? A few months ago, this guy was a 2 bit nobody living in his parent's basement in WA. Now, he's a national sensation, has a website dedicated solely to him:, He's on TV giving live interviews, has his own paparazzi, has panicked housewifes following him around 24 hours a day, and so on. He may even be gunning for a multi-million dollar lawsuit regarding his constitutional rights being violated. If he hasn't thought of that, undoubtly some attorney is going to clue him in. This all too successful "attention whore" has all but been rendered harmless as a "threat to children". I mean how in the hell is is he going lure a child now that he's the Internationally Famous Celebrity Pedophile? I'm more worried about the pedophiles who are keeping it a secret and pretending to be decent "Pillars of the community". I won't be suprised to see other copycat attention whores who are going to posting blogs about how they would like to be "Cannibal murderers" but won't cause its illegal, then start giving live interviews outside butcher shops, then get arrested for violating a judge's restraining order stating that he cannot come within 30 feet of a meat cleaver! I sure hope this doesn't end with more of our civil rights curtailed "to protect the children". Whatever happened to personal responsbility? As in being a responsible parent and keeping an eye on your children?

namron said...

This guy is the "performance artist" of the year. I have represented sex offenders in Florida, and I have some familiarity with the "little boy/girl fucker" persona.
Mr. McClelland, I know pedophiles. Pedophiles were my friends. McClellenad, you are no pedophile.
Congrats to you, though, for creating the best real-time test of constitutional due process I have seen since Jim Crow days.

Anonymous said...

It is past time for the world to realize that pedosexuals and 'child molesters' are perfectly normal individuals.

For fuck's sake people, pedosexuality has been around since the beginning of man, and it's only lately that we have seen 'bad effects' from it.

You know why that is? Because we keep on telling children that they should have problems from it, i.e. YOU IDIOTS ARE CREATING THE VERY PROBLEMS THAT YOU BLAME ON PEDOSEXUALS AND CHILD MOLESTERS!

If we taught children that adults touching them sexually WITH THEIR PERMISSION was normal and permissible..... Hey, no more problems!
We could then tell them that if someone, adult or child, parent or not, touches them in a way that they do not like....... they are to tell someone and we will make that person stop, though we should NOT throw them in prison, we should really get them mental help.

It's time to make pedosexuality legal, make the actions connected with it legal, and start realizing that anyone who has problems from being touched sexually, with their permission or without it, really causes their own mental problems with the help of society by society making them think that it was 'wrong' for the person to touch them against their will.

It is as one woman who was raped many times in her life told me "The only person who made me have problems from these rapes was I myself. Once I accepted them and accepted the fact that I caused the 'mental distress' by not sitting back and enjoying the sexual act I was in....... I had no more problems!"

Provost said...

Many interesting points here. One question: While we all gawk at McClellan, has anyone ever seen a catalog of children's clothing/fashion? Mr. McClellan doesn't need a camera, he needs to be on a junk mail list. The images in some of these catalogs are some of the most suggestive photographs I've ever seen. As a self-outted pedophile, he's an idiot because he's blown his chance at doing the very same thing he's doing now, only with the added benefit of getting paid big bucks and receiving professional recognition and adulation for his work as a children's fashion photographer. Hell, he could even be taking pictures of little girls in white socks and cotton panties while living large in Malibu.

Get real: McClellan is a red herring. If he truly has not acted on his impulses, then by photographing/fantasizing children he's not doing anything that hasn't been endorsed and accepted by society for decades, perhaps centuries. His real "crimes" are bucking the system, thumbing his nose at the status quo and challenging The Man.

He epitomizes the phrase: There's a thin line between bravery and foolhardiness. If he truly hasn't acted on his impulses, then you've got to give up mad respect for his huge cajones. He's got the ENTIRE legal system on his ass as well as his face in the cross-hairs of an endless line of vigilantes, no doubt. I'd like to look into the backgrounds of his most vocal detractors for signs of a propensity to project onto him the evil that they have inside themselves - possibly unable to contain their own harmful desires; or worse: acts. Can anyone say: Sen. Larry Craig? - not that he's a pedophile (thought how do we know he's not?) but he is (undoubtedly) a homosexual who has spent a career legislating against homosexuality.

Lastly, not to redirect the topic, but on the scale of evil, is this guy more loathsome than a "religious and righteous" man who uses our flag to kill thousands of innocents in the name of oil profit?

Anonymous said...

Wow, there are some actual measured comments on here! I saw the interview on the Wilco show but it was mostly just Steve yelling a lot without conceeding that he hasnt ACTUALLY done anything wrong!
That wouldnt exactly leave my mind at rest where he to be my childrens babysitter, mind you, but I have seen post after post about killing him and lynching him etc and as a non-American, I just figured that was the typical redneck american response. thank god there are people questioning this reaction also. loved what Provost said, well done! And Annonymous, your comments REALLY concerned me. . .

Now, if we had the same measured repsonse when the West memphis Three went on trial, three innocent kids may have had their innocence and a killer would be in jail, but instead they spent half their lives in jail. And dont even get started on gun control!