PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado man who wrote a how-to guide for pedophiles was arrested Monday and sent to Florida to face obscenity charges, after deputies there ordered a copy of the book that has generated online outrage.
Officers arrested Phillip R. Greaves at his home in Pueblo on a warrant that charges him with violating Florida’s obscenity law. During a brief court appearance, Greaves waived his right to fight extradition and was transferred to Polk County, Fla.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department declined to release any details of Greaves’ transfer.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he claimed jurisdiction because Greaves sold and mailed his book directly to undercover deputies, who had written the author a letter requesting a copy. Judd said Greaves even signed the book.
“I was outraged by the content,” Judd told The Associated Press. “It was clearly a manifesto on how to sexually batter children … You just can’t believe how absolutely disgusting it was.”
The self-published book — “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” — caused a flap when it showed up on Amazon in November. The book was later removed from the site.
Greaves, who has no criminal record, writes in the book that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.
Judd said he was incensed when he heard about the book and that no one had arrested Greaves for selling it. The book, Judd said, included first-person descriptions of sexual encounters, purportedly written from a child’s point of view.
“What’s wrong with a society that has gotten to the point that we can’t arrest child pornographers and child molesters who write a book about how to rape a child?” said Judd, who keeps a Bible on his desk and is known throughout Florida as a crusader against child predators.
Florida’ obscenity law — a third-degree felony — prohibits the “distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors.” Pueblo County sheriff’s spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick said Greaves would leave for Polk County later in the day.
Legal experts questioned whether Greaves’ right to free speech would come into play if there’s a trial. If prosecutors can charge Greaves for shipping his book, they ask, what would prevent booksellers from facing prosecution for selling Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” a novel about a pedophile?
“As bad as this book may be, the charge opens a very big Pandora’s box,” said Dennis J. Kenney, a former police officer in Polk County and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “The charge sounds to me like a significant overreach.”
Greaves was among a group of prisoners who made brief appearances before District Court Judge David Crockenberg in Pueblo on Monday, all of them represented by the same public defender. He was the only one not wearing a striped prison uniform although his wrists were handcuffed in front of him.
Dressed in a cream colored T-shirt and khaki pants, Greaves said he understood the extradition process. When Crockenberg asked him if he understood he would be taken to Florida, Greaves responded, “That is correct, your honor.”
Judd said his undercover detectives got Greaves to mail the book to them for $50; he told officers it was his last copy.
“If we can get jurisdiction … we’re coming after you,” Judd said. “There’s nothing in the world more important than our children.”
Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Fla. Associated Press Writer P. Solomon Banda in Denver contributed to this report.