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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

Top Pentagon Official: Playboy, Penthouse, Nude Not 'Sexually Explicit;' Allowed on Military Bases

July 31, 2013|2:44 pm

Adult magazines Playboy, Penthouse, and Nudewill continue to be allowed on military installations because their material is not "sexually explicit," a top Pentagon official wrote.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Frederick Vollrath defended these magazines as "not sexually explicit" last week in response to a June complaint by anti-pornography group Morality in Media.

Addressing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the group's letter "respectfully requests that you order the removal of all items of pornography for sale in military exchange services, commissaries, and ships to help curb the plague of sexual assaults that afflict the United States Military at this time."

The accusation of a "sexual assault plague" refers to a controversial Department of Defense (DOD) survey, released in May, which reports over 26,000 troops experienced "unwanted sexual contact" in 2012, as opposed to only 19,300 in 2010.

The issue has ignited controversy, with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) proposing legislation to put military sexual assaults into the hand of local civilian prosecutors, out of the chain of command. Republican Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have also supported the bill. But Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, U.S. Army officer over the forces in South Korea, testified against the idea.

Morality in Media tied the issue to "such publications as Playboy, Penthouse, Nude, and other magazines that dominantly depict nudity in a lascivious way." In the June letter to Hagel, President and CEO Patrick A. Trueman cited research linking pornography and increased sexual violence, accessible at PornHarmsResearch.com.

"Now our military is reaping what it has sown, the sexual exploitation and assault of thousands in uniform, particularly women, each year," Trueman argued.

The letter also cited the Military Honor and Decency Act, passed in 1996 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1998, which prohibits "Sale or Rental of Sexually Explicit Material on DoD Property," according to its title. The law defines "sexually explicit material" as "material, the dominant theme of which is the depiction or description of nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way."

In his response, the Pentagon's Vallrath also cited the law, assuring Morality in Media that "any material that is found to be sexually explicit, as defined by section 2495b, is not offered for sale or rental on property under DoD jurisdiction." He added that "If such materials are already on store shelves, they are removed," and that "all adult sophisticate material approved for sale is displayed on top shelves behind privacy panels, out of the reach of children."

Nevertheless, the Pentagon official did not explain why Playboy, Penthouse, and Nude do not fit the "sexually explicit" description. He merely assured Morality in Media that "The Resale Activities Board of Review previously reviewed the publications cited in your letter and determined that, based on the totality of each magazine's content, they were not sexually explicit under the definition in section 2495b(e)."

Vollrath also mentioned "the current national dialogue" on sexual assault in the military. Thanking the organization for their "concern for our Service members," he assured them that "the Department is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment on our installations for the entire military community."

Nevertheless, on Wednesday, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) decided to remove sexually explicit magazines from their shelves, in what Morality in Media calls "a great victory…to stop sexual exploitation in the military."

"It is a great victory that the Army and Air Force exchanges will finally stop selling sexually exploitive magazines. Hopefully the other branches will follow suit or Secretary Hagel will order their removal from all bases," said Executive Director Dawn Hawkins in a statement Wednesday.

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/top-pentagon-official-playboy-penthouse-nude-not-sexually-explicit-allowed-on-military-bases-101257/