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My friend ‘Nino’ — The Witty and Warm Antonin Scalia

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By Dr. Judith ReismanBarbWire guest contributor

The loss of Justice Antonin Scalia to those who counted him as a dear friend can never be compared, of course, to the painful loss of that witty, warm and gracious man to his large and loving family. I have read the many touching memoirs written by his colleagues and determined it was time to “go public” with my own, shall I say, “covert” friendship for nearly three decades with an incomparable man on whom I had come to depend for intellectual support and confirmation of my “controversial” ideas and findings.

Justice Scalia generously gave of his time and his friendship when I faced concerted assault by the entire Washington, D.C., liberal establishment, (and, as a consequence, a goodly part of the conservative establishment as well). In 1985 my two-year research grant of $800,000 from President Reagan’s Department of Justice, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention was over. American University (AU) had (figuratively) thrown me out of their AU second-floor office suite, the Xerox machine after me.

“Coincidentally,” in 1986, one vocal opponent of my research, department of Psychology Chairman Dr. Elliot McGinnies, was arrested for abusing a 9-year-old in a Maryland nudist colony. Then in 1990 AU President Dr. Richard Berendzen was caught seeking sex with children of day-care mothers. He claimed he had a “4-year-old Filipino girl as a ‘sex slave’ in a basement dog cage.” Last I heard, these academic pedophiles, McGinnies and Berendzen (after a three-week Johns Hopkins cure), were still on AU’s faculty.

Birds of a feather flock together, and sex predators hire those who will keep their secrets (see brief Google search). My child-pornography research endangered Berendzen, McGinnies and how many others – hence I was an AU millstone. For similar reasons I faced an unprecedented three congressional hearings to terminate my research (April 1984, August 1984 and May 1985).

In 1992 investigative reporter Susan B. Trento published her expose of the politically powerful Gray and Company ad agency, “THE POWER HOUSE: Robert Keith Gray and the Selling of Access and Influence in Washington.” Wrote Trento: “Reisman … made a most appealing target for ‘discrediting.’ Gray and Company charged The Media Coalition between $50,000 and $75,000 per month for the campaign. … [M]uch of the cost was borne by Playboy; Penthouse also provided funding.”

So, no, my massive grant didn’t open any university doors when I knocked; administrators had all “gone fishing.” Playboy did a series on “Reisman” for almost two decades, often graced by cartoons. This is from April 1989 (one of the few that can be shown in a family newspaper). It is heartening that I won a Playboy libel lawsuit in the Netherlands in 1994 when I said Playboy deliberately published child pornography cartoons and photos since 1954.


Little did I know then (I’ll explain shortly), but Justice Scalia knew of the national press libel of me and my research (and Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler) years before we met. Our friendship effectively began Jan. 17, 1989, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard a child pornography case, Massachusetts v. Oakes, argued by Attorney General James Shannon who quoted my research:

The nude or sexually explicit photographs that result from the sexual exploitation of children are also harmful in that they condone and promote a distorted view of sexuality, often by pairing the themes of sexuality and violence. For example, it has been documented that the three most widely-read, mainstream “soft-core” erotica/pornography magazines, Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler, depict children in both sexual and nonsexual ways, depict sexual and nonsexual crime and violence, and commonly pair these themes with images of adult female nudity and overt sexual activity. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Exec. summ., Pro. No. 84-JN-AX-K007 (1987) (hereinafter “Executive Summary”). n17. The principal researcher also found that children were depicted as viable targets of sexual and nonsexual abuse and as desiring adult sexual interactions. The report concluded:

[I]t appears of compelling public concern that the present research documents a contextual association of three discrete stimuli: (1) adult female nudity and graphic female sexual display, (2) neutral, sexual and violent child depictions, and (3) depictions of crime and violence. The magazine genre evidences a unified culture and world view which incorporates all three stimuli: pairing arousal to an adult sexual object with child sexualization and crime and violence. Thus it is not unlikely that some vulnerable juvenile and adult receivers may fuse child depictions with arousal to sex (genital stimulus) and/or arousal to violence (aggressive stimulus).

Executive Summary at 9-10. The findings were disturbing enough that the author of the report recommended a voluntary moratorium of child depictions by mainstream erotica/pornography publications until more data on the harm to children could be obtained and evaluated.

I thanked Attorney General Shannon after the hearing for using my study. He nodded and shook his head.

“No thanks needed. We were glad to have it.”

OK, so my research was needed in media child sex abuse cases – at the Supreme Court level! Yet so-called “conservative” lawyers accepted the liberal slander and dubbed this same research “contested.” I had to fight to get into cases, and in the few cases when my studies were allowed, we won on the facts. Meanwhile, all academic doors were closed to me. In 1983, I had been tasked to train at the new FBI behavioral science unit in Quantico, Virginia, on the impact of media on the brain and child sex abuse. Now, no conservative “think tanks” would touch me. So, no income and no grad students to extend my research. Not a good situation. Really, quite discouraging.

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