Manga collector faces 15 years in jail because some of his comics included sexual images of children

A US manga collector has plead guilty to possession of child pornography because some of the many thousands and thousands of comics he owns depict children in sexual situations. He now faces up to 15 years in prison and a life of being treated as a child molester, though there's no evidence he is a pedophile or has ever interfered with a child in any way.

The 39-year-old office worker was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Handley's guilty plea makes him the first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison…

"This stuff is huge in Japan, in all of Asia," Lunning says. Handley, she adds, "is not a pedophile. He had no photographs of child pornography."

Handley remains free pending a yet-to-be scheduled sentencing date. Mike Bladel, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa, declined to state what kind of sentence the government would seek, but claimed there were hundreds of obscene panels in the seized manga…

"He was a prolific collector," says the lawyer. "He did not focus on this type of manga. He collected everything that was out there that he could get his hands on. I think this makes a huge difference."

U.S. Manga Obscenity Conviction Roils Comics World