BARELY LEGAL

Man’s Life Ruined By Child Porn Charges; Turns Out Police Just Don’t Know What A Twink Is

mwMike Whitla of Bangor, Ireland seemed more than a bit surprised when he was arrested and charged with making and storing 71 images of child pornography.

We’re sure the police had heard that one before — “But officer, I’ve never seen those pictures in my life!”

So they confronted Mike with the images, and so began a lesson in gay terminology that we would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at.

Mike, who had truthfully never seen the cached images (not that it would have mattered), recognized them immediately for what they were — twinks. But try explaining that to a group of straight Irish cops.

“I’d never seen it before but it was a twink, that’s gay slang for a feminine looking man over 18,” he told The Mirror. “The officers hadn’t a clue what I was talking about.”

“I said he looked about 24 and they laughed. They said the picture was of a 13-year-old boy and that I was going court where the jury would agree he was a child.”

Mike was released on bail, terrified that he’d fallen into some postmodern nightmare, and sought the help of The Rainbow Project, a charity that works to improve the physical, mental & emotional health of LGBT people and their families in Northern Ireland.

“While my solicitor got a forensic computer expert to analyze the police evidence, the Rainbow Project set up a presentation for my solicitor and barrister to explain the sort of language used in the gay scene including twink.”

“I think if one of the officers who arrested me had been a gay man, I’d never have been put through this nightmare but they live in a different social world to me.”

The expert determined that all the images were of models over the age of 18, and that Mike had neither searched for the images, uploaded, seen them or knowingly stored them.

And while it’s hilarious to think of a bunch of police officers and court officials being educated on what a twink is, the story has somber consequences.

Throughout his ordeal, Mike was suspended from his job working with vulnerable children, forced to come out as a gay man and abandoned by almost all of his friends.

“I still support rigorous police investigations and I really can’t complain about the PSNI doing their job in the interests of child safety,” he said.

“But they need to be educated about gay communities and the language we use. It could have prevented my ruination and saved them an awful lot of time, effort and money taking an innocent man to court.”

“Today I’m free but I’m still in limbo. My life has been ruined.”

H/t: PinkNews

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44 Comments

  • Billy Budd

    Horrible injustice. A young man is free to fuck whomever he chooses. And older guys can watch pictures of as many twinks as they choose.

  • rickhfx

    He can’t go after them for his stress, loss of job and income let alone his reputation? You need a good lawyer. No excuse for what he was put through.

  • Stephen Mervine

    The Irish should stick to drinking.

  • Dale Landefeld

    see how friggin’ out of touch they are!

  • Evji108

    This article fails to explain where the photos came from in the first place. If they were not his photos why were they connected to this man? Were they planted to incriminate him? What is really going on here?

  • Richard Grant Muir

    This is the exact reason I don’t care for twinks; they look underage.

  • Stevey Walker

    Excuse me? And the rest of the world’s citizens are so perfect.

  • SportGuy

    Just another reason twinks are a turn off to me, they all look like little boys and I am not a pedo. I like men.

  • Stache99

    How come you edited my comment out Queerty?

    All I said was that guys who love young twinks have this problem and I don’t. Simple as that. This isn’t even a gay issue because gay men are into gay men. Not barely legals.

  • Stache99

    The story is incomplete though. I’d like to know what even motivated the police to start with. I imagine they just don’t go around breaking peoples doors down for nothing.

  • Nuttypea

    I would like to see these eleged photos

  • moonman157

    I doubt that informing the cops of what a “twin” is would have really changed things dramatically either. It’s not like he is explaining to them some sort of biological condition where someone appears significantly younger than they actually are. Some people who are 18 look younger than 18. That goes for men and women. And I’m sure the police were aware of this incredibly common fact. Sounds like the criminal process worked out like it should have.

  • Merv

    It seems like not many here have surfed for porn. It isn’t that hard to come up with ways for the twink pics to get on his computer, even if he didn’t search for them. When you click on a link to a porn site, they typically have linked pictures to dozens of other porn pages, most of which you don’t have the remotest interest in.

  • SportGuy

    @Stache99:

    I don’t have this problem either as I like men!

  • Steve Hanson

    I was told years ago, by somebody who would know, that virtually all real kiddy porn out there is posted by cops in sting operations.

  • Dan Levin

    Terminology or not, if he hadn’t seen or stored or reproduced the images, he’s innocent. I don’t understand the connection to the terminology at all.

  • jwtraveler

    @moonman157: A “twin” is one of 2 children born to the same mother at the same time.
    We’re talking about “twinks” here.

  • jwtraveler

    @Steve Hanson: I’m guessing that person was a pedophile.

  • Billysees

    @Steve Hanson:

    “I was told years ago…that virtually all real kiddy porn out there is posted by cops in sting operations.”

    I’m sure that’s perfectly correct. Down-loader, up-loader, viewer, or sharer beware.

  • Billysees

    @SportGuy:

    “I don’t have this problem either as I like men!”

    Good for you and stay that way. But there is a power and a lure about ‘young flesh’ that’s irresistible to some. Almost got myself in big trouble many years ago because of that ‘lure’.

    And now, age appropriate porn satisfies the best.

  • martinbakman

    As the fella says, he only got off to pics that looked underage.

  • BigG

    Doesn’t tell the whole story obviously. Honestly older men 40 plus who have a harsh twink fetish in my eyes is borderline pedophilia. Just not right In the head that the “boy” look turns you on, or that you think you can have a meaningful relationship with a kid Who hasn’t seen any life. Sure they are 18,but your just playing it safe to not get arrested. If you can’t connect with someone around your own age or 30 plus, your not mature in the mind and soul.

  • SportGuy

    @BigG: Couldnt agree more. There is something wrong and they all know if they could get away with it they would.choose even younger. They just choose twinks just bc it is legally ok, though it is still wrong and nasty. As you said their is a reason they can’t go after actual men. These guys are just pedos at the end of the day,plain and simple.

  • Tobi

    If you consume porn it’s worth bearing in mind that “18 U.S.C. SS 2257 compliance” notices on websites offer absolutely no protection to end users. I know of a couple of cases recently where individuals have been prosecuted and had to plead guilty because the studios wouldn’t release the relevant paperwork citing privacy issues. 18 U.S.C. SS 2257 protects the studios, not the customers.

  • Merv

    @BigG: As a rule, people surfing porn aren’t looking for a meaningful relationship with it. They’re just looking for a few minutes of masturbation material.

  • DuMaurier

    @Tobi: Since you seem to know something about the law, maybe you can answer this: I remember years ago a Federal law was passed that said child pornography included material where all the subjects or actors are of age but portraying someone or meant to appear to be underage. I thought about it when I was buying some porn for a straight friend, and I not only felt creepy but a little paranoid about picking up some “Barely Legals” (his preference, ugh–I have to agree with those here that if you’re seeking out this stuff the “correct” date on the model’s birth certificate doesn’t mean you don’t have issues) Is that law current or was it overturned? It seemed questionable to me since everyone involved would be legal, but what really disturbed me was that it included mainstream, “artistic” films that might deal with young sexuality in a non-exploitative way.

  • ingyaom

    Did anyone notice that this guy said twinks look feminine? What’s up with that? Twinks look young; they don’t look like girls.

  • Tobi

    Apologies @DuMaurier I’m in the UK, so I don’t know how it applies on your side of the pond, and I’m only aware of these issues from a social meeting with a solicitor who acts as a public defender. There’s apparently an increase in prosecutions here, possibly because ISPs are now reporting directly to the police, and it’s probably an “easy win” for them. I don’t think there would be an issue here in the UK as long as you could definitely prove that performer was actually 18 hence my original post. I remember Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) convincingly playing a 15-year old who got rimmed, rogered and ejaculated in our version of Queer As Folk and that was shown on a terrestrial TV channel!

  • Arcamenel

    It sucks for this guy but I’m not sure police being privy to gay lingo would help. They’d still feel the need to investigate seeing as a lot of twinks look under 18. If they happen to be short and baby-faced that’s even worse.

  • Tobi

    @Arcamenel: I went to an erotica exhibition a few years back, they had young dwarves in cradles and playpens, dressed in nappies and sucking on baby bottles. I still have nightmares. :(

  • Maude

    As I understand the vernacular…..

    “Chicken”…..Underage.Very young.
    “Chicken Hawk”…Pedophile.
    “Twink”….legal 18-19 year old teen.
    “Younger man”….20 to 30.
    “Young Man”…..31 to 40.
    “Hunk”….Any adult that turns you on.
    “Bear”….Hairy over-weight

  • Merv

    @Tobi:

    “possibly because ISPs are now reporting directly to the police”

    That’s bound to cause all sorts of problems. Even if you go to a website specializing in grandmas in soiled panties, that page will inevitably contain ads for other porn sites, and those ads may contain pictures hosted on those other web sites. Most of the time, you don’t even notice those pictures, but they will have been downloaded to your PC and automatically stored in your browser cache potentially for a long time. The ISP will see those ad pictures as web requests to a questionable website and report it to the police. You can be royally screwed even though you went nowhere close to the line. Those people above who think their choice of porn makes them safe might be in for a rude surprise.

  • GG

    WHAT?

    The issue here is not that law enforcement didn’t know what a ‘twink’ is, it’s that they believed the person in the photos was underage. The fact that there is a term in the gay community defining young, LEGAL-aged gays of a certain look is irrelevant. What is relevant in this case is verifying the young man’s age, which was eventually done. The charges were dropped because he was found to be of legal age, not because the police officers and court officials were educated about the definition of ‘twink.’

  • jwtraveler

    @ingyaom: Yes, I noticed and I agree. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Tobi

    @ingyaom: In Ireland, if it doesn’t shave, it’s a girl, and not always then. ;)

    @Merv: You’re spot-on, ads are problematic, especially where clicking an innocent link results in pop-up and/or pop-under windows, you’ve then technically visited the site and “made” those images. Another issue is that the majority of UK residents seem unaware that extreme pornography was made illegal back in 2008, so visiting sites like Kink (USA) or Boys Pissing (Germany) could result in prosecution. The 18 U.S.C. SS 2257 banner that’s promoted on many dot com sites implying some form of legal protection can be added to a webpage by anyone, even if they’re based in Eastern Europe or Asia and are in fact using under-age performers.

    @GG: I agree, it was probably an issue because only a consumer of porn would use the term in the UK, most others wouldn’t know the meaning. Isn’t Twink a brand of American sweets?!

  • JoeDemp

    Agreeing with @Evji108 , there’s something off about this story. Why did the police target a normal porn consumer, considering they have the means to locate paedophiles sharing material on large scales through file sharing websites? It’s a strange direction to take towards combating paedophilia.
    I would like however to point out that Bangor is in Northern Ireland, correctly mentioned in the article, which means that this issue has nothing to do with The Republic of Ireland, or “Ireland” as it’s most commonly known. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, the Republic is not and so we do not share governments, policing or justice systems. In general, the north is also more conservative than the Republic.

  • edwardnvirginia

    THIS is a thoroughly ignorant piece of ‘journalism’ about a thoroughly unfortunate personal tragedy for this man.

    Terms and names used in gay culture is of no interest to the body of law involved here – or in American bodies of law.

    The possibility of abuse of minors is of interest to law enforcement. The protection of vulnerable persons is of immediate interest to law enforcement and unfortunately sometimes the innocent are caught up and suffer harm. Hopefully this man can find a remedy for those harms that he endured.

    Hopefully the gay community will support and help him: perhaps the Irish are different from the American gay culture. Because by most evidence the American gay culture would care not a all, do nothing at all, and offer no active, sustained support for this man. The fact that this is true is that the writer of the article (from Pink?) calls the events ‘hilarious’.

  • DMRX

    @Evji108: The article clearly states that they were cached images, which were likely part of some advertisement on the side of a page he was intentionally looking at.
    If you don’t understand this concept, look it up. Your computer is doing the same thing every time you’re on the web.

Comments are closed.