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Is buying a 'child sex doll' from China a crime? Northern Kentucky judge says no

Posted at 3:58 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 20:01:29-04

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. --  Is a child sex doll child pornography?

That question was at the center of a recent case in Kenton Circuit Court after a Fort Mitchell man was arrested when a child sex doll sent from China was delivered to his house.

The Fort Mitchell man, whom we’re not naming, came to court charged with having an item portraying a sexual performance by a minor. But Judge Douglas Grothaus dismissed the sex charge, ruling that a doll isn’t a person and therefore not child porn.

The Commonwealth is deciding whether to appeal and whether to try to change state law.

Kentucky State Police were watching when a package was delivered to his apartment building on Sept. 25. Knowing the resident ordered a sex doll, they waited to make sure he accepted the delivery.

“When they went in, not only did they find the package that they had intercepted contained a child sex doll, but also found another doll that represented a child that was also being used as a sex doll,” said Rob Sanders, Kenton Commonwealth Attorney.

Sanders told WCPO he’s never seen a case quite like this.

“Certainly, it’s shocking,” said Sanders. “My first reaction when the state police brought me this case was, ‘Who even makes a child sex doll?’ That’s just disgusting.

Search warrants show investigators seized two female sex dolls — one resembling a 6-to-8 year old and the other an infant — plus a computer and cell phone.

“There was a legal issue that was put forth by the defense attorney to the judge about whether or not a doll constitutes matter portraying sexual performance of a minor,” Sanders said.

The judge said he found the doll and the defendant’s actions repulsive, but he dismissed the charge because no actual child was involved. He based it on a Ninth Circuit federal court decision, but Sanders disagrees.

“We think a doll can represent an actual child especially when you can order a child’s baby doll to look like your child, you can order these child sex dolls to look like a specific child as well,” Sanders said.

 While he’s deciding whether to appeal, Sanders is urging Kentucky legislators to pass a law saying a sex doll is child porn.

“That way we won’t have to have this dispute if anyone’s sick enough to order a child sex doll in the future,” Sanders said.

Kentucky State Rep. Adam Koenig says he’s on board with changing the law.

“We just need to look at it and make it clear that we really don’t want the selling or the ownership of these child sex dolls in Kentucky,” Koenig said.  

There’s also federal legislation being considered called the CREEPER Act (Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots). The act passed the House in June and has been referred to a Senate committee.

Police said they found a small amount of pot in the Fort Mitchell’s man’s house and charged him with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He has a court date Oct. 18.