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Church and State

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's mission from God to eliminate obscenity knows no bounds

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2011:02:15 00:13:16

When Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd asked an undercover detective at the end of 2010 to order a copy of Phillip Greaves' book, The Pedophile's Guide to Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct, he had a special request.

"Make sure he autographs it," Judd said. And with that, the detective mailed a $50 money order to Greaves, who lived in Pueblo, Colo., in exchange for a copy of the book, which had been yanked from Amazon.com earlier that month due to concern about its subject matter. Judd had read about the controversy over the book in a newspaper, and he decided it was time to mete out justice, Polk County style.

On Dec. 8, a copy of the book - Greaves' personal copy - arrived at an "undisclosed location in Polk County, Florida." The detective who ordered it cracked it open and found that it offered advice for pedophiles that ranged from proper condom usage to consent when engaging in sexual activities with minors: "Do not fail to honor your lover and respect the word no as meaning no, and/or stop."

On the blank page adjacent to the table of contents, the author had honored Judd's special request: "For all your encouragement - Phillip R. Greaves 2nd."

Around 7:45 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 20, Greaves was led out of his Colorado home in handcuffs by eight deputies from the Pueblo police department, with two Polk County detectives - one of them his customer - supervising. Greaves was arrested and charged under Florida law for "distribution of obscene materials depicting minors engaged in activities harmful to minors," a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The two Polk County detectives flew back to Florida with Greaves early the next day.

"On Thursday morning, he ate processed turkey in the county jail," Sheriff Judd bragged at one of his many speaking engagements the following month. "It was a special meal because of Christmas, but today, he's back to sandwiches and beans."

The Greaves arrest was only a slight variation on a time-tested formula that the 56-year-old Judd, who's been Polk County sheriff since 2004, has used to rid his jurisdiction of "smut" - or, as his opponents argue, "erotic speech" - by any means necessary. As a vice squad leader in the 1980s, he spearheaded a campaign that pushed every adult business out of the county - an impressive feat, considering that Polk County is home to more than half a million people. In the '90s, when he was a major of special operations in the county sheriff's department, he created a computer crimes division that was behind one of the first Internet obscenity arrests in U.S. history. And since he's been sheriff, he's taken his moral crusade far beyond county lines, never hesitating to impart a triumphant lesson to the media along the way.

"What's wrong with a society that has gotten to the point that we can't arrest child pornographers and child molesters who write a book about how to rape a child?" Judd told the Orlando Sentinel after Greaves was arrested.

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