BOSTON (CBS) — It’s unfortunate, but Bob Curley has been fighting his battle against people who want to harm children for a long time. His son Jeffrey was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered by two men in 1997.
“I’ve been at it, as far as child safety is concerned, for about 13 years now, since Jeff got killed. And it’s a very frustrating role,” Curley explains.
Curley has heard the free speech argument, but is still bothered by the idea that amazon.com would sell a book offering advice to pedophiles.
Says Curley, “Just because they have a right to do it, it doesn’t mean that it’s right that they can do it. You’ve got to find that balance between what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Amazon.com has been struggling with that balance this week. The uproar started when people found out that the online retailer was selling copies of a self-published book called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” by author Philip R. Greaves II.
Greaves claims the book isn’t a how-to, but rather just offers advice on how an adult can maintain a relationship with a child. Plenty of people disagree.
For a while, amazon.com stood by its initial statement that it believed “it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. . . [We] support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”
Thursday, though, the company changed its tune, after thousands of people complained. The book is no longer for sale via the site.
Greaves, meanwhile, is unapologetic — and seems grateful for the attention to his book.
“Amazingly, up until today only one had sold. Now at least 72 have sold,” he told a reporter. When asked what he thought that meant, he replied, “That tells me that controversy sells books.”
That attitude gets to the heart of Bob Curley’s concerns.
He says it’s vitally important that parents remember there are a lot of people out there who have an appetite for this kind of material, even though it can be easier to act like there isn’t.