CLEVELAND, OH—Anyone remember Ariel Castro? He's the asshole who, between 2002 and 2004, kidnapped two teens and a young adult and held them captive in his delapidated house, repeatedly raping them and, when they became pregnant, causing miscarriages (although he did let one infant survive) until they escaped on May 6 after he forgot to lock one of his doors.
Yeah, you've heard of it; it was in all the papers (if anybody reads those anymore).
But most folks probably don't know Castro's background, so let me enlighten you, courtesy of the internet.
The son of immigrants, Castro was raised in Cleveland, met his former common-law wife there, and together, in 1992, they moved into a house at 2207 Seymore Avenue, where the "fun" really began.
Castro was a wife-beater, at various times breaking her arm, ribs and nose, and fracturing her skull by throwing her down a flight of stairs. He was arrested for domestic battery a couple of times but never convicted, and in 1996, the wife moved out, taking the couple's four children with her, but that didn't stop the beatings, which continued (along with threats of violence) until at least 2005, when the wife got a restraining order.
To call Castro a "loser" is being charitable. He worked as a school bus driver for 22 years until he was fired in 2012 for "bad judgment." Among his "bad judgments" were hanging an illegal U-turn with the school bus with kids inside, leaving a kid locked on the bus while he stopped for lunch, using the school bus to take him shopping at the supermarket, and leaving the bus unattended while to took a nap at home. Though he made almost $19 per hour, his home was in foreclosure for three years of unpaid real estate taxes at the time the three women were rescued. According to Castro's son Anthony, who didn't visit his dad regularly, "The house was always locked. There were places we could never go. There were locks on the basement. Locks on the attic. Locks on the garage."
This was/is not a good person.
So forgive me if I look a little askance at his allocution today while pleading guilty to 937 of the 977-count indictment against him. At the hearing before Judge Michael Russo, when the judge asked Castro if he could understand the charges against him, Castro replied, "In English, I'm very good at spelling and very good at reading, but I can't comprehend because, as I mentioned earlier, my addiction to pornography and my sexual problems have really taken a toll on my mind."
Judge Russo didn't want to hear any more of that, telling him to save it for his sentencing, but the mainstream newspaper and internet news headlines across the country are screaming things like USA Today's current one: "Castro in plea deal: 'I'm addicted to pornography'."
Jesus Fucking Christ! How long is the legal, sane, incredibly peaceful adult entertainment industry going to suffer from horseshit like this? If anybody were going to be addicted to porn, it would be us, right? We work in it or with it every day, and as reviewers here at AVN, we see dozens of adult movies every month, and guess what? None of us are addicted—whatever that word actually means to those who attempt to apply it to thoughts rather than drugs!
Beyond that, all of the legitimate studies that have been done on the effects on adults of watching sexual material show that while some viewers of violent porn tend to think rapists deserve lighter sentences than those who don't watch it, watching porn largely has no lasting effect on anyone, not even "hypersexualized" viewers. Moreover, the American Psychiatric Association recently refused to list "sex addiction," much less "porn addiction," as a diagnosis in its DSM-5 manual, although it did list "hypersexual disorder," though Castro shows none of its symptoms.
And finally, there have been no reports from investigators who have searched Castro's home of finding large caches of porn of any sort—in fact, porn hasn't been mentioned at all in any of the news stories about Castro's arrest in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that city's premier newspaper... until today!
Of course, Castro is hardly the first criminal to claim "porn addiction" as an excuse for his crimes, and the label has even been used by conservatives to tar political activists, not to mention as an excuse to deny medical care. Even those who claim to have suffered from it have a hard time defending the concept.
The point is, intelligent people in the adult industry need to start calling out so-called "experts" who blame society's ills on "porn addiction" or "sex addiction" or they and the rest of the industry will fall victim to lowlifes like Castro who think they can find some small measure of excuse for their horrendous acts simply by claiming to have been "addicted to porn."