Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–…): Season 4, Episode 19 - Appearances - full transcript

A 9 year old child's asphyxiated body is found in a suitcase on a bus, with evidence of having been in the Everglades. The coroner found she had had a quality nose job, and been raped. Benson & Stabler find she was a regular beauty pageant contestant. A suspect's computer is found with a juvenile kidnap, rape and murder how-to, apparently perfectly legal, because created using legal age models whose images were manipulated by software to make them look much younger.

In the criminal
justice system,

sexually based offenses are
considered especially heinous.

In New York City,

the dedicated detectives who
investigate these vicious felonies

are members of an elite squad
known as the Special Victims Unit.

These are their stories.

Everyone stay with your
partners and sit in front.

Mrs. MacNamara, Caleb's
not sitting in the front.

Yes, Stacey,
I can see.

We need to be let off at
the Natural History Museum.

I stop at
81st Street.

Mrs. MacNamara, someone's
left their suitcase.

It's pretty heavy.

Don't touch it, Caleb. I want
everyone off this bus right now.


We cleared 250 feet in every
direction. It's all yours.


Gonna take long
to set up the X-ray?

No, they're good to go.

Could be nothing. Maybe somebody
just forgot their suitcase.

Till it's properly ID'd,
I'm not taking any chances.

X- ray should tell
us clear enough.

Image is coming up.

Oh, man, it's not a bomb.

Female victim,
eight or nine, no ID.

Jammed inside a suitcase
which was left on the bus.

Driver remember
who brought it on?

Nope. This was
his third run.

Could be anyone from Union
Square to 147th Street.

Basically all
of Manhattan.

Cause of death?

I don't
know yet.

How long she been
in the suitcase?

Hard to say.

She has ligature marks
on her ankles and wrists.

That and the lividity, she had
to be held somewhere else first,

tied in the cuffing position,
hands behind her back.

She's got French nails.
Nice manicure.

Pedicure, too.
Salon job.

Looks like she got
the full treatment.

She's got dark roots.

She's not a natural blonde.

Isn't she a bit young to be
made up like a fashion model?

Not if she's on
the kiddy pageant circuit.

As in JonBenet?

Yep. We got ourselves
a dead beauty queen.

Rape kit was positive for
fluids, I'm running the DNA.

We know
how she died?

Afraid so.

I found vomit and fragments
of latex in her mouth.

So he ties her up,
he rapes her.

She's terrified, throws up,
can't remove the gag.

And our perp just
watches her die.

I also found a piece of saw grass
on the inside of her sweater.

Saw grass? Does that grow around here?


It grows almost exclusively
in the Florida Everglades.

So, maybe he kidnapped her
down there, brought her up here.

Anything to support
the beauty pageant theory?

You bet.

Obliquely oriented cicatricial
contracture along the internal nasal vault.

What the hell is that?

A damn good nose job.

Suitcase model was discontinued 10 years ago,

but it used to be
available nationwide.

Couple of partial prints, but
not enough to make a positive ID.

Nobody saw the guy
leave it on the bus?

Patrol's passing out flyers
along the bus route.

Nothing yet, except some old
lady said she saw Osama bin Laden.

And the victim?

No missing kid reports in Florida or
the tri-state area in the last 24 hours.

Any hits on
beauty contests?

I faxed the victim's photo

to the Little Miss Angel
Pageant in Westchester.

They checked it against finalists
for the last two years, no matches.

Well, to make the nationals,
you must have to compete locally.

Any recent contests
in the area?

in the last two months,

one in Queens,
one in Greenwich,

and one coming
up in Garden City.

I wonder how many of these Little Miss Angels

get nose jobs
when they're nine.

Olivia, you and Elliot talk
to the nip and tuck brigade.

John, what do you say, you and me
check out the kiddie pageant scene?

practice your entrances.

Six steps, stop,
smile and twirl.

Step, stop,
smile and twirl.

New York City Police.
We need a word.

Parents actually pay you to
inflict this on their kids?

Yes. The young ladies find
it very character forming.

I have taught literally hundreds
of aspiring Little Angels.

You teach this one?

Oh, my God!
What happened?

Her body was found this morning.
We think she might be a contestant.

Not in any
recent competitions.

But I do keep files of all the
hopefuls who don't make the cut.

They're arranged

What? Yeah.

So, can anybody get in
to see the pageants?

Oh, no, we are very strict about
checking people's door badges.

How hard is it
to get a badge?


That was Olivia.

Nassau cops put out a missing
kid alert about an hour ago.

Girl's name is Cherie Lathan,
lives in Valley Stream.

Olivia and Elliot are on their
way to talk to the parents.

Bingo, I got a match
on the victim.

Mr. Lathan, how long has
Cherie been competing?

About four years.

After one of her friends entered
the Little Miss Angel Pageant,

Cherie wanted
to do it, too.

And when was
her last pageant?

Three months ago, right
before she had an operation.

Plastic surgery.

You're never gonna have that
edge, if you don't go for it.

It's what
Cherie wanted.

It's what
you wanted.

Why did it take you so long to
report your daughter missing?

Last night she slept over at
her friend Amy Prescott's house,

and this morning she was
supposed to go right to school.

That's where
I thought she was.

When was the last
time you saw Cherie?

Yesterday afternoon, when he
took her to get new headshots.

And then I dropped
her off at Amy's.

We'll need Amy's address. Have
you been to Florida recently?

We took Cherie to Disney World at Christmas.

We're going to need a DNA sample, Mr. Lathan.

It's standard procedure.

I know what you're thinking,
but I'd never hurt Cherie.

I worshipped her.

Did Cherie spend the night
here last night, Mrs. Prescott?


And did she go to school
this morning with Amy?

Amy came down with the flu,
so Cherie went on her own.

I offered to give her a ride to the
bus stop, but she said she'd walk.

How far away
is the bus stop?

Four blocks.

I should have insisted
on driving her,

but I didn't want
to leave Amy.

I'm sorry.

Amy, did Cherie ever
mention anyone bothering her?

Kind of.

Who's that?

There's this creepy
guy in tenth grade.

What's his name?

Kevin. I don't know
his last name.

What sorts of things
did Kevin do?

He used to come up to us and tell
Cherie that she looked really hot.

You know,
like he meant it.


He ever follow
you guys around?


And he'd hang around at gymnastics
practice and just stare at us.

Kevin's an enterprising young man.

He posts his stories for the
world to read on his own website.

Listen to this.

"9-year-old flesh is like fruit
from the tree, firm but sweet.

"What I would do to take
a bite out of Cherie. "

It's downhill
from there.

School have anything
to say about him?

Guidance counselor said he recently
persuaded a sixth grader to pose in a bikini.

He said it was
for an art project.

This creep is 15. You tell me
that's not predatory behavior.

Well, he looks
good for it.

Especially since the DNA on
Cherie's father came back clean.

He still turned his
daughter into a sex object.

Made her ripe for
Kevin's picking.

That must be Kevin and his dad. Talk to them.

Where were you this morning,
Kevin? School marked you absent.

You were ditching?

I was walking around.
It helps me think.

That's not much
of an alibi.

I don't need an alibi.
I would never touch Cherie.

You hurt her pretty bad
in your little stories.

"She tried to escape,
but I was too strong.

"I held her down and
licked her tears away. "

Look, they're just stories,
all right. Creative expression.

The minute you censor them,
you're just like a Nazi.

Cherie was raped
and murdered.

I don't want to hear
about your damn stories.

Look, I make stuff up,
I don't do it.

Then give us a DNA sample.

No. You can't violate
my civil liberties

just because I've
got a good imagination.

He'll give
you a sample.

You can't force me.
Sure he can.

Parental consent is all
we need till you're 16.

This isn't fair. You fascists
lay one finger on me, I will sue.

Sit down, you little prick.

Will this do?

Sorry, no match.
It's not Kevin.

Maybe not this time, just
give him a couple of years.

So, we've got nothing.

Not exactly.

Blood traces in the perp's ejaculate
gave us something interesting.

High levels
of progesterone.

Well, that's a female hormone.

Most often given to high school
girls to prevent pregnancy.

So, why's our
perp taking that?

To block testosterone production.

He could be using it to treat
advanced prostatic cancer,

or he's undergoing male-to-female
gender reassignment.

And it's given to sex
offenders to reduce sex drive.

But synthetic
testosterone isn't.

I also found traces
of that in the blood.

Our guy's trying to reverse the
effects of chemical castration.

He raped a girl,
I'd say he succeeded.

And I bet that freak
won't stop at one.

New York doesn't chemically
castrate sex offenders.

We got nine states that do,
Georgia being the closest one to us.

What about voluntary

Technically you can self-inject,
but we're doubting our guy did.

I mean, otherwise what's he
doing taking testosterone?

He's done
his homework.

The effects of Depo-Provera
can be blocked within a week

by using testosterone

So this guy traded in his
breasts for a sex drive.

Does that fit
the crime scene profile?


Beauty pageants offer the
killer the perfect victim.

Sexualized children who are
both innocent and provocative.

Elaborate bondage shows that he
fantasized about this for a long time

before he dared
even act on it.

Get a list of castratees
from the nine states.

Check probation violations,
relocations and child-abduction priors.

Prison bureau in Georgia, they
send you to the parole board

which sends you to
the state attorney,

who sends you back
to the parole board.

Yeah, I got the same run around
in Oregon, Texas and Louisiana.

Chemical castration hasn't
been legal long enough

for there to be
a centralized database.

Look, there's got to be a way
for us to narrow this down.

All right, Florida is one of our states.

We've been thinking that

Cherie got that
saw grass on her

when she took
that trip to Orlando.

But the ME says that saw grass
grows exclusively in the Everglades.

That's south of there.

Our perp undresses Cherie, he transfers
the saw grass from his clothes to hers?

Okay, maybe. Now, what do we know about
these three upright citizens in Florida?

Well, one died in a car crash,

and the parole officers for the
other two say they're squeaky clean.

Squeaky-clean sex offender,
yeah, that's a new one.

Rob Canotti from Milwaukee started chemical
castration treatments four years ago.

Had a supervised
relocation to Jersey City.

Well, maybe, he made an
unsupervised trip to Florida.

What was Canotti
charged with?

He kidnapped a girl
from a beauty pageant.

He tried to assault
her in his car.

The girl escaped.
She was 10.

Rob Canotti?

New York Police
in Jersey City.

Has a child
been attacked?

Why would you ask
us that question?

Why else are
you here?

To talk about
kiddie beauty pageants.

We hear they
turn you on.

If I denied it,
you'd call me a liar.

You ever see a little girl
named Cherie Lathan compete?

Not that I recall, but it's hard to
keep track of so many little lovelies.

Where were you
last night?

At home watching

Can anyone
vouch for that?

I live alone.

Well, then, I think
you better come with us.

There's no point.


The guy you're looking for
probably ejaculated in his victim.

What are you saying?

The urges started
to come back.

So I had them
cut off.


My gonads, Detective.
Take a look.

All right, all right. Put your
johnson back in your pants, Canotti.

That was Fin.

Turns out one of our
squeaky-clean Florida boys

has a mother who lives two
towns over from Cherie Lathan.

What's his name?
Tommy Hedges.

Munch and Fin are on
their way over now.

This was Tommy's room, but I've
kept it the same since he was a boy.

He ever visit from Florida,
Mrs. Hedges?

No, of course not. He can't leave
the state while he's on probation.

But he knows that his room is here
for him when he's done his time.

That's your van
in the driveway?

It was my
late husband's.

Lady like you,
living all alone,

what do you need
a big van for?

I'm keeping it
for Tommy.

Mind if we take
a look inside?

I haven't driven
it in over a year.

I don't even know
where the keys are.

Tommy ever talk to you
about his problems?

They're in the past.

I mean, he feels terrible about
what he did, but he's changed.


He's on medication, and
he's found a job in Florida.

He's determined to
start a new life.

That's awfully clean for a van
that hasn't been driven in a year.

I say we haul Mom
in for questioning.

I don't like sweating old ladies.
It offends my sense of decorum.

Oh, you'd rather be
looking through garbage?

Cop's gotta do
what he's gotta do.

"Mundialfarmacia. Com,
laboratorios de Mexico. "

Liquid testosterone.

Hey, get away
from there!

That's private property. You can't
just go on looking through that.

It's on the street,
we can look all we want.

Tommy's been coming home, hasn't he?

I don't know what
you're talking about.

Well, that's his name
and last week's date.

We need to see him.

Look, you have to understand,
Tommy really is better.

He found a job at an
advertising agency in New York.

He works Monday
through Thursday's,

and then he flies down to
Miami to get his injection.

He's cured.

Tommy Hedges? Police.
We need you to come with us.

What for?
Parole violation.

Oh, look, I can explain that.
My parole officer knows I'm here.

No, he doesn't.
Let's go.

Sure, no problem.

You don't mind
if we take this?

I looked for
a job in Florida,

but no one would give me a
chance because of my record.

So I came back home.

The last thing I wanted to do was
fly up each week, but I was desperate.

That's a sad story,

I'm not asking
for pity,

but everyone thinks sex offender
registration is this great idea.

It's not. It's hell,

especially for those of us who
are trying to make a new start.

Look, I know I've broken
parole, but I'm taking my shots.

What does your parole officer
think you're doing?

Telemarketing from home.

He never does
a curfew check.

I fly back to Miami every Friday,
and meet him and get my shot.

So what are you doing
with testosterone, huh?

That for jet lag?

I want to live
a normal life.

Be in a normal

What woman wants a guy
who can't perform?

Does Cherie Lathan
count as a woman?

I don't know
who she is.

It's the 9-year-old
you raped and killed.

No. This is a mistake.

Well, okay.

Well, Tommy,
if that's the truth,

then we're gonna be the first
ones to apologize to you.

We got plenty of ways
to check it out.

Which flight you took
from Florida, Friday night,

after you met with
your parole officer.

Whether there's any trace evidence of
Cherie Lathan in your daddy's old van.

Whether your DNA matches
the fluids found in the girl.

Some of that'll
take time,

but since you're
going back to prison

for parole violation
for at least 10 years,

I guess you're
not in any hurry.


What happened?

Just tell us. You'll feel
better, I promise you.

What's the matter?

I'd noticed her before, with the
other girls, just walking around.

She stood out like
a little princess.

I offered her a ride.

I just wanted
to talk to her.

She was so
sweet and lovely.

Where did you
do it, Tommy?

In the van.

She was crying afterwards.

She was saying she would tell,
and I had to keep her quiet.

And she wouldn't stop crying.

I had to stop her.

So you gagged her.


And then I left
to get some air,

and when I came back,
she wasn't moving.

I didn't mean
to hurt her.

Tommy, have you hurt
any others, other than Cherie?


I thought I could control my
feelings until I read that story.

What story?

On the Internet. This...

It had pictures and
words and everything.

It stuck in my head.

Lab's got something
you should see.

In all, he's got about
40 kiddie porn shots on there.

His parole officer probably missed,
they were hidden by the S-Tools software.

S- Tools?

"S" is short
for steganography.


From the Greek,
meaning "hidden writing. "

Mainly used by spies
to send concealed messages.

So Hedges downloads the child porn and
disguises it with this stegosaurus stuff.

The porn can be hidden in a photo
of a sunset, anything at all.

Hedges simply uses the S-Tools
to download and decode it.

So how'd you find it?

I went onto his hard drive
and used his own software.

This is what I thought
you should see.

"The Story of Janet. "

Basically, it's a how to on stalking,
abducting and raping little girls,

with accompanying photos.

Wait a minute, she's tied up the same way,
and in the same position, as Cherie Lathan.

The bastard downloaded the photos,
and copied exactly what he saw.

Just because porn inspired Tommy Hedges
to murder doesn't diminish his culpability.

Hedges deserves everything
that's coming to him,

but whoever produced
these is guilty, too.

Of producing and distributing
child pornography, not murder.

Look, Hedges copied
exactly what he saw.

These photos are as dangerous
as putting a loaded weapon

in the hands of
a violent criminal.

I'm not saying child
pornography isn't repugnant,

but you would have a hard
time convincing a jury

that a murderer and a
pornographer are equally guilty.

Doc, what do you think?

A Canadian study found that 90% of child
sex abusers used hardcore pornography.

Well, did it make them
all go out and commit murder?

Pornography desensitizes.

Repeated viewing
can condition arousal,

so that the viewer seeks out more
violent, more degrading images.

It can also increase
the tendency to act out

some of the activities
that are portrayed.

So the murderer has no choice
in the matter? I don't buy it.

No, that's not
what I'm saying.

Hedges already
molested children.

So he was highly susceptible
to these images.

You view it, you fantasize
about it, you do it.

I agree with Elliot.

Cherie Lathan might still be alive
if Hedges hadn't seen these pictures.

I can't
indict pictures.

You can indict the producers
and the distributors.

They could be
anywhere in the world.

Crime lab found the website
through Hedges' laptop.

With the help of ARIN
registry, we got the address.

Cyberloves Incorporated
in Queens.

Bust them.

Everyone stay where you are.

what can I do for you?

Get out of my way.

Excuse me,
this is private property.

and there's your warrant.

You all right?
What's your problem?

What's my problem?
How old are you?


Let me see some ID.

What's my problem?

You always carry around
a birth certificate with you?

Yeah, 'cause I'm sick of getting
harassed by cops when I'm modeling.

Modeling, right. It says
she's 19. Let's check that out.

This picture was found
on your company's website.

You know who she is?


She look 19 to you?

No idea.

Who do you work for?

I'm not breaking any law.

Sweetheart, a 9-year-old girl was
murdered, just like the girl in this photo,

and it was posted
on Cyberloves' website

by the dirt bag
that you're working for.

Who runs this operation?

Who signs
your paycheck?

Excel Entertainment.
Stanley Billings.

No girl working for Excel
Entertainment is underage.

That's the company policy,
and it is strictly enforced.

Now, Mr. Billings,
does your website,

cyberloves. Net,
sell The Story of Janet?


And on a Tanner scale,
she scores pretty low.

Tanner scale? I don't know what that is.

It's a body
development chart.

One being prepubescent,
5 being adult.

Now, Janet is a two.

Some girls
develop slowly.

Don't hand me that crap. My 10-year-old
daughter looks more mature than that.

I told you, we have a company
rule, no underage models.

Why would I risk
my business?

Happy pedophiles
spend more money.

You ever heard of
virtual pornography?

That girl is 18. Legal age.
We only help her look younger.

And how's that?

With youth
enhancement software.

The people that get off on
this don't think she's 18.

But she is, and looking
at that is not a crime.

Thousands of men and women enjoy
the services of Excel Entertainment.

Virtual pornography is
actually therapeutic,

it provides for men
a cathartic release,

and it still
protects the real kids.

Not all of them.

Somebody went out
and copied your images,

and a real 9-year-old
child wound up dead.

Then I'm truly sorry, but I
still haven't broken the law.

The Story of Janet
is a murder manual.

Your pornography is responsible
for the death of an innocent child.

Read the Supreme Court ruling.
"The mere tendency of speech,

"to encourage unlawful acts is not
a sufficient reason for banning it. "

The scary thing is, the girl
in the picture probably is 18.

You're telling me photo
touch-ups can make her look 10?

Yeah, Billings takes
the digital software

used to age up the missing
photos of kids on milk cartons,

but uses it in reverse
to age them down.


I took a photo of you,

and broke it down into its
thousands of digital parts.

Once the parts are isolated, you can
morph them in whatever way you want.

Oh, my God.

Yeah, the good news is that a trained
eye can usually tell when it's fake.

What's the bad news?

In the field of
image manipulation,

the porn industry
leads the way.

Are you telling me
these sick bastards

can make virtual kiddie porn
and not break the law?

I'm afraid so.

Excel Entertainment is
skirting the letter of the law

by exploiting the fantasies of pedophiles.

It's reprehensible,
and it's perfectly legal.

Can't Excel be required to safeguard
their website from vulnerable viewers?

They already do. You have
to be 18 or older to log on.

What about
The Story of Janet?

They're sending
out sadistic pictures

along with instructions on how
to abduct and rape little girls.

Then they top it off by telling
you how to avoid getting caught.

There must be something we can do about that.

No. Billings will wrap himself
up in the First Amendment,

and cry freedom of speech.

This is so wrong.
Look, you're...

All you're saying is the
constitution allows someone

to publish a blueprint for child
rape as long as he calls it art.

Wait a minute.

If we can prove that Billings
provided assistance to Tommy Hedges

in the rape and murder of Cherie
Lathan, then it's facilitation.

So, how do
we prove that?

I have to make
a deal with the Devil.

You give me Billings and I'll take
the death penalty off the table.

Not good enough.

He sees light at the end of
the tunnel or he doesn't talk.

Fine, murder two, depending
on what Tommy has to offer.

When would I get out?

Twenty-five years.

All right.

When did you start
receiving e-mails from Excel?

In January, right after I got out of jail.

They just sent ads
for websites at first.

Usually they
included samples.

Were you tempted?

But I didn't give in, not till they
sent a preview of The Story of Janet.

It was just a few lines and a photo
of this girl dressed like a princess.

It was just so... exciting.

So you signed up
for the website?


And I read the whole story,
and I saw the pictures.

And I wanted my body
to feel the way it used to.

But because of chemical castration,
you couldn't become aroused, right?


So the next day
I ordered the testosterone.

You can't just come
barging in here.

Sure we can.
We're arresting you.

For what? Facilitating the
murder of Cherie Lathan.

You're joking.

Does it look like I'm laughing.
Why don't you turn around?

You have the right
to remain silent.

Anything you say, can and will be
used against you in a court of law.

You have the right...

I'm telling you. This is a
tough case. I could easily lose.

Stanley Billings is the reason this happened.

Maybe. But the facilitation
charge against him is a reach.

And no matter what we do,
the defense is going to say

we're trying to
stifle free speech.

Free speech? Okay.

Free speech, Cherie Lathan's
life. I don't see the contest.


Barry. Hi.

Elliot, I'd like for you to meet my
old law professor, Barry Moredock.

How are you? Barry, this
is Detective Elliot Stabler.

Detective. What are you doing here?

We're doing
business together.

What do you mean?

Stanley Billings.

Don't tell me
you're representing him.

I see the First Amendment under
attack, I leap to its defense.

But I was kind of surprised
to see you're the attacker.

Your client's kiddie porn is the
reason a 9-year-old girl was murdered.

A convicted sex offender killed
that poor girl, Detective.

My client merely exercised
his right to free speech.

US v. Barnett. Publishing
instructions designed to aid another

in the commission
of a criminal offense

is not protected
by the First Amendment.

Very good, but all
my client published

was a work of virtual pornography
protected by the Supreme Court itself.

Billings is a sleaze bag who
turns women into little girls.

He makes a mockery
of the law.

Jurisprudence has to evolve
with the technology.

This is gonna be
a great fight, Alex.

I'm glad I taught
you so well.

You also taught me res ipsa loquitur.
"The thing speaks for itself. "

If it looks like kiddie porn and smells
like kiddie porn, it is kiddie porn.

Maybe it's you who should
evolve with technology, Alex.

There was no kid
in the kiddie porn.

The victim died by
asphyxiating on her own vomit.

How did that happen?

She couldn't remove her gag because
her hands were tied behind her.

The People's exhibit 12.

Dr. Warner, is this how the victim
was tied up at the moment of her death?


And are these restraints the
same as the bondage methods

depicted in Excel Entertainment's
The Story of Janet,

which Tommy Hedges
downloaded onto his computer?

They're identical.

Body position, placement of
ligatures, use of a latex ball-gag,

even the multifold, overhand
knot tying the ankles.

So, in your professional
opinion, Dr. Warner,

did Tommy Hedges
copy the website photo?

In every detail.

No further questions.

Dr. Warner, remind me what killed Cherie.

She asphyxiated
on her own vomit.

So she wasn't choked
by a photograph?


She wasn't
kidnapped by a story?


Or bound and gagged
by a website?


Thank you.
No further questions.

Mr. Hedges, why did you kill Cherie Lathan?

I never meant to.

Did you mean
to rape her?



Because I couldn't stop thinking
about being with a little girl.

You are a convicted sex
offender, and you were sentenced

to chemical castration
to control your sexual urges.

Did it work?

Yes, for over two years.

When did those
impulses begin again?

After I got out of jail, I started receiving
e-mails from Cyberloves

advertising their
child porn stories.

What sort of e-mails?

They'd show a photo
of a young girl,

and they invited me
to find out more about her.

So, you signed up?


I ignored them,
but the e-mails kept coming.

I tried so hard
not to look.

Then why did you?

Because they kept saying,
"She's waiting for you.

"Give her what
she really wants. "

It lit a fire in my head.

I couldn't think
about anything else.

So, you bought the story?

Yes. The Story of Janet.

And did you copy that story when
you tied up and raped Cherie Lathan?


It told me
exactly what to do.

Nothing further.

Mr. Hedges, you were
convicted in Florida in 1999

for the sexual abuse
of a 13-year-old girl.

Is that correct?


Did a story
make you do that?


How about when you
abducted and sexually abused

a 10-year-old in
California in 1995?

Another story to blame?


What about the very first time
you were attracted to young girls?

Was that inspired by porn?

I don't know.

Or have you simply been
attracted to young girls

for as long as
you can remember?

I don't know.

Mr. Hedges, aren't you
desperately trying to blame

someone else for
your own depravity?

They kept sending me e-mails when
I was trying to control my feelings.

Yes. So you've said.

But tell me.


did you enjoy
kidnapping Cherie?


During that time,

did you have second thoughts
about what you were doing?


You knew it was wrong, but
still you raped and killed her.


Whose fault is that?


Thank you.

I have children myself,
so the last thing I want

is for a child to participate
in the making of pornography.

That's why
we began Cyberloves.

To make a non-exploitative, legal
product for people with youth preferences.

You mean pedophiles.

A small percentage of our clientele
might have those predilections.

Then what made Tommy Hedges act on those
predilections after viewing your product?

I'm afraid I wouldn't know
what motivates a murderer.

Do you make any effort at all

to suppress the marketing of your
virtual porn to sex offenders?

We market our product to individuals
over 21 who enjoy adult entertainment.

Do you call
child rape entertainment?

It isn't against the law to explore
the dark side of human nature.

Mr. Billings, would you agree the purpose
of pornography is to cause sexual arousal?


And would you agree that the
purpose of violent pornography

is to eroticize violence?

It can have
that effect.

So it would seem logical that the
purpose of violent child pornography

is to arouse violent sexual
feelings towards children.

I don't know the research on child
pornography because I don't produce it.

You produce images
of child abuse.

I produce virtual pornography
that provides a safe release,

so the user can satiate his
fantasies without abusing anyone.

The truth of the matter is you
don't care what your customers do

as long as they continue
to pay for your porn.


Nothing further.

The defense rests,
Your Honor.

Counsel approach. Mr.
Billings, you may sit down.

Ms. Cabot is nowhere near meeting
the burden of proof, Your Honor.

Even if the jury convicts
for emotional reasons,

I'll ask the court
to follow the law

and render a not
guilty judgment.

I agree with Mr. Moredock.

Unless you can prove the
defendant had prior knowledge

that Mr. Hedges was likely
to commit a crime,

I'll have to dismiss
this case with prejudice.

You've got
until tomorrow.

We're in recess.

Tough day?


If I don't find a smoking gun, I'm screwed.

We've been looking, Alex, we
can't find what isn't there.

Billings is a businessman.

He would do anything
to increase his profits.

I don't believe he e-mailed
sex offenders by accident.

But if he spammed
the Internet,

odds are he's gonna
find a few freaks.

You want
what the lady's having?

I'll have ginger ale,

As the wise man said, I can resist
everything except temptation.

What did I say?

Hedges said
he tried to resist.

I wonder just how
much he was tempted.

How many times did Excel e
- mail you advertisements for their porn?

I don't know.

Think, Tommy,
how many?

I don't know.
Maybe 50 or 60.

But you only
opened one?


Okay, what did you do
with the other ones?

I deleted them.

Did you ever ask Excel
to stop e-mailing you?

Yeah, I did. I started
selecting the opt out option.

"Opt out"?
What's that?

It sends an e-mail back
to the company telling them

to take you off their mailing
list, but it didn't work.

The e-mails kept coming.

My company employs
over 200 people

to deal with the thousands
who use our website.

You can't expect me to know that one employee
accidentally overlooked a client's request.

21 times in a row is not
an accident, it's a policy.

You bombarded a dangerous man with
provocative images until he finally gave in.

That's a good try, Alex,

but a computerized oversight is a
long way from being a smoking gun.

And, in case you've forgotten, aggressive
advertising isn't against the law.


We'll just see what
the jury has to say.

I won't tell you I like what
my client does for a living.

I abhor it.

But I will defend his right
to publish pornography

because the protection of free
speech is vital to our constitution.

The People have made a
great deal out of a handful

of automated e-mail opt outs Mr.
Hedges sent to Excel Entertainment.

But has she shown
one shred of proof

that my client had any
knowledge of these messages?

No, she has not.

Stanley Billings
published a story,

a work of the imagination,

a work which the Supreme Court
has ruled is perfectly legal.

Mr. Billings did
not know Mr. Hedges.

He did not know what
Mr. Hedges might do.

Therefore, he cannot be held
responsible for what Mr. Hedges did.

The law holds
my client innocent.

So must you.

Thank you.

There is no doubt that Tommy
Hedges killed Cherie Lathan,

but Stanley Billings played
a part in her death also.

Now each of you knows
that he is morally guilty.

The question you
have to ask yourselves

is if he is
legally guilty as well.

And the answer is yes.

Stanley Billings put a deadly
weapon in Tommy Hedges' hands,

and Tommy Hedges
asked him to stop.

Not once, not a handful
of times, but 21 times.

And 21 times,
Stanley Billings ignored him.

Now as chief executive officer
of Excel Entertainment,

he is responsible for his company's
actions and his company's inaction.

And when Hedges finally succumbed
to Billings' hard-sell tactics,

Billings sold him instructions on
how to stalk, kidnap and rape a child.

That makes Stanley Billings
an accomplice to rape,

and it makes him
a facilitator of murder.

Has the jury
reached a verdict?

We have, Your Honor.

We find the defendant, Stanley
Billings, guilty of facilitation

in the murder
of Cherie Lathan.

They can't be serious.
I didn't do anything.

Okay, Stanley.
Take it easy.

Okay, but I'm innocent.

It's okay.

Here she is now.

Alex. Congratulations.

You're happy?

Why not? I'll get the
conviction overturned on appeal.

Enjoy it while you can.

You got the bad guy, and you
didn't stomp on the constitution.

I couldn't have
taught you better myself.

Yeah, well, thousands of people are
still legally viewing virtual child porn,

so maybe the constitution
could use some stomping.

Thousands of people are protesting
the war and burning flags,

you want to
stomp on them, too?

Where would it
all end, Alex?

Don't be upset.

In this case,
everybody won.

Not Cherie Lathan.