ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Florida officials filed an obscenity charge Monday against the author of a self-published how-to guide for pedophiles that was yanked from Amazon.com last month after it generated online outrage.
Colorado authorities arrested Philip Ray Greaves II at his home in Pueblo, Colo., on a warrant that charges him with violating Florida's obscenity law.
Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Fla., said his office was able to arrest Greaves because he sold and mailed his book, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct," directly to undercover Polk deputies. Judd says Greaves even signed the book.
"He very proudly sold us his personal copy," Judd told the Associated Press. "I was outraged by the content. It was clearly a manifesto on how to sexually batter children ... You just can't believe how absolutely disgusting it was."
Laurie Shorter, spokeswoman for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department, said Greaves would be held in the county jail, where he was being booked Monday morning. It was unclear if he had an attorney. Judd said Greaves could be in Florida as early as Monday night.
"If he will waive extradition, it's my goal for him to eat processed turkey on Christmas Day in the Polk County Jail," Judd said.
Judd, who keeps a Bible on his desk, is known throughout Florida as a crusader against child predators. In past interviews, he said his campaign against child porn started when he was a vice officer and comes from his fervent commitment to protect children.
To him, that commitment includes crossing state lines: Greaves may have never set foot in Polk County, which is a melange of orange groves, phosphate mines, modest towns and a half-million people between Tampa and Orlando.
Denver attorney David Lane, who has handled several high-profile First Amendment cases, said Florida could have a hard time extraditing Greaves. He is entitled to a hearing where he can argue he should not be sent there to face charges.
"The main question is whether what he's accused of in Florida would be a crime in Colorado," Lane said. "Obviously, it's not a crime in Colorado because he hasn't been arrested here."
Writs of extradition — the paperwork necessary to send somebody to another state — are routinely signed by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, a former Denver district attorney. But Lane, who is not affiliated with this case, said it involves a different set of issues.
"Most of other extradition cases present clear-cut cases, the defendant was dealing drugs in that other state or some other crime that is also illegal here," Lane said.
Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dreyer, did not immediately return a message.
Other legal experts also question whether Greaves' right to free speech would come into play if there's a trial. If the government is willing to prohibit this book from being shipped and sold in Florida, they ask, what would prevent officials from prosecuting a bookseller who ships and sells Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita," a novel about a pedophile?
"As bad as this book may be, the charge opens a very big Pandora's box," said Dennis J. Kenney, a former police officer in Polk County and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. "The charge sounds to me like a significant overreach."
Greaves has no criminal record, but his self-published book of advice on how to make sexual encounters with children safe caused a flap when it showed up on Amazon in November. The book was later removed from the site.
Judd said he was incensed when he heard about the book and that no one had arrested Greaves for selling it.
"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 said.
Detectives worked with the Polk County State Attorney to compile a warrant, which was then signed by a county judge, Judd said.
Florida' obscenity law — a third-degree felony — prohibits the "distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors."
The book, Judd said, included first-person descriptions of sexual encounters, purportedly written from a child's point of view.
Greaves argues in the book that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.
The Polk Sheriff's Office quoted passages form the book in a press release, including the "guiding principles" and "standards of conduct" Greaves said pedophiles should abide by.
"Do not imagine that you have been given a mere code of ethics," Greaves wrote in the book. "Instead, consider that the nectar of love has been given from the hand of compassion and grace."
Judd said his undercover detectives got Greaves to sell the book to them for $50; he sent it through the mail and told officers it was his last copy.
"If we can get jurisdiction ... we're coming after you," Judd said. "There's nothing in the world more important than our children."
Associated Press Writers P. Solomon Banda and Kristen Wyatt in Denver contributed to this report.