News and Commentary

Convicted Sex Offender’s Defense: ‘I’ve Always Been An 8-Year-Old Girl’
Photo by Alessandro De Carli/EyeEm/GettyImages

A convicted sex offender who was sentenced to at least ten years in prison protested to the court that he had “always been an 8-year-old girl” and compared his sentence to the Holocaust, telling the court, “Under the law, Auschwitz was legal. What you’re doing here is wrong, just as Auschwitz was.’’

Joseph Gobrick, 45, who was convicted in 2001 in New York on a sexual abuse charge, was arrested in 2018 after a 17-year-old Ohio girl listed as endangered/missing was found at his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, WZZM reported. Gobrick was found with images on his computer including children between the ages of infant and five years old being sexually assaulted, according to court records.

In November, Gobrick fired his court-appointed attorney and decided to represent himself. He claimed he did not download “real child pornography’’ from the internet, adding, “I did not have sex with children to create child pornography. We made those ourselves using GIMP, the GNU image manipulating program.’’ He insisted that the images were protected under the First Amendment.

But as WZZM reported, “police said eight child victims were identified in the pornography recovered from Gobrick’s computer.”

At sentencing, Gobrick pronounced, “I’ve always been an 8-year-old girl. And even my drawings and fantasies, I am always an 8-year-old girl.’’

Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Helmer stated that Gobrick was “a danger to the public … Even during the trial, the defendant continued to draw, talking about raping babies in the Kent County Jail and making other statements about how this is his constitutional right to continue to do so.”

Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Denenfeld, who found Gobrick guilty of three counts of child sexually abusive commercial activity and using a computer to commit a crime, echoed, “Based on everything he’s said and done, including bragging about what he was drawing in his cell, he obviously doesn’t think child sexually abusive material is wrong. This isn’t just virtual stuff; this is also real people being harmed.’’

Gobrick told Denenfeld, “I would no sooner have sex with a child than you would with a rattlesnake. It’s just not safe.’’

The FBI reported in 2017:

  • NCMEC estimated that more than 26 million sexual abuse images and videos were reviewed by their analysts in 2015. Additionally, NCMEC reported that since 2002, more than 10,500 victims depicted in child pornography have been located and identified by law enforcement. According to NCMEC, 4.4 million CyberTipline reports were submitted in 2015.
  • Between 2011 and 2014, researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst looked at five of the most common peer to peer (P2P) networks used to trade child pornography. They estimated that three in 10,000 Internet users on these five P2P networks worldwide were sharing known child pornography in a given month. They also estimated there were 840,000 worldwide unique installations per month of P2P programs sharing child pornography, thus indicating a significant volume of new devices trading confirmed child pornography that connected to at least one of the P2P networks analyzed for the first time.
  • An FBI investigation of a single website hosted on Tor had approximately 200,000 registered users and 100,000 individuals had accessed the site during a 12-day period.