August 26, 2021

Spencer Elden, the now 30-year-old who appeared on the cover of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album as an infant, has filed a lawsuit against 15 people and companies associated with the album. Elden cites that the band engaged in child pornography when they used the naked picture of him for the cover. On August 25, 2021, Catholic Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mary Graw Leary, a former federal prosecutor and recognized expert in the areas of criminal law and procedure, victimization, exploitation, human trafficking, missing persons, technology, and the Fourth Amendment, spoke with The New York Times and gave her thoughts on the complaint.

The New York Times
By: Maria Cramer
Date: August 25, 2021
Why the Baby on Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Album Is Suing Now

"This lawsuit is not a typical child pornography case, said Mary Graw Leary, a professor at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America.

“Nudity of a child alone is not the definition of pornography,” she said. “The typical child pornography that is being seen in law enforcement and pursued in the courts can be violent. The children are young and it is very graphic.”

But there are factors under federal law that allow a judge or a jury to determine whether a photo of a minor “constitutes a lascivious exhibition of the genitals,” including if they were the focal point of a photo, Professor Graw Leary said.

That part of the law “gives a bit more discretion to the court,” she said. “It’s not a case with easy answers.”

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