Obscenity Prosecutor Gets New Job

Michael Hayes
WASHINGTON — President Bush has named U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan — best known to the adult entertainment industry as prosecutor with a predilection for obscenity prosecutions — to head up the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Buchanan, who will continue to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the 25-county Western District of Pennsylvania, was named acting director of the office that administers financial and technical assistance to communities around the nation to create programs and construct policies aimed at ending domestic violence.

The office was created in 1994 by The Violence Against Women Act, which was heavily supported by the feminist lobby.

Buchanan’s appointment to head up the office, which doles out $3.9 billion in federal funding to combat violence against women is a disappointment, according to feminist activist and blogger Elizabeth Holtzman.

“You can imagine my disappointment when I found out the Office on Violence Against Women is going to be run by yet another wacky Bush appointee,” she said. “Basically, this sucks. I can see it now, VAWA funds being diverted to conservative anti-obscenity groups under the rhetoric of protecting women. I am completely freaked out.”

Buchanan’s anti-obscenity crusade has included charges against Karen Fletcher, who uses the pen name “Red Rose,” for text content describing the kidnapping, torture, sexual molestation and murder of children nine years and younger.

In 2003, Buchanan brought charges against Robert Zicari and his wife Janet Romano, who co-own Chatsworth, Calif.-based Extreme Associates. Both film content under the names Rob Black and Lizzie Borden.

“Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of violent porn and the like, but Buchanan strikes me as more interested in enforcing morality than the law,” Holtzman said.

In addition to her anti-obscenity credentials, Holtzman also said she was concerned that Buchanan was no friend to civil liberties, calling the prosecutor a “cheerleader for the Patriot Act.”

Holtzman also criticized Buchanan for squandering $12 million on “Operation Pipe Dreams,” an Internet-based anti-drug campaign that netted 55 people, including actor Tommy Chong, for selling bongs online.

Buchanan became an assistant prosecutor in 1988 and specialized in white collar and child exploitation crimes before being sworn in as U.S. attorney in September 2001.