Phillip Greaves: Author of pedophile's guide busted by thought police

If Phillip Ray Greaves II was looking for a life of uneventful obscurity, the 47-year-old Pueblo author wouldn't have self-published The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover's Code of Conduct, which was banned from Amazon amid threats of boycotts of the site and just got him arrested on a Florida warrant for distributing obscene material.

But there's good reason to be wary of the grandstanding lawman who engineered this little headliner. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says he was frustrated that Colorado authorities weren't inclined to jail Greaves for his creepy book, which argues in favor of "consensual" sexual relations between adults and children. So a deputy from his office went undercover, so to speak, to order a copy from Greaves for $50 -- and test whether Florida's anti-obscenity law is broad enough to prosecute a former mental patient for a disgusting book.

Judd appears to be Florida's answer to Joe Arpaio. Asked once why his officers shot an armed and highly dangerous suspect 68 times, he reportedly replied, "That was all the bullets we had or we would have shot him more." He's a guy who knows his constituency, and nothing goes over better with the voting public than locking up kiddie rapers, even if you have to go to Pueblo to get 'em.

The problem is that there's no proof Greaves ever molested anyone. Greaves has admitted being introduced to sex as a child himself but denied acting on any such urges as an adult. He has no criminal record in Colorado. And his book doesn't seem to fit the usual definitions of exploitation of a minor, since it contains no pictures of sexual contact between adult and child -- just words.

The thoughts expressed by those words are certainly repellent, but are they a crime? If depicting the psychology of a child molester is obscene, why isn't Judd going after Andrew Vachss or other novelists who have dared to do such things? If a blogger or newspaper reporter chooses to quote from Greaves' work in an attempt to explain what the controversy is about, is the sheriff going to get all Judd-and-jury on their ass, too?

The slippery slope argument will probably be raised at some point in Greaves' journey through the Florida justice system. In the meantime, it's telling that the undercover cop received an inscribed copy of Greaves' work -- the only copy the author had available, apparently, since Amazon cut off his ebook business.

It was Greaves' personal copy. He just sent it to the wrong person.

Read about Colorado crimes -- not alleged Florida infractions -- in our Colorado Crimes archives.

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast