Red Rose Stories
Region: North America
Subject: Explicit Sexuality
Medium: Internet, Literature
Artist: Karen Fletcher
Confronting Bodies: United State Government (specifically the FBI and Attorney General's office)
Dates of Action: 2005 to 2008
Location: Donora, Pennsylvania, USA
Description of Artwork: Karen Fletcher operated an internet website called Red Rose Stories that featured fictive stories that describe children being kidnapped, sexually molested, tortured and murdered. According to the Post-Gazette, Fletcher began writing the stories as "a kind of self-imposed therapy" to help deal with her own sexual abuse. She then published the stories on a website and, to prevent minors and others from accessing the site improperly, charged $10-per-month subscription fee to download the stories. At the time of the indictment, there were 29 members to the site.
The Incident: In 2005 the FBI and US Attorney Generals office began investigating Fletcher's website. Concerned about the content of the site, government officials began filing charges against Fletcher and moving to have the site shut down. In September 2006, Fletcher was indicted on six counts of transportation of obscene matters over the internet.
Results of Incident: Fletcher fought the allegations for more than a year and a half with a team of First Amendment lawyers but she eventually decided to plea guilty. It was said this was due to her agoraphobia and fear of possibly losing and being sentenced to prison. On August 7, 2008 Fletcher was sentenced with obscenity charges. Fletcher will serve five years' probation with six months' house arrest and was fined $1,000. She also has to and forfeiture of her computer.
Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08221/902713-52.stm#ixzz1bL7ZI1HN, http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/08/08/obscenity-plea-deal-leads-to-home-confinement-for-pa-woman/ and http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/Press%20Releases/WDPA_FLETCHER-GUILTY_08-07-08.pdf