Last edited: February 14, 2005

NCSF Incident Response Statistics for a One Year Period

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Media Hotline: 202-955-1029
General Information Line: 202-955-1023
1312 18th Street NW, Suite 102
Washington, DC 20036

For Immediate Release, January 7, 2002

We thought it would be useful, for a number of reasons but particularly in light of recent discussions about evidentiary materials, to publish a more in-depth analysis of NCSF requests to incidents. This covers a one year period ending 08-31-01. A total of 962 requests for help were received from attorneys, prosecutors, individuals needing help and friends of individuals needing help. These requests sometimes encompass only one or two phone calls, but sometimes evolve into much larger projects such as the current situation in NYC with Linda Fairstein. I have also taken the opportunity to highlight a few cases which might be of specific interest.

We want to point out that under the criminal portion of these statistics, charges were not always filed. NCSF sometimes receives requests from prosecutors or the individual’s private attorney prior to charges being filed, and has had some success in helping people avoid criminal prosecution when inappropriate. Due to the increasing volume of requests for help that NCSF receives, we will be expanding our Incident Response Team significantly in 2002. The following is a breakdown by category of these 962 requests:

Criminal 73
Child Custody/Divorce 461
Job Discrimination 392
Other 36

Key evidentiary materials involved in these incidents include photos/videos, websites, email and written correspondence, and personal written materials such as diaries and fantasies. Please note that statistics include ranges for two categories since our tracking didn’t include adequate information on some cases to be sure of the exact type of evidence. Significant statistics regarding the types of materials in each of these categories are:

Photos/videos involved in criminal charges 71%
Photos/videos involved in child custody/divorce 77%-81%
Websites/email correspondence re job discrimination 68%-71%

Often, more than one type of evidence is involved.

A further breakdown of the criminal charges is as follows:

Deaths (2 without partners/7 male accused/female victim) 9
Rape/Non-consensual activity (three charged) 13
Child Abuse/Neglect (not charged) 1
Child Endangerment (not charged) 2
Prostitution related to pro dommes (all charged) 19
Stalking (1 charged) 5
Domestic Violence between partners (2 charged) 11
Sodomy (All charged, 4 heterosexual cases) 7
Other 6*

* 1 solicitation charge against a couple who recruited a police officer via the Internet (dropped); 2 criminal charges related to club zoning for swinger’s clubs; 2 cases involving gay men/sex offender laws; 1 case involving alcohol licensing issues with the venue where a large SM conference was being held.

Several interesting trends continue. First, there is a growing tendency for those accused of rape to claim it was consensual SM. For this reason, NCSF does not take positions on cases where it is not clear whether or not it was consensual.

The saddest case for the SM-Leather-Fetish community this year was the Spokane rape/kidnapping cases involving Japanese college students and several members of a local SM educational group, including the founder. Fortunately, due to a local media strike at the time of this incident coupled with pressure from the Japanese government, media attention was limited and relatively even-tempered. Defendants pled guilty, and NCSF called for a maximum sentence.

Another trend was the reluctance of domestic violence victims in committed SM relationships and those who were victims of rape/non-consensual activity to pursue legal action due to fears of the response from law enforcement. All victims who contacted NCSF expressed this fear, and the only ones who contacted law enforcement did so only after NCSF called first to gage the reaction to SM and "pave the way" for the victim to feel comfortable calling. It is NCSF’s policy to also refer any domestic violence calls to local domestic violence resources, and to refer rape/non- consensual activity calls to rape crisis centers. You may wonder why we elected to categorize this area as "rape/non-consensual" activity. The seven victims who did not pursue legal action also had not negotiated clear boundaries and parameters for these scenes, including safe words, and were relatively new to SM play activity and uneducated, and met their partners via the Internet. We don’t always know what happens to everyone who calls, but three of these seven women have spent considerable time undergoing ongoing rape counseling and have been diagnosed with exhibiting rape symptoms.

Another interesting trend is the significant increase in child custody case requests. Due to this trend, NCSF has prioritized our child custody brochures for both child protective services and individuals.

NCSF has had some success in helping parents regain child custody lost related to SM activities, or to retain custody. During the past year, NCSF helped a woman who makes toys in her home and lost her child as a result, to regain custody. Additionally, NCSF helped a pro-domme reach an agreement with her local child protective services office regarding needed protections for her children for her to operate out of her home. We have also helped numerous other individuals, but many still lose custody or get stuck with limited visitation rights due to the introduction of SM in court, usually in the form of photos.

One of the most disturbing cases related to child custody occurred in a very rural area of West Virginia and involved a woman SM practitioner who divorced a man from a local and well-known wealthy family. Not only did the man sue for custody, but nearly convinced a local prosecutor to file criminal charges for child abuse/neglect due to her SM interests. A local good Samaritan in the SM community paid for her to get a criminal attorney, and NCSF was able to provide him enough information to convince the prosecutor not to proceed. The woman did, however, lose custody and retains only supervised visitation rights. NCSF also helped avoid charges in two other potential criminal situations involving claims of children’s access to inappropriate SM equipment by the estranged spouse/parent.

Cases involving deaths between partners engaging in consensual breath control play have been initiated by defense attorneys in cases being prosecuted as murder. We typically refer them to Jay Wiseman as an expert, as well as to literature and materials which they might find helpful on the subject. Information provided to the defense usually results in some reduction of charges/sentence due to the consensual nature of the activity. These cases have involved couples who learned from other partners, by reading and the Internet, and through experimentation. None of these cases involved individual’s who had received any formal training or education, or who were members of the SM-leather-fetish communities. Both of the individual’s who died alone under unusual circumstances, were members of the SM-leather-fetish communities.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a national organization committed to protecting freedom of expression among consenting adults. Based in Washington, D.C., NCSF works through legal initiatives, lobbying, outreach, and education to promote greater understanding of sexuality and human rights. Founded in 1997, NCSF mobilizes diverse grassroots communities to help change antiquated and unfair sex laws, and to protect free speech and advance privacy rights. NCSF is dedicated to ensuring that all consenting adults can express their sexual identity freely and openly, without fear.

Be sure to check out the NCSF web site at If you have comments or suggestions, please e-mail You can also alert us to positive, negative or neutral stories about sexual minorities in your local media, at If you’d like to be removed from this list, please e-mail The mail should have the word "unsubscribe ncsf-announce" in the body (not the subject, just the body).

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