McGowan, a #MeToo leader and alleged Weinstein victim like Argento, seemed like she might go wobbly when the Jimmy Bennett story first broke because her friend was suddenly the accused predator. “Be gentle,” she urged.
And she heard about it from her admirers.
She’s straightened out now. Turns out that her partner, a model named Rain Dove, is the person with whom Argento was texting about Bennett last week. Forced to choose between #MeToo and her pal Asia, McGowan chooses #MeToo — based in part on things that were allegedly said in that text conversation that haven’t been released yet. You can read her full statement by clicking the image panels in this tweet but here’s the key bit:
She makes a good point in the first passage. If Argento really was the unwilling recipient of nude pics from young Jimmy, what did she say or do to make clear that she was unwilling? How many pics did she receive from him? She didn’t … respond in kind at any point, did she?
I wonder if she fully realizes what sort of legal jeopardy she’s in. An adult woman having sex with a boy who’s less than a year away from his 18th birthday isn’t looking at a long jail sentence, assuming she gets time at all. An adult woman who’s willingly receiving sexually suggestive photos of a 12-year-old is in much deeper trouble potentially. 18 U.S. Code § 2251:
(a) Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or who transports any minor in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, shall be punished as provided under subsection (e), if such person knows or has reason to know that such visual depiction will be transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed, if that visual depiction was produced or transmitted using materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, or if such visual depiction has actually been transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed.
If you’re wondering whether “sexually explicit conduct” requires that the child be engaged in sexual activity in the photo, the answer is no, not necessarily. According to the DOJ, “A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.” The minimum — minimum — sentence if you’re pinched on section 2251 is … 15 years in a federal pen.
And so we’re left to wonder about the most provocative bit of McGowan’s statement. What are the “other details” she knows about but can’t say because they’re related to an investigation? If there’s reason to believe that Argento encouraged Bennett to send the photos when he was underaged then she’s in seriously deep crapola, and the younger he was at the time, presumably the deeper the crapola is. In lieu of an exit question, I leave you with a tweet of hers that I’ve posted before. She published this the very day of their alleged sexual encounter — which would mean five years or so after he started sending her nude pics, according to McGowan’s account of Argento’s texts with Rain Dove.
Waiting for my long lost son @JimmyBennett in the hotel room: I cry, I sweat, I pace, I tremble. I am alive. pic.twitter.com/qw3VYxdEtN
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) May 9, 2013