Ira Isaacs, 56, has pleaded not guilty to federal obscenity charges in Los Angeles. Isaacs was barely known in the $4-billion adult entertainment industry; his films, featuring bestiality and defecation, catered to a tiny audience. Yet his was the first obscenity case brought in Southern California by a Justice Department task force formed in 2005 after influential Christian conservative groups demanded a crackdown on smut, says the Los Angeles Times.
The task force’s focus on bit players such as Isaacs demonstrates the difficulty of prosecuting pornography in an era when it is more pervasive than ever. Many federal prosecutors believe obscenity cases are not worth the time and resources they take away from their main missions, such as stemming terrorism and organized crime. Department of Justice spokesman Bryan Sierra defended the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force’s record, saying it has reversed years of neglect by the Clinton administration. “There was a lack of enforcement for nearly a decade,” he said. “One of the things we saw in that period was a proliferation of obscene material.”