Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

Man who painted Harvey Milk overlooking Castro Street faces child porn accusations

The man who painted the image of Harvey Milk on the side of the slain gay supervisor’s former Castro Street apartment is facing child porn accusations by the FBI.

Additionally, San Francisco police announced today (Friday, June 24) that it appears murals the man created around the Bay Area contain “offensive” imagery. At least one of the murals was at a San Francisco school.

Anthony Josef Norris, 46, founded and directed San Francisco’s KidServe, which offered art instruction to Bay Area children. It’s not clear if the agency’s still open. The website’s been taken down.

Norris turned himself in to FBI agents June 2 after he was charged in a federal criminal complaint. The complaint, filed in May in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, alleges that he possessed pornographic images of multiple children. He was released after posting a $200,000 bond.

San Francisco Police Investigations Commander Mike Biel said at a news conference this morning that he had “no idea” whether Norris is gay. Norris hasn’t responded to interview requests. It’s not clear whether he has an attorney.

Police Chief Greg Suhr told reporters that there were “offensive images embedded in some of the murals on city property,” including Sunset Elementary, where tiles have been removed.

He said officials had performed “immediate inspections” of almost 40 murals. He said there were about 100 “inappropriate” tiles at four sites.

Biel said he couldn’t comment on where the other inappropriate tiles had been found in San Francisco. He said the investigation was ongoing. He also said that schools  in Mill Valley, Oakland, and San Rafael were involved. Tiles were being photographed and provided to the FBI, he said.

The tiles were about 1 inch by 1 inch, according to Biel. Some included photographic negatives, and some were drawings. He didn’t provide specifics about what was offensive in the images.

“You would have to get close to the tiles to see the inappropriate images,” Suhr said.

Richard Carranza, deputy superintendent for the San Francisco Unified School District, said officials so far had “no evidence” that “any children were involved with any of these murals. … We have no evidence children were harmed in the development of these murals.”

Suhr said that the school district had done fingerprinting and background checks before working with Norris. Norris had never been arrested in San Francisco, he said.

Castro link

Milk’s old apartment, the side of which bears Norris’s painting, is above what used to be Milk’s camera shop, at 575 Castro Street. The space is now a Human Rights Campaign store. The address is also home to the local call center for the national Trevor Project, which runs a crisis line for LGBT youth.

Norris completed the painting in June 1998. It shows Milk wearing a rainbow flag T-shirt and smiling down on the street.

FBI complaint

According to the FBI complaint, images linked to Norris’s computer included one of a naked, prepubescent boy who was tied to a chair while an adult man fondled the boy’s penis and forced him to perform oral sex.

Another image depicted a boy, apparently an infant, whose anus was being penetrated by a penis. Files found on Norris’s computer also showed a boy who appeared to be 4 to 8 years old lying down with his legs spread while a “foreign object” was being inserted into his anus.

The investigation that led to the complaint began in July 2010, when Internet accounts assigned to Norris were identified as having posted videos depicting the sexual abuse of children to a Usenet newsgroup, according to San Francisco FBI agent Lydia Durben.

An agent assigned to the FBI’s Minneapolis, Minnesota division had observed and downloaded five video files posted by someone using the screen name “Spanky,” she said in the complaint.

The postings were traced to Norris’s home in San Francisco. Durben said in the complaint that she searched Norris’s home this April.

Norris told her his iMac computer contained child pornography, which he admitted that he’d used to download child porn. He said he’d been collecting similar images “for a few years” and had first encountered Internet child pornography 10 years ago, Durben said.

A Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory examination of the computer revealed a link to the Spanky screen name, and references to the file names of some of the videos the Minnesota agent had discovered. The laboratory identified 7,500 files of possible child pornography, the complaint said.

Durben said that  she confirmed that at least 600 of the images found on Norris’s computer depicted the sexual exploitation of pre-pubescent children.

According to the complaint, the laboratory also identified 143 files on Norris’s computer that matched files identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as depicting known child victims.

The maximum statutory sentence for possession of child pornography is 10 years in prison. This case is a continuing investigation being conducted by FBI’s Hayward Resident Agency, which is a part of the FBI San Francisco Division. The case will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California.

Anyone with information regarding the case may contact the FBI’s San Francisco office at (415) 553-7400.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 24, 2011 @ 8:32 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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