Utah Mother Allegedly Doctored Photo to Show Girl, 13, Having Sex with Dog

Danette Stark's motives a mystery, lawyers plan First Amendment defense

ByRussell Goldman
June 29, 2010, 4:58 PM

June 30, 2010— -- A Utah woman is facing a battery of child pornography-related charges after she allegedly created a flyer depicting a 13-year-old girl engaged in bestiality and distributed photocopies of the picture around the girl's middle school.

Danette Stark, 37, a mother whose daughter attends the same Salt Lake City middle school, is accused of digitally superimposing the girl's face on a explicit image she found on the Internet depicting a naked adult woman having sex with a dog.

One of the flyers was discovered in late May by a custodian in a girl's bathroom at Northwest Middle School.

Salt Lake District Attorney Lohra Miller called the production and distribution of the flyer "heinous," but would not offer a motive for Stark's alleged crime.

"The motive is irrelevant," Miller said at a recent press conference. "In this case the heinous and despicable acts speak for themselves.

"The brochure is so heinous. You have enough to deal with as a 13-year-old girl, much less this type of conduct," she said.

Stark was booked into a Salt Lake County jail last week. Calls to her home and cell phone were not answered.

"There is a lot that Danette would like to say, but cases involving juveniles must be handled with the utmost delicacy, so for now, I have advised her not to make any comments," her lawyer, Greg Smith, told ABCNews.com.

According to the criminal complaint, the "flyer shows a completely naked female who is on her hands and knees, with her breasts hanging toward the ground, and who was engaged in an act of bestiality with a dog."

"The face of the female appeared to be 'photo shopped' and a picture of a female student was on the naked female's body," the complaint said.

"There were writings on the bottom of the flyer that read: 'Bitch,' 'C.T. really does like having sex with dogs,' 'Slut' and 'Whore,'" according to the complaint.

The school's principal has discovered 18 copies of the flyer, the complaint said.

The alleged victim, whose name has been withheld, is identified in court documents by the initials C.T.

The girl told investigators that the photo came from her class portrait.

Police identified Stark after reviewing surveillance footage that allegedly shows her entering the school. She was arrested earlier this month and charged with 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

After her arrest, Stark allegedly admitted to finding the pornographic images on the Internet and photocopying 30 fliers. She told police she distributed them in the girls' bathroom and in several lockers.

Twelve flyers remain unaccounted for, according to the district attorney.

Parents were outraged to learn that a student's mother was accused of attacking another student so vilely.

"It crosses the line between being a mature adult and the people that kids are entrusted with," Lauren DeVoe told ABC News Salt Lake City affiliate KTVX.

Starks' lawyer suggested that he planned to defend his client by arguing that doctored images, sometimes called "virtual child pornography," are not real child porn and his client is therefore innocent of the charges.

"I direct the public to the case of New Hampshire v. Zidel (granted, a minority position). We just have to give the system a chance to work in this case because its outcome could affect how the First Amendment is applied for years to come," Smith wrote in an email to ABCNews.com.

In that case, a New Hampshire court in 2005 ruled in favor of Marshall Zidel, a photographer at a summer camp charged with child pornography after pasting pictures of campers faces on nude women's bodies.

In a similar case from earlier this year, the Supreme Court supported Virginia's imprisonment of Christopher Allen, a graphic designer who created virtual child porn by superimposing the faces of his niece, stepdaughter and members of his stepdaughter's soccer team on naked women's bodies.

Stark's reasons for creating the flyer remain a mystery. It is unclear whether she was acting to defend a perceived slight against her daughter or if her motives were more nefarious.

In 1991, Wanda Holloway hired a hitman to kill the mother of a girl on her 13-year-old girl on her daughter's cheerleading squad. Holloway, who hoped the girl would be distraught after her mother's death and not compete for a contested spot on the team, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In 2008, Lori Drew, a mother from Missouri, was convicted of fraud after she impersonated a teenage boy on the website MySpace and pretended to show romantic interest in the girl before dumping her.

Drew's mean-spirited Internet hoax led 13-year-old Megan Meier to hang herself.

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