An ex-diplomat [Gons G. Nachman] convicted of having sex with teenage girls in the Congo and Brazil and taping the encounters is asking a judge for leniency, claiming that cultural differences in those countries make sex with girls more acceptable.
Gons is the former INS Asylum Officer and State Department Vice Consul whose legal troubles I've been following for months (see here, here, here, here, and finally, here).
The judge has agreed to postpone sentencing until August 22, so that a "noted forensic psychologist" can probe Nachman's psyche as part of a defense ploy to show that Nachman became so highly attuned to Congolese cultural norms while serving as a U.S. Embassy political officer in Kinshasa that he came to believe it was only slightly improper to have sex with 14 year-old girls. And, if you buy that premise, then he shouldn't be punished as harshly as if he'd had sex with 14 year-olds in more Puritanical countries. Seriously. That's his story, a cultural subjectivist interpretation of statutory rape laws: 'Your Honor, having adopted the values of my exotic surroundings, I did not regard those particular 14 year-old girls as deserving of the protection afforded them by U.S. law, and I ask that you respect my cultural beliefs.'
But Gons isn't betting everything on this novel legal theory. According to the AP story, he also wrote a jailhouse letter to the Director of the U.S. Foreign Service in an apparent attempt to lay the groundwork for an appeal of his conviction.
Now I'll have to wait another five weeks for the next installment of the Gons Nachman saga.
Another odd twist is Nachman's prominence in the nudist community: In the 1990s, when attending law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Nachman led several public demonstrations advocating nudity. Nachman now contends that he was targeted for investigation in part because of his well-known affinity for the nudist lifestyle.
In his letter to the Foreign Service director, Nachman says investigators knew of his interest in nudism and illegally searched his apartment with the notion of finding images that, taken out of context, could be used against him.
Nachman says in the letter that he disclosed his activism and lifestyle to the Foreign Service and had no problems receiving a security clearance. State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson declined to comment directly on whether an individual's advocacy for public nudity would be a factor in the State Department's hiring process.