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Thursday, May 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Sex Offender Loses Bid |for Tax-Exempt Status

(CN) - A company formed by a convicted sex offender for the purpose of legalizing child pornography doesn't qualify for tax-exempt status, the U.S. Tax Court ruled, because its goals are "contrary to public policy and would encourage illegal activity."

Judge Carolyn Chiechi agreed with the Internal Revenue Service that Mysteryboy Inc., founded by Eddie C. Risdal, does not meet the requirements of a tax-exempt organization.

Risdal incorporated Mysteryboy while serving time in the Iowa State Penitentiary for child molestation. During his incarceration, he was an active, if unsuccessful, "jailhouse attorney," filing multiple appeals to his conviction, civil lawsuit against penitentiary guards, and a First Amendment claim against the prison for refusing to deliver mail addressed only to Mysteryboy and not also to Risdal himself.

After serving his sentence, Risdal was committed to state custody as a sexually violent predator.

Risdal said the primary activity of Mysteryboy would be to "research ... the pros and cons of decriminalizing natural consensual sexual behaviors between adults and underagers and decriminalizing what is defined as child pornography."

He said Mysteryboy qualifies as a "charitable" or "educational" organization, because as director he would offer counseling, promote safe sex, feed the hungry and establish a suicide prevention program. He said the group would also promote "the artistic use of human nudity young and old."

In opposition, the IRS submitted an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed Risdal's commitment as a sexually violent predator. The opinion cited a psychological evaluation of Risdal and an article in which Risdal wrote: "Thousands of kids would die yearly from either (sic) murder, suicide, physical abuse, neglect, hunger if not for the concerned and caring pedophile."

The IRS denied tax-exempt status, insisting Mysteryboy "was formed to sexually exploit children by promoting the repeal of child pornography and exploitation laws."

The tax court rejected Risdal's appeal.

Judge Chiechi said Mysteryboy failed to show how its ostensible goals "will not provide Mr. Risdal with a platform from which he will seek to legitimize the illegal behaviors in which he has engaged, for which he was convicted, and which formed the basis on which he was civilly committed."

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