Another Quote from a Child Custody Case,

D.J.T. v. L.S., 2001 WL 492492 (Del. Fam. Ct.):

This Court also has concern regarding Father’s decision-making in allowing [son] to watch certain R-rated movies. While Gladiator may not be such a poor decision, clearly a movie that has sexual content would be. Mother testified that [son] was allowed to see the movie American Pie which has sexual content.

The son was 14 at the time of the court decision; I suppose he might have been a year or maybe even two younger at the time of the movie watching, but the court’s discussion suggests to me that it’s talking about the son roughly at the age he is at the time of the hearing, rather than when he was many years younger.

As I’ve suggested before, it seems to me that courts ought not make such child custody decisions based on the parents’ exercise of their First Amendment rights, which include letting their children watch or read various materials. Perhaps the rule might be different as to hard-core pornography, but American Pie, whatever its merits or demerits, surely doesn’t qualify as that. Likewise, there is much more of an argument for considering even speech (or exposure to First-Amendment-protected materials) when there’s serious evidence that the speech is likely to cause imminent harm to the child. But again, that’s a very hard case to make about American Pie.

In any case, I’ve written much more about this before, but I just thought I’d pass along this one extra data point.