I Write Letters

[Sexual assault trigger warning.]

Dear AP and Yahoo News:

I'm not sure which one of you two fine bastions of journalistic excellence came up with the extraordinary headline 'Best Santa ever' arrested in N.J. on child sex charges...

...for a story about Wayne Nelson Corliss, a "small-time actor, who painted faces at children's parties and performed as 'the best Santa Claus anyone has ever seen'," at least until his appearance "in dozens of raw child porn images" led to his arrest for raping three boys in Thailand, aged 6 to 10, but there is no such thing as "child sex." Please make a note.

There is also, for the record, no such thing as "sex charges," if the construction for which you were shooting was not child sex...charges, but child...sex charges. I understand that "sex charges" is a favorite of journamalisimos everywhere, given its lurid draw, but criminal acts related to sex are typically, with exceptions like prostitution, not about the consensual act of sex, but non-consensual acts like rape, harassment, and non-penetrative assaults such as exposure. The correct terminology in this case is "child rape charges." Please make a note.

Also, the grotesque Corliss did not "ha[ve] sex with three boys," but rape three boys. Please make a note.

Further, Corliss having waxed nostalgic about the "euphoric" experience of raping three children in Thailand, along with telling authorities one of the pairs of boys' underpants found in his apartment was "a souvenir" from his rapecation, there's really no goddamned need to politely suggest he "is believed to have sexually abused at least three boys," as opposed to stating he has reportedly confessed to sexually assaulting at least three boys. Please make a note.

Melissa McEwan

cc. The entire rest of the world.

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