In our previous post on stomping and crushing fetishes we mentioned federal law H.R. 1887, championed by Congressman Elton Gallegly, which makes the creation and selling of 'crush' videos involving cruelty to animals illegal. After the Ventura County California District Attorney's Office was frustrated in their attempts to prosecute a known producer of 'crush' videos from Thousand Oaks, CA, they joined together with the Doris Day Animal League to convince Gallegly to put forward a bill making the creation and sale of these videos illegal. As part of the bill's passage through Congress the House Subcommittee on Crime solicited testimony on 'crush' videos. I was able to dig up the extremely cogent and interesting testimony given by Susan Creede, a Ventura County police investigator, to the subcommittee on September 30, 1999. It makes for interesting reading, gives a great deal of insight into the 'crush' phenomenon, and shows how important a psychological perspective can be for investigative police work:
"My name is Susan Creede. I am an investigator with the Ventura County District Attorney's Office. I have been a police officer for nearly twenty years, but I only became familiar with animal crush videos in September 1998, when this case was first assigned to me. The investigation began after we received a video from the United States Humane Society in Washington D.C. They purchased the video on the Internet from an individual using the name "Steponit," a resident of Thousand Oaks, a city in Ventura County.
During my investigation, I ran searches for animal crushing on the INTERNET. I found different websites and chat rooms announcing crushing activities. I also located bulletin boards involving animal crushing activities. While in the different chat rooms involving foot fetishes, I communicated on line with people and told them that I was interested in animal crushing. I was eventually directed to a chat room called "Crushcentral," where people with foot fetishes and different sexual deviances meet to talk with people of similar interests. I spent the majority of my time in "Crushcentral," but I was able to locate two other chatrooms that were similar in nature, "Crush 101" and "Feet."
People from all over the world meet in these chatrooms. They use stage names such as "Under Her Feet", "Squished," etc. I met these people on a daily basis, using the name Minnie. I talked to and "made friends with" people from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Mexico, and the United States. Each day I chatted with these individuals during the day and evening, depending on where in the world they lived. We shared crush experiences as well as everyday life experiences. The fact that people do not use their real names makes investigating these crimes difficult. One never knows with who they are actually corresponding, which makes it very difficult to prove who is actually producing the videos.
Through my conversations, I learned that the common denominator was the "foot fetish." They spoke about their fetishes and how they developed. For many of them the fetish developed as a result of something they saw at a very early age, and it usually occurred before the age of five. Most of these men saw a woman step on something. She was usually someone who was significantly in their lives. They were excited by the experience and somehow attached their sexuality to it.
As these men grew older, the woman's foot became a part of their sexuality. The power and dominance of the woman using her foot was significant to them. They began to fantasize about the thought of being the subject under the woman's foot. They fantasized about the power of the woman, and how she would be able to crush the life out of them if she chose to do so. Many of these men love to be trampled by women. Some like to be trampled by a woman wearing shoes or high heels. Others like to be trampled by women who are barefoot. They prefer to be hurt and the more indifferent the woman is to their pain, the more exciting it is for them.
I have learned that the extreme fantasy for these men is to be trampled or crushed to death under the foot of a powerful woman. Because they would only be able to experience this one time, these men have found a way to transfer their fantasy and excitement. They have learned that if they watch a woman crush an animal or live creature to his death, they can fantasize that they are that animal experiencing death at the foot of this woman.
Many videos are produced wherein defenseless animals are tortured and crushed to death, for the sole purpose of sexually exciting men. The animals are tortured in a slow, cruel and deliberate way. The women torturing the animals talk to them as if they are human. The women play the part of the dominitrix.
These videos are usually sold for fifty to two hundred dollars a piece. Special orders are made at the request of the buyer. He merely E-mails his request in detail to the producer. The fantasy is then acted out by the actress while being filmed by the producer.
During my chats, I have learned that many of these videos are being produced in the United States. Several of the producers live in California. However, I have learned that there are producers living in Texas and Ohio as well.
The animals being crushed include, but are not limited to, mice, pinkies (baby mice), guinea pigs, rats, squirrels, rabbits, birds, chickens, cats, dogs and monkeys. I have been personally asked to make a video of a dog being crushed. I was also approached on the INTERNET by an individual that asked how big an animal I was willing to crush. I was once instructed on how to torture a dog on video, step by step. I was told to purchase the dog at a place that would not check on the animal at a later date. I was told to make the video immediately after purchasing the animal to avoid the risk of becoming attached. I was told to make the crushing incident last ninety minutes before the animal actually died.
In May 1999, I was contacted through the INTERNET by Gary Thomason, known to the crush community as "Getsmart." Thomason sent me a clip of a mouse and rat crush video he filmed with "Diane." Thomason told me he would much rather produce a video with me, and he asked me to consider making a video with him. I agreed and we made arrangements to meet at his apartment on June 19, 1999.
With the assistance of Long Beach Police and investigators from the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, I went under cover with a second police officer from Long Beach. After we arrived at Thomason's residence, he went to the local pet store and purchased five large rats. Thomason arranged for a second camerman to video tape the crushing event from a different angle. After Thomason taped one of the rats to a table and both camera men had the cameras running and ready to film, the arrests were made. At that point the Long Beach Police Department took over the investigation. Mr. Thomason awaits trial on Felony Animal Cruelty charges.
During my conversations in the different chat rooms, individuals have sent me samples or clips of these videos to add to my collection. Many photos of animal crush and trampling have also been sent to me over the INTERNET through the chat rooms similar to the ones you have seen today. Tom and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have."
Testimony to the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Crime, September 30, 1999
History of animal-cruelty law at issue in Stevens poses incongruity
By Adam Ezra Schulman, First Amendment Center legal intern