July 25, 2003 03:52am
Nudist Selling Nude Kid Videos
Source: St. Petersburg Times
by: James Thorner
(LAND O'LAKES, FL) - The former president of the nudist group that sponsored a controversial summer camp for teenagers runs a business that sells videos featuring young nude girls.
Land O'Lakes resident Walt Zadanoff served as president of the American Sunbathing Association, the former name of the 50,000-member American Association for Nude Recreation based in Kissimmee.
The 68-year-old nudist defends the sale of the videos, which include full-frontal shots of elementary-school-age girls at beauty pageants in Europe, as "information and entertainment for a legitimate nudist."
"I sell it in good faith as a genuine nudist product," Zadanoff said Thursday of tapes he distributes over the Internet through a company called Sun-Dressed Marketing.
U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, who campaigned last month against a nude summer camp in Pasco County, considers the videos fodder for a less savory element.
The West Palm Beach Republican is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Bob Graham and has specialized in child protection issues in the U.S. House.
"These videos are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles," Foley said in a written statement e-mailed to the St. Petersburg Times. "They serve young children on a platter for America's most depraved."
Foley said a local nudist faxed him information about Zadanoff's Web site. Last month, Foley criticized a camp for naked children aged 11 to 17 held at Pasco's Lake Como nudist resort. It was sponsored by the nudist organization Zadanoff led from 1990-92.
The American Association for Nude Recreation disavows the video sales. After inquiries from the Times, the nudist group asked Zadanoff Thursday to remove a link from his Web site to its site.
American nudist resorts don't hold beauty pageants for nude children, association marketing official Debra Peterson said.
"We saw the Web site and said, "Whoa!"' Peterson said. "While the video content may be fine, the focus on the child element to sell it was not appropriate."
Zadanoff said he sells one or two pageant videos a week and that they represent a handful of his 100 video titles. He makes most of his money from guides to international nudist resorts, he said.
Supplied by producers in Russia, the Czech Republic and France, the videos are categorized as "teen" "junior teen" and "junior miss."
Generally, the younger the girls, the more expensive the video. One 55-minute junior miss tape sells for $99.95. The sales caption reads: "Judging based on beauty, personality, poise and grace. Resolution rating - GREAT."
But the sales don't appear to break the law, which delineates between non-sexual nudity and lewdness, said Pasco-Pinellas State Attorney Bernie McCabe. Not that he approves of Zadanoff's Web site.
"There's no question it's probably getting into the hands of folks who aren't just enamored of being a naturist," McCabe said. "So is it feeding some other desire that we find not appropriate?"
Zadanoff accused Foley of being a publicity-hungry "laughing stock" whose mind is "in the gutter." Zadanoff said the videos include no posing, genital closeups or sex.
Zadanoff said he's concerned there could be pedophiles among his customers, but said it's not anything he can control.
"We can't read what's in people's minds," he said. "If they want to take the Sears Roebuck catalog and turn it into something erotic, we can't control that."
Foley's office said his goal is more to shame Zadanoff than to punish him. Resurrecting the summer camp issue, the congressman said the videos prove the need for watchfulness on the part of nudist parents.
"When a company like Sears markets to potential buyers, it doesn't charge nearly $100 for its catalog. And it doesn't limit its catalog so most don't even see it," Foley said. "These excuses hold as much water as a slotted spoon."