Former First Baptist Church deacon, Terry Dean Gibson of Las Cruces, was dismissed Tuesday of all charges related to the secret video-taping of women and girls at backyard pool parties that he hosted for church bible study and youth group meetings. In April of 2008, Gibson had been charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation of children following an investigation surrounding the deacon. Third Judicial District Court Judge Stephen Bridgforth stated in his ruling that in order for the videotapes to be considered exploitative, “visible display or readily discernible depiction of a child engaged in sexually provocative conduct” must exist as well as “visible signs of eroticism.” None of which, according to the courts findings existed. Ultimately the videotapes were protected speech under the First Amendment, given that such exploitative acts did not exist. A statement by Gibson’s lawyer said the ruling was “an important victory for the First Amendment in an era that has seen the government increasingly and consistently encroaching upon our rights as citizens.”

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