When both libertarian Mark Brady and progressive Anne Zook recommend a piece, it's worth a look.
In this case it's an anonymous attack on sex-offender law which makes a very strong case that we've panicked ourselves into a situation we would condemn if we were looking at it from anything like a rational position. Anne Zook's distinctions between crimes of action and crimes of thought, crimes of production and crimes of consumption, is a powerful one. So is her commentary on the role of media and advertising -- of culture -- in creating the situation.
I am torn, and without the time or energy to sort things out at the moment. As a parent, the impulse to destroy the lives of any who would threaten the well-being of the Little Anachronism (or any of the other children [or former children] who are in my life as friends and relatives) is one that, frankly, appeals to me. The liberal impulse (classical liberal, actually, which is something the libertarians will need to contend with) is to put the responsibility for preventing harm to citizens on the government, rather than making it a private affair, and our present cultural aversion to risk is very, very high ("zero-tolerance" being the operative buzzword in this, as in so many, situations).
As the original article points out, it's very, very hard to find even hard-core civil libertarians who will defend anyone accused of sexual offenses, and very hard for concrete research into currently criminalized sexualities and relationships to be published, for fear of the backlash (the article itself is anonymous, for that very reason). It's a Catch-22: you can't do research on whether these things are actually harmful or penalties effective because they're criminal; they're criminal because we have this intuitive reaction to penalize those things that we think are harmful, but we really don't know. And we will never know as long as the research remains off-limits, and the research remains off-limits as long as the criminalization and scapegoating continues.
Unfortunately, the blurring of lines that will come with real research into what does and does not do harm plays directly into the rationalizations of those who do harm. Ambiguity is part of the price we pay for clarity, ironically. The current "science" with regard to sex, sexuality, development and pathologies is pitiful, frankly; it's alchemy, and what we need is chemistry. But we've legislated alchemy...