Porn law legacy echoes long after 8 On Your Side teen modeling investigation

(True Teen Babes, which has since been shut down)
David Hardman

(WFLA) – A Brevard County photographer who was engaged in a teenage sexploitation trade 8 on Your Side helped put out of business eleven years ago is now looking at the possibility of spending 30 years in prison for child pornography and assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon.

When FBI agents arrested David Hardman August 17 in his Brevard County home, they found him crouched in a bathroom trying to load a 9 mm automatic pistol that he later said he was going to use to shoot them.

In 2006, our 8 on Your Side investigation exposed a similar teen modeling site called True Teen Babes, operated by James Grady in Clearwater, that featured a 13-year-old model that was also a favorite of Hardman.

During our surveillance, our camera rolled as the 13-year-old girl posed outside of the photographer’s studio while wearing spike heel shoes and little else. At one point, she embraced Grady in a playful hug.

Hardman featured the same girl in his own sexually suggestive video and photo shoots under the assumed name of “Heather.” In both cases, the photographers characterized their modeling sessions as “glamour photography.”

They both claimed it was perfectly legal, and at the time in Florida, they were right.

That revelation in our reports provoked outrage by then State Senator Mike Fasano.

“I was shocked, as was everyone else. You would never think someone would exploit a child of that age,” Fasano said. He passed legislation in 2008 that essentially now bans the creation or distribution of sexualized nude photography of underage models that is “harmful to minors.”

“If it wasn’t for you and your station and the investigation that you performed, no one would have known about this. It could still be going on today,” Fasano told 8 on Your Side.

Fasano left the legislature years ago for his new role as Pasco Tax Collector, but he still takes pride in knowing that his legislation helped drive True Teen Babes and David Hardman out of business.

Unfortunately, according to an FBI indictment, Hardman moved into child pornography, which has always been illegal.

“It’s a shame that it took ten years before he has been arrested,” Fasano said. “The bottom line is it took them years, but now he’s going to go to jail.”

Meanwhile, Grady shutdown his True Teen Babes subscription website years ago and moved out of state.

The 13-year-old model that was a favorite of both photographers lived in a small town in Polk County back in 2006.

She’d be 24 now, but it’s not clear where her modeling career has taken her.

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