Joe Francis: Underage Girls May Have Gone Wild

9/12/2006 5:05 PM PDT
The man behind the "Girls Gone Wild" empire has officially pleaded guilty to charges that he and his companies failed to create and maintain age and identity documents for performers in sexually explicit films that he produced and distributed. In other words, he officially acknowledges several girls may have been underage when they flashed their goods for the popular adult series.

GGW founder Joe Francis, along with his related companies, Mantra Films Inc. and MRA Holding LLC, agreed to pay the government a total of $2.1 million in fines and restitution, however only $500,000 will be paid by Francis himself.

The charges in this case are believed to be the first to be filed under a law -- often referred to as Section 2257 -- passed by Congress to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. The law protects against the use of minors in the production of sexually explicit material by requiring producers to create and maintain age and identity records for every performer in sexually explicit movies and other media.