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Porn Starlet Won’t Face Charges For Underage Acting

July 19, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Pornographic film star Traci Lords, who was 15 when she started taking part in sex acts for the camera, will not be prosecuted, the district attorney said Friday.

Instead, the investigation will be directed at the people she worked for, said District Attorney Ira Reiner.

″She may very well be a hard professional now, but she was a 15-year-old runaway when the pornographic film industry got hold of her,″ he said.

He identified Miss Lords as Norma Kuzma, a 1984 runaway from Steubenville, Ohio.

Miss Lords, now 18, told authorities her employers knew she was under age and that she was told to get a phony ID, he said.

″She tells us that she was told to just get some kind of an ID and that was, according to her, done with more of a wink and a nod than any serious effort to determine what her real age was,″ Reiner said.

″It may be difficult as we go ahead, trying to prove that these people involved in this pornographic industry were unaware of her age,″ he said. ″But frankly, I personally find it incredible. I think it was pretty clear. Traci Lords will tell you that it was pretty clear they understood she was under age.″

Earlier this week, investigators revealed that Miss Lords starred in many of her 75 top-draw sex films when she was still a minor, making those films and tapes child pornography.

It is a felony to knowingly make or distribute pornographic films or photos of a minor.

Al Albergate, a spokesman for the county district attorney’s office, refused Friday to reveal how investigators learned Miss Lords was under age when she appeared in such films as ″New Wave Hookers″ and ″Educating Mandy.″

Miss Lords, who formerly lived in Redondo Beach, is secluded at an undisclosed location and could not be reached for comment, said her attorney, Leslie H. Abramson.

She is ″very confused and very scared and very upset and embarrassed about the whole thing. ... My client did nothing illegal,″ Abramson said.

The investigation involved Miss Lords and anybody who employed her, Albergate said. Those employers say they were duped by a very mature-looking teen-age girl.

The revelation of Miss Lords’ age spurred distributors and video dealers to pull her tapes from their shelves, cancel orders and even remove posters.

The Adult Film and Video Association of America, which advised distributors to remove the work, assessed the damage to the adult film industry in the millions of dollars, said board Chairman Jimmie Johnson.

Miss Lords, who also appeared in the September 1984 issue of Penthouse magazine, presented identification then indicating she was over 18, publisher Bob Guccione said in a statement Friday.

″Penthouse would not publish photographs of any model if there were a question with respect to her age or the legal execution of a model release,″ Guccione said.

Jim Southe, the modeling agent credited with discovering Miss Lords, said he gave investigators photocopies of a driver’s license and a birth certificate she showed him in November 1984.

Southe and other industry officials said Miss Lords’ documents identified her as a woman born on Nov. 17, 1962.

Police vice Capt. Jim Docherty said the identification used by Miss Lords is actually that of a woman in Steubenville, Ohio, and described that woman as ″a lady who’s really upset.″

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