THOMAS KELLEY (has been known as Tom Kelley, Thomas Kelly)
by Nikki Craft

There is more than one professional photographer whose last name is properly spelled "Kelley," and "Kelly" most notable are a fine arts photographer from Los Angeles and another who is an automotive photographer/writer working throughout the U.S. These photographers are [emphatically so, I might add] not involved in nudism, so please do not confuse them with Mr. Kelly. They are repulsed, and are concerned that their valid reputations as a photographers not be impugned by Mr. Kelly's actions.
    Tom Kelley, a long-time employee of Sears in Los Angeles or surrounding areas, music collector and naturist/nudist photographer spelled his legal name as Tom Kelley when involved with naturist photography activities. However, his legal name is Thomas Kelly according to police records. Nudists and naturists frequently go by aliases and false names so this was never checked into even though he was the official photographer for national naturist organizations including The Naturist Society and took many published photos of naturist/nudist children for their magazine. After his arrest, his name, was spelled Kelley and Kelly as a result of his duplicity. --NC

One thing Tom Kelley and other photographers prove is that the only way nudist parents can really protect their children from exploitative photographers is to stand smack-dab in front of them when a picture is taken. --Nikki Craft

I first met Tom Kelley back in 1983 at Lupin Naturist Resort at the Naturist Society's Western Gathering when I attended a slide show he was giving. For several hours Tom showed slide after slide of nude children that he had photographed at camps and beaches during his twenty-five years as a nudist/naturist activist.
He had been showing the slide show for years at various naturist events. His puns had become rote; he knew his material well -- almost too well. He told a story with each set of slides, and many contained infantilized, sexual humor about the child's positioning, or what they happened to be doing in the picture.
Tom took many nice photographs. But, after several trays of slides I found myself getting irritated. For a while I privately questioned my own perceptions. Why couldn't I just enjoy what was probably an innocent slide show? But as the slides continued, I became seriously offended by the sexual innuendos about the children that Tom, and other men in the audience, kept making. (Tim Wilcox was present that day watching the slide show.) I also remember wondering why so many "naturists" were closed up in a dark room watching slides when they could be outside in the fresh air with real, non-celluloid people.
I approached Tom afterwards and told him that I felt no matter what his own personal motivations might be, he was entertaining pedophiles with his photography. We had a lengthy conversation and my anger subsided.
I liked Tom. He was intelligent, contemplative, and he was non-combative and seemed receptive to my confrontation about his behavior, which it seemed, he was considering for the first time in his life. I remember feeling that we were really communicating and, to my knowledge, he never showed his slide show at any Naturist Society gathering after that conversation.
I remember thinking that Tom really cared for children -- that he could never do anything to hurt a child. Still, I made a mental note to watch him, and several of the other men that were present there that day. When I got home to Oshkosh I made a file on him and began placing relevant items in it; such as letters and articles that he published and wrote about child abuse and children.
While I was working in Oshkosh at the Naturist Society Headquarters Tom was hired by Lee Baxandall for a token fee (car fare and some expenses) to edit The Naturist Society's Beachhead section in the Bare In Mind (BIM) nudist newspaper (circa early/mid 1980's). Lee Baxandall and I spent an afternoon with him during one of our visits to L.A.
Over the years Tom and I spoke on the phone on numerous occasions regarding naturism, feminism and work. Many times Tom mentioned how much his ex-wife, Joanne, hates naturism. He had a massive collection of records and several of our talks were about music too. We argued intensely on numerous occasions. For a while I was pretty confrontive about the issue of pedophilia and his responsibility, as an editor, to make it a public issue. Over the years I came to think, with some reservations, of Tom as a political ally, and perhaps even a long distance friend. These days, though, Tom won't return my phone calls.
The reason for this being that in April of 1991 Tom accidentally went off and left a duffle bag full of child pornography unattended on the balcony outside his apartment. A young boy came upon it and stole the bag without knowing its contents. The boy was so upset by what he found that he turned it over to his parents. The police were called immediately and went to Tom's apartment with a search warrant.
When the police arrived, Tom was out of town. But when he returned, there was a message waiting for him. It informed him that the police had searched his apartment; that there was a warrant out for his arrest; and that he needed to give them a call when he returned to town and arrange a time to come down and turn himself in.
I learned of Tom's arrest several weeks after the search and called Los Angeles police officer Michael Schlimack, Tom's arresting officer. Schlimack said that Kelley was "very cooperative and almost apologetic." The first thing I asked him was if there was any possibility the bag could have been considered "innocent" nudist photography.
    Schlimack answered "no" and added, "Kelley had many nudist camp photos. But there's nothing illegal about that. He was charged with child pornography. That's different. He had photographs of children who were posed in sexually explicit positions, and were engaging in sexual conduct, and/or with focus on the genitalia. He had a very wide collection that he had photographed himself straight out of hard core child pornography publications." After reading a pre-released issue of the ICONoclast Schlimack told me, "The list you publish only scratches the surface."
A partial list of the evidence seized in his apartment is: four small photo albums of child porn, a carton of slides of child porn, 8 photo albums of child pornography, one metal box with child erotica (sic), one plastic box with photos of nude adults and children, a metal box with child porn, a brief case with child porn, naturist literature, and many video cassettes. There were 16 child porn magazines in Tom Kelley's apartment, among them Lolita Sex, School Girls, Children Love, Lolly Tots, and Little Girls Fuck Too.
In November of 1991, Tom Kelley pled no contest to one count of possessing child pornography. He was originally charged with 8 misdemeanor counts of possession and one count of depicting sexual conduct with a child under 14.
Los Angeles prosecutor, Tracy Webb told me that the amount of materials Kelley possessed was "memorable" -- a strong statement coming from someone who has probably seen just about everything. She said he had "boxes and boxes of photographs of nude people playing volley ball and tennis; and he also had boxes and boxes of adult and child hard-core pornography. Included in those boxes were photos and videos of adults having sex with children." She said he would "cut out nudist photographs, or sexually provocative pictures of adults or adult male genitalia, and then he would cut out a photograph of a child and then arrange them together in various positions on the refrigerator. For instance," she added, "he would cut out the heads of the young girls and then position them at crotch level of an adult male."
Bill Dworin, Investigating Officer of the Sexually Exploited Child Unit in Los Angeles, confirmed there were "quite a few" spread-legged shots from hard-core child porn publications and that Kelley had framed some of the photo montages throughout his house, but that the more explicit child porn was in his closet.
Dworin told me that Tom Kelley "recognizes, and freely admitted that he has a problem." Dworin also said that Kelley "admits to getting sexually aroused by looking at, and being around, nude kids."
When he appeared in court for sentencing, he told the prosecutor that he didn't want to talk about it; he just wanted to plead guilty. In exchange for his no contest plea to the one count, he was given 36 months probation which included AIDS testing, undergoing compulsive sexual behavior counseling, not possessing nude photographs of children, donating $500 to Children's Home Society, and 20 hours social service work for Cal Trans - or serve 20 days in county jail.

To many, Tom would be the last person they would have ever suspected to be involved in this type of behavior. He has been an active naturist for 25 years. He has written some of the most informative articles ever published in the nudist/naturist press about the exploitation of children. He printed several articles that contained preventive methods that could be employed by nudist parents to keep their children safe from sexual abuse. He was the only nudist or naturist editor that did not censor information about NOPE once we began functioning independently from TNS; and he even reprinted the complete extensive coverage from the ICONoclast about Tim Wilcox. He got a lot of flack coming at him from a lot of different directions for doing it, too.
In fact, he "resigned" shortly after he published our exposé on Tim Wilcox as the editor from Beachhead. He told me that Lee Baxandall and Bill Flesher were very upset along with several others that he refused to name.
After that Tom only worked for Bare In Mind from behind the scenes. I thought this was strange at the time, because he really only removed his name publicly as editor and gave up the responsibility to make decisions regarding what he published. But he still did volunteer labor for Bare In Mind and for Lee Baxandall, probably still does.
I thought it was unfortunate at the time that he resigned. Now, it makes more sense why he might have wanted to remove himself from the limelight of the developing pedophile controversy. After all why would a collector of child pornography and someone who admits he is sexually aroused by little girls be upset by what Tim Wilcox had done? Tim was, after all, supplying the photography in the pornography that Tom Kelley was buying -- the photos he "needed."
Still, Tom's writings sounded very sincere. In fact, sometimes I thought he might be one of the few writer/editors in the life-style who genuinely cared about children. Unlike some men who talked about the problem of pedophiles involved in nudism, but their real concern was more about the tarnishing of the movement image when the pedophiles were discovered, Tom seemed different because he articulated how much child sexual abuse really hurt children.
The same month of his arrest, Tom published one article that read: "Young people need to feel safe when they are nude in the confines of the club, and public sexual behavior should be strongly reprimanded. They should be told from the beginning that nudity and sexuality are two different things, and then shown how this is true."
Two years before that (April 1989) in an article entitled "Give Children Loving Affection, Not Affliction" he wrote: "Parents of nudist children must insist on their children asking for permission to have their photo taken. It is wise to be there when it happens. Even better, be in the picture to make it a real nudist family shot."
In the same article he wrote: "The nudist life-style will someday be a key part in the resolving of this tragic problem [child sexual assault]. Our body awareness and openness will be the source for much knowledge about the creation of these deviations. Remember there are no known sexual abusers who were raised as nudists. Body understanding may be the key to prevention. For the time being, be alert."
In that same April, 1989, issue he wrote: "The association of sex with nudity in our society, coupled with the fact that families are involved in nudism, increases our vulnerability to the zealots who condemn our beliefs. This panic has already created some paranoia in our ranks . . . If you read the newspapers you are most likely aware of a problem coming to light that can be quite shocking to most of us. The problem is sexual assault of children, and, as we are now being made aware, it has been occurring more frequently than we ever imagined."
I said before that I considered Tom to be a friend of sorts. Still, there was always a haunting kind of hesitation. That was because peppered throughout all his concerns for children was talk about "zealots," "paranoids," and "the witchhunt." He'd often discretely discounted the concern that he was creating with a write-off about hysteria of the "child protectors."
But Tom Kelley knows very well what's out there, and he knows it's not hysteria. He knows because he's part of the problem. He knows very well that the concern about child pornography and what men are doing to children is not, as he once put it, "paranoia within the ranks."
In a March 29, 1992 article in the Dallas Morning News entitled, "Kids may be at risk in nudist camps" written by reporter Christine Wicker, Tom is straightforward about the nudist/naturist organizations not doing enough. He said, "they don't publicize it enough." He added, "I don't think the parents are aware of it . . . They can be lax at times, very lax." He also told Wicker: "I was very watchful of other people's children because I knew people [read men] had these feelings because I did." So how does this explain his talk about paranoia within the ranks just before his arrest?
The same week I found out Tom had been arrested I read these words he had written in Bare In Mind: "Remember there are no known sexual abusers who were raised as nudists." What a crock! Tom has been attending nudist/naturist events for twenty-five years; and that's being raised a nudist! Even though he probably means being raised since a child, if twenty-five years in nudist camps isn't enough to deal with these types of fixations and obsessions then all this idiocy about wholesome body acceptance through nudism seems futile to me, and so does this coddling of pedophiles that frequently happens.
Maybe Lee Baxandall should reconsider his position about Tom Kelley. In a letter to Christine Wicker he wrote: "Kelley was not an offender by his actions with children; rather, by possessing outlawed images." And if Tom does not consider himself to be a child sexual abuser, perhaps he should reconsider too.
Now, when I look back on that afternoon many years ago at Lupin, I know Tom was sexualizing those children. What I don't know is if he stopped showing his slide show because he really cared about what I said, or because I had alerted him to a different danger and simply enabled him to cover his tracks more effectively. That is a frustrating part of all this work for me.
Out of one side of his mouth Tom has assured us that nudism and sexuality are separate and something different. What kind of betrayal then exists when he sexualizes the children he has photographed? Tom encourages parents to be present in the photographs for "nice nudist shots." Yet what kind of fraud is in operation when he and other pedophiles can then take the photographs home, and cut/crop the parents out then paste the children into sexualized positions? One thing Tom and other photographers prove is that the only way nudist parents can really protect their children from exploitative photographers is to stand smack-dab in front of them when a picture is taken.
I was wrong about Tom not hurting children. I might have been wrong about him even caring so much about children. Tom has taken thousands of photographs of children which helped prop up the nudist/naturist pedophile sub-culture. Even if I wasn't sure about his intent, I am confident that other pedophiles had no doubt about what Tom was up to. It's easy to predict that some of the photographs he has published in the nudist/naturist press, and some of the ideas he has espoused, have been used to lure children to other pedophiles who have done more than just take nude photos of them. If Tom cared so much for children, he would not be providing their photographs to other pedophiles. Why would he take such a chance? And what about the child in each of the photos he enjoyed?
Over the years, Tom Kelley's camera has pointed not only at a lot of children, but at adults, too. It is conceivable that now under the current circumstances, some of those people might want their children's photographs and negatives returned. However, there is no avenue for that in the naturist movement, and so parents will never know where those photographs are or will be. If they are lucky the photo only ended up in Kelley's personal collection, or taped up on his refrigerator. If they are less lucky their children's photos might be elsewhere.
We think that as part of Tom's restitution, he should have to return all the naked photos he has taken. Since the photos won't be returned we would urge parents, that the next time you see a man snapping photos of your kids, snap up your kids and get them out of the vicinity. Your children don't have the experience -- with all the ramifications entailed in being photographed nude -- to make such a decision, and you certainly don't have the right to give another adult that permission. As we are discovering, there are few male photographers who are interested in taking photos of children that you can trust enough.
In November, 1985, Tom wrote an article for BIM about Lee Kuick, another pedophile, who committed suicide after he dropped off nude children's photographs for developing, and an alert photo processor called the police.
The minute I finished reading Tom's article about Kuick, I called the manager of the K-Mart South Bay film processing department and also the Fremont police. Police told me they found "a number of photos of girls in sexually explicit poses and camera equipment believed to have been used to reproduce original prints," as well as photos of nude children all over the walls. Now, knowing Tom better, it's easy to see why he wrote about Kuick. No wonder! This guy had the same modus operandi and pathology as Tom! There's no way we can't know how many children Lee Kuick might have abused in his 70 years.
And even though Tom leaps to the opportunity that he never molested a child the same concern still applies to Tom Kelley. If Tom could mutilate his nudist photos, turning them into pornographic montages -- thus desecrating his whole alleged nudist ideology by sexualizing the children he had photographed -- then there could be other duplicitous behavior going on too.
In the early March phone interview Christine Wicker asked Lee Baxandall if Tom Kelley was a naturist. Baxandall refused to admit whether Kelley was a naturist saying that Kelley might be one of the men listed in his computer, but that anybody's name could be on his mailing list.
During that conversation she informed him that Tom Kelley had been convicted on child pornography charges. Several days later Baxandall called Wicker back and explained that Tom had been addicted to adult pornography, and in his defense, even down-playing his arrest, said that he only possessed one child porn magazine that was many years old. (Wicker called me to make sure my information was correct.) Baxandall attempted to assure Wicker that his arrest was little more than an indiscretion and that Tom was in therapy, and how he was now writing an article all about it for Baxandall's magazine. (On the cutting edge, as usual. ;-)
Later, in a phone interview with Wicker, Tom said that he "became obsessed with pornography, especially with pictures from a hard-core European child pornography magazine another nudist had given him." He said that for years he copied photos from the magazine. I wonder where these copies of all those photographs are now. I remember when Tom saw my slide show against the exploitation of children, in the mid-eighties, he asked me for copies of my slides, too. Despite the fact that he seemed concern to educate people, I refused to give them to him. Retrospectively it's times like these when I feel fortunate to have such a well-developed suspicious nature.
If Tom is so concerned with the safety of children would he now be willing to tell us who that nudist man was who supplied him with his first fix. He never has revealed the name of that man. Until he does his words mean nothing.
Tom Kelley telling you how to protect children is like a burglar advising you how to protect your house against theft. He offers important information, but take what he says with a grain of salt, and no matter how rehabilitated he ever claims to be you'd better never leave him to baby-sit, or to photograph at naturist gatherings.
Remember, pedophiles don't get "cured;" they just get real apologetic when they get caught. If writing all those articles against the exploitation of children over the years didn't rehabilitate Tom Kelley then why should several months of therapy, and reading a few books, miraculously rid a dedicated pedophile of such a deeply imbedded sexual attraction/compulsion/preference towards children? It doesn't happen.
During an interview with a Washington journalist, about a month after Tom was arrested, Lee Baxandall, when asked about the problem of pedophiles in his movement replied: "There have been some problem individuals [but] we're on top of the problem." When the reporter told me this I had to shake my head and chuckle because Baxandall was unaware during that interview that one of his own editors had just been arrested for possession of child pornography. On top of things, indeed, in a most patriarchal fashion.
During the early March interview with Dallas Morning News Baxandall told Christine Wicker after being challenged about not having a "Caution List" that the names of offenders shouldn't necessarily by made public. He further clarified: "I think that people [read: men] who are not violent, who are not predatory, but have a problem with their stunted emotional development, they may find some alleviation and some maturing process through being quiet participants where they can see more nudity, and if it starts out as a sexual thing but they don't act on those sexual feelings - they don't invade anyone though having those feelings - then there's probably no harm done and the person [read: man] may be healed or partially healed."
A friend of mine, after reading the quote said, "Nikki, he's talking about pedophiles; he's talking about pedophiles looking at and taking pictures of naturist children!" When this Opinion is being expressed by the naturist hierarchy it's best to just leave the kids at home.
Nikki Craft

One police officer said Tom Kelley was "probably in love with Brooke Shields." He had many photographs of her from Sugar & Spice.
I don't know which photo series Kelley had, but Penthouse advertised the same, or a similar series, entitled "Brooke Shields: The Woman In The Child."
These photographs were billed as child "erotica." Shield's 10 year old face is caked with lipstick and makeup, and she is naked arranged in a series of sexualized poses in a bathtub, with pouty lips beckoning to the on looking male.
One interesting and well-known related fact is that both Brooke and her mother tried unsuccessfully to keep the photographs from being published. If Tom followed Shields closely he would have been aware of that.
No matter that many men may consider pictures of this sort to be art, in reality, the mere possession of them constitutes exploitation of a child (now a woman) against her own will, no matter what any open ended model release says.
Kelley's fantasy photomontages of Brook Shields are a real challenge to Tom Kelley's stated values. If he really cared for nudism or for Brooke Shields he would have thrown the photographs away, not jerked off to them.
Police said that though the Brooke Shield photographs were not among those considered child pornography they were among his sexual fantasy photographs regarding children.


The statement below was given to me on the phone by Tom Kelley when he resigned from Bare In Mind after the ICONoclast's article about Tim Wilcox was published there. (This was before he was convicted.) Kelley had received intense pressure from various people, among them Bill Flesher and Lee Baxandall, for exposing another pedophile. He wrote:

"The reason I am resigning as editor of Beachhead is that I am disappointed in the reaction I got for printing the Wilcox issue. I'm disappointed that nudists won't stand up and say there is no place for swinging and pedophilia in the movement.
"As leadership, they are going to have the address this. They must. When are they going to provide information to parents to protect their children from the pedophiles who have latched onto nudist children? The basic idea of naturism is not what these people are doing.
"Naturism could be a healthy force, and I feel that is what is in danger now. By printing the Wilcox issue, I tried, but they [nudists and naturists] are going to need another big kick in the balls -- and if that comes from outside the movement, then that's got to happen."  --Tom Kelley, November, 1989

Write to Nikki Craft