NEWS - Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Unhappy Christmas Surprise

Christmas became XXX-mas for a 14-year-old Layton boy who discovered hard-core pornography on a video game he received as a gift. Kolton Mahoney was shocked when he put the Madden NFL 07 game in his new Xbox 360 console Christmas day and an explicit image popped up on his television screen. "This is definitely not Madden," he said recalling his first thought after seeing the image. Kolton turned off the Xbox and notified his parents, Linda and Tim Mahoney, who viewed the video game and were equally stunned. "It wasn’t a pretty scene," Tim Mahoney said. The Mahoneys have been in contact with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force sponsored by the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which will attempt to determine how porn ended up on the video game, Lt. Rhett McQuiston, an investigator with the agency said Friday. "We’ll get rolling on it," he said. The incident may be the first of its kind in Utah, he said. "If somebody is doing this, we want to stop it." The task force will work with Layton police and California authorities to determine who may be responsible for placing the smut on the computer game, so charges of providing pornography to a child can be filed, McQuiston said. "The hard part will be finding out who did it," he said. "We’ll give it a shot. I would go through the roof if this happened to my kid. Whoever did this is a complete and utter coward." Kolton received the video game from his uncle, Dan Mahoney, who purchased it Dec. 2 at a Circuit City store in Modesto, Calif. The game appears to be authentic, is embossed with a Madden NFL 07 label and came in a factory-sealed case, Linda Mahoney said. The Madden NFL 07 game is manufactured by Electronic Arts, based in Redwood City, Calif. Officials with the company did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment. EA has sold more than 5 million copies of Madden NFL 07, making it the most popular video game of the year, according to a news release on the company’s Web site, Stephanie Nightlinger, a spokeswoman for Circuit City based in Richmond, Va., said company officials were unaware of the problem with the Mahoneys’ video game until contacted Friday by the Standard-Examiner. Nightlinger said to her knowledge the company has not received similar consumer complaints about Madden NFL 07 or other video games it sells, but will investigate the incident. "There was some sort of slip up somewhere," she said. The Mahoneys have contacted representatives with EA and at the Circuit City store where the game was bought, but no one is taking responsibility for the problem. "The buck’s being passed," Tim Mahoney said. "Somebody should be held accountable." The Mahoneys aren’t looking for a financial settlement, and only want a new Madden NFL 07 video game and a guarantee that no more games containing porn are sold. "We don’t want anyone else exposed to it," Linda Mahoney said.


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