This is a fit time and place to mark the memory of one Charles Keating, the scoundrel who wanted to be remembered for having put Larry Flynt in jail. Instead, this holier-than-thou guardian of other people’s morals was locked up much longer for his own transgressions.
In 1977, thanks to Keating’s incendiary crusade, Flynt was jailed for six days in Cincinnati, Ohio, for attempting to satisfy the sexually prurient interests of HUSTLER readers. Fortunately, his conviction by a local jury of bluenoses was overturned. Keating, who had moved on to become a bankster, served almost five years in a federal pen during the 1990s as the foremost financial hustler defrauding innocents out of their life savings and homes.
Upon his death in April, it was Keating’s own conviction on bank-swindling charges that caught obituary writers’ attention. His antiporn campaign was treated as a hypocritical side note. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed: “A swimming champion and antipornography crusader early in life, Charles H. Keating Jr. became a hugely successful businessman whose name is synonymous with the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s.”