Thursday, November 17, 2005

Perverted Justice

For those of you who did not see the Dateline story on this all-volunteer group, I'd like to introduce you to what they do. You can find their website here Perverted Justice. I watched the story on Dateline and was surprised at the prevalence of this kind of crime.

Basically, Perverted Justice logs in to chat rooms and instant messaging systems masquerading as underage boys and girls and strike up conversations with sexual predators and engage them in a conversation that leads to some sort of sexual meeting. The Dateline people set up a house where they could instruct these men to come under the impression that they were going to meet a young boy or girl who was home alone and was interested in sex with these men. All transcripts were saved and printed out along with any other evidence like web cam images and photos sent to these Perverted Justice volunteers posing as underage children. Many men actually showed up. They were instructed to enter the house through an unlocked door and go into the kitchen and wait there for the boy or girl to come and meet them. After entering the kitchen area, they were immediately confronted by a reporter from Dateline who asked them to sit down and interrogated them as to why they were there.

Many of these men were prominent citizens including a teacher, a Rabbi and a Sargent in the Army. One man even came into the house and undressed in the garage as instructed by the accomplice at Perverted Justice. Most just lied and said that they did not know the boys and girls were underage, even though the transcripts clearly showed them acknowledging that they understood the age of the accomplice. Several became very upset when they were confronted with the cameras and begged the Dateline reporter to stop what they were doing. All of them swore it was the first time and they all said it would be their last. Many stated they knew they had a problem and were under the care of a psychiatrist. One man who said he would never do it again was observed later on line using the same screen name again and trying to solicit sex from the accomplice posing as another underage child. He even picked a location and agreed to meet there. Of course, Dateline's camera's were there to capture and confront him again. He seemed visibly shaken and pleaded that he was just there to get something to eat (McDonald's).

I was disturbed by the fact that so many men were willing to actually meet up with these underage accomplices but I strongly support what Perverted Justice is doing. I think they are right on track. I am glad they exist and I think they deserve support from of all of us. They are actually doing something to catch sexual predators who target underage kids. The Internet and instant messaging services have long been the hiding places for these very sick men and I am glad that they are being flushed out by Perverted Justice.

It is important to remember, though, that parents must help protect their children from these on line predators. They suggest several guidelines for protecting your children here: What Parents Can Do. I advise all parents to read this and to consider if they are doing all they can to protect their children from these kinds of on line predators.


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