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Thread: Vigilantes versus pedophiles

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    Vigilantes versus pedophiles

    Has anyone participated in this "social engineering honeypot"? It's interesting (and not quite new concept). But part of me wonders what kind of risk of pushing pedophiles to hide themselves more that this could create? And what kind of risk of pushing a pedophile to kidnap to get what they want?

    In addition, the violation of privacy is something I'd be concerned about as well as the possibility of mis-identifying someone. I mean, what if they got the wrong person? I know for a fact that credit agencies can mis-identify people (they've been putting the wrong credit cards on my SO's credit report, just because the other guy has the same name and lives in the same city).

    Part of me says "YAY! Get the Bastards!" but there is a part of me that is concerned as to how far this will go.

    Source: The Toronto Star
    Web group baits would-be abusers

    Critics decry its punitive `justice'


    There's a new sheriff in town.

    And he acts like a little girl.

    At least online, where getting tangled in his world wide web begins with a chat-room conversation.

    "Would you have sex with a girl my age?" asks the 15-year-old.

    "Well, I might if I believed that she was serious and hopefully that maybe even she cared for me as a person and was not just trying to get me into trouble," replies the 59-year-old.

    The man surrenders his digits, hoping she'll agree to a rendezvous.

    But when the conversation ends, a massive network spanning North America begins the process of his destruction.

    The man's personal details are posted on the Internet, along with a transcript of the chat. Then an army of invisible strangers scours public records for every scrap of information available about his life. His wife, work, and even his neighbours receive call after call. Strangers drive by the house; the neighbourhood is covered with fliers. They all sing the same refrain: There's a pervert in your midst.

    This is Perverted Justice, a website that specializes in using Internet decoys to draw out the darkest thoughts of men — and punish them accordingly. Or, in the words of one website administrator, "an army of volunteers that will go out of our way to find every person you have ever known and let them know what a disgusting piece of human excrement you really are."

    And it's poised for a Canadian debut.

    So far, the note on the Canadian version of the site reads simply "Future home of Perverted Justice Canada," but the organization's creator says its brand of justice is nigh.

    "The (age of consent) of 14 in Canada should be considered ridiculous by anyone's estimation," says the administrator, a 25-year-old native of Portland, Ore., who calls himself Xavier Von Erck. "Online, pedophiles are very organized, and they trade tips on how to meet young kids ... unfortunately, especially in Vancouver, B.C., Canada is the growing answer for American pedophiles."

    And Perverted Justice, he vows, will follow.

    Cue the modern lynch mob, says Klaus Pohle, a media law professor at Carleton University. He characterizes the organization as a brand of mob justice that targets today's latest bogeyman, the cyber-predator. Ironically, the idea is nothing new.

    At one point in history, "we would have tarred and feathered them and run them out of town on a rail," Pohle says. "This is the technological equivalent of that."With hundreds of members hailing from places as far-flung as Texas and Prince Edward Island, his site already boasts substantial Canadian content. The new site should land within a year.

    When Scott Morrow of Russell, Ont., discovered the original website, his first thought was, "This is awesome. They're protecting the Internet for children."

    But it didn't take long for the retired Air Force sergeant to see a dark underside to this righteous army. The website's brand of retribution struck him as anything but just.

    "Even a murderer has a right to stand up and face his accuser," Morrow says. "How do you stand up and face someone who you can't identify? The accuser is basically a ghost."

    So, earlier this year, he joined a Toronto man and four Americans to fight these ghosts-in-the-machine with their own cyber posse: Corrupted-Justice. com.

    If Von Erck's mission is to save children from "wannabe pedophiles" at any cost, his arch nemeses have swung to the opposite extreme — saving "wannabe pedophiles" from Von Erck.

    When Morrow's camp offers counselling, resources and consolation to the "busts," Von Erck says they sympathize with the devil. When Von Erck destroys a life in the name of a child's innocence — before any crime has been committed — they say he is the devil.

    "Three, that I've personally dealt with, were on the brink of suicide," Morrow says of the men.

    But not one of the more than 700 people busted in the past two years, Von Erck is quick to point out, has gone all the way.

    "Specifically, people like to ask me, `How would you feel if someone committed suicide?'" Von Erck says. "My answer is, and will always be ... `Fine.'"

    Besides, he adds, his cyber squad has wracked up real-world results.

    Steve Chamraz, an investigative reporter for KCTV in Kansas City, has seen those results firsthand.

    "Perverted Justice made these claims that some people think are outlandish — that men are waiting on the Internet for your children," he said in an interview. "We set up an experiment."

    Chamraz rented a house, hired two retired vice cops for security and waited for Von Erck to do the rest.

    "As Perverted Justice found the men who wanted to meet an underage teen, they'd send them to us," he says. "They would find me and a camera. And I'd have some questions for them."

    Over four days, 16 men showed up, including a retired federal police officer, a Porsche-driving young professional and a 72-year-old looking for a 14-year-old boy. One man dug a Bible from his truck and told the TV crew he was only spreading the gospel. He then knocked on the door of the neighbouring house.

    After the series, the local police department hired two full-time detectives and one part-time prosecutor to do similar work. Buoyed by high-profile success stories, experts say, Perverted Justice could spawn a legion of similar sites."These kinds of sites are going to proliferate," Pohle says. "Nothing is going to be done about them because these people think they are doing a public service."

    There's a great leap, he cautions, between catching someone talking about sex with a seemingly underage girl on the Internet — and branding that person a "wannabe pedo."

    In many cases, he adds, people are aware they're not really chatting with a 14-year-old, but using the Internet to nurture a kind of cyber fantasy.

    Even so, lawsuits against the organization are unlikely because many "busts" are content to simply drop off the face of the earth.

    "It is such a serious, serious allegation these days," Pohle says. "There is nothing, including murder, it seems to me, to which more vilification is attached than the accusation of being a pedophile."

    In a rare exception, a California man launched a civil suit against the organization last month, claiming his neighbourhood was plastered in fliers, his face broadcast around the world and his name stained forever.

    Perverted Justice claims he was talking dirty to one of its decoys. He says it simply wasn't him.

    "It's a damn outrage — the most outrageous thing I've heard in a long time," his lawyer, Dennis Roberts, told a local newspaper. "This is not the police — it's a group of `well-meaning' people who march to their own drum and think it's a good thing to destroy people's lives. It's vigilante justice, and I hope they have a lot of money."

    In any case, local police have refused to pursue the website's allegations, saying Perverted Justice ruined any chance of prosecuting the man — if indeed he was guilty.

    The website does offer "busts" a chance to clear their name with a "Right of Reply," in which the men must confess and prove they are seeking psychiatric help.

    "This is my reply for my words I spoke on the Internet to a guy who said he was a girl who was 13," wrote a Marine reservist from Michigan, adding, "Will I ever be forgiven and given a chance to live my life?"

    "There is not a day that goes by that I don't feel remorse and regret for my actions," wrote another man from New Hampshire. "I'm embarrassed and ashamed. I want to deeply apologize to everyone at Perverted Justice. What I did was sick and criminal."

    Names rarely disappear, but confessions are mounted like trophies on the website. The words, Morrow says, are written out of blind fear.

    Von Erck lashes back, saying it's people like Morrow who keep busts from clearing their names.

    "I'd remove many more if Corrupted-Justice didn't tell these guys that they've done nothing wrong," he says. "The tragedy of Corrupted-Justice is that they tell these guys not to co-operate in getting counselling."

    The bust never sleeps.

    "All they know is their phones have started ringing and they're getting hundreds of e-mails and Internet messages on Yahoo," Morrow says. "They're getting windows popping open on their screen, calling them babyf----r and all this sort of this thing.

    "Usually, they're terrified."

    Von Erck knows the spoils of his armchair campaigns.

    "Some of these guys have been on national news, face shown, name given," he says. "A lot of these guys have lost jobs, wives, kids, you name it."

    And, in this brave new world of cyber crimes and punishment, some have even lost their youth. Morrow recently counselled a boy who was "busted" after talking to what appeared to be a 15-year-old.

    "He's a 17-year-old, for God's sake," he says. "He's not a pedophile. He's a frigging horny teenager. But they lambasted him. They called his family. They called his school.

    "Sometimes it's difficult for computer weenies to do this, but they have to step back and realize this is not a game. These people's lives are really being destroyed."
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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  2. #2
    Regal Making Handler
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    I believe the Police in this country are using this decoy method at the moment to catch pedos. I think the method is a valid way to put these scum bags behind bars.

    As for the vigilanties methods, they are to much. They should hand there findings to the correct authorities to deal with. They are better placed to take appropriate action, whether that be arrest and prosecution or further investigation.

    We have had some pretty high profile cases recently where podos identities have been leeked to people living near them. What followed was mob rule. In one case an inocent person was hounded out of his house.

    I'm talking as a father of a 15 year old daughter.
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  3. #3
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    I believe the Polise in this country are usig this decoy method at the moment to catch pedos. I think the method is a valid way to put these scum bags behind bars.
    Uhh... doesn't this method become a form of entrapment?
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  4. #4
    Regal Making Handler
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    Jun 2002
    No more so than the case you can find here:


    Just found the following:

    Entrapment is not a defence in English law.[12] Evidence obtained by means of entrapment may be excluded under section 78 of the PACE Act 1984 [13] or the trial stopped as an abuse of process.[14]

    Entrapment in its broadest sense involves causing a person to create evidence of a criminal offence which is then used against him. It either involves inducing a person to create a crime (pre-offence entrapment) or inducing a person to confess or reveal a crime already committed (post-offence entrapment). Entrapment generally, but not exclusively, connotes the involvement of an agent provocateur
    It's quit an interesting read if your interested:

    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

  5. #5
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    I think anytime solicitation is done FIRST by an officer or in this case some Christian fanaticals, it is entrapment. In addition chat and online personas are often a disguise for fantasy. Also in many countries and even the United States it's not a major crime to have sex with someone under the age of 18 assuming you are not in what is called a "position of trust" and the younger party is consenting without drugs and alcohol or violence etc. In my state it becomes a major and violent act when the child is 13 or younger and the older party is over the age of 17. So these people attack and destroy lives based on their will and moral ground OUTSIDE the law.

    I use the word fantasy because I have a real world example: some IT people turned in an executive last year for chatting on pedophile groups and talking about having sex with his daughter. They just called the port squad, like in this case. The authorities eventually raided his house, his work, his life; because they thought his daughter was in danger after the initial contact from IT people who decided he was committing a crime. IT took some major fallout from destroying the companies’ name, the executive who's wife divorced him etc. But it made me think, fantasy and reality are 2 different things and they had reason to be suspicious, but suspicion is one thing. It is half of the puzzle, a real investigation outside of the mob squad is the second half. The man never made any kind of attempt at molesting his daughter. The FBI determined that after an exhaustive investigation that came months later.

    A man who pretends to show up at a motel, and doesn't actually show up to meet with a girl (who may or may not commit a criminal act based on cultural laws) has done nothing wrong except IMAGINE it. I know this is a touchy subject and laws are changing daily to blur the line between fantasy and reality so let’s pretend it's not a child but a prostitute and the man lives in a country/state where it is illegal. If he gives his number for the prostitute to call him he is guilty of no crime at that point. His reality has not yet transpired? There are methods to prevent crime and in my opinion private citizens trampling on individual rights are not those methods. This is how the KGB operated

    //Edit It's interesting to see the difference in opinion and interpretation of law among western cultures. Throw in the middle and east cultures and it's "night and day". In specifics to this case the ideas of America, Canada and the United Kingdom.
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  6. #6
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    just for clarification:
    I has two kids: 4 and 17 (she isnt a kid anymore )

    But if it just on internet chat IM AGAINST.
    Like other said here, you someone goes to somewhere (as a motel) to have sex, the guy must be arrested (please include old women with young men too - ppl just think about men)

    But if someone is talking dirty on Internet ---- i cant see a reason to arrest him/her. Maybe arrest children' parents to allow this....

    Although i cant see anything "hot" about this (im a father and the subject causes me nausea) i really cant accept that someone goes to jail (or something worst like public anouncement) just because he/she engaged a conversation with a (fake) under age....
    Meu sítio

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  7. #7
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    It's one thing to track these people and turn the chat logs in to the police but the way they go about it (harassing everyone in the persons life) is beyond the scope of helping the cause.
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  8. #8
    It's hardly entrapment when done by police officers. My parents did this very thing when they were policer officers and later P.I.'s, and I think it's an excellent tactic, potential for bias aside. The cop simply guises as a target, and let's the would-be pedos come at him/her. The pedos make the iniating move once they think the cop is a kid.

    The way the cops in my family have done it wasn't like "Hi! I'm 13! Want sex?" but rather they would take on the profile of a popular target, enter a potentially suspicious room, and start talking like a normal preteen ("Hi! I'm 13 and lkng for frnds to cht w/"). The sickos would, on their own iniatitive, seek them out and solicit sex.

    If that's entrapment, then every undercover cop out there is guilty of it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Undercover cops don't stand on a street corner dressed like strippers and say to every man who passes by, "hey check me out you want to ****?" If they did that we would all be in jail. Speaking as a man of course you can switch roles and have a huge hunk of a man telling women how beautiful they are as they walk by. Why don’t they do that? Because that is entrapment. Nor do they walk around a concert whispering into people ears, "joint 5 bucks" they walk a very strict line with undercover work. Besides, these aren't police officers trained at undercover tactics; these are citizens determining guilt and reacting illegally (in my opinion) to take their own form of non-judicial action.

    That term exists for a reason and measure on a defendant predisposition to commit a crime (Colorado). It's all very complicated and case law exists across the nation where there are successful and unsuccesful cases that weigh in both sides. For instance in Colorado there are 2 tests and I post a quote from public documents. Enjoy:

    There are two tests for entrapment - the subjective test and the objective test.
    a. OBJECTIVE TEST of entrapment grounds the defense on the methods used by government agents to induce the defendant to commit the act as set forth in by minority opinions of the United States Supreme Court. In Hampton v. United States, 425 U.S. 484, 96 S.Ct. 1646, 48 L.Ed.2d 113(1976); United States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 423, 93 S.Ct. 1637, 36 L.Ed.2d 366 (1973); Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 78 S.Ct. 819, 2 L.Ed.2d 848 (1958); and Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. 435, 53 S.Ct. 210, 77 L.Ed. 413 (1932).
    b. SUBJECTIVE TEST of entrapment grounds the defense on defendant was not predisposed to commit the act alleged as set forth in the above majority opinions.

    Since the defense of entrapment is not of constitutional stature, states are free to define it as they choose. Most states have adopted the subjective approach. On the other hand, commentators generally favor the objective test. The commentators have likened the entrapment controversy to the debate over the exclusionary rule: if both the government and the citizen break the rules, whose behavior should be punished? Under the objective theory, the defendant is excused because of the misconduct of the government; the subjective approach sanctions police conduct without question as long as the police actions are directed to persons predisposed to commit the offense charged.

    Colorado adheres to the subjective test of entrapment. The defendant's predisposition to commit the crime, rather than the conduct of the government agent, remains the dispositive factor in determining whether entrapment has occurred. Bailey v. People, 630 P.2d 1062, 1067 (Colo. 1981), People v. Sanchez, 40 Colo. App. 552, 580 P.2d 1270 (1978).

    Where deception practiced by law enforcement simply furnishes defendants with an opportunity to engage in illegal drug sales and defendant knowingly and willingly takes advantage of this opportunity, law enforcement conduct does not constitute entrapment. There is no entrapment if the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime. Bailey v. People, 630 P.2d 1062, 1065 (Colo. 1981).

    Entrapment is an affirmative defense which is to be submitted to the trier of fact. Once the defendant has presented credible evidence on the issue, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that no entrapment has occurred. CRS 18-1-407(2), Bailey v. People, 630 P.2d 1062 (Colo. 1981), People v. Sanchez, 40 Colo. App. 552, 580 P.2d 1270 (1978). However, to be entitled to an entrapment jury instruction, although a defendant should not be required to admit guilt to obtain an entrapment jury instruction, his theory of entrapment must be supported by some evidence of instigation of the offense by the officer. People v. Penson, 184 Colo. 256 (Colo. 1974). (pimping case) Gonzales v. People, 168 Colo. 545, 452 P.2d 46 (1969)

    Merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense is not entrapment under CRS 18-1-709. If the trier of fact finds that defendant would have acted the same way if given another opportunity, the prosecution had met its evidentiary burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants had not been entrapped. Bailey v. People, 630 P.2d 1062, 1068 (Colo. 1981)
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  10. #10
    If they did that we would all be in jail.
    Speak for yourself buddy. If that were the case we'd all also be CDC poster children.

    I just don't get the argument though. If you're innocent and law-abiding, this obviously isn't a concern. You can only be "entrapped" in this case if you're willing to committ the crime. Do we really want to wait until the kid's been victimized before we take action? This seems to me to be a beautiful demonstration, once again, of how the criminal has more protection than the victim.

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