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37 year old self-appointed detective fools potential pedophiles with usernames like "dadanddaughtersex."
January 18, 2002 7:06 AM   Subscribe

37 year old self-appointed detective fools potential pedophiles with usernames like "dadanddaughtersex." Not only is there no victim, there cannot not be a crime because of the woman's true age, and the method of 'baiting' pedophile suspects looks like a violation of one's civil rights. On top of that her pedophile website is quite the money-maker, churning $1,000 a month in advertising revenue. Illegal entrapment or civic minded vigilante? Obviously this is a touchy subject, but I can't see the different between this and a plain-clothed police officer asking everyone on the street if they want to buy illegal drugs or guns just for a quick bust.
posted by skallas (46 comments total)

 
There's a big difference. Things which are denied to representatives are not denied to private individuals.

An example: There is a celebrated court case where someone was nabbed for shoplifting by a private security guard at a shopping mall. In the course of questioning, there was a confession. That was later used in court. The defense tried to claim that the confession was invalid because the defendant hadn't been read their Miranda rights before questioning.

The Supreme Court ruled otherwise. The security guard was a private citizen and not an agent of the government, and the confession was ruled to be valid evidence.

If the government engages in entrapment, it violates our civil rights. But if a private citizen does so, so far as I know no rights are infringed. It is possible that there could be civil action, but this would have nothing to do with any criminal complaints which derived from it.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:13 AM on January 18, 2002


"We really want the public's help, but not to do this," FBI Special Agent Peter A. Gulotta said

Me neither. How do we know she didn't persuade someone who otherwise would not have been tempted?

Isn't it illegal for a civilian to provoke another into commiting a crime? It should be.

Whatever next? Leaving wallets full of thousands of dollars and ten-gram packs of cocaine on the streets and fingering citizens for stealing and drug-taking?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:16 AM on January 18, 2002


She IS a regular nancy drew! A forged email address, however could someone do that?!?
Posey tried to find out who sent the tip. Each computer on the Internet has a unique return address, but Posey discovered that the e-mail's address had been forged. The tipster had covered his tracks well.

Anyway, while its hard to have anything approaching sympathy for adults (for whatever reason) going to meet a minor to have sex -- I agree it seems to set a dangerous precedent for vigilantes of other sorts.
posted by malphigian at 7:26 AM on January 18, 2002


The ends justify the means.
posted by nagchampa at 7:36 AM on January 18, 2002


Nagchampa - Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. Wanna bet this thread fills up with exampls on both sides?
posted by Irontom at 7:40 AM on January 18, 2002


Just what the world needs... another confused vigilante ignoring her own family and the law trampling on the rights of anyone she can entrap so that she can work out some issues from her own past.

Very scary.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:42 AM on January 18, 2002


But Posey's latest case--one that led to the arrest of a prominent Orange County judge--may be the one most fiercely contested.

wow. she's like batman.
posted by kliuless at 7:43 AM on January 18, 2002




Her husband goes to sleep about 11 p.m., but Posey is at the computer until well past midnight. Sometimes--"if things get really exciting"--she doesn't log off until 3 or 4 a.m.


I think there’s something a little perverse about this. Obviously we need to stop men who try to rape children, but a lot of these people are doing just what this woman is doing — pretending to be something they’re not and getting off on it. She just seems to get off most on getting the people she meets thrown into jail.



posted by dina at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2002


The ends justify the means.

If you're serious about that, then what's the point of due process at all? (If you're being sarcastic, pardon me.)

Pedophiles certainly don't get sympathy from me either -- but I don't understand how this woman can possibly generate evidence to use in an actual court case. Maybe she can lead police to someone whom they might investigate for a real crime (which itself still seems like entrapment-by-proxy: is it really different in the end if the state uses private volunteers to entrap people than if law enforcement agents do it?) -- but in the example cited, was the guy convicted for arranging to meet the nonexistent "Kendra"? I hope not. Not because I care about the potential suffering of a man like this, but because I actually think due process and the rule of law is important enough not to shred it in the pursuit of even guys like him.
posted by BT at 7:49 AM on January 18, 2002


FBI agents in Los Angeles turn away about a dozen people a year who offer help with online sex stings, suspicious that some might be closet pedophiles. "You talk to them for a bit and you get a gut feeling that something's not quite right," Supervisory Special Agent Randy Aden said.

In the same way that the sickos who indulge in queer-bashing are likely to be closet homosexuals, and vigilantes that go around beating up local criminals are nothing but violent sadists themselves. Posey seems genuine enough, but you have to wonder about people who spend 12 hours of their own time every day trolling the net for paedophilia and child pornography.

And yes it is entrapment, or at least encouraging people to go astray. Everyone has the capability to do something illegal within them. Have you never been tempted to shoplift? Or take drugs? Or drive while severely intoxicated? Lucky there wasn't someone right next to you giving you the sort of encouragement Posey et al seem so good at.

It seems that her method is to lull the target into a false sense of security, to bring out their dark fantasies and make them think they are achievable in this world, at which point the sting is made. Well, what happens if the sting fails? Or the target disappears? Now we've got someone on the loose who's a lot more dangerous than they were originally.
posted by dlewis at 7:49 AM on January 18, 2002


Self-policing on the net is what it's all about. Do we really want the government to police the net? If individuals want to spend the time to find pedophiles and then hand them over to police, more power to them. It will make the internet better and keep congress from passing any more inane laws that infringe on our freedoms.

Isn't MeFi self-policing?
posted by MaddCutty at 7:52 AM on January 18, 2002


How come we rarely hear about women commiting sex abuse on children. Its always men. It just seems odd its so one-sided. Ive seen statistics that women and men commit abuse on an equal basis, which IMO makes sense. Women are sexual creatures just like men, have greater access to children, and can be just as deviant and perverted. But we rarely hear about convictions or law enforcement looking for female perps.
posted by stbalbach at 7:53 AM on January 18, 2002


I'm torn. On one hand, it's not illegal because she's a private citizen. So entrapment doesn't exist. And it's not like leaving money or crack out and arresting someone for picking it up. She only seems to target people who have put out feelers first through some "young girls e-mail me" plea.

On the other hand, you have to wonder if someone would have really arranged to go meet her.

Oh, and just travelling over state lines to meet someone underage for a sexual encounter is a federal offense, even if no sexual act occurred.

But back to the 'would they have done it otherwise'.. How about if it was a 14 or 15 year old girl (or boy)? And that child was somewhat vunerable and now very into the idea of having sex with this older man? How convincing would they be to get what they wanted? Don't you think that a 14 or 15 year old kid could pressure an older person into doing something? It's up to the adult to say 'no, that is wrong' or at least 'no, I'll get arrested if I actually go through with something like that.'

So, I guess I come down on the side of support. If it wasn't her 'entrapping' these men, these men would have been convinced by some real kid.
posted by rich at 8:00 AM on January 18, 2002


What I'd really like is to pose as a pedophile, lure her into a sting operation, then rohypnol her and then pose her in sexy photos... possibly with a goat.

Not that I think what she's doing is so horrible or anything, I just enjoy irony.
posted by dong_resin at 8:00 AM on January 18, 2002


MaddCutty: Until MetaFilter's self-policing results in actual jail time for offenders, I don't think the comparison is valid.

From the story: As she types, her daughter, Kristyn, 12, sits behind her, thumbing through a textbook. Every half-hour or so, Posey interrupts her computer work to check on Kristyn's progress or answer a chemistry question.

Gotta love that hands-on home schooling. Considering this and the anecdote about Posey trolling the net for pervs while her husband watches TV at night, it sounds like her armchair vigilante work has completely put everything else in her life -- if it still can be called one -- in the background.
posted by rcade at 8:04 AM on January 18, 2002


Given her history. . .I don't suspect that she's getting off on any of this. . .and if I was inclined towards pedophelia, and actually showed up somewhere to meet an underaged person for the purpose of going somewhere and having sex. . .well I would derserve what I got.

But it's also chilling and I cannot totally endorse it. . .my daughter is 12 now and pretty competent with the net and I have confidence that she'll have good judgement but we'll see in the next few years how I feel about this.
posted by Danf at 8:06 AM on January 18, 2002


pose her in sexy photos... possibly with a goat.
ROFLMAO! hey dong, you'll need hosting for the website. i volunteer.
posted by quonsar at 8:17 AM on January 18, 2002


How come we rarely hear about women commiting sex abuse on children. Its always men. It just seems odd its so one-sided. Ive seen statistics that women and men commit abuse on an equal basis, which IMO makes sense. Women are sexual creatures just like men, have greater access to children, and can be just as deviant and perverted. But we rarely hear about convictions or law enforcement looking for female perps.
Um... I dunno where you're getting your statistics, but the FBI's database of Uniform Crime Reports indicate that only about 7-10% of all sexual offenders (forcible rape and otherwise) are female. Consequently, you're going to hear a lot more about the massive 90% majority committing these crimes. And I'd like to point out that when we DO hear about female sexual offenders (Mary Kay LeTourneau, for example) a great deal of sexism comes into play- the crime is played down among many men (often complete with jokes wondering why they never had a teacher who'd give them a blow job) and with the criminal justice system failing to take a female offender seriously as an offender- oh, the poor dear is ill, she must need help. The American system as a whole has a very hard time with the idea that boys can be preyed upon by adult women, and that adult women who offend are just as sick and criminal as their male counterparts.
posted by headspace at 8:39 AM on January 18, 2002


Well, it is kind of iffy, civil rights-wise. But from the sound of things, she's basically just passing on tips to the cops, who I assume get corroboration(sp?) before making a bust.

The analogy to dope is flawed as swell. Drugs, or even hookers are something the average citizen might be talked into trying just for the hell of it. Pedophilia, from everything I've read on the subject, is a far more basic drive(not to mention, it has a far greater social stigma attached to it). No one decides to have sex with a child on a lark. Anyone who would accept one of her invitations, at the very least is someone who bears watching. So, as an intelligence gathering tool, her site has some validity.

I'lll give you an example from my actual life. About a week ago, I stopped to buy smokes at a roadside gas station. As I walked in a young guy with his daughter(who looked about 4) was walking behind me. This scuzzy looking old guy was sitting on the stoop.
When he saw the little girl he said in a leering voice, "Is that your daughter? Wow, she's pretty!"
Needless to say, the guy pulled his daughter a little closer. Now, if I was a cop, I would'nt have busted the guy, but my spidey-sense wouldd have told me to make a note to keep him in mind.(rest assured, I am not making this up) The same goes for those drawn to posey's site.
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on January 18, 2002


Until MetaFilter's self-policing results in actual jail time for offenders...
::shudder::
posted by y2karl at 8:49 AM on January 18, 2002


It certainly seems she goes out of her way to keep things on the up and up. She doesn't exchange or download porn (which is part of the "technique" of most wanna-be cybersting artists). She also seems to ackonwledge the clear difference between fantasy and reality ... nobody's been arrested (at least in her stings) for engaging in cybersex with which could presumably be fantasy ... but rather, for showing up, presumably in hope of having some real sex.

Given that law enforcement everywhere has been arresting people for close to 10 years for doing exactly that ... showing up at rendezvous with self-proclaimed minors with a clearly documented interest in sex with same ... anyone who actually DOES do that is clearly COMPLETELY out of control and irrational, since they are taking insane risks. Although I'm comfortable with saying that any fantasy, per se, shouldn't be a crime, once someone has started to take actions and disregard massive risks, we're now in the zone of a danger to the community.
posted by MattD at 8:53 AM on January 18, 2002


Sounds like a woman on a mission to me. Bloody ironic I am just sitting here writing this out and I get an instant message from 'wetyounggirl'. Well they reckon it is what most people go on the net for some sort of pornography.
posted by johnnyboy at 9:02 AM on January 18, 2002


These poor pedophiles who have been taken in! You can't trust anyone on the internet anymore! In my day, when a girl said she was 14--she was!

Not sure how I feel about what this woman is doing, but really, pedophiles shouldn't be so trusting.
posted by witchstone at 9:05 AM on January 18, 2002


You can assume that she's probably a nutty fundamentalist -- she home schools her kid. I realize that's a large generalization, but I also don't care.
posted by Harry Hopkins' Hat at 9:10 AM on January 18, 2002


hmm.. I was raped by a stranger 13 years ago, but I have no desire or compulsion to rid the world of all sexual offenders. As a matter of fact, I made a conscious decision the day after NOT to let this define my life. Because, IMO, that would be like "living with him" forever.

I am leery of anyone with obsessions that define their existence. That goes for religious fanatics as well as Star Trek enthusiasts. :-) It certainly sounds to me like this woman is trying to fix something in herself that didn't get "fixed" by therapy. Unfortunately, she won't be able to save the entire world, so she won't be able to "fix" her past either.

No one who is immerses themselves this deeply in the dark side of humans can come away unscathed. Just ask any cop.
posted by xena at 9:18 AM on January 18, 2002


thankyou for your post xena. without wanting to sound too much like a fawning leech, i must say that you are well on the post-recovery road if you can 'come out' as a victim in 'public'. alot of people could benefit from your approach, i see people 'externalising' problems everyday.
notwithstanding your experience, i feel i must repeat these (uk) statistically based facts:

the vast majority of child abuse occurs within the family and close acquaintances.
50% of girls are abused (not sure how 'abuse' is defined in this context) in some way by the time they reach 18 years of age.

so, our intrepid investigator is only ever going to effect a statistically insignificant number of 'paedophiles'. while this could be seen as better than nothing, it only succeeds in promoting the unwarranted fear of the predatory pederast IMHO.
apologies for using statistics to explain what i feel, i have not the language ability to express myself more effectively.
posted by asok at 11:38 AM on January 18, 2002


Sexual attraction to post-pubescent fourteen year olds is hardly pedophilia.
posted by dydecker at 11:57 AM on January 18, 2002


asok:

Thank you for the stats. That was the detailed reference my point was missing.

My only hesitation in ever bringing my situation up (within the context of a related conversation) is that it tends to totally overwhelm the other conversation participants, effectively ending the conversation. I assume that's because those individuals immediately struggle with what's the "proper" way to react to me, as well as empathically processing the information.
posted by xena at 12:06 PM on January 18, 2002


This woman is Batman. Kudos to her.
posted by owillis at 12:13 PM on January 18, 2002


I dunno.. What if someone offers you $10k to run some drugs for them. So, you go to that person's house to pick up the drugs, and when you finally get there, you have a change of heart and decide this life just aint for you, and you walk away.

Are you guilty of drug-trafficking?
posted by eas98 at 12:40 PM on January 18, 2002


Age of consent in South Carolina and Hawaii is 14. Well, according to this guy, at least.
posted by hellinskira at 1:07 PM on January 18, 2002


the FBI's database of Uniform Crime Reports indicate that only about 7-10% of all sexual offenders (forcible rape and otherwise) are female.

The problem there is the definition of sexual abuse. There are ways females can "abuse" a relationship without breaking laws or drawing attention as the aggresor. In fact many boys would not even consider the encounter abuse. Such is the legal double standard.
posted by stbalbach at 1:10 PM on January 18, 2002


50% of girls are abused (not sure how 'abuse' is defined in this context) in some way by the time they reach 18 years of age.

where'd you find this statistic, by the way? I tried a search and found some sites claiming 1 in 3 girls abused by 18, but w/o reference, so not sure it means anything. I'm not saying it isn't true, but it's always worth following numbers back to their origin before repeating them.

I also think it's important we keep separate the men who desire pre-pubescent 8 year olds and the ones who want post pubescent 14 year olds; they are different problems, the latter only having become a problem in the last 100 years or so (rightly so, I think, but still).
posted by mdn at 1:18 PM on January 18, 2002


This scuzzy looking old guy was sitting on the stoop... but my spidey-sense wouldd have told me to make a note to keep him in mind

and if he'd been a well dressed elderly gentleman who'd said "What a lovely daughter you have!"?
posted by tolkhan at 1:35 PM on January 18, 2002


Book 'em.
posted by hellinskira at 1:47 PM on January 18, 2002


And xena is Xena. Kudos to her.
As for my opinion...
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on January 18, 2002


The analogy to dope is flawed as swell. Drugs, or even hookers are something the average citizen might be talked into trying just for the hell of it. Pedophilia, from everything I've read on the subject, is a far more basic drive(not to mention, it has a far greater social stigma attached to it).

Well its not a perfect analogy, but I think its fitting. Being offered guns or drugs from an undercover cop is a lot like being charmed by a vigilante with a pedophilic IM/Chat handle. There are thousands of potential perverts out there, how many would sit still and just oogle the kids on Nickelodeon or whatever and never bother another soul?Perhaps a significant portion of pedophilic leaning perverts are best left alone and not provoked.

Secondly, the analogy fits because there is no child in question. When the undecover cop offers me a machine pistol for $100 and I decide its a good investment and I go to pick it up only to find there's nothing there, just police out to arrest me. Now we've entered the territory of thoughtcrime. Manufactured arrests with false pretenses designed to weed out those susceptible to certain behavoirs, as opposed to those who have actually performed crimes. Did some prevention actually happen? You can never be sure and its a poor rationalization for actually creating a criminal atmosphere and manufacturing criminals.

Lastly, this vigilantism works because of the collective disgust of pedophilia. What happens where there are enough precedents and protections so that everyone becomes a spy? Spies that spend most of their time spying on each other. It would be a mad world of con man vs. con man, each bending the law for the sake of enforcing their ethics on society. People like our vigilante are the ones that could bring about the Stalist nightmare of 1984 and in some ways have already created it.

That's the trick with civil rights, either you're pro-civil rights for all or you're really not getting the message. Even the vilest member of society deserves the right to be free from self-righteous vigilantes and possible entrapment scenarios.
posted by skallas at 1:57 PM on January 18, 2002


Stalinist nightmare that is.
posted by skallas at 2:05 PM on January 18, 2002


What happens where there are enough precedents and protections so that everyone becomes a spy?

This already happens. In Switzerland, Singapore and Monaco, for example. Great for crime statistics and making money; terrible for making whoopee and the soul.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:09 PM on January 18, 2002


tolkhan - good point. My spidey-sense still would've tingled a bit, depending on his tone. And as someone who's been accused of being "scuzzy-looking" myself, I can certainly see the potential for abuse. I suppose the episode in the gas station was one of those you-had-to-be-there type of moments.

skallas - I am, repeat am, pro-civil rights for all, despite some of my more bellicose pronouncements. I definitely don't think arrests should be based on information gleaned from places like her site alone. However, it can provide corroboration of predisposition towards pedophilia, which would be useful in court. I also believe only in punishing those pedophiles who actually act on their desires. As Andrew Vachss says:

"to want to have sex with a child is sick. To act on that desire is evil."

Perhaps, a bit overstated, but more or less true nonetheless. Sites like this may make would-be online pedophilic seducers think twice before trying anything and that's definitely a good thing, right?
posted by jonmc at 2:17 PM on January 18, 2002


Sites like this may make would-be online pedophilic seducers think twice before trying anything and that's definitely a good thing, right?

Is the neighborhood safer if I pay protection money to the gangsters? Sure they keep the other gangsters from bothering everyone. Good thing?

I think the history of vigilantism speaks for itself. The ends just never justify the means.
posted by skallas at 2:34 PM on January 18, 2002


I would be a criminal in twelve states. Dammit.
posted by dagnyscott at 2:42 PM on January 18, 2002


skallas- paying protection money to gangsters is one thing. Finding out your neighbor likes kiddie-porn and subsequently, keeping your kids away from him and maybe warning the other neighbors is quite another. I'm not advocating hysteria and DEFINITELY NOT advocating vigilante-style violence, but I do advocate letting pedophiles know that society frowns upon their practices and making my beloved internet an unwelcoming place for them.
posted by jonmc at 2:43 PM on January 18, 2002


Actually she doesn't just find out about your neighbor liking kiddie porn she actively gets your neighbor to drive to colorado to meet her. Its like me trying to convince people in alt.suicide to off themselves so they fail and get institutionalized thus adding to the greater good.

Vigilantism doesn't have to have an ounce of violence. The gangsters I pay actually do keep away the other gangsters from the other side of town. Thus more for the greater good.

I do advocate letting pedophiles know that society frowns upon their practices and making my beloved internet an unwelcoming place for them.


I think the feds do a much better job at this than you or the various crusaders could ever do. Not to mention that provocing a mentally ill/pedophile/pervert type may not result in that long drive to Colorado, but a short trip to the schoolyard after one hour of flirting with a 37 year old pre-teen by the name of daddyssexgirl23.

Leave it to the professionals and to the courts.
posted by skallas at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2002


One little bit more: I do think community policing and civic minded people do a lot of good, but this case and these tactics are nothing but trouble and at worst a blatant case of entrapment and misrepresentation.
posted by skallas at 3:05 PM on January 18, 2002


skallas - Yeah you're probably right. Like a lot of people, I'm disgusted by pedophilia and that can get my ire up.

BTW, I hope someone is keeping track of my bellicosity-to-equivication history around here. I must be MeFi's world capitulation champion.
posted by jonmc at 3:25 PM on January 18, 2002


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