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Have you seen this child?
April 28, 2005 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Have you seen this child? LATimes article about the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit's search for the Disney World Girl. The article is haunting, horrifying and fasinating. They are looking for a child who is being actively molested and photographed. It's a disturbing read, but probably SFW. Previous background info discussed here before. Also note the odd additional Trekkie factoid
posted by theora55 (162 comments total)

 
via boingboing?

Hard core Trekkies huh?

As in USS Clueless or Jonah Goldberg? :-) I just knew there was something strange about them.
posted by nofundy at 10:29 AM on April 28, 2005


Hmm, I'll keep that "Star Trek fascination = possible pedophile" connection in mind.

This is a really crappy story and the abusers in a case like this should be punished to the fullest extent of the law when they are caught. And no damned "No cruel and unusual punishment" crap, torture these sick bastards.
posted by fenriq at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2005


And no damned "No cruel and unusual punishment" crap, torture these sick bastards.

Nah, just put 'em in a cell with a convicted murderer who was abused as a child. He'll take care of 'em.
posted by jonmc at 10:34 AM on April 28, 2005


Wait... the Star Trek fan base includes creepy freaks who can't handle adult relationships? Why was I not informed of this earlier?
posted by selfmedicating at 10:36 AM on April 28, 2005


ooops. Sorry, I should have noted via boingx2.net. Note that they have released the photo. The child lives is in a city in the American Northwest.
posted by theora55 at 10:39 AM on April 28, 2005


One day last year, they discovered pictures of a 6-year-old girl cowering in a dog cage, her gaze perplexed and despairing. In another, her hands are bound, a hunting knife is pressed to her abdomen, and messages are written on her body in a red substance meant to look like blood: "Hurt me." "Kill me." "I'm a slut." Her face is flushed purple. She is crying....

"About 36 hours after we got the pictures, we pinned it down to a certain school," Gillespie recalls. "The FBI showed her pictures of her face to the principal, and bam, they rescued her."

The confessed offender, Brian Tod Schellenberger, has been arraigned and faces up to 30 years in prison.


Fuck prison. I would gladly kill him myself.
posted by kgasmart at 10:42 AM on April 28, 2005


Fuck prison. I would gladly kill him myself.

Yeah. Screw "cruel and unusual". Waste 'em. Preferably slowly.
posted by unreason at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2005


There are just no words...
posted by unsweet at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2005


One day last year, they discovered pictures of a 6-year-old girl cowering in a dog cage

At this risk of having stones thrown at me, from the description in the article, this particular case seems to be ne of child abuse, not molestation. While I applaud them for bringing this girl's torturer to justice so quickly, it really stood out to me that the one "solved" case the article focused most specifically on had no (obvious) connection to child porn or pedophiles.

Interesting use of technology, though.
posted by anastasiav at 10:54 AM on April 28, 2005


At this risk of having stones thrown at me, from the description in the article, this particular case seems to be ne of child abuse, not molestation.

not throwing stones, anastasiav, but the things written on the girl and the fact that the photo was uploaded to the net as somebody's sick entertainment tells me that on some level, the abuse was sexual in nature.

Not that it matters ultimately, child abusers of any variety are the lowest scum on the planet, no matter what their motivation.
posted by jonmc at 10:59 AM on April 28, 2005


had no (obvious) connection to child porn or pedophiles.

She had the words "I am a slut" written on her stomach, and was tied in a dog cage. The images were then released on the internet for other pedos to drool over.

I'm confused why you're confused about the lack of connection here.
posted by thanotopsis at 11:01 AM on April 28, 2005


I am a little freaked out by how many people seem to be actively involved in child porn.
posted by fshgrl at 11:01 AM on April 28, 2005


I have to believe that digital cameras make this so much easier then it used to be, and they must expand the number of people who trade in this stuff. Obvious, I know.

All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.

This is very strange, and I'm not sure how to think about it at all. It seems like too big a sample to be a statistical anomolie.
posted by OmieWise at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2005


Despite the confusing juxtaposition of the wanted poster ad (for a girl sought as a material witness in another child abuse case) and this rehash of the previously-posted 'ghost photos' story, they haven't actually released the Disney World girl's picture yet.
'If they decide to release her photo, they must be ready to rescue her immediately, to get her into the care of an experienced counselor and to deal with the emotional fallout affecting her family and community.'
posted by pots at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2005


I am not sure if there is a difference between molestation and abuse, legally or morally. Regardless, posting the picture makes it pretty clear that locking this child in a cage wasn't a misguided punishment, but the creation of a sadistic fetish object.

I live in Toronto, so I've heard a lot about this until Something about the details and seeing this image made the whole issue come alive for me. I can't imagine what goes into rescuing these kids.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:14 AM on April 28, 2005


Well, fshgrl, you'd be a little less freaked out if the fact-checkers at the LA Times had been on top of things. There is one statement in the article that is a howling bit of untruth:

About a third of child-porn collectors are also hands-on abusers, the police say, and almost all of them are related to or otherwise known by their victims.

One common-sense question that comes to mind is, if the abusers are related to or otherwise known by their victims, why are they spending all that time on the Internet "collecting" porn, when they could be -- horrifically -- living out their fantasies?

According to David Finkelhor, who I interview for this in-depth article on an FBI child-porn dragnet called Operation Candyman, the rate of actual abuse of kids has gone signficantly down during the Internet era, though the availability of child porn has gone significantly up. That's an extremely provocative fact, because it suggests that the huge amounts of money and law-enforcement power being poured into trolling through chat rooms might be better spent -- oh, say, finding and prosecuting the actual abusers, who are, as the article says, usually in the immediate social and family circles around the victim, not Joe Pr0nsurfer.
posted by digaman at 11:16 AM on April 28, 2005


I'm not really clear on why they shouldn't release the photo. The bad guy knows that the police have a photo of her face, knows that they are showing it all around Orlando and whatever city they think the bad guy lives in, and knows that there is a whole team of cops already looking for him. Releasing the photo would do what, exactly? Suddenly alert him to the fact that the police are looking for him?

And what would he do? Kill her? That's not going to prevent him from being identified once the photo is released. Once the photo is public, he's nailed no matter what he does. Killing her only adds to his problems, including the near-certain imposition of the death penalty.

And what's to say that he's not just going to kill her anyway tomorrow, after he reads yet another news article about the cops chasing him?

I say stick the whole thing on America's Most Wanted.
posted by Mid at 11:18 AM on April 28, 2005


I think it is dangerous to call pedophiles monsters and "bad guys." Their actions are detestable, heinous, unthinkable, but these people aren't monsters. They are very, very sick.

Labelling them monsters allows them to offend further. The boy scout leader and next door neighbor doesn't look like a monster, so he isn't considered a perpetrator.
posted by brittney at 11:19 AM on April 28, 2005


I'm confused why you're confused about the lack of connection here.

If the victim were an adult woman who was locked in a cage and threatened and had "Hurt Me" and "I'm a Slut" written on her body, but who was not raped or otherwise sexually violated, her torturer would be convicted of some variety of abuse or assualt (your statues may vary) but not of sexual assualt. I'm not confused, I just found it to be an interesting choice on the part of the author of the piece to focus on this case, rather on one that involved a more gross sexual assualt.

the huge amounts of money and law-enforcement power being poured into trolling through chat rooms might be better spent -- oh, say, finding and prosecuting the actual abusers

My impression was that they seemed to focus on people who were actually taking the photos then posting them. A guy in a chatroom who had downloaded 3rd party photos and was sharing them was dismissed with "not good enuf"
posted by anastasiav at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2005


brittney, these people harm children because it gets them excited. They have to hurt people to feel good themselves, if that isn't a monster then I really don't know what is.

The boy scout leader is a monster, he's just got a cleaner facade. Anyone who abuses children (or animals, for that matter) is a monster in my book and I'm not concerned with offending them by doing so.

A reformed pedophile might not be deserving of the label of monster but these active pedophiles and child abusers are monsters.
posted by fenriq at 11:25 AM on April 28, 2005


They are very, very sick.

Pedophilic desires are sick. To act on those desires, is for lack of a better word, evil.

I think most people are aware at this point that pedophiles don't all come across as skeevy old men in dirty raincoats and that they could be anyone.

But, if they're molesting children, their own or someone else's, they are bad guys.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on April 28, 2005


I have to believe that digital cameras make this so much easier then it used to be, and they must expand the number of people who trade in this stuff. Obvious, I know.

Sure. It eliminates the need for photo processing, which I have to imagine was a huge "problem" for pedophiles. It's not like you could just send that stuff to some lab for developing.
posted by mkultra at 11:28 AM on April 28, 2005


digiman, the key line in your piece, to me, seemed to be this:

"The strongest argument you can make in court against child pornography," Lanning told me in June, "is what it does to the person in it. We don't know what percentage of people become molesters, but we know that looking fuels demand. Every time you download an image, there is an implicit message left behind: 'I like this. I want to see more of it. And when I come back, there had better be something new.'"

In other words: Demand creates a market.

I agree that in the case you wrote about, the consequences seem a bit severe. But let's not forget that the 230 images which Vaughn had downloaded to his computer were images of a crime being committed.

And unless all of them were "produced" 30 years ago, I really do believe he and others who constitute the market for this particular type of porn are ennabling those who produce it.

It's easy to say, Oh, I was just looking, I didn't really do anything. But that is to utterly disregard what had to happen in order to produce that picture at which you're "just looking."
posted by kgasmart at 11:31 AM on April 28, 2005


while this is extremely sad, how does it comprise an FPP and not a "hot topic" on FoxNews or a Current Affair? these sensationalist stories, while extremely sad, are not our business.
posted by yonation at 11:32 AM on April 28, 2005


Mid writes " And what would he do? Kill her? That's not going to prevent him from being identified once the photo is released."

Actually, since presumably no one but the girl and the perp know that the abuse is going on, it would make a lot of sense for the guy to kill her if they released a photo. He may feel safe now that the manhunt is general, but if they ever find the girl to talk to her, he's toast. There are serious ethical questions here.
posted by OmieWise at 11:35 AM on April 28, 2005


Most people might logically know that molestors come in all shapes and sizes, but people don't always act on logic. Especially children.

I think "bad guy" and "monster" are too simple to describe these fuckers. I am not concerned about offending molestors--it isn't about that--I am concerned that children who are seduced and abused by adults will be on the look-out for fangs and claws and other bad guy charcteristics they see in the movies.
posted by brittney at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2005


Fenriq, what's at stake is not just you "offending" pedophiles, but the fact that the use of terms like "monsters" actually helps create the societal environment of denial that increases molestation.

Kenneth Lanning, who headed the FBI's behavioral research unit on child abusers for a couple of decades, and who I also interviewed for that article, told me he used to go to parties and say, "OK, who wants to see some child porn?" The response was always, of course, "Gross! No way!" But then when he said, "All right, who wants to see some naked pics of Britney Spears?" the guys in the room would be most eager. His point was that, at the point I interviewed him, Britney was still underage, and naked photos of her were technically child pornography.

There is a huge societal disconnect between the millions of ad messages that bombard us each day telling us that youth = sexiness, and the ever-widening hysteria about child porn that focuses more on the Internet and less on finding and prosecuting actual abusers. Part of what creates that disconnect is the demonization of abusers as somehow inhuman.


They're evil, they must be stopped, but they're human, and until society deals with its exaltation of youth as the sexiest quality imaginable, we will not only not understand the problem, we will misdirect law-enforcement efforts so that actual abusers are harder to find.
posted by digaman at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2005


kgasmart, I agree with everything in your post.
posted by digaman at 11:38 AM on April 28, 2005


MetaFilter: Purges the taint of the day
posted by rxrfrx at 11:39 AM on April 28, 2005


The boy scout leader is a monster, he's just got a cleaner facade. Anyone who abuses children (or animals, for that matter) is a monster in my book and I'm not concerned with offending them by doing so.

I believe you read her post wrong. She's not concerned in offending them, but that by labeling them "monsters" you're increasing their power, when the issue is really that they are mentally ill. It doesn't make their actions any less disgusting to bring up this fact, and I believe that for these types of crimes to end, we have to start talking about it as a society in less hysterical terms and start talking about it as a problem that we can solve with real tools, not with "I'd like to kill him" statements.
posted by agregoli at 11:41 AM on April 28, 2005


I had skipped the story in the Times yesterday because stories like that just horrify me and shake me too much, I find violence against children an almost unbearable thought -- but the Trekkie reference in this FPP made me read a few paragraphs because I just didn't understand it.

you know, I fucking hate Star Trek and the cult of that show leaves me utterly baffled, but it's terribly dishonest to throw a factoid like that in a story about such horrible crimes. the wording in the story is really cowardly -- nudge nudge wink wink, and it shamefully throws in the equation "Trekkie = likely a paedophile". wtf does that mean?

I'm pretty sure that 100% of Internet paedophiles own or at least use a computer, right? and probably more than 90% of them drink soft drinks. so?

the Trekkie thing is a useless, dumb factoid, really beneath a national newspaper.


and as much as the idea of torturing these fuckers (the paedos, not the Trekkies) appeals every decent person on a gut level, I am confident that the Law, for its own sake, cannot shut down civilization when the criminal is just too savage. I'm all for life without parole, then, without extra privileges, even for these scumbags. the Law cannot demean itself endorsing street justice and lynchings.
posted by matteo at 11:41 AM on April 28, 2005


Yonation, said with respect, I don't know what kind of idealistic view of Metafilter you have, but not every post can be a huge multi-link dredging of internet archaea and such. I feel ok with this kind of current events/hey-how-bout-that/lets-talk-about-it post, as long as there aren't that many of them.

On the topic, interesting article. And I think RE this argument about whether pedophiles are evil, I think it's important to show that there are probably a few kinds of people we're talking about:
1. Pedophiles by nature - sick, need help
2. Abusers who document their abuse - sick and evil, need jail time and a beating
3. Guys who just do it to make a buck - pure evil, need slow roasting or bullet to the nuts
The last guys are the ones I really hate. They see a market, and they rush to fill it with no regard to its complete immorality. The abusers and the pedophiles themselves need help as well as a severe beating, but the opportunists are beyond help. Bullets may help, actually.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:41 AM on April 28, 2005


mid I'm not really clear on why they shouldn't release the photo.

Judging from this thread, maybe it's partially to prevent vigilante justice... not that this guy doesn't deserve it, but what about some poor sucker who kinda sorta looks like the guy?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:44 AM on April 28, 2005


This is just so deeply horrific.

There was a discussion on Mefi when the photos were first released here.
posted by Sully6 at 11:44 AM on April 28, 2005


All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.

Damn you William Shatner!
posted by rough ashlar at 11:49 AM on April 28, 2005


Anyone who abuses children (or animals, for that matter)

Is capturing live flies and cutting off their feet and snipping hunks of wing, then tossing it to a gecko (named renfield) - is that animal abuse?

Just ask'n....
posted by rough ashlar at 11:54 AM on April 28, 2005


and as much as the idea of torturing these fuckers ...appeals every decent person on a gut level,

This is one of the most fundamentally honest things said so far here. I don't think any of the angrier commenters would, upon consideration, want to make it legal to torture pedos. But, while I agree we shouldn't act on the impulsive rage we feel, I have to admit that I'd have difficulty understanding the person who didn't, at least for a moment, feel that rage. And that rage has to be expressed somehow.

That might be why, sometimes, pleas for calm on questions like this can often rub people the wrong way. Asking people not to be disgusted at this stuff is like asking them not to be human. I know that's not the intention, but that's sometimes how it sounds to people.
posted by jonmc at 11:54 AM on April 28, 2005


Is capturing live flies and cutting off their feet and snipping hunks of wing, then tossing it to a gecko (named renfield) - is that animal abuse?

Just ask'n....


Actually, I believe that's insect abuse.

And it doesn't make me like you very much because you're making them suffer instead of just killing them quickly, but I don't think it's illegal.
posted by Spencerinc at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2005


Digaman, I agree with much of what you say, particularly in your last comment. We have to look at the factors that produce this pathology. I believe in particular we need to create a system that continuously monitors offenders after they are released.

Childporn, however, is different from other illegal products because it is a record of a crime. It is a question of debate, does CP feed the pathology, or is it merely a symptom. I don't know. I don't really like any porn.

Finding abusers is difficult, and using porn as evidence may be highly effective. I sincerely believe that collecting images creates a market. For that reason, I support keeping the possession of CP a crime.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2005


...because clearly, if you don't want to torture the mentally ill, you're not really human.
posted by Jairus at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2005


Now, wait a second. You people are sitting out there imagining yourself torturing child molesters?
That's frankly disgusting. Those are your basest instincts that are enjoying that mental image, and you know it. Don't encourage them.

on preview: what Jairus said.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2005




I sincerely believe that collecting images creates a market. For that reason, I support keeping the possession of CP a crime.

Amazing how this logic is applied to child pr0n, but no-one suggests sending people to jail for downloading the Nick Berg video.
posted by Jairus at 12:03 PM on April 28, 2005


...because clearly, if you don't want to torture the mentally ill, you're not really human.

That's a cop out.

It is merely mentally ill to have such desires, but it is evil to carry them out.
posted by unreason at 12:03 PM on April 28, 2005


unreason, your post shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the nature of mental illness.
posted by Jairus at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2005


Let's all line up to insist that we're not pedophiles either; for added oomph and verisimilitude, let's state how disgusting we find it and declare that "those monsters" should be treated badly. We might add that it's even worse than racism, that other thing we say we're not guilty of. Really, we're really decent people, really!*

(And on preview, yes to what jairus and sonofsamiam just said.)

By the way, it was my impression that hard-core Trekkies have little trouble relating to other adults as long as they're hard-core Trekkies too. Why do think they have those Sci-Fi conventions, at which so few people of any age dress up as "schoolgirls" (not even from the Delta Quadrant)?

* In case some of you don't get it, I'm not defending pedophiles, racists, or for that matter Trekkies; what I'm doing is making fun of quite a few Mefites -- you should know who you are by now.
posted by davy at 12:06 PM on April 28, 2005


The raising of the issue of paedophilia as a tool of the right wing. News at 11.

Outside of some horrible memories of playing doctor and stumbling across some terrible porn when first discovering the internet some 10 years ago, it doesn't appear in my day to day life. I don't walk down the street confronted by the issue, it doesn't enter into my family gatherings. I don't suspect my religious leaders of it. It's just something on the news, that domain of discussion limited to the "other folks" those we don't know about, those we don't see--those for whom we can take no personal responsibility in our "real life."

Like, I see some kid getting abducted, similarly to stepping out into traffic, I'm going to save that kid. Anyone would. Aside from that, it's just a big ugly demon instantiated on at least a weekly basis, since the winter of 2001.

Like, I'm going out shopping later on. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for the guy who kidnapped this child. Maybe I can try to read people's minds as I walk by, try to stare them down, see if they've got those deep Purloined Letter eyes.

Maybe there's a little game we could play about it.
posted by nervousfritz at 12:07 PM on April 28, 2005


Now, wait a second. You people are sitting out there imagining yourself torturing child molesters?
That's frankly disgusting. Those are your basest instincts that are enjoying that mental image, and you know it. Don't encourage them.



Yes, it's not child molestors that are bad, it's the people who are disgusted by them.

/sarcasm

I agree that there's been hysteria surrounding this issue, but don't start pulling this moral one upmanship on us. And so what if it is "base" instincts, we have instinctual revulsions for a reason, I imagine.

unreason, your post shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the nature of mental illness.

Mental illness, in legal terms, is when your mind is so disconnected from reality as to be unable to tell the difference between right and wrong, as in schizophenia or severe bipolar disorder. Pedophilia is most certainly a sexual dysfunction, but I think most pedos know what they are doing is wrong.
posted by jonmc at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2005


I don't know if I'd torture them. The guillotine would be fine by me.

I understand that molesters have urges which they don't want to have. Necrophiliacs do too. You can't control your desires or what turns you on. I understand that. But you can or should be able to control your actions.

I love chocolate. And I could eat it 24 hours a day every day of the week. But I don't. I have some self-control. If bestiality is your thing, and the animal is consenting, then go for it. You're not harming anyone and I won't stop you. But if you can't get the consent of the 3 year old child who you are molesting, and in our culture/society, we don't think a 3 year old is old enough to understand or give consent, then it's illegal. And it's harming the child.

So, while I understand that people have different desires, I don't have any sympathy for people who can't control their desires and seriously hurt someone and scar them for life in the process. If there's a way to provide them with therapy, great. I won't say I know a lot about that. But from what I've read and heard, you can't rehabilitate a molester.
posted by Spencerinc at 12:11 PM on April 28, 2005


you know, I fucking hate Star Trek and the cult of that show leaves me utterly baffled, but it's terribly dishonest to throw a factoid like that in a story about such horrible crimes. the wording in the story is really cowardly -- nudge nudge wink wink, and it shamefully throws in the equation "Trekkie = likely a paedophile". wtf does that mean?

I'm pretty sure that 100% of Internet paedophiles own or at least use a computer, right? and probably more than 90% of them drink soft drinks. so?


Well, that's not really a great argument, because while more than 90% of people drink pop, less than 10% are fans of Star Trek. That makes the correlation significant.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:13 PM on April 28, 2005


Mental illness, in legal terms, is when your mind is so disconnected from reality as to be unable to tell the difference between right and wrong, as in schizophenia or severe bipolar disorder.

Mental illness is distinct from the legal concept of insanity, jonmc. A mental illness is a disorder of the brain that disrupts someone's feelings, thinking, ability to relate, and so on.
posted by Jairus at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2005


unreason, your post shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the nature of mental illness.

It most certainly does not. Molesters interviewed by psychologists have mostly admitted that they knew that their actions were wrong at the time of commission. That violates one of the key guidelines necessary to show criminal insanity as opposed to standard criminal behavior. To have the desire to commit this particular crime is insanity, but carrying it out is criminality.
posted by unreason at 12:15 PM on April 28, 2005


Let's say it again, together:

Mental illness is distinct from the legal concept of insanity.
posted by Jairus at 12:16 PM on April 28, 2005


jonmc: Of course every person should be repulsed by child molestation. That's NOT the same as daydreaming up equally disgusting activities, which is FuckedUp™.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:17 PM on April 28, 2005


A mental illness is a disorder of the brain that disrupts someone's feelings, thinking, ability to relate, and so on.

True. But this particular illness does not force the comission of the crime. There have been molesters who have not repeated their crimes upon completion of sentence. They still have the insane desire, but they choose not to carry it out. The people in the article may have had no choice as to their desires, but they were still capable of controlling their actions, and they chose not to.
posted by unreason at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2005


Let's say it again, together:

Mental illness is distinct from the legal concept of insanity.


Let's say it again: We know.

Mental Illness does not deny guilt of crime. Insanity does, but as you just said, they are not insane, merely mentally ill.
posted by unreason at 12:19 PM on April 28, 2005


well, jairus, I have a hot temper and occasionally I get the urge to punch out people who irritate me. If I succumb to that urge, am I somebody suffering from a rage disorder who deserves sympathy and compassion or am I merely a violent asshole who deserves condemnation?

see where I'm going here?

on preview: keep going Jairus, condescension is an incredibly effective way to make your point.

jonmc: Of course every person should be repulsed by child molestation. That's NOT the same as daydreaming up equally disgusting activities, which is FuckedUp™.

Who says that's what we're doing? I can't speak for anyone else but my first thought upon hearing the dog cage story was "Jeez, I'd like to strangle the sonofabitch who would do that." Normal human reaction. Not fucked up.
posted by jonmc at 12:21 PM on April 28, 2005


unreason, that's like saying people with clinical depression may have had no choice as to their desires, but were still capable of not killing themselves, but chose to kill themselves anyway. Semantically correct, but again, displaying a fundamental lack of understanding about what mental illness is.
posted by Jairus at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm on my way out and don't have time to read the discussion right now but here's the front page of the Toronto Sun and Star, which are relevant, in case no one's linked them yet. They contain a related photo. (star login: wow@mail.com ; sowhat
posted by dobbs at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2005


All articles on child porn hit me hard. I really think degrading a child like that is the sickest thing I can imagine.

And I believe the reason they won't release pictures of the girl even to find her is to protect the privacy of the victim, not to prevent vigilante justice. That's why rape accusers are not named in newspapers, according to convention.

*takes shower*
posted by Sidthecat at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2005


I have a hot temper and occasionally I get the urge to punch out people who irritate me. If I succumb to that urge, am I somebody suffering from a rage disorder who deserves sympathy and compassion or am I merely a violent asshole who deserves condemnation?

Could go either way. However, the number of jerks who just like punching people is much larger than the number of people with a clinical anger disorder.

Comparatively, the number of people who just like to fuck kids is many orders of magnitude smaller than the number of people who have a clinical sexual disorder.
posted by Jairus at 12:25 PM on April 28, 2005


jonmc: I'm talking about the word "torture." Not "kill" or "execute." We put rabid dogs down, but we don't sit there and hurt them for fun. (At least, not if I'm around.)
I was referring to matteo and fenriq's comments.
Now, if in your brain "get pissed at sickos" implies "imagine the act of torture and imagine enjoying it," that is an issue I would recommend you take to your psychiatrist. Otherwise, there's no excuse for conflating the two again.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:26 PM on April 28, 2005


it really stood out to me that the one "solved" case the article focused most specifically on had no (obvious) connection to child porn or pedophiles.

There are many allusions in the article to the fact that the material this unit views is disgusting and horrifying on a level average persons cannot imagine. Just because the article describes photos of her in a dog cage, with filthy words scribbled on her body, doesn't mean there weren't other photos 10x as horrible. Those are just the ones they were willing to go on the record to talk about.
posted by junkbox at 12:28 PM on April 28, 2005


Regardless what you want to quibble about, these people need help. I'm not talking coddling them or suspending jail time or anything, but can we agree that someone who is a pedophile isn't right in the head and that it's a sickness? What difference does it make if they are legally insane or not? They need medical attention, not beatings.
posted by agregoli at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2005


To all that want to see horrible things done to paedophiles: in prison, they recieve more abuse than any other kind of offender. Vigilante justice from other inmates. Shivving not uncommon.

FYI.
posted by Calast at 12:33 PM on April 28, 2005


but again, displaying a fundamental lack of understanding about what mental illness is.

Yes, Jairus. Anyone who disagrees with you obviously just doesn't understand the way things really are.

Your analogy isn't accurate at all. Depression is a chemically related disorder that is in evidence on a near continual basis. These folks have an urge that can be fought, and which can be avoided largely through therapy and avoiding problem behaviour. But they have to want to get well, and most of them don't. Understand this difference between illness and insanity if you can. A mentally ill person still is responsible for their own actions. When they fail to get help, and as a result hurt someone, it is their fault. End of story. Societal ethics says this. The law says it. Common sense says it. If you have control over your own actions, then you and you alone are responsible for them.
posted by unreason at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2005


Comparatively, the number of people who just like to fuck kids is many orders of magnitude smaller than the number of people who have a clinical sexual disorder.

Now we're getting into some weird contradictory territory. Wanting to have sex with kids is such an aberration (not to mention, so universally frowned on) that it's kind of a de facto disorder, is it not?

Now, if in your brain "get pissed at sickos" implies "imagine the act of torture and imagine enjoying it," that is an issue I would recommend you take to your psychiatrist. Otherwise, there's no excuse for conflating the two again.

Keep going with that attitude. Telling people who challenge you that they "need help," is a wonderful debate gambit as well.

People get angry. They say angry shit that's not meant to be taken literally. especially intelligent, verbal people like those on MeFi. Conflating that to being some kind of torture enthusiast is something you can take to your shrink.

Regardless what you want to quibble about, these people need help.

Agreed, but pretty much everything I've read on the subject says that sex offenders are the hardest criminals to treat. I would advise pre-emptive treatment for children who have been sexually or physically abused, since that is often correllated with becoming an abuser, altough the vast majority of abused children do not grow up to abuse, however else it affects them.

To all that want to see horrible things done to paedophiles:

For the last time, those of us who made angry comments are not advocating torture, we're just expressing anger and disgust. I'd be quite happy with them simply locked up forever, and kept away from other inmates if violence is a concern.
posted by jonmc at 12:37 PM on April 28, 2005


unreason, you seem to think I'm arguing that these people aren't responsible for their own actions. I suggest you reread my posts, if you feel that's the case.

I'm arguing against the idea that "torturing these fuckers appeals every to decent person on a gut level" is "fundamentally honest".

I don't want to torture the mentally ill. Never have. Never will.
posted by Jairus at 12:38 PM on April 28, 2005


Actually, since presumably no one but the girl and the perp know that the abuse is going on, it would make a lot of sense for the guy to kill her if they released a photo. He may feel safe now that the manhunt is general, but if they ever find the girl to talk to her, he's toast. There are serious ethical questions here.

The point is that presumably other people in the world know this girl and could connect her to the guy, even though they are ignorant of the abuse. If she's been to school or has family members that would recognize her, she will be identified immediately. At that point, the guy is caught--he will have some connection to the identified girl that the police will find (i.e., he's family or a trusted adult like a teacher or something).

Killing her does not erase that connection.

Unless, of course, he is a total stranger to the girl and nobody can link her to him. In that case, its an abduction--the police release pictures of abducted kids all the time.
posted by Mid at 12:40 PM on April 28, 2005


So Yonation, the Intarnet can be used to foil people lying about cancer or to admonish those who would cheat, but possibly locating a child being abused and those who are abusing her, not really what we should be using this (Metafilter or the Internet) for. Thanks for clarifying.
posted by nramsey at 12:40 PM on April 28, 2005


Here's the thing with not labelling them monsters or bad guys, whatever label they are given will be demonized. Anyone who preys on children will be demonized.

I'm not seeing how calling them what they are empowers them to continue doing what they were going to do in any case. In fact, I could see an argument for some to abstain from their fantasies because of the label applied to that behaviour. Prettying it up with things like its a mental disorder (and I'm not disputing that it is a mental disorder to prey on children) seems to me like it would condone their behaviour more than calling them what they are.

Calast, jonmc noted above that prison justice for these scumbags would be swift. But its also wrong to allow our criminals to mete out "justice". If we are a truly civilized society (yes, I know, it IS debatable) then punishments should be handed down by a judge, not delivered in the shower room at the local prison.
posted by fenriq at 12:44 PM on April 28, 2005


Kenneth Lanning... told me he used to go to parties and say, "OK, who wants to see some child porn?"

You know, I highly doubt that this is true. It sounds like a great way of getting oneself beat up, possibly fatally.
posted by clevershark at 12:44 PM on April 28, 2005


thanks for the link Matt, the Trekkie thing did look just wrong
posted by matteo at 12:45 PM on April 28, 2005


fenriq writes "If we are a truly civilized society (yes, I know, it IS debatable) then punishments should be handed down by a judge, not delivered in the shower room at the local prison."

Well, I suppose that's the way it works in an ideal society, but the threat of prison violence and rape is a weapon routinely used by police and prosecutors in order to obtain the results they seek.

Prison violence and rape are in no way "outside the system". They're part of the system. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it'll always be, because absolutely no one has a stake in ending that vicious cycle.
posted by clevershark at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2005


I have an idea: let's say it's perfectly okay for people who'd enjoy torturing people for whatever reason to torture each other for whatever excuse the can find, so long as they do it away from the rest of us. We could empty some prisons of non-violent drug offenders and put the torture freaks in there, those eligible having volunteered, e.g. by posting to the Internet "I think [somebody] should be tortured"; however they would decide who gets tortured and who does the torturing is no concern of mine -- maybe they'd draw straws or use Diebold voting machines. As for the issue of some put-away torturers being tortured unwillingly, oh well, if it's wrong to torture you then it's wrong for you to torture others -- and vice versa.
posted by davy at 12:58 PM on April 28, 2005


matteo : "the idea of torturing these fuckers (the paedos, not the Trekkies) appeals every decent person on a gut level"

So folks who want the book thrown at them, but don't find torture appealing, aren't decent people?

I'm on the line between Jairus and jonmc here. I can see some decent people finding the idea of torturing them appealing. I think that's a pretty base instinct, and not a good thing, but I don't think it makes anyone indecent. Actually torturing them (or trying to get torture legislation passed, etc.) is indecent. Imagining it is not good, but doesn't make the person indecent. And not imagining torture does not make a person more decent.

I should probably take my opinion elsewhere, though, because agreeing with two people on opposite sides of an issue, or taking a middle line position, is pretty much anathema to MeFi as of late
posted by Bugbread at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2005


Also, I should note that my desire to make these bastards pay in blood for their crimes is my knee jerk reaction and shouldn't actually be taken as how I think they should be dealt with by the criminal justice system. I'm entitled to feel like they should suffer for their crimes because I would not be the one handing down the sentence.

That said, I think, if their crimes were revisited upon them, only this time with them as the victim, that would satisfy my urge for retribution.
posted by fenriq at 1:03 PM on April 28, 2005


Two things struck me reading while the article -- and I knew of the story from the last post and lately from another news source -- my immediate sympathy/concern for the children AND how incredibly determined and devoted the Police are in these Units. The burnout rate and longterm psychological problems for them must also run at a phenomenal level.

I don't want to enter into the retribution/mental illness debate. I'm sure everyone here is equally horrified by the events/facts/statistics. As usual, the way we react would be different were we to be discussing events face to face. And of course there's no easy solution even when perps are caught.

The addition of the trekkie bit was really unnecessary -- the 'odd' humour that must surround these Police units (and I see parallels with the sort of thing portrayed in MASH for example) -- in terms of having a twisted outlet to help stifle the pain of intense situations is 'work pressure talk' and shouldn't be used as a sensational addon. Maybe the author thought they were demonstrating their 'deep' understanding of the Police or something. Whatever, it shouldn't probably have been in there. A comment about perps often living in some fantasy world would suffice. This is one article that you want people to concentrate on the salient facts and not have their attention scattered by unhelpful in-jokes.
posted by peacay at 1:08 PM on April 28, 2005


and as much as the idea of torturing these fuckers (the paedos, not the Trekkies) appeals every decent person on a gut level, I am confident that the Law, for its own sake, cannot shut down civilization when the criminal is just too savage. I'm all for life without parole, then, without extra privileges, even for these scumbags. the Law cannot demean itself endorsing street justice and lynchings.

*applauds*

When I was very active in Illinois in winning the moratorium on the death penalty several years ago, I used to get baited a lot by people who reduced the issue to "well, if someone killed your mother/sister/husband/child/best friend, wouldn't you want to see them fry?" My response was (and is), "of course, driven by blind grief and fury, I'd want them dead, and I'd probably want to kill them myself. I just don't happen to think that my personal blind grief and fury should be the basis for law in a civilized society."
posted by scody at 1:08 PM on April 28, 2005


So folks who want the book thrown at them, but don't find torture appealing, aren't decent people?

of course they're decent people, bugbread. It's just how some people express anger. Haven't you ever said "I'd like to kill that bastard!" or "I want you to suffer." about someone you're pissed at. I don't advocate torture, but somewhere deep in us is a primitive mind that lashes out in disgust at things. We shouldn't let that primitive mind dictate how we do things but it's dangerous to ignore it as well. Just acknowledge it and move on.
posted by jonmc at 1:09 PM on April 28, 2005


Jonmc, I understand your position. That question was directed at matteo, who said that it appeals to every decent person.
posted by Bugbread at 1:18 PM on April 28, 2005


scody..I just don't happen to think that my personal blind grief and fury should be the basis for law in a civilized society
bravo! very well put.
posted by peacay at 1:21 PM on April 28, 2005


I just don't happen to think that my personal blind grief and fury should be the basis for law in a civilized society.

Who's to say that the victim or the victim's family shouldn't be the ones who decide the punishment of the perpetrator? It's easy for me or someone like me, as someone who hasn't been molested, and who doesn't have children to say "Oh, let's have pity on these poor mentally ill perpetrators and give them therapy." But we're too far removed from the situation. I'm sure that if someone molested a child of mine or a child I was close to, I'd feel a lot less understanding for the molester (not that I have a lot right now). Why does it make a society "civilized" because the laws are made and enforced by people who are somewhat removed from the crime?
posted by Spencerinc at 1:21 PM on April 28, 2005


I'll say it again, it's the biggest fucking nonissue of the century.

Just so everyone can harp on about the sacrifices of the police and find a righteous outlet for their beastial hatred and violence.

Pedophiles don't exist. Only all of you scumbags.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2005


Actually, Matteo, I'm grateful to Matt for the link to the correction because the Trekkie thing sounded so right, at least to someone like me who does not hold the show in high regard. And since my bias is not unique, I'm afraid the all pedophiles = Trekkies canard will, pace Twain, orbit the world 50 times while the correction is still stumbling around, looking for its glasses.
posted by mojohand at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2005


Agreed, but pretty much everything I've read on the subject says that sex offenders are the hardest criminals to treat.

Right, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be the focus as a society, instead of all this vigilante justice idea. Perhaps in the future after further research we'll be able to find out WHY this behavior happens, and stop it.
posted by agregoli at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2005


clevershark, Lanning is a very famous agent within FBI circles. Obviously, his question was a loaded one, but his anecdote -- which I don't doubt for a second -- was supposed to be an instructive one.
posted by digaman at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2005


nervousfritz, there's several abuse victims I know I'd love to introduce you to, to see if you'd have the nerve to say that to their face.

Just because it hasn't affected you does not make it an non-issue.
posted by jonmc at 1:36 PM on April 28, 2005


I wonder why fritz is so nervous...
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:38 PM on April 28, 2005


and for non-existent people they seem to be awful busy.

Or are you just trying to "provocative," you little dickens? Well, you provoked. Congratulations.
posted by jonmc at 1:38 PM on April 28, 2005


jonmc, I'm sure it's torn up their life in the same way the sneeches without the stars got shafted.

Like a person in a wheelchair feels great in a crowd of people in wheelchairs.

If everyone gives credit to an idea it gets heavier and heavier....... victims, molesters, victims, molestors

didn't seem to trouble, oh, for example, the vikings

what a bunch of pansies.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:40 PM on April 28, 2005


It'd be great if that urge to revenge energy here was put into prevention.
For every "lets kill the bastards!" if there was someone shouting "let's help those children!" a lot more constructive work would get done on this issue.
Can't say as I have a problem with vigilante justice on the 'net (hacking sites, etc - do you know there are people who make money off of this filth?), but I'm sure there are a lot of kids who need counseling or a way out of the situation more than the pederasts need busted teeth.
(there's plenty of sex slavery going on now in Europe for example)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:41 PM on April 28, 2005


anastasiav: At this risk of having stones thrown at me, from the description in the article, this particular case seems to be ne of child abuse, not molestation. While I applaud them for bringing this girl's torturer to justice so quickly, it really stood out to me that the one "solved" case the article focused most specifically on had no (obvious) connection to child porn or pedophiles.

Given the overall tone of the article, it seems that the L.A. Times didn't want to mention some of the more lurid details of the Schellenberger case. Other reports seem to suggest that the collection included images of explicitly sexual acts, not just assault. Some of the other, accounts of the case provide a bit too much detail for my taste.

Which raises the question of how much information is to much in talking about child porn? Do we really need a listing of sexual acts depicted?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:46 PM on April 28, 2005


Smedleyman, I agree. And in this case, I think it's better to err on the side of being a slightly paranoid overprotective parent than to leave your kids with any old babysitter or family member and just assume that because they're a friend and they look "safe" that they must be.
posted by Spencerinc at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2005


nervousfritz, what are you talking about?
posted by agregoli at 1:56 PM on April 28, 2005


"Some predatory sociopaths can be deterred. None can be rehabilitated, since they cannot return to a state that never existed. The concept of coercive therapy is a contradiction; successful psychiatric treatment requires participants, not mere recipients."

From:
Sex Predators Can't Be Saved (I'm almost sure I've linked this in a similar discussion before, and the resources link has scads more info on this and similar topics.)
posted by Cyrano at 2:07 PM on April 28, 2005 [1 favorite]


I'll say it again, it's the biggest fucking nonissue of the century.

Just so everyone can harp on about the sacrifices of the police and find a righteous outlet for their beastial hatred and violence.

Pedophiles don't exist. Only all of you scumbags.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:25 PM PST on April 28


Nice posting history, genius.

If pedophiles don't exist, where are these pictures coming from?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:08 PM on April 28, 2005




Sex Predators Can't Be Saved

Thanks for the info. But this doesn't make me in any way think we should stop trying. Science is always learning new things - we still barely understand how parts of the brain work. It's not like we should just give up. Prevention is always easier than cleaning up the mess afterwards.
posted by agregoli at 2:15 PM on April 28, 2005


jonmc/agregoli he's trolling you, try and ignore him. Look at his posting history; he's been here two whole days and all his handful of comments are like this. His second comment was a complete WTF showing he obviously read none of the links and didn't comprehend the FPP.
posted by Mitheral at 2:32 PM on April 28, 2005


[I]f their crimes were revisited upon them, only this time with them as the victim, that would satisfy my urge for retribution.

Hey fenriq, how would you do that? Have the victims molest the molesters? Offhand I can imagine some cases where a strict interpretation of that might not achieve your desired goal, as in the hypothetical case of Mr. Lemonhead whose "pedophiliac" act was paying 11-year-old Jenny to let him perform oral sex on her.

That said, the term "pedophile" is slung around so broadly it's silly: I see a definite moral difference between someone who sex-tortures and murders three year olds and someone whose "sex crime" consists of quietly looking at jpegs of 14 year old nudists climbing trees. There are degrees and gradations to differentiate between, practically as well as intellectually speaking. ("Sorry, we're too busy collecting dirty pictures of other middle-aged men by pretending to be middle-school girls in AOL chatrooms; we just don't have the resources these days to arrest people for beating old ladies to death.")

And just think, if supplying and/or enjoying looking at depictions of naked people below the age of consent in the locality in question qualifies one as a monster who should be tortured, all you people who exhibit or view paintings of "cherubs" in art museums deserve a world of hurt. "Oh there are wings on him and he's standing next to Jesus so you think that makes it okay, is that right you pervert?!?"

And as for Vachss, I wonder if he makes more money going on talk shows and speaking tours to discuss child abuse, or from selling his novels depicting this heinous evil (complete with such things as a Voodoo Queen and her Satanic Rituals)? [Warning, links to Amazon.]
posted by davy at 2:34 PM on April 28, 2005


Spencerinc: Smedleyman, I agree. And in this case, I think it's better to err on the side of being a slightly paranoid overprotective parent than to leave your kids with any old babysitter or family member and just assume that because they're a friend and they look "safe" that they must be.

I think this is what makes some parents nuttier than a "moving to montana with my M60 survivalist". How the heck do you tell your brother with three kids is someone you can't leave your kid with? It's freaky.
posted by Mitheral at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2005


Mitheral, it IS freaky. And I'd feel very very bad for hurting my brother's feelings if I suspected him of having the 1% chance of being a pedophile (for the record, I don't have a brother). But I'd feel FAR worse if I left my kid with a pedophile and they suffered the rest of their life for it. Pick your poison.
posted by Spencerinc at 2:48 PM on April 28, 2005



It'd be great if that urge to revenge energy here was put into prevention.


Right on, smedleyman.

One of the facts on jonmc's "awful busy" page is passed over lightly in the LA Times story, and in every story you will ever read about "Interner predators."

I'll rephrase it and emphasize it here:
In 90 to 95 percent of cases of child abuse, the victim already knows the assailant.

That means the abuser isn't some guy they met on the Internet. That means the abuser isn't one of the people likely to be arrested by an FBI agent in a chat-room sting. That means something very disturbing indeed: In the vast majority of cases, the abuser is Dad, or Uncle Frank, or Aunt Harriet, or the swim coach at school.

A tremendous amount of your tax money is being spent on paying FBI agents to pose as porn collectors in chat rooms. Granted, occasionally they arrest somebody who should be off the streets. But the headlines that greet operations like this blow their significance way out of proportion. In fact, if saving kids from abuse is truly priority #1, the money would be better spent on the kinds of education and social welfare programs that truly have an effect on lessening abuse, and in increasing the likelihood that an abused child will have access to the kinds of counseling that will result in more abusive incidents being reported. And those programs are being cut back, while Christian parents' groups lobby schools to reduce sex education.
posted by digaman at 2:50 PM on April 28, 2005


Just so everyone can harp on about the sacrifices of the police and find a righteous outlet for their beastial hatred and violence.

I wouldn't go so far as to say "pedophilia" (defined as "sexual interest in pre-pubescent humans") does not exist, I'd just say that, like the other "menaces" of "mugging" and "terrorism", this subject gets overly played up by fascists to justify their police state -- and by those who need a "socially acceptable" outlet for their urges toward bestial violence.

For the latter a vicarious outlet is often easier, as in "put him a cell with Bruno (and stream the video over the Net)", as there simply aren't enough "pedophiles" to go around for all the "decent people" to have a chance to beat on. Besides, most people who wish harm on others simply can't be bothered to do it themselves -- it's too yucky for "decent people" to dirty their own hands with.

And on preview, I must agree with what digaman just said.
posted by davy at 2:54 PM on April 28, 2005


Whenever I hear about a guy getting busted for travelling across the country to "meet a 14 year old for sex" -- by which of course we mean "meet a policeman to get arrested" -- I can't help but be amazed at how amazingly stupid these people are for actually showing up at those sting operations.

Then again if pedophiles were ALL that stupid, pedophilia would be a problem that's easily "nipped in the bud". But, as has been pointed out, most abuse occurs within the kids' family's social circles.
posted by clevershark at 2:59 PM on April 28, 2005


But this doesn't make me in any way think we should stop trying. Science is always learning new things - we still barely understand how parts of the brain work. It's not like we should just give up. Prevention is always easier than cleaning up the mess afterwards.

Fair enough, but the best way to stop it would seem to be to break the chain of abuse. It's very human to want to believe you can save everyone, but some people are just broken and the best prevention you can hope for is keep them from breaking someone else.

And as for Vachss, I wonder if he makes more money going on talk shows and speaking tours to discuss child abuse, or from selling his novels depicting this heinous evil.

Vachss has always said that his books are secondary to his legal practice. The best way to get his message out. (The satanism in the book you mentioned wasn't the ooh-scary TV kind, but rather a tool the abusers used to control the children they abused.) I'm not sure why you seem to be implying that the fact that his books sell should somehow diminish his efforts on behalf of children.
posted by Cyrano at 3:04 PM on April 28, 2005


Several thoughts. The reason it may have been mostly Trekkies could be explained by one arrest leading to another with a connection.
It bothers me the people that suggest violence be performed against these perpetrators. This is standard prison practice against arrested pedophiles and allowing it to happen doesn't somehow cure them or dissuade them. I imagine it gets incorporated into their personalities and makes them more extreme.
I'm not suggesting coddling them. If there is a group that I would put as eligible for being locked away for life after multiple offenses, it would be this one. Very few overcome their obsession.
Many of the abusers are former victims of abuse who have lead tragic lives. This doesn't excuse their actions, but identifies its source. If you want to go after those who do this, it is important to understand the source. These are actions of humans, not monsters.
And from scody: "My response was (and is), "of course, driven by blind grief and fury, I'd want them dead, and I'd probably want to kill them myself. I just don't happen to think that my personal blind grief and fury should be the basis for law in a civilized society.""
Having lost a brother without a perpetrator ever having been found, my response is: "If it would bring my brother back I would kill him myself. But it won't." Vengeance doesn't seem like any kind of victory or salve to me.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:04 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm just going to say this:

As a former abused child, I feel death would not be too harsh a punishment in dealing with this crime. Maybe torture, I'm undecided on that. Yes, it is founded in mental illness, but these people can choose not to commit these acts. The severest possible punishment would, at the very least, raise the stakes should they decide to act on their perverse whims, maybe even encourage people into counselling before they do something horrific.

That's just what I think, anyway.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:08 PM on April 28, 2005


In the same way that regular porn has the tendency to make ordinary people disdainful of actual sex, maybe the abundence of child porn will cut down abuse. Maybe with CGI technology in the future, we can give pedos the porn they want and keep them from harming children.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:14 PM on April 28, 2005


Man, the trolls have just come out for this thread, huh? I wonder if davy and nervousfritz are as ignorant as they pretend to be, or if they have some ulterior motive.

I can have some pretty weird sexual fantasies, but this stuff is so beyond the pale, so profoundly fucked-up, I can't even comprehend it.

However, the biggest thing that I can't comprehend is the willingness to go through with some of the stuff they do? I mean, do they ever think, "I've tied up and abused a six year old, now I'm taking pictures, wow, that's fucked up?" I mean, how do they rationalize that there doing such horrible and cruel, let alone weird, things, just for the sake sexual pleasure. I mean, it's only sex, how can it mean that much to you to want to go to such extreme lengths?
posted by Snyder at 3:21 PM on April 28, 2005


You're lumping davy's thoughtful comments in with that other dork?
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:23 PM on April 28, 2005


I mean, how do they rationalize that there doing such horrible and cruel, let alone weird, things, just for the sake sexual pleasure. I mean, it's only sex, how can it mean that much to you to want to go to such extreme lengths?

Sociopaths don't need to justify it because they don't think its wrong. Oh, they know you think it's wrong, they just don't care.
posted by Cyrano at 3:35 PM on April 28, 2005


Well, inasmuch as that he's being intentionally inflamatory and is willfully misreading others posts, yes. He's certainly not as full-on batshit as nervousfritz is, but I think it's more a difference of degree, not kind.
posted by Snyder at 3:36 PM on April 28, 2005


davy, I've no idea how it would be implemented but the concept of balancing out the transgression with the punishment appeals to me.

I hadn't considered having the former victim abuse their former abuser, maybe that could be an option at sentencing? I'd been thinking that, if they are convicted of sodomizing children, part of their punishment is to be sodomized themselves. And maybe to have pictures of it put out on the internet.

And yes, you are right, its a very good thing that I don't make the rules.
posted by fenriq at 3:43 PM on April 28, 2005


but are all of them sociopaths though? I mean, some must be, but I also feel similarly to people with other extreme sexual activities, like, say, testicle popping, or that German guy who wanted to be eaten, who then seek out such things to do be done, outside of fantasy. I mean, especially in the case of that German dude, I mean, what the crap, you're dead, how can you be sexually excited that you're being eaten, and to, you have no way of knowing if you're going to be eaten anyway! I just can't wrap my head around it. I mean, why doesn't common sense just kick in and say, "Y'know, this is a pretty extreme activity here, maybe I should just keep it a fantasy."

Sociopaths I can understand, (and by understand, I mean conceive of, at least, a little,) but for non-sociopaths? I dunno. Maybe I just don't know enough about the sociopathy, or borderline personality disorder, or whatever, but some of this stuff seems to be, um, outside, as it were, sociopathy.
posted by Snyder at 3:51 PM on April 28, 2005


These articles on pedophiles always seem so clean to me. I can just imagine editors spinning a wheel that eventually lands on 'child porn' and presto, new article on child porn that's guaranteed to be a hit. People just love talking about this stuff, the more graphic the better.

And that worldwide database sure sounds interesting. I wonder how easy it'd be to extend that to other crimes? Microsoft was smart to get in on the ground floor in this case. When it comes time to track vistors to terrorist websites or online Chinese or Iranian dissidents they'll be able to hit the ground running.

I wonder what percentage of child pornographers are eventually brought to justice? The amount of child pornography seems to be always rising so quickly even with dedicated cops like Sgt. Gillespie and tough guys like jonmc ready to do violence on the ones unlucky enough to get caught. I wonder how long until we get a 'War on Pedophiles'--unless this would invite too much media attention and people would begin asking the hard questions and articles like this wouldn't fly anymore?
posted by nixerman at 3:54 PM on April 28, 2005


In 90 to 95 percent of cases of child abuse, the victim already knows the assailant.

This changes the validity of our veiws of pedophiles exactly how? I don't care if the perv is a stranger or the kids uncle, I still loathe the bastards.
posted by jonmc at 3:54 PM on April 28, 2005


nixerman : "tough guys like jonmc ready to do violence on the ones unlucky enough to get caught"

Huh? Where does jonmc indicate he's ready to do violence on the perps?
posted by Bugbread at 3:57 PM on April 28, 2005


Cyrano: Fair enough, but the best way to stop it would seem to be to break the chain of abuse. It's very human to want to believe you can save everyone, but some people are just broken and the best prevention you can hope for is keep them from breaking someone else.

Just a clarification? I hate the old vampire syndrome myth that suggests that survivors of abuse inevetably grow up to be abusers. (Or for that matter, the perpetual victim myth that people who have been abused are perminantly "broken.")

jonmc: I think the point is that there are better ways to focus law enforcement than to try to trap the minority of abusers trolling internet forums. On the other hand, that child porn comes from somewhere, and tracking the photos to the abusers is probably a good thing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:02 PM on April 28, 2005


Cyrano: Fair enough, but the best way to stop it would seem to be to break the chain of abuse. It's very human to want to believe you can save everyone, but some people are just broken and the best prevention you can hope for is keep them from breaking someone else.

KirkJobSluder: Just a clarification? I hate the old vampire syndrome myth that suggests that survivors of abuse inevitably grow up to be abusers. (Or for that matter, the perpetual victim myth that people who have been abused are permanently "broken.")

KirkJobSluder, I didn't interpret what Cyrano was saying to mean that victims end up being abusers. Several of my friends and relatives were molested as children and I am very confident that they are not molesters (but I don't watch them every second of the day, so who can say for sure). My interpretation of Cyrano's "chain of abuse" was that these perps reoffend. You send the perps to jail, you try to reform them, they get out, they reoffend. So rather than focussing solely on fixing them, give up and accept the fact that they're broken. Just somehow prevent them from molesting again.
posted by Spencerinc at 4:16 PM on April 28, 2005


In 90 to 95 percent of cases of child abuse, the victim already knows the assailant.

That means the abuser isn't some guy they met on the Internet.


The people being targeted are the ones who abuse then post pictures of the act. Read the article - when the cop gets emailed some anonymous kiddie porn from an abuser who claims to be "active," he specifically tells the writer it's not worth following up.

So, actually, yes, the abusers ARE people the cops meet on the internet.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:20 PM on April 28, 2005


Huh? Where does jonmc indicate he's ready to do violence on the perps?

nixerman hears what he wants to hear. I said I understood and shared the rage people felt towards child molesters. I also specifically said that we shouldn't act on that rage. But never let that get in the way of a cute little snark, huh, nix?

jonmc: I think the point is that there are better ways to focus law enforcement than to try to trap the minority of abusers trolling internet forums.

agreed. but who says we have to put all our effort in one direction. The internet method is also good since the perpetrators are supplying the evidence to convict themselves which makes making a case easier.
posted by jonmc at 4:40 PM on April 28, 2005


Jarius,

unreason, you seem to think I'm arguing that these people aren't responsible for their own actions. I suggest you reread my posts, if you feel that's the case. ...
I don't want to torture the mentally ill. Never have. Never will.

It appears you are labeling pedophiles as "mentally ill" to purposefully conflate that small subset of mental illness into the larger group, to imply that johnmc's position regarding a 'gut feeling' of violent retribution span all cases of mental illness, such as the depressed etc. It also implies that you find that we should feel some sort of the pity towards pedophiles because of their illness.

I ask then, if you are not arguing the position that 'these people [the mentally ill] aren't responsible for their own actions', why should their state of mental health factor into anyone's pity?

I would restate johnmc's position and say that MOST people (no value judgement) would find it acceptable at a "gut level" that people who torture, rape and otherwise victimize children for their sexual pleasure be exposed to the same violence that they inflict.

As far as my personal opinion I'm not in favor of violent retribution and my position is that these people when caught are only released back into the public if they can be found to be 'cured' and are no further danger to the public, even if that means they are never released.
posted by jboy55 at 4:41 PM on April 28, 2005


jboy, no offense, but please don't put words in my mouth. or "h" in my name.
posted by jonmc at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2005


jonmc,

Perhaps I should say, Restate what I feel is jonmc's position in my own words.
posted by jboy55 at 4:47 PM on April 28, 2005


selfmedicating, the proportion of actual abusers who then post images of their abuse to the Net is so low, justifying the broad approach of "dealing" with the problem of child abuse by having hundreds, if not thousands, of law-enforcement personnel trolling chat rooms is like dealing with drug use among kids by lurking on Grateful Dead websites, waiting for someone to post "420 ROXX DEWDS!!!" and then asking them to email pictures of their acid lab.
posted by digaman at 4:48 PM on April 28, 2005


Why can't I come up with good metaphors like that?
posted by Bugbread at 4:55 PM on April 28, 2005


So, actually, yes, the abusers ARE people the cops meet on the internet.
Pedophile: So, uhh, little girl, where do you live?
Girl: Oh, right across the state line.
Pedophile: Across the state line from which state?
Girl: Oh, you know, whichever one you're in.
posted by kickingtheground at 5:03 PM on April 28, 2005


From the article: team of 16 people, 37 arrests last year, 26 of which were from their undercover work.

It doesn't sound like "hundreds, if not thousands, of law-enforcement personnel trolling chat rooms." It sounds as effective as anything else I can think of.

I'm willing to be educated tho - if there's a better way, what is it?
posted by selfmedicating at 5:08 PM on April 28, 2005


selfmedicating : " It doesn't sound like 'hundreds, if not thousands, of law-enforcement personnel trolling chat rooms.' It sounds as effective as anything else I can think of."

They aren't the only team. That's like saying that there are not thousands of software developers, because my company only has 6.

I do agree that it seems pretty effective, though. 16 people, 37 arrests is not bad. My disagreement is just over the "doesn't sound like hundreds if not thousands" part.
posted by Bugbread at 5:11 PM on April 28, 2005


bugbread - point taken.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:24 PM on April 28, 2005


Before digital cameras, people used Polaroids to take offensive pictures. Before polaroids, it was pretty much all black and white film anyways, which isn't tough to develop. Before that, well, hell, I guess it was pens and paper.

When there's a will, weirdos will find a way.

I have to wonder how many of these people seek treatment? If they do, are they charged?
posted by shepd at 5:32 PM on April 28, 2005


selfmedicating and bugbread, note that the article doesn't specify the charges in those arrests. I'd be willing to bet you that the vast majority of those arrests were for possession of child pornography, not for actual acts of abuse. (The cop talks about a guy having "1000 images on his hard drive," for instance.)

I'm not talking off the top of my hat here. I researched that article on Operation Candyman for two months, talking to FBI agents, US Postal Service employees, abuse counselors, defendants, cops, psychologists, and other specialists in this disturbing field. What has happened in law enforcement is that there has been an invisible shift in the last 20 years or so from an emphasis on busting porn producers to busting porn "consumers." On the Internet, porn travels as quickly and easily away from the scene of the original crime as a ripped MP3. It's a lot easier to bust a bunch of people for possession than it is to find a single producer -- and in fact, if you bust a huge number of people for a crime that is hellaciously easy to commit (as one of the FBI guys put it in my article, "one click, you're guilty") but still get headlines hailing you as a hero, the temptation for law enforcement to, as a DA said to me, "shoot fish in a barrel," is pretty overwhelming, particularly when the Justice Department wants a lot of positive publicity.

The Candyman group that I investigated was called by the press "the biggest child-porn ring in history." But when I looked at all the cases -- with thousands of homes searched under search warrants that were later declared bogus by two federal judges, hundreds of people arrested, at least two suicides, and among those arrested, two teenagers in Texas who didn't abuse anyone and had clean records -- what I found was one guy who was clearly an abuser who had posted photos to the group, another two who were probably involved in actual abuse, and the rest a bunch of people who were circulating photos they got from other websites, many of which were 20 years old.

This was an operation that required agents from every FBI office in the country. It's great that they uncovered three actual abusers, but you would certainly hope they would with that kind of manpower!

There is a lot of smoke and mirrors going on in this area of law enforcement, assisted by a press that doesn't even do the most basic fact-checking of law enforcement statements if they can get a headline out of it.
posted by digaman at 5:39 PM on April 28, 2005


digaman - wow. That info re: Operation Candyman is fascinating and horrifying. (Incidentally I just read your article on George Lucas in the current Wired this evening and enjoyed it.)

OK, so, I believe what you say about the smoke and mirrors here in the US. Do you think it's the same in Canada, where the team is from the FPP article? Because from that article, at least, it seems like they're not targeting the casual Joe Pedophile with his antique and/or photoshopped pr0n, they're targeting really genuinely icky people who are doing genuinely evil things.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:58 PM on April 28, 2005


(Thanks, self. I'm really glad you liked the Lucas article. I'm pleased that I got the space and access to go deeply into a previously explored part of his history, unlike the current onslaught of Sith hype and "Lucas appears on The O.C.!" pseudo-news.)

It's hard to tell exactly who the guys in Toronto are targeting, though yes they sound like good guys with a very difficult job. I have great respect for the law enforcement guys in the trenches of these crimes -- it's their bosses, and a credulous press, who make me skeptical.
posted by digaman at 6:21 PM on April 28, 2005


"Only the man who has enough good in him to feel the justice of the penalty can be punished; the others can only be hurt."
- William Earnest Hocking

There's nothing that can be done to this perp that will equal what has been done to this child.
posted by dreamsign at 6:57 PM on April 28, 2005


It also implies that you find that we should feel some sort of the pity towards pedophiles because of their illness.

I would, at this point, draw the distinction between pedophiles (legal everywhere, I believe, unless they've started to regulate desire) and those committing criminal acts against children, pedophile or no. Of course, what makes one and not the other may be a matter of degree in their "illness", but only non-voluntariness would arouse any degree of pity from me toward the criminal pedophile. As for pedophilia itself, without action, slightly more pity since they're stuck and at least resisting what it is they want. Sucks all the way around. If it were me, I would seek help.
posted by dreamsign at 7:03 PM on April 28, 2005


KirkJobSluder >>> Just a clarification? I hate the old vampire syndrome myth that suggests that survivors of abuse inevetably grow up to be abusers. (Or for that matter, the perpetual victim myth that people who have been abused are perminantly "broken.")

I think that the correlation indicated here is the reverse: most pedophiles were abused as children, and not that all victims of abuse will grow up to become pedophiles. Ergo, deep and thoughful counselling of abused children will, on average, help reduce the incidence of pedophilia down the line.

On preview, that dreamsign said. There is no punishment whatsoever that can possibly come close to what these men (and they are mostly men) have done to these children.

Oh, and, MeTa. (Not a callout at all; a suggestion for thanking these cops.)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2005


I'm not sure if we can really discuss a "market" for child-porn photos on the internet that feeds further abuse...after all, these people aren't actually selling photos, are they, with the aim of making a profit? Surely there aren't websites where you can hand over your credit card number and download photos of 6-year-olds being tortured? Although I can imagine there might be some kind of social "cred" received for the individual who provides the photos.

Ultimately, though, I think child abuse occurs independently of the ability to post photos of it on the internet. Indeed, this story seems to show that the fact that photos are easily obtainable can make finding the culprits that much easier. Do you think it was it easier or harder to catch offenders back when they were mailing polaroids?
posted by Jimbob at 8:10 PM on April 28, 2005


Digaman thanks for the inside bent on this difficult issue.

With 95% of perps being family/friends and most available resources being ploughed into dubious 'net watching then it's unlikely that any significant change to the stats is going to be effected. Sounds like a job for for more education and awareness.
Although, pedophilia has a pretty high profile these days -- with all the scaremongering from the press and many of our admittedly ignorant takes on the offenses -- my society seems just a little less social, a little less friendly. You couldn't so much as kick a ball with an unknown kid in the park (and yes, I used to do this all the time in Hanoi) without suspicious eyes drilling into you.

I'm not so sure public paranoia helps. It's the "95% are family/friends" that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

I wonder if the rates of offense are different in different cultures? In Asia, there's much more social responsibility for children - people will interact with unknown children all the time in public (without fear of paranoia or reprisals) - they just do it because they actually like kids. So that's one of my fears from the headlines and calls for lynching etc: that we turn societies further into insular, paranoic and suspicious places to live. That's not to take away from the seriousness of the offenses nor should it possibly be used as an argument for lobbying for educational changes - it's just one of those unfortunate facts of life that have surfaced in the last decade or so IMHO.
posted by peacay at 8:11 PM on April 28, 2005


Matt, thanks for the update on the trekkie piece. Dobbs, thanks for pointing out that the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit has posted pictures of this child; they are looking for her so they can protect her from further abuse.
posted by theora55 at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2005


I think people frequently say things they don't mean about pedophile because they want to distance themselves from them. It's uncomfortable. I really can't picture jonmc turning someone over to be raped and murdered. I think most of us are angry because our legal system does not keep children safe.

A very close friend's brother, a guy I've know and not really liked for close to 25 years (since he was in diapers), just turned himself in for sexually abusing a younger relative. The only thing that this experience has taught me is that we really don't know much about pedophilea. I think there are different kinds, different degrees, and different pathologies. I really want this guy to get support to try and change. But it's almost impossible to talk about how to handle his crime in today's society.

I do think tracking down each and every person who exploits children for profit, and who supports this industry is necessary. I also feel that we need to rethink the legal system to protect children. I don't want to see pedophiles killed or necessarily jailed for life. But I want them monitored, kept away from children and child porn.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:10 PM on April 28, 2005


We know a lot about philias, gesamtkunstwerk, but a lot gets mixed in with the propaganda, and it's partly a question of model or theory. If I have a philia (aka fetish) regarding shoes, the main clinical distinction between me and someone who "just likes them" is that I can't get properly aroused without them. That doesn't mean I'm dependent on shoes like someone would be on crack. I just won't get aroused without them, so in terms of getting aroused, on shoes I am dependent. (and for the record, I don't even get the shoes/feet thing... but that's the nature of a philia)

We seem to be oscillating between treating pedophiles like crack addicts (if they have the desire they will offend) and involuntary-behaviour-associated mental illnesses (it's not their fault and we need to protect everyone involved). Judging from the amount of other philia "sufferers" there are out there, I imagine that there are a whole wack of pedophiles who never offend. But of course we don't hear about them. I'm not sure the leper-colony approach is really the answer. Me, I always thought that knocking over a jewelry shop would be pretty keen. Not for profit, I'd just slink off to the garage when I hit my mid-50's and domestic life is getting to me and pull out the old attache case and look at the pretty stones. But I have no intention of doing this, and I would appreciate not being locked up or pilloried for the impulse. On the other hand, I think that there are a whole lot of people out there with some very fucked up, dangerous and, if I can use the word, evil ideas and impulses, and I'm thankful that either fear or some other inhibition is keeping them in check. But I don't want to see them punished for their fantasies, either.
posted by dreamsign at 9:35 PM on April 28, 2005


Can we all agree on one thing? That whether you're talking about having sex with a three-year-old or torturing a person to death, thinking is one thing and doing is quite another? When you hit the doing part, that's when it's time to start beating people (not that I don't find thought-pedophilia disgusting--but if they're not acting on it that's a damn good thing).

I don't know if being suspicious of all your close friends and family is going to stop this crap. Yeah, try to get a handle on the background of the person by your kid, but instead of wondering who you should trust, trust the kid. Make it absolutely, completely clear to your child that if shit like this is happening to them they can tell you, or a teacher, or any other adult they feel they can trust. And that they shouldn't be embarassed, it isn't their fault, and once they say something you will do everything in their power to stop the asshole from hurting them again--that even if the abuser threatens them, they should still come to you because you're not going to let the guy go through with his threat.

Maybe if the kid knew from the bottom of their heart that if they told someone the abuse would stop, maybe they would say something? I dunno.
posted by schroedinger at 1:23 AM on April 29, 2005


Star-Trek bit debunked (or at least highly questioned).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:39 AM on April 29, 2005


Whoops! Mathowie beat me to it, sorry! Missed it in my first read-through. Sorry!!!
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:40 AM on April 29, 2005


Given the article that dobbs notes above, I find it even more incomprehensible that they have not released photos of the victim's face. The article points out the following:

1. The police have released a picture of a different girl who they think might also be involved;

2. The police think the bad guy has a special edition Harley Davidson and are checking all lists of people with these bikes;

3. The police are cross-referencing the Harley people with people who visited Disney World;

4. The police are showing the pictures to cops and teachers all over the US and Canada.

So, again, what more would releasing the photo of the girl do? Clue the bad guy in that maybe the police are looking for him?
posted by Mid at 6:55 AM on April 29, 2005


There are different kinds of pedophilia, yes. I may get the exact nomenclature wrong, so if someone knows better (lookin' at you, digaman!), please correct me.

There's preferential child molesters... these are the people we're talking about here. They have a sexual attraction to children, the same as you or I have a sexual attraction to sexually mature people. I believe, though can't quite remember, that these sorts of molesters are further broken down into two subsets: those who are only attracted to children, and those who are attracted to children as well as adults. These are the people that need the serious help and counselling and (if applicable) jail time; they're not going to stop.

Then there's the situational molesters. Some of them end up turning into preferential pedophiles, but (as I understand it) the majority do not. These are the people who molest a child once, maybe twice, in their entire lives. There isn't an attraction to children per se for these people; most situational molesters (again, as I understand it) are teenagers who, confused by hormones and so on, act out in an inappropriate fashion. Don't get me wrong, here; it's still child abuse, and it's still horrifically wrong. But it's an important distinction to make, much like, say, the distinction between someone who gets in one fistfight versus the guy who's picking fights all the time just because he likes to beat people up.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:02 AM on April 29, 2005


selfmedicating: OK, so, I believe what you say about the smoke and mirrors here in the US. Do you think it's the same in Canada, where the team is from the FPP article? Because from that article, at least, it seems like they're not targeting the casual Joe Pedophile with his antique and/or photoshopped pr0n, they're targeting really genuinely icky people who are doing genuinely evil things.

I don't think it is much different, though it is hard to compare because law enforcement tends to be less open here than it appears to be in the US. I can tell you that the police here don't just do the net fishing. They also have a team that rotates around our assorted border crossings searching any kind of digital media (HD/Flash/SD/CF etc.) you have for something (I assumed child porn).
posted by Mitheral at 7:35 AM on April 29, 2005


Mentally ill? meh. I prefer the recent idea put forward by Dr Stone who suggests that some of these deviants are evil.
posted by squeak at 7:47 AM on April 29, 2005


Granted the manpower expended seems large for the number of perps that are 'caught', but I WANT the authorities to be damn sure that any person they detain / arrest has more than a 90% chance of being convicted.

I'm not sympathetic to pedophiles, I am sympathetic to falsely labeled sex offenders. The public's persecution of sex offenders, due to an alarming recidivism rate and a NIMBY attitude, is frightening. No other crimes that I am aware of do not allow the criminal to pay their debt to society. A falsely arrested sex offender might as well commit suicide, their life is already destroyed.
posted by DBAPaul at 8:14 AM on April 29, 2005


You know what they should do? Erase the victim from all of the pictures (some 200, apparently) and release them to the internet. All of the arm-chair sleuths would go crazy looking for clues.

Just think of the successful Kaycee photo sleuthing.
posted by Mid at 11:28 AM on April 29, 2005


"There's nothing that can be done to this perp that will equal what has been done to this child."
True, which is why I think dreamsign we should focus more on helping the child. Of course it's not media sexy or, for some, cathartic, there aren't a lot of 'counselor' shows on T.V., lot of 'cop' shows though.

"...release them to the internet. All of the arm-chair sleuths would go crazy looking for clues."
Lots of folks in arm-chairs already doing stuff like that. LOTS.
....might even be worth a post....hmmm....
posted by Smedleyman at 11:55 AM on April 29, 2005


"Man, the trolls have just come out for this thread, huh? I wonder if davy and nervousfritz are as ignorant as they pretend to be, or if they have some ulterior motive."

I thought davy's comments were fine. And digaman is making a huge amount of sense and nobody seems to be noticing.

Let's put things into perspective by looking at a similar context. The population of the US is, um, about 300 million. The FBI estimates that there are probably about 50 or so active serial killers in the US. Is that a lot? Compared to 50 million people? Is that a lot compared to 50 million people in the context of the amount of press serial killers get?

No, it's not. The attention that serial killers get, relative to the attention that perpetrators of other violent, horrifying crimes, is way, way, way out of proportion. On the other hand, it's proportionate to the general public's need to occupy its attention with such news. In the case of serial killers, I'll leave the psychologizing to other people.

I've mentioned before that I used to be active in the rape crisis movement. I've known many rape survivors and many survivors of sexual assault, including survivors of child sexual assualt, including my ex-wife who is an incest survivor. That's my context.

And I'm both sick and angry of the amount of press, public attention, and police attention that both stranger rape and stranger child assault/pornography receive. Because in both cases, the real threat, the real assault that's happening, is happening in the home and other "safe" places and being committted by family members or other "safe" people. Stranger rape, nonparental child abduction, child pornogprahers really account for only a small portion of the crimes of this nature that are committed. But people are batshit crazy about it.

It's voyeuristic. It's, I don't know, an opportunity for self-righteous moralizing. Maybe it's an opportunity to reassure oneself that one must be a decent person because, in comparison to these evil people, we're all candidates for Heaven. I don't know. All I know is that when I read articles like this one, and responses like I see in this thread, I don't believe for one second that all of this disgust and anger arises from empathy for the victims so much as it arises from some narcisisstic impulse towards reassurance via horror, not unlike riding a rollercoaster or watching a scary movie.

Because sending a fucking gift, of all things, to the crime unit mentioned in this story (as DNGB says in his relatd MeTa post) because their work is so special, so important...Christ, I don't know what to say. Why don't you march in a Take Back the Night March, or support stronger rape and sexual assault laws or volunteer at your local Rape Crisis Center?

I'd wager that almost every one of you—say, at least 80% of everyone reading these words—personally knows a woman (or a man, but more women) who was the victim of some sort of child sexual abuse. She just hasn't told you. Effectively none of those abusers manufactured child porn, and almost none of them trafficked in it. Most of the abusers probably did, on the other hand, hand the eight year old girl a copy of Playboy or Penthouse (a story I've heard many, many times). Men having sex with eight-year-olds and taking pictures, then distributing those pictures to other wannabees...yeah, that's taking something that's already horrifying and making it worse. But it's not the problem. It's not the cause of the problem. It's not really much of a factor in the problem. So why all the atttention? Is the attention really about the poor children being abused? It musn't be, since almost all of those children are being abused in our, or our relatives, or our neighbors houses. Not some freaky guy who kidnapps little girls and takes pictures of her and puts them on the Interent. He's a drop in the bucket. This horror and outrage is about you, not about him and her.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:59 PM on April 29, 2005


Etheral Bligh: Regardless of the psychology of it, anything that brings attention to and discussion of child sexual abuse is a good thing. Even if the article and this discussion dealt largely with outliers, it does not ignore the realities of the problem. And it's hard to have a discussion about things that aren't reported or quietly dealt with by law enforcement or rape crises centers, whereas these child porn cases are high profile, and for good reason, and therefore easier to discuss.

And assuming your statistics are correct, there are probably people you're accusing of self-righteous moralizing who either do know that a friend or love one was sexually abused, or was abused themselves. Like The Great Big Mulp (not to put words in your mouth,) or me. So it's pretty presumptions do be so high-handed about this.
posted by Snyder at 11:14 PM on April 29, 2005


Ethereal Bligh : "I don't believe for one second that all of this disgust and anger arises from empathy for the victims so much as it arises from some narcisisstic impulse towards reassurance via horror, not unlike riding a rollercoaster or watching a scary movie...So why all the atttention? Is the attention really about the poor children being abused? It musn't be, since almost all of those children are being abused in our, or our relatives, or our neighbors houses. Not some freaky guy who kidnapps little girls and takes pictures of her and puts them on the Interent. He's a drop in the bucket. This horror and outrage is about you, not about him and her."

I understand what you're saying, but I think you're wrong. If looked at logically, much more outrage and such would be placed on familial abuse than kidnappers and photo porn. However, the fact that it is illogical does not mean that the outrage isn't real, or isn't really about the children. It just means that peoples' rage is not necessarily directed by logic. Also, outrage is not a zero sum game; that is, being outraged about a relatively uncommon form of abuse (kidnapping photo porn abuse) does not mean that one cannot be outraged about a much more common form of abuse (familial abuse). Some people may be outraged by both, some people may be outraged by one or the other. Either way, that does not indicate that the outrage isn't "real", just that the allocation of emotions does not necessarily follow logical routes.
posted by Bugbread at 5:14 AM on April 30, 2005


I'm coming late to this thread (but not late to this story) and haven't been able to read all of the comments, but I did some searching and don't think this point has been made yet:

theora55 writes:
Note that they have released the photo. The child lives is in a city in the American Northwest.

and:
Dobbs, thanks for pointing out that the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit has posted pictures of this child; they are looking for her so they can protect her from further abuse.

I believe the original issue here was whether to post pictures of the girl being abused. All that has been released so far (a few days ago) is the girl that maybe a "witness" to said abuse. Photos of the abused girl herself have not been released. Or did I miss that development somewhere?
posted by intermod at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2005


No -- you're right. They have released a photo of a different girl that appears in some of the pictures.
posted by Mid at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2005


torture these sick bastards.

Why? Would that get you off? Would it make you feel good? You being a decent person, and all?

You might want to have a good long think about that when you've calmed down a bit. You know, when your capacity for reason returns.
posted by Decani at 2:27 PM on April 30, 2005


So on following mathowie's link, I am informed that a) this cop says heavy Star Trek fans are likely to have gobs of Star Trek stuff, and b) this cop thinks a majority of the pedophile arrestees he knows about are Star Trek fans to some noticeable degree.

If so I'd suggest that most U.S. fascists patriots would be Star Wars fans. "Come to the American side!"

But anyway.
posted by davy at 9:06 AM on May 1, 2005


They found her.
posted by Mid at 6:14 AM on May 16, 2005


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