Both the policewoman and her target give the author their versions of the truth, in a case that challenges the conventional wisdom about online sexual predators, and blurs the lines among crime, “intent,” and enticement.
She received three quick instant messages from someone using the name “parafling”:—hello—may I ask what your into or looking for—NOTHIG is taboo to me Parafling had the detective’s interest.
She typed an answer:—well why don’t u tell me wht ur into Entrapment has long been a factor in the enforcement of vice laws, which seek to punish behavior that is furtive and widespread.
How are they to tell the difference between the casual sinner and the criminal?
American courts have long recognized the right of police to invent ruses. Courts and lawmakers become less and less scrupulous about basic fairness.
For this account, both Deery and J were willing to speak openly and at length; transcripts of online chats and police interrogations have also been made available.
The story reflects what they said about themselves and their actions, and presents two very different points of view.It is a way of conducting police business that, without extreme care, can itself become a form of abuse—in which the pursuer and the pursued grow entangled in a transaction that takes on a gruesome life of its own. Dick in his classic short story “The Minority Report,” and in the Steven Spielberg movie based on it, in which an official government department of “Precrime” identifies, charges, and jails people on the basis of anticipated actions.As Jad, one of the policemen in the movie version, says, “We’re more like clergy than cops.”Bingo! The line popped up in a window at the top of J’s screen as soon as he logged in to the chat room.The more frightening and reprehensible the threat, the more license and latitude are given to the police.For a variety of reasons, few of them valid, the child-molester has become the pre-eminent domestic villain of our time. In 1998, in response to growing fears of sexual predation online, Congress provided funds for the Department of Justice to create the Internet Crimes Against Children (icac) task force, which among other things provides federal grants to local police departments for programs to find and apprehend online predators.J had about an hour before his wife would be home from work.