One of the many false identities Deery has assumed online is something truly rare, even in this polluted pond—that of a middle-aged mother of two pre-pubescent girls who is offering them up for sex.
Baiting her hook with this forbidden fruit, she would cast the line and wait to see who bit. Men began vying for her attention the minute she logged on, night or day.
Deery would begin a dialogue, dangling the illicit possibility, gauging how serious her mark was.
There were “players,” those who were just horny and despicable, and there were doers, or at least potential doers, the true bad guys.
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.
It was the only really different, exciting thing about him.
Detective Michele Deery works in a cubicle in the basement of the Delaware County courthouse, in Media, Pennsylvania.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.Such ordinances answer society’s quest for moral clarity, positing a direct parallel between right versus wrong and legal versus criminal.Police patrolling the precincts of sin do not often find the streets empty.