Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Perverted Journalism

Via Foreign Policy's blog there's this story of an Assistant District Attorney who kills himself when he's confronted by police after being lured into online conversations with what he thought was a teenage boy. About nobody comes off well in this story. The behavior of the jackals at Dateline who employ "Perverted Justice" and local cops for dramatic effect and ratings is the least surprising element of this story. The former DA of Kaufman County refers to the Terrell Police Department-which sends a SWAT team to raid the suspect's home-as "the most incompetent bunch of buffoons you've ever seen" and the Murphy PD comes off as even worse than that. But a triple heaping of scorn should be piled on the heads of the self-righteous vigilantes at Perverted Justice, who seem to think they're are carrying out valuable law enforcement work even as they're being paid a "consultenting fee" by Dateline to do so:

All the members of Perverted Justice have fake names. For example, the person who spent the last two weeks conducting an on-again, off-again chat-room relationship with Bill Conradt calls himself Jay Alternative, though his real name is Greg Brainer. Ostensibly the members of Perverted Justice adopt these fake names so that the men they trap do not seek them out in the real world, but the cartoony, superherolike aspect of most of their aliases perhaps also says something about the way the members of Perverted Justice perceive themselves. Online, Jay Alternative is a faceless crusader patrolling the dark side of the Internet. Offline, Greg Brainer is a middle-aged man who lives in Milford, Michigan, and spends upwards of forty hours a week sitting at a computer pretending to be a sexually available boy. Sometimes the fake names become real. A few years ago, Phillip John Eide, the founder of Perverted Justice, legally changed his name to that of his alter ego, Xavier Von Erck.

Forty hours a week, pretending to be a young boy and engaging in sexual conversations with older men. There's nothing normal about that, and it indicates that some of the guys have an inflated sense of their purpose in life and their "mission". In the article, von Erck expresses remorse only for the fact that their suspect killed himself before he could be brought to justice, even though there's little evidence that the man was the kind of predator that Perverted Justice purports to be trying to stop. I assume "Von Erck" chose the ridiculous name he did for his organization because their supposed purpose is to bring perverts to justice. It could just as easily be said that they themselves pervert the justice they seek to dispense.


adam said...

What? You just want to coddle child molesters!

Oh wait, no, that's pretty extreme and not normal.

Anonymous said...