Read more at Corrupted-Justice.com
Old article, but interesting.
Anti-predator group embroiled in battle with rival online group
Gay members of a group that conducts online sting operations to expose men who solicit underage teenagers for sex, both male and female, played a key role last month in the arrest of 50 men in Southern California who were charged with attempted child molestation.
Law enforcement officials in Riverside County, Calif., arrested the men after they solicited sex from adult members of the group Perverted Justice, who posed as teens between the ages of 12 and 15 in online chat rooms intended for teenagers.
The group also worked in the Riverside sting with the national TV news program "Dateline NBC," which used hidden cameras in a house to record the men as they arrived for what they thought would be a sexual tryst with a teenager. It was the third sting that "Dateline NBC" carried out jointly with Perverted Justice.
In the sting, 39 of the 50 men arrested had sought out female teens under the legal age of consent. The remaining 12 sought out underage male teenagers, according to "Dateline" spokesperson Jenny Tartikoff.
The arrests boosted the reputation of Perverted Justice as a partner for law enforcement agencies interested in using volunteers to help apprehend men who cruise underage teens on the internet.
But the arrests and publicity surrounding the Riverside sting also come at a time when the group finds itself in a bitter, behind-the-scenes battle with a rival group called CorruptedJustice.com. The latter group accuses PJ of engaging in "witch hunts" against alleged online predators that CJ.com claims have neither been arrested nor convicted of a crime.
CJ.com notes that the majority of "busts" conducted by PJ have not involved law enforcement agencies, and that PJ has posted defamatory accusations about some people who turned out not to be the ones engaging in online conversations with teens.
"We know of cases where they identified the wrong person, somebody who was totally innocent and never had anything to do with this stuff," said Scott Morrow, founder and owner of CJ.com
PJ dismisses the accusations as largely baseless. Its leaders call CJ.com a small band of misguided people who are serving as "enablers" for pedophiles who they say rely on CJ.com for help after being exposed on the PJ website.
Xavier Von Erck, the founder and owner of the PJ site, acknowledges that his group may have been overly aggressive in posting information exposing the men who target underage teens in the past. He has said that in rare cases where incorrect information was discovered on the site, members quickly delete it.
His group has evolved in the three years it has been in existence to a point where it follows strict guidelines and safeguards to prevent its volunteer members from posting information about people who have not engaged in explicit efforts to seek out sex with underage teens, Von Erck said.
"You have to start somewhere," said Greg Brainer, a gay PJ volunteer who worked on the sting operation with Riverside investigators. "Now we limit our work to areas of the country where law enforcement does get involved every time," he said.
Perverted or Corrupt Justice?
Both groups accuse the other of lying and scheming to undercut the other’s efforts. And in a development that has alarmed members of both groups, supporters of the two groups formed separate "attack" organizations that have set up websites where hostile and sometimes threatening messages are posted on message boards.
Morrow and Von Erck each say they have received death threats from anonymous senders in messages posted on the message boards.
Morrow of CJ.com sent the Blade copies of separate, computer-altered photos depicting him and his wife in sexually explicit poses that he says were posted on a website called Corrupted-Justice.net. Backers of PJ created the site, acknowledged Von Erck, the PJ founder.
While he does not condone such postings, Von Erck said the anonymous person who sent the doctored photos was likely prompted by similar actions by CJ.com supporters. He pointed to postings on an "attack" site created by supporters of CJ.com called AVSO.
Von Erck sent samples of sexually explicit, anti-gay slurs that anonymous participants on the AVSO site sent to Brainer and Del Harvey, a lesbian member of PJ who worked with "Dateline NBC" in the Riverside sting operations.
Morrow said he condemns such actions and that CJ.com has no control over the AVSO website.
CJ.com has received far less media coverage than PJ, and PJ supporters interpret this as a sign that the media and law enforcement agencies have dismissed CJ as a group of chronic complainers. Morrow said reporters, faced with deadlines, often fail to thoroughly examine PJ and miss examples of what he calls its "excesses."
Anatomy of sting
Working with investigators from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and "Dateline NBC," the "teens" portrayed by PJ members arranged for their target "predators" to come to a house in Mira Loma, a town southwest of Los Angeles, where the men expected to engage in sex with the fictitious youths.
When confronted by "Dateline" correspondent Chris Hansen and a television camera crew, most of the men fled the house. Sheriff’s deputies stopped them on the street and placed then under arrest.
A statement released by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said the arrests were based on transcripts of online instant message conversations between the men and the PJ decoys. The transcripts included explicit solicitations proposing sexual acts and offers to send the youths pornographic photos or videos.
The sheriff’s department has posted the names and photos of all the arrested men on its website. It says at least two have previously been convicted of sexual offenses against minors.
Morrow of CJ.com is a Canadian who lives outside Ottawa with his wife and three children. He said he and his group condemn predators who use the internet to sexually exploit underage teens and support PJ’s effort to have them arrested.
Morrow said his group objects only to what he calls PJ’s "vigilante" tactics of tracking down and publishing on its website the names, addresses, phone numbers and other personal information of the men who allegedly solicit teens. He points to dozens of postings on the PJ website that include information about the group’s target "predators" and the targets’ family members, neighbors and employers.
"They have volunteers who use private access databases to obtain cell phone numbers," he said, along with other private information such as a target’s Social Security number and driver’s license number.
As part of its investigation into its targets, PJ also tracks down and sends messages to the targets’ family members, informing them that a loved one has engaged in sexual solicitation of underage youths on the internet. In some cases, it sends family members copies of the transcripts of sexually explicit instant message conversations between a target and the PJ volunteer posing as a teen. The group also sends the family member a link to the PJ website where the transcripts can be viewed.
"Keep in mind that in most of these postings, the target has not been arrested, let alone convicted by a jury," Morrow said. "So they are acting like judge and jury. It’s just pure vigilantism."
Von Erck has said about 25 percent of the men snared by PJ solicit male teens for sex, compared to about 75 percent who solicit female teenagers.
He said that in the three years the group has been in business, no one has filed a defamation lawsuit alleging they were wrongly identified as soliciting underage youths.
- They have now, see here, this is one of many.
While PJ tries to coordinate all of its online sting operations with law enforcement agencies, Von Erck said its members and supporters believe exposing and publicizing the names of those who target underage teens for sex-—-even if they are not prosecuted by authorities-—-provides a public service by alerting the community of potentially dangerous predators.
- So what, mob rules?
A right to know
According to Von Erck and other PJ members, the information they post on their website about the men they target consists mostly of the transcripts of instant message conversations in which the men usually use sexually graphic language to invite underage youths to engage in sex.
- So check out their forums, and you will see the hate and other death threats, etc... They are all sick, and most of them have some disorder, see here.
"It’s their own words," said Brainer. "We think the public has a right to know."
Brainer said PJ never targets men who seek out sex in chat rooms or websites created for adults. A review of the postings of transcripts of its targets shows that nearly all of the teens that PJ volunteers depict in their undercover work are between the ages of 12 and 15, even though the legal age of consent in most states is between 16 and 18.