The space feels like a cave, which has always struck Deery as about right, because her job is to talk dirty online to strange men. She has athletic good looks, with tawny skin, big brown eyes, and long straight brown hair that falls over her shoulders.Her parents sent her to Catholic schools, and her mother, a retired district judge, now jokes that she wants her money back.The story reflects what they said about themselves and their actions, and presents two very different points of view.Shortly before six o’clock on the evening of Monday, September 19, 2005, Deery went to work in her cave, logging on to Yahoo and expertly navigating its public chat rooms.In practice that means looking for people who potentially fit the mold—people who seem as if they might be poised to commit a crime even if they have not yet done so.This leads unavoidably into the gray area of thoughts, intentions, and predispositions—and into the equally murky realm of enticement and entrapment.
She received three quick instant messages from someone using the name “parafling”: Entrapment has long been a factor in the enforcement of vice laws, which seek to punish behavior that is furtive and widespread.
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.
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After months of prowling Internet chat rooms, posing as the mother of two young daughters, Detective Michele Deery thought she had a live one: “parafling,” a married, middle-aged man who claimed he wanted to have sex with her kids.