“Court Case Friday”
Since I started in the criminal justice system, a whole new category of crimes has emerged — internet crimes. The internet is a great blessing, but “what the Devil cannot prevent, he will pervert.”
Internet crimes include “phishing.” Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails in order to get people to reveal personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers or bank accounts.
Another class of internet crimes involves “catfishing.” An internet “catfish” is a person who creates a fake personal profile on social media using someone else’s photo and biographical information. (There is a popular TV show where “catfishers” are exposed.)
Don’t Talk to Internet Strangers
We teach our children, “Don’t talk to strangers.” With the prevalence of phishing and catfishing, you don’t know who you are communicating with on the internet. We need to warn everyone, “Don’t ‘talk’ to strangers” on social media or the internet.
Case: Teenagers Lives’ Destroyed by Catfish
I presided over a tragic case where three teenage boys were “catfished” by an adult gay porn producer, and their lives were destroyed.
Three sixteen-year-old high school friends spent a lot of time “hanging out.” “Idle hands are the devil’s handiwork.”
“Cindy 16” Responds to the Teenagers’ Invitation
These boys were looking for girls to meet on the internet. One day they were contacted by “Cindy 16.” They communicated over several weeks.
First, she sent a “head shot” photo. She was beautiful.
Next, she sent a full body photo. She looked like a model.
Next, she sent a photo of her in a bikini. She was a “ten.”
Next, she sent a topless photo.
Finally, after several weeks, she sent them nude photos. She gradually “enticed” the boys to make the “first moves.”
“Cindy 16” Agrees to Meet the Boys
Cindy agreed to meet. She expressed concern about meeting strange boys, and suggested that they get together at a safe fast food place near where Cindy lived.
There, the boys waited for Cindy. After a while a thirty-five-year-old man approached and asked, “Are you waiting for Cindy?” He said he was Cindy’s “uncle.” Cindy couldn’t sneak away from home yet, and she wanted to meet them at his house. The “uncle” drove a new Hummer, and he offered to let the boys drive. They jumped at the chance.
“Cindy’s” “Uncle” Entices and Gradually Seduces the Boys
The uncle’s posh home was very warm, and so he handed out ice cold beers. The phone rang. Cindy was still stuck at home, but she was certain she could sneak out. She wanted the boys to wait a little longer. She was “hot” to meet them.
The “uncle” kept the coming. Then he served hard liquor. When the boys started getting antsy, the phone rang, and Cindy pleaded with them to be patient.
The “uncle” gave the boys marijuana and drugs.
For entertainment he put on a “soft porn” CD. Then gradually transitioned to “hard core porn.”
Finally, when the boys were intoxicated, the “uncle” seduced them saying, “It doesn’t matter whether you a pleasured by a woman or a man.”
Cindy never did show up. But the boys kept coming back to the uncle’s home for free beer, alcohol, drugs, and sex. As a further inducement, the “uncle” had a fleet of sports cars, and he let the boys borrow them.
The Boys Contract Painful Incurable STD’s
After several weeks one of the boys complained of blood in his urine and severe abdominal cramps with diarrhea. His parents took him to the emergency room. Their son had incurable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in both his urinary tract and and his intestines.
All of the boys had the same diagnosis. They would suffer with these debilitating and painful STDs for the rest of their lives.
The “Uncle” is Arrested
The boys confessed to their parents, and they contacted the police. The “uncle” was arrested.
The police investigation revealed that the fake “uncle” was a very wealthy producer of gay porn. He lived in a mansion and owned fleet of luxury sports cars and boats. Not only did the defendant have sex with the minors, he secretly filmed their sex acts and uploaded them onto the internet for a profit.
The “uncle” was charged with several crimes, including “statutory rape” of minors. The “uncle” thought his prosecution was a “joke” because the boys had “consented.”
Since he was rich, he was free on bail, and hired an “A-team” of criminal defense attorneys. I ruled against the defendant at the preliminary hearing, and set his for trial in another court.
Undercover Internet Law Enforcement
I worked closely with one of the first law enforcement detectives who “reversed catfished” pedophiles on the internet. He could impersonate any gender and any age in his texts and emails. I issued several arrest and search warrants based on his investigations.
He “hooked” several VIPs and government officials. One government official flew in from Washington D.C. to “date” a 14 year old girl. The detective even hooked police officers.
(I was saddened when cities declined to fund these programs because most of the arrested pedophiles lived outside their jurisdiction. This was very shortsighted. Sadly, “my” police internet “catfish” expert was reassigned to routine duties.)
We must continue to warn everyone, especially our youth: “Don’t talk to strangers” on the internet. The internet is a criminal’s tool for “phishing” and “catfishing.”
(See: “Beware Social Media and Warnings From the Prophet,” blogpost Mar 26, 2022)