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His screen name, parafling, was a nod to paraflying, the tiny parachute/tricycle flying machines he had once or twice enjoyed.It was the only really different, exciting thing about him.The only window is high on the wall, over a tall filing cabinet, and opens into a well, below ground level.
A burly, round-faced man of 42, with a thickly muscled neck and shoulders, thinning hair, and a goatee, he was seated before the computer in their living room in a small, two-story town house in suburban Philadelphia.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.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.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.This leads unavoidably into the gray area of thoughts, intentions, and predispositions—and into the equally murky realm of enticement and entrapment.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.Police patrolling the precincts of sin do not often find the streets empty.How are they to tell the difference between the casual sinner and the criminal?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.He had peeked into a number of active chats to see how many women were there, and logged on to the ones with a promising ratio.