Police Posing as Juveniles Online to Catch Sex Offenders: Is It Working?

Police Posing as Juveniles Online to Catch Sex Offenders: Is It Working? This paper explores the extent and effectiveness of proactive investigations in which investigators pose as minors on the Internet to catch potential sex offenders. It utilizes a subsample of cases from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Survey, which concerned persons arrested for Internet sex crimes against minors in the year beginning July 1, 2000. Results suggest proactive investigations represented a significant proportion (25%) of all arrests for Internet sex crimes against minors. Such investigations were being conducted at all levels of law enforcement. The online personas assumed by investigators paralleled the ages and genders of real youth victimized in sex crimes that started as online encounters. These proactive investigations accessed an offender group that appeared somewhat less deviant in terms of adult sexual behavior and arrest history but equally deviant as other online offenders in terms of possession of child pornography. Prosecution of these cases produced high rates of guilty pleas and low rates of dismissed or dropped cases. The entrapment, fantasy or role-playing, and factual impossibility defenses were used but not successfully. Findings suggest that the Internet sometimes allows law enforcement to interdict before a youth is victimized, gather solid evidence of offenses, and find and track some offenders. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment Springer Journals

Police Posing as Juveniles Online to Catch Sex Offenders: Is It Working?

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by Springer Science + Business Media, Inc.
Subject
Psychology; Sexual Behavior; Psychiatry; Clinical Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
1079-0632
eISSN
1573-286X
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11194-005-5055-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper explores the extent and effectiveness of proactive investigations in which investigators pose as minors on the Internet to catch potential sex offenders. It utilizes a subsample of cases from the National Juvenile Online Victimization Survey, which concerned persons arrested for Internet sex crimes against minors in the year beginning July 1, 2000. Results suggest proactive investigations represented a significant proportion (25%) of all arrests for Internet sex crimes against minors. Such investigations were being conducted at all levels of law enforcement. The online personas assumed by investigators paralleled the ages and genders of real youth victimized in sex crimes that started as online encounters. These proactive investigations accessed an offender group that appeared somewhat less deviant in terms of adult sexual behavior and arrest history but equally deviant as other online offenders in terms of possession of child pornography. Prosecution of these cases produced high rates of guilty pleas and low rates of dismissed or dropped cases. The entrapment, fantasy or role-playing, and factual impossibility defenses were used but not successfully. Findings suggest that the Internet sometimes allows law enforcement to interdict before a youth is victimized, gather solid evidence of offenses, and find and track some offenders.

Journal

Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and TreatmentSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 1, 2005

References

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