Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Critique on "Perverted Justice"

Here are the facts concerning child sex abuse that vigilante group "Perverted Justice" doesn't want you to know or think about, so they can continue to sell their war on the smallest percent of child sex abuse cases and force society to look the other way on the more likely scenarios of child sexual abuse:


(1) Child sex crimes are rare.
(2) 50% of sex crimes are committed by relatives
(3) 40% of sex crimes are committed by family friends, neighbors, and careworkers
(4) that leaves 10% of sex crimes (against children) to be committed by acquaintances
(5) In fact, about 3% of child sex crimes prominently feature the internet.
(b) child sex criminals are not very likely to have a criminal record. About 10%, give or take, have a criminal record.


(1) that's equally true for online and offline sex criminals
(2) about 10%, possibly up to 25%, reoffend sexually at some point in the future
(3) Of online sex criminals, a very small proportion have a record for child sex crimes (4%).
(4) sex criminals are more likely than the general population to commit nonsexual offenses... about 20-40% do.
(5) these numbers are for child sex criminals incarcerated in prisons
(6) about 65% of all criminals reoffend, making child sex criminals about par for the course, although slightly lower by most estimates but more likely to reoffend sexually against children
(7) Child sex criminals with a previous criminal record for child sex crimes reoffend against children sexually about 52% of the time.
(8) that's also more or less expected. People with a prior record are at much greater risk than people without for all crimes (remember only 10% of online sex criminals have criminal records).
(9) Sex abuse has declined about 50% in the last 15 years, and paranoia has been on the rise


Of the 3% of child sex crimes involving the internet, about 1/3rd involve a police sting, 1/3rd involve a real minor forming a relationship, and 1/3rd involve only pornography


There is no significant level of online victimization of children under 12 years old. About 0.01% of online victimizations involved children age 12, the rest were older. However, most arrests involved children around 13-15 years old. Studies seem to imply that the danger of online victimization are highly overstated.

Probably there are significant numbers of 16 and 17 year olds who initiate relationships with adults via the internet that result in very few prosecutions. Meanwhile, the arrests for child sexual victimization via luring probably pretty accurately reflect about a tenth of actual such victimizations (of children 13-15, just given the average rate of enforcement of crimes).

Yet the threat of "child predators online" coming after your "children" is made to be the most dire threat to our children...even to the point where kids and parents have to forfeit rights, and a kids have been taken away from homes based on the fact that their internet activity wasn't supervised.

And all for what? The typical Perverted Justice sting is set up to look like something that happens fewer than 1% of the time in reality. The paranoia just does not mirror reality.


There are about 75 million children in the country and about 80,000 substantiated reports of child sexual abuse in the country. Assuming that about 10% of actual cases are caught, that implies about 800,000, which is about 1% of 75 million. It's actually slightly more than 1% and would give a rate of about 17.5% children being sexually abused.

By the same token, about 0.2% of children are sexually 'victimized' via the internet, not counting child porn cases or stings. That would make about 144,000 adults who were sexually 'victimized' via the internet, assuming the rate hasn't gone up in the last 18 years, which I am sure it has.

Given the estimate of 500 complaints a year, that makes 9,000 complaints every 18 years, that is comparable to 14,000 reports every 18 years.

The point is... just that, no matter how you cut it, it seems that internet sex crimes get far too much publicity and funding relative to their actual impact while familial sex crimes, which account for almost 50 times as many victims, are under reported.


There are a significant number of sex crimes involving children under 14... they're probably even less likely to involve a stranger or acquaintance. But when you hear about Perverted Justice... the kinds of offenses they're preventing are (1)possession of child pornography and (2) adults having consensual sex with 16 or 17 year olds... because that is how almost all online 'victimizations' actually end up.

People who hook up with children online are pathetic, lonely losers. No one is standing up for them, but they only seem to represent fewer than 1% of child sex abuse cases.

Stranger abductions involving sexual motives are even more rare than internet meetings for sex, although there was a case of a clear abduction resulting from the internet. There's no evidence that young children (below 13) are being lured into sexual contact via the internet (although there is evidence that people make attempts). However, all these Perverted Justice stings conclude with this statistically rare phenomenon going on: the adult actually meeting with the child for sex.

Perverted justice and similar sting projects focus on imitating 13 and 14 year olds. And when they respond positively, they get talked up more. How many actual 13 or 14 year olds are actually out there getting into similar situations? Statistically few. So these men are unlikely to succeed without running into a fake child.

A lot of adults that meet youth online do lie about their age. Often they'll claim to be 35 years old when they are 45 years old or 25 years old when they are 30 years old. Almost all youth who get involved with adults are lonely and have problems socializing with peers. A disproportionate number are confused about their sexuality.

Here's a report on these findings:


Of course, in onepaper they admit, "Internet sex crimes involving adults and juveniles more often fit a model of statutory rape – adult offenders who meet, develop relationships with, and openly seduce underage teenagers -- than a model of forcible sexual assault or pedophilic child molesting."

Basically, as part of their conclusions for how to prevent online sexual relationships, they recommend that parents talk to their kids about sex, starting at age 13. Which is the simple and reasonable solution, but ultimately the only one that's not profitable.

Given this reasoning... why else would Perverted Justice (who refuse to disclose their profits from the participation in these stings...upwards of 10,000 USD) be turning such a minor statistical issue into an object of mass paranoia, to the point where it serves to cripple children by limiting their rights and subjecting them to unnecessary supervision practices?


  1. Statistics can be spun in any direction. Give the same data to two different people and the results will be polar opposites. 17.5%? That does not sound like much unless your child is in that 17.5.

  2. Certainly, if your child is in that 17.5, it's going to be a big deal to that 17.5 percent of parents, but it shouldn't justify a televised industry around the fear of child molestation (people making billions off the sale of fear-mongering in the media) and the further lock-down of 100% of children living in America today as a result. That's cracking the proverbial nut with a sledge hammer, but it happens everyday and it's getting worse.

    Real child sex abuse can be combated with far more restraint, reason, and good parenting. You can not protect all the kids all the time just like all the people can't be all right all the time, and you don't need a guy dressed up in a Superhero costume running around the television screen "Defender of the Innocent!" "Protector of the Red, White and Blue!" out clogging up our jails with perverts they had to catch in a sting operation in order to keep kids safe.

    As I'm sure you'll agree Anon, kids can be kept safe, and they don't need to loose their humanity in the process.