Perverted Justice (PJ, PeeJ, Pee Jay, founded in 2002) was a controversial and heavily-prosecuted online anti-pedophile vigilante organization. Its main method is to pose in on-line chat rooms as under-age boys or girls and attract adult men. These men were then exposed either on the organization's website or through the "To Catch a Predator" segment on NBC's Dateline show, and subsequently arrested by law enforcement officers. An infamous section of PJ's website in which their victims were photographed masturbating, was removed in an effort to give the organisation mainstream credibility.
The organization was founded by Xavier Von Erck. Members of the organization were geographically distributed throughout the United States.
The organization has been criticized for its shadowy methods, its vigilante ideology, and its desire to destroy lives rather than serve justice (ABC News, 10 January 2005; 10 Zen Monkeys, 2 October 2006). The U.S. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has also criticized the organization. Tina Schwartz, NCMEC director of communication, has said: "It's really not the safest, most effective way to combat this problem ... From what I've seen ... they embarrass the people, but I don't know that complete justice is ever served". (Roanoke Times, 22 January 2005)
To Catch A Predator
Officially supported by PJ vigilantism, To Catch a Predator was a recurring segment on NBC's Dateline news show whose mission was to lure adult men into sexual chats with people posing as children, invite them to a house to meet the imaginary children, and then expose them on national television. The segment, presented by Chris Hansen was wildly popular; episodes featuring "Predator" segments were ranked 16 among NBC's 41 regularly broadcast shows in the 2005-2006 season, and has been implicated in grossly unethical practise and suicide.
Death of Louis Conradt
Louis Conradt, a Democratic district attorney from Texas fell victim to Dateline NBC's To Catch a Predator, a TV series documenting "sexual predator stings", after he committed suicide when a SWAT team entered his house, with Dateline cameras recording the action.
Harassment of innocent people
According to the defunct Corrupted Justice, a watchdog group composed of ex - PJ members and other activists, PJ had "harassed and terrorised" well over 4,500 innocent people since January, 2003. Attempts to harass and censor alternative voices have been central to Perverted Justice's approach since its conception. In one case, an ex-member was charged for launching denial of service attacks against Rolling Stone and Radar - two media sources who criticised himself and Perverted Justice. (Old Newgon.com Forum, Topic 8284)
Wikisposure Project and Absolute Zero
Perverted Justice has diverted at least some of its efforts into a "name and shame" hit list of Sex-Offender reform activists and people who they deem to be pedophiles. Simple techniques (public profile scanning, search engines) were used to compile profiles of groups and individuals that are logged to a Wiki site interface. An officially independent group known as Absolute Zero has made considerable efforts to enhance these exposes with their own articles. Absolute Zero editorials are typically followed by a series of reader comments calling for the killing or raping of subjects by prison inmates.
Child-safety advocate Julie Posey describes Perverted-Justice's tactics as "a gross invasion of privacy." Posey indicates that she doesn't feel their methods are completely effective, "What it does is embarrass them for the moment... but then they'll go and get a different screen name and know to check things out a little more thoroughly next time" (ABC news, 10 January 2005). Since this comment was made, Perverted Justice have made a partially-successful attempt to convert their vigilante entrapment efforts into actual convictions. Posey and Perverted Justice founder Xavier Von Erck appeared on Fox News shortly thereafter. Regarding the Perverted Justice website, Posey remarked, "It’s more of an entertainment site, actually. You go there, you click on a link of a picture that takes you to that person’s chat-log and that person has a scale—a sliminess scale as he calls it—and you can rate the pervert from, I think it’s one to five. To me, that kind of gives a sense of entertainment. Anybody that finds entertainment value in exploiting children, I have a problem with it." (Fox News, January 2005)
Sources and references
- "Controversial Web Site Claims to 'Out' Would-Be Child Molesters" by Jonathan Silverstein, ABC News, 10 January 2005
- "The Perversions of Perverted-Justice", 10 Zen Monkeys, 2 October 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2006
- "Perverted Justice", Wikipedia. Retrieved 1 June 2006
- "Online group involved in man's arrest," Roanoke Times, 22 January 2005
- "Website Claims to 'Out' Potential Child Molesters", Dayside, Fox News, January 2005
- Corrupted Justice Archive