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?
It is doubtful that such a woman exists anywhere, and yet men fell for it. The bulletin board over her desk displays mug shots of her catches, very ordinary-looking men, facing the camera wide-eyed with shock, staring at the fresh ruin of their lives. One of the stunned faces in that array belongs to a man I will call “J,” who would spend a year in prison after taking Deery’s bait.
Both the policewoman and her target give the author their versions of the truth, in a case that challenges the conventional wisdom about online sexual predators, and blurs the lines among crime, “intent,” and enticement.
Detective Michele Deery works in a cubicle in the basement of the Delaware County courthouse, in Media, Pennsylvania.
She received three quick instant messages from someone using the name “parafling”: Entrapment has long been a factor in the enforcement of vice laws, which seek to punish behavior that is furtive and widespread.
Such ordinances answer society’s quest for moral clarity, positing a direct parallel between right versus wrong and legal versus criminal.