Shortly before six o’clock on the evening of Monday, September 19, 2005, Deery went to work in her cave, logging on to Yahoo and expertly navigating its public chat rooms.
In one of the many rooms labeled “fetish,” she logged on with the suggestive screen name “heatherscutiepies.” At this time of day the weirdos were coming home from work, bellying up to their home computers.
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For this account, both Deery and J were willing to speak openly and at length; transcripts of online chats and police interrogations have also been made available.
The story reflects what they said about themselves and their actions, and presents two very different points of view.
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.
Baiting her hook with this forbidden fruit, she would cast the line and wait to see who bit. Men began vying for her attention the minute she logged on, night or day.The only window is high on the wall, over a tall filing cabinet, and opens into a well, below ground level.The space feels like a cave, which has always struck Deery as about right, because her job is to talk dirty online to strange men. She has athletic good looks, with tawny skin, big brown eyes, and long straight brown hair that falls over her shoulders.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.After months of prowling Internet chat rooms, posing as the mother of two young daughters, Detective Michele Deery thought she had a live one: “parafling,” a married, middle-aged man who claimed he wanted to have sex with her kids.But was he just playing a twisted game of seduction?Her parents sent her to Catholic schools, and her mother, a retired district judge, now jokes that she wants her money back.Her daughter’s beat is in the vilest corners of cyberspace, in chat rooms indicating “fetish” or various subgenres of flagrant peccancy.Search through profiles to find other like minded adults who share similar sexual fantasies as well.Registered users can upload and share pics, check out other member’s photos, blogs and more.