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Perverted Justice is a California-based borderline-illegal vigilante organization.[note 1] Possibly because of the word "justice" in their name, they confuse themselves with actual law enforcement. They really, really don't like pedophiles...to the point where it might be said the group's idea of justice is rather perverted.
Perverted Justice's primary method of seeking out and exposing "pedophiles" is to spend time in online chat rooms
lying pretending to be children or teenagers. Their volunteers assume personalities, and make themselves available for chatting, while trolling for interested individuals. Inevitably, talk about sex begins and often moves to a private chat between the operative and the "pedophile." In some cases, this is as far as it goes: the chatlog and whatever information they can find on the "criminal" is made publicly available for severe castigation or given to law enforcement. At other times, as on the To Catch a Predator NBC Dateline specials, the objective is for the operative to get the "predator" to come visit him or her, and to bring with them some indicator of sexual intent such as condoms. Once the "predator" arrives, they are seized by law enforcement and arrested. They are generally charged with violating some form of local online solicitation laws.
Perverted Justice generally runs under the assumption that anyone who expresses the slightest interest in meeting a minor for sexual relations is the spawn of Satan and must be treated accordingly. While most people would agree that molesting children is a Bad Thing, Perverted Justice tends to jump at any opportunity to make their targets out to be as horrible as possible. This is especially evident from their commentary on a series of discussions with pedophile Paul Short, in which they constantly bring up the loneliness of their fictional 13-year-old girl persona to make his comments appear even more exploitative than they most likely actually were, and at one point accuse him of objectifying her because he happened to fail to capitalize her name. Considering the individual in question already requested using the girl for the purposes of sexual slavery and topped the website's list of the "Top 10 Most Slimy" pedophiles captured (displayed proudly at the top of every page), it raises the question whether he really needed the help. It's sort of like trying to make Hitler look more evil by focusing on one time he was unkind to a dog.
Perverted Justice is also incredibly self-aggrandizing and displays little in the way of modesty, declaring themselves "the largest and best anti-predator organization online", and in their frequently-asked questions page, they take every opportunity to emphasize the legality of their actions by virtue of the fact they collaborate with the police (which all sounds reminiscent of MADD, another organization which has lost its way). When discussing the allegations of vigilantism leveled at them, they go on about how "unfortunate" it is that some police officers
might not actually want to work with batshit insane witch hunters have the nerve to disagree with the good work they're doing and proclaim that "you should pity any rare officer that speaks out against us, the guy is missing out on some great arrest opportunities." Furthermore, in response to the allegation that the pedophiles Perverted Justice targets are not committing crimes because there is no actual minor present, the FAQ refers to the questioner as an idiot and tells them to go fuck themselves, relying on a deeply flawed legal analogy. This description is only slightly exaggerated. They also explicitly refer to critics of the website as "dumb".
Perverted Justice claims to have no political or religious agenda and asserts that it is not opposed to homosexuality or pornography. On the other hand, in response to the age of consent being lower in some non-western countries, Perverted Justice describes third-world and non-western countries as "psychologically backwater and behind the times". Shortly after this, they claim that child labor is "a staple of any country that has such irresponsible underage sex laws" (mostly to further belittle their critics). Remember, kids - pedophilia (and disagreeing with your Glorious Perverted Justice Overlords) is bad, but racism is just fine and dandy!
Some critics find it uncomfortable to reflect how much these activities by Perverted Justice smack of entrapment, although most legal authorities have found it to be well within the bounds of acceptability.
They maintain a list of websites that refuse to be as batshit-crazy as they are in their witch hunt for pedophiles, in an "if y'ain't fur us you're agin us!" kind of way. This list includes such notorious havens for pedophiles as YouTube and Wikipedia (from which the founder has been pretty much banned until the end of time).
PJ and Chris Hansen of the To Catch A Predator series have faced criticism over the low conviction rate among the cases publicized in the series, raising the question of whether it was trial-by-media improperly replacing trial-by-courts. The reliance of Police on PJ and Dateline led to flawed investigations. One subject of the series, who as it turned out was on solid legal ground, committed suicide after backing away from crossing the line that was the crux of the sting operation and seeing himself the target of a raid at his home the following day. The subject, an assistant District Attorney, had been indulging in fantasies about teenage boys online. After an actor hired by Dateline left insistent voice messages to convince the subject to meet him at the decoy house, the subject agreed but was a no-show. The Police Department, at the urging of PJ and Hansen, hurriedly prepared a search warrant (which was later discredited) so that the raid could take place the following day for the TV cameras. The incident led to a 100 million dollar lawsuit against NBC that was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2008.
Following the suicide of the assistant District Attorney, NBC recognized the liability that To Catch A Predator had become, and terminated the series entirely. By the end of the run in 2008, PJ had accumulated over $1.2 million in consultant's fees, paid to them by NBC over the course of three years. Unsurprisingly, the
irresponsible idiots-in-charge organization somehow managed to blow through over 99% of their accumulated wealth in one year (2008-2009). By the time their taxes were filed in 2009, the band of misfits group had just over $10,000 cash on hand. Out of $1.2 million, $789,000 went to salaries of the heads of the organization, and another $50,000 went toward "travel and entertainment",[note 2] presumably not to Cambodia for purposes of sex tourism.
In what is a defining moment in the history of capitalism, no money meant no Perverted Justice, so PJ quickly fell into obscurity in 2009, and by 2010, their site was regularly the subject of DDoS attacks. Since the 2010s began, Perverted Justice has yet to update their site news. Many safely assume the group has disbanded, perhaps to
swindle Chris Hansen out of more money form a new project known as TetradCore. TC is essentially a PJ rip-off that currently performs the same tasks in the 2016 series, Hansen vs. Predator.
- Chat log with Paul Short, aka fleet_captain_jaime_wolfe
- Frequently Asked Questions, "Our efforts with law enforcement" section
- Frequently Asked Questions, "Answering criticisms and qualms" section
- Frequently Asked Questions, "Information about Perverted-Justice.com" section
- Perverted-Justice.com at the Cult Education Institute