It’s been some time since we heard from Sabine—she’s been keeping her head down since she “starred” in that Portuguese video in mid-January. The title of her latest post on her National Inquiry into Organised, Orchestrated & Historic Child Sexual Abuse blog caught our eye, though: “UK #Paedophile Epidemic So Big #Police Ask Vigilante Group to Take Over”.
We kid you not.
According to Sabine, this post highlights the gap between “those who are paid to do a job—to fit a ‘job description and the mission or remit of their boss and organisation” and “those who act from their heart as ‘amateurs’: with passion, commitment and perseverance”.
Three guesses which category Sabine would place herself in? First two don’t count.
We weren’t at all surprised to discover that Sabine’s post was actually a re-blog of a story from a site called YourNewsWire.com, which makes the improbable claim that police are handing over their role in apprehending child molesters to vigilante groups.
According to the article,
UK police say that the pedophile problem has become so big they are now asking radical vigilante groups to help them tackle the problem.
The British government has continuously allowed child sex abusers to roam free amid a push by the elite to normalise pedophilia and lessen penalties for offenders. With very little being done to prevent online grooming, a ‘pedophile hunting’ group called Dark Justice have stepped in to work with police in the UK in order to bring offenders to justice.
Hmm. This was sounding less and less probable. We decided to run a check on the “YourNewsWire” site. Tellingly, as we began to type the name of the site into the search box, Google helpfully added “…reputation”, then “fake news” to the search term, suggesting that we weren’t the only ones to smell a large, decomposing rat: On a site called RealorSatire.com, we found some interesting info about YourNewsWire.com: So. Not exactly trustworthy, then. Not that we really needed the confirmation, but still.
What is ‘Dark Justice’? And are police really ‘reaching out’ to them?
The article on YourNewsWire.com turned out to link to yet another site, Policehour.co.uk. According to Wikipedia, PoliceHour consists of a “team of three journalists who write crime and policing news for members of the policing family”. In other words, the site does not represent the views of any official policing organisation; it’s basically just three journos who write about police issues. They claim to “support the thin blue line”, which makes us wonder what their supposed readership must have thought about their article on the vigilante group “Dark Justice”.
Here’s part of that article: Let’s just say that we weren’t particularly impressed with the article. Given the quality of writing and the lack of any actual quoted sources, we wonder whether the writer attended the Angela Power-Disney School of Investigative Journalism.
Here’s a hint: claiming that Dark Justice “is often mentioned in Locker Rooms” or that “Detectives within CID rooms welcome them” is all very well, but a real journalist would actually interview someone from a locker room or CID room, and quote them in the story. The fact that this didn’t happen makes us wonder who actually wrote the piece, and what their affiliation to Dark Justice might be.
What do police really think of vigilantism?
This BBC article from June 2015 mentions the Dark Justice vigilante group, outlining their methods:
The men expose groomers by setting up profiles as young women on online friendship and dating sites. Once a suspect has contacted them, Dark Justice respond and say they are 13 years old.
Generally, they say, the younger age doesn’t deter the adult men, but instead attracts more interest. One current message reads: “I will be ok with ur young sexxxy age if you are OK with mine?”
Eventually, Dark Justice arrange a meeting with suspects – as the 13-year-old girl – in a public environment. Once they have identified and filmed the suspect, they call the police and hand over the evidence, including screen snapshots of the messages they have received online.
This evidence can be used in court, which is how Dark Justice exposed a 36-year-old in their latest sting. Kenneth Walker from Nottingham pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a girl following sexual grooming and is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court today.
But this form of evidence gathering can cause complications over whether the proof has been collected through entrapment.
Ian Kelcey, a defence solicitor and former chair of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, has defended two clients in the past year who were exposed by members of the public.
“It may not fall into entrapment if [groups like Dark Justice] are just in a chat room and are waiting for somebody to contact them,” he explains.
“The problem is, when they start to entice somebody with [paedophilic] tendencies, then that becomes an entrapment, so it’s a very grey area.”
If entrapment is used to catch a paedophile, this may be used by the defence, and can destroy the prosecution case.
Even worse, there have been documented instances of groups like Dark Justice pouncing on individuals they believe are paedophiles…but who aren’t.
For example, a Canadian group that calls itself “Creep Catchers” recently “busted” a young man they were convinced was a paedophile. However, Jaxson Jacoe turns out to be a young man with a mental disability who was simply looking for a friend online. Described as “21 going on 13”, Mr Jacoe is “developmentally delayed and mentally challenged, with a pre-teen’s understanding of the world”:
His family is now speaking up, saying Jacoe was humiliated and lost a job he loved after being caught up in a sting orchestrated by online groups aiming to catch sexual predators.
In late February, Jacoe decided he wanted his first girlfriend. A buddy recommended he use a dating app.
Almost immediately, Jacoe was approached online by a woman going by the name Ashley. Her posted age was 19.
“She messaged me first, saying I was cute and I want to ask you out on date,” recalls Jacoe. “And I responded back saying ‘Thank you.'”
But Ashley had a surprise. A short time later she revealed she was actually 14.
Jacoe said that was OK….
On Feb. 20, Jacoe was ambushed outside his workplace. The confrontation was caught on camera by two men who had posed as Ashley online.
“They were harassing me, they were bullying me”, he says, his voice shaking.
“They just approached me and started videotaping me and I had no idea what was going on.”
As a result of the “sting” operation, Mr Jacoe lost his job as a score-keeper at a local skating rink; his father says the young man is devastated, and Mr Jacoe has said he’s now even more fearful of trying to make friends online.
In an article from September 2016, a Canadian law professor and expert on child sexual exploitation cautioned against groups like Creep Catchers and their practice of “justice as entertainment”. Benjamin Perrin said:
This is a group that is manufacturing a scenario and an investigation and identifying someone who very well may have committed these offences — we don’t know that yet. But doing so in a way that gives themselves publicity and that they seem to take delight in.
And that’s not how the justice system works. …
Mr Perrin pointed out a recent case, which began with a Creep Catcher Craigslist ad titled “Strictly Platonic.” The group’s president told the Vancouver Sun newspaper that a woman in her 30s posing as a 15-year-old “baited” the target “long and hard.” Mr Perrin asked, “In that situation, who is doing the luring?”
“Is there in fact a risk that they’re not simply identifying existing alleged pedophiles, or are they creating new offenders?” he asks.
“The concern is that this could be reversed and you’ve got adult men and women posing as minors, who are in fact grooming men who may or may not be pedophiles or sex offenders at all and you’re grooming them towards that kind of behaviour.”
Ultimately, the issue of vigilante groups taking it upon themselves to track, bait, and ultimately confront people they believe are paedophiles is so fraught with legal and ethical problems, it’s no surprise to find that police do not, in fact, welcome these groups’ interference in their work.
Getting back to Sabine’s claim that police are asking vigilantes to take over their work when it comes to paedophile hunting, it seems that she’s just spouting more self-serving bilge. Our final diagnosis: just one more attempt on Sabine’s part to justify her own reprehensible behaviour, using spurious sources and disingenuous arguments.
In other words, business as usual.