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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Reporting an online predator (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Reporting an online predator
Wise Janet Weiss
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I wasn't sure if this goes here, but it can technically be categorized as emotional abuse.

Brief overview: I've been talking to him (let's call him Wayne) for three years, starting when I was thirteen.

I didn't know anything about him at the time we "met," just the state where he lived. He seemed okay so I saw no harm in talking to him (internet perverts seemed like an overblown urban myth back then.)

He started telling me then that he loved me, which I kept rejecting. We were still "together" after a very long period of no "sex" (cybering), which I figured counted for something.

Last year I discovered everything about Wayne; marriage, age, children. I told a relative about him with wrong intentions (I was jealous and hurt over a message he left me concerning a conversation he had with someone else.) Of course they were upset, and I promised not to talk him. That lasted for a week.

Most recently, Wayne gave me a password to the account he used where we were chatting. I used it out of curiosity elsewhere (I actually asked him to change the pass where he used it, but he basically told me it was my problem if I didn't like it.) I found messages from him to other girls. I'm not jealous this time, I'm sick to my stomach because I recognized some of the things they talked about. The "feelings"/modus operandi.

What upsets me the most is how numb I've become concerning him. Other girls my age? Okay, that was in the past. Marriage? That's not so okay, but we love each other. Age? I'm different.

I had been planning on meeting him, and have been serious about losing my virginity to him.

My biggest concerns are about the relative I told, who would have to be told again if I decided to legally pursue, and his wife/family. I know the names of his family members, his e-mail accounts, the pass to some websites (one very damning social network) and his address. I also have saved chat histories starting from last year (which he's been aware of and has voiced concern over.)

Am I paranoid when I consider that he makes himself purposefully "vulnerable" to girls to make them feel like the bad guy if they reported him?

Please help.

[ 12-22-2011, 09:29 AM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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I'm not sure I'm understanding exactly what predatory behaviour you'd be reporting.

I'm certainly happy to connect you to links where you can report someone who is being predatory, but I'm also not certain I'm understanding if you want to report this person or not. I got the sense you did, and the sense you feel this person is doing you or others harm, but then you also said you intend to meet this person and are considering engaging in sex with them, so I'm feeling confused.

Can you try and clear things up for me?

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I'm sorry for not being clear - I don't like talking about my problems and I paraphrase where I shouldn't.

I HAD been considering sex with him, as recently as the day before yesterday. But today I am very tired of it and him.

I don't want to go into detail unless absolutely necessary, but I don't see (knowing what I know) how he can't be predatory;

He's a confidant to many younger girls (which he uses against them when they want to end the relationship - "Why are you treating me like this/don't forget how we used to talk when other boys rejected you.") Along with that - he reminds them how vulnerable he's made himself to them.

He's known my age throughout the relationship - and has asked (and received) pictures/ webcam sessions.

Then there is how we "met." He found me on one chat site, and followed me on to another so he could randomly introduce himself to me. Recently I've found out that he had been lurking on the first site for a long while - as he's been referencing things I mentioned before he made contact.

There are other things, but unless necessary, I'd rather not go into them. Just general stupidity in allowing myself to get emotionally involved with some yahoo on the Internet.

Have I been overreacting?

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Heather
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Well, an older adult just talking to younger women isn't illegal, but yes, doing things like asking for sexual or explicit videos or photographs is very much against the law: the request in and of itself. If you gave him to them and you are a minor, then he is also potentially in possession of child pornography, which is a felony offense.

It also sounds like you experienced him cyberstalking you, if I have that right.

So, it sounds like your sense this person is or may be predatory isn't overreacting but is quite sound.

Would you like the links/resources you can use to file a report? Personally, if you're not sure and want an opinion on this, my advice would be to file a report and let the authorities take it from there. They are the ones who can figure out if he broke the law or not, rather than that needing to be something you try and figure out.

And after this, if you want to talk about internet safety and such, I'd be happy to do that with you. You might have figured all of this out by now, but if you're not clear, for your privacy and safety, we should probably chat about things like the issues with making or sharing explicit material, especially as a minor, and about some ways you can tell a bonafide healthy person from someone predatory.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Since posting this, I've had some alone time with the relative I told last year. She's going to help me with this.

I would appreciate the links for filing a report.

And thank you for the offer, but I do have that figured out. I've narrowed down the list of people I chat with to those I've known for 5+ years and have verified that they are who they say they are. I haven't taken those kinds of photos since then, and I don't intend on getting naked behind the computer screen ever again.

Thank you for your help, Heather.

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Heather
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Of course.

So, the CyberTipline is probably your best starting point. They have reporting services available if you know or suspect you are not safe, may not be safe, or if someone is compromising the safety or privacy of you or others, particularly regarding sexuality.

You can contact them online here -- http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2936 -- or call them toll-free at 1-800-843-5678.

More info from them on reporting categories is here: http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2447

It sounds like you're talking about reporting enticement and child pornography.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Enticement and Child Pornography, yes. Maybe even "Unsolicited Obscene Material," but that is a gray area in my case.

Thank you for the links. Do I send in two separate reports for each incident (enticement/child pornography)?

EDIT: Found a diary from then and found the date that I sent them. I'm freaking out and I know I shouldn't be, but this is so official.

Thank you again.

[ 12-23-2011, 04:57 PM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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I totally understand feeling intimidated of fearful about this. At the same time, what you're doing now is probably the most self-protective, safest thing you've done for you so far, which is a great thing.

I'd email or call them and ask how they like this to be done.

Do you need to talk about any of this just from a place of support?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I've e-mailed them. I'm not going to file a report until my grandmother gets back; even though we've decided to doing something like this, I would still like to clear it with her before doing it myself.

Can I get a rain check on the support? I have a few friends who have been helping me with talking about this (it helps that they've talked to Wayne before.) They've been great, but I can't explain enough about why I continued the "relationship" even though I knew better.

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Heather
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You know we're always happy to hand out rainchecks around here. [Smile]

I'm so glad your grandmother is being such a great support to you: that's awesome.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I've talked to my grandmother about it, have yet to call CyberTipline. I don't have many opportunities to be alone, and I'd like to be alone when making that call.

What can I expect from here, by way of support? I know this forum is very open and supportive in every area - but I don't feel like I can claim to have feelings about it/him because of the general arguments (taking place over the Internet, continuing to chat with him after the grand reveal of personal info, etc.)

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Robin Lee
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We know around here that people do things for all kinds of reasons. So, you can consider us open to talking.

orrect me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like a lot of people are asking you why you did that, and being kind of judgmental. I can imagine that that is tough.

We're here to talk about whatever you are feeling or thinking, whenever you would like to talk.

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Robin

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Thank you for your response, Robin.

Only five people know about him - each to varying degrees (one of whom had a girlfriend who had been involved with Wayne before she found out his age and such, but he sees no harm in what Wayne is doing.)

I've only felt comfortable talking about it fully with two of those people - S and F.
S is the only one who comes close to be judgmental. She's made her feelings clear about his behavior and mine (nothing I can disagree with)- but she supports me in that she wants him to go to jail.

I do intend on reporting him, but I've been arguing with myself over it for the past week.

I feel/have felt:

I won't be taken seriously because it happened over the Internet. Or because I had considered him very seriously for a relationship - sexual and otherwise.

Guilty for considering reporting him. I intend on following through all the same, but I think of the conversations we had about it (whatever stock can be held in them), his wife and son, his life in general.

Reporting him is more of a step backward rather than forward, because of general intimacy issues he was helping me with.

That even if I am taken seriously, I feel like I don't have enough proof - in spite of saved conversations, pictures sent and received, access to certain accounts of his, etc.

I've also been questioning my motives, mainly on account of S. I have acted against Wayne before out of jealousy/insecurity, which seems to be all she can focus on. All I know is that this time, it wasn't that he was talking with a another girl; it was HOW he was talking to her - and the way it was familiar to me. Her response is what "woke me up."

I don't blame myself for it starting, but giving the reasons for it always makes me feel like I'm excusing myself. I do blame myself for continuing it at 15-16, as more girls and personal information was coming out of the woodwork.

I feel better, now that that is out.

[ 12-26-2011, 12:12 PM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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Janet: I'll be here in a couple hours, and would be happy to talk with you.

However, I feel like it's pretty iffy for us to talk with you about what sounds like you having a predator solicit child pornography of/from you without that being reported. I'm not sure I understand why your grandparent hasn't reported it herself yet since this is a very serious felony crime on your part and also something where, as a victim, you getting help and support from the best resources sooner rather than later is very important for your own well-being.

So, can I ask you or she to please go ahead and make that initial report? I just don't feel very comfortable with something like this sitting without anyone having reported it, especially since we now know about it too, so at some point, if it doesn't get reported soon, I feel like it would be highly irresponsible on our part not to put in a report of what we know, for your sake and that of other young people this person may be victimizing presently.

(Quite frankly, given the subjects you've been posting about publicly here, this may have crossed someone's radar already, and having less information instead of more isn't likely to help anyone. I know you feel conflicted about this, but I really would strongly urge you or one of your family members to start a report ASAP.)

[ 12-26-2011, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I have the report open in another tab and am filling it out now. I just noticed they have a place for chat logs to be pasted, going through those in a third tab.

We did not file right away because I did not have the opportunity to make the phone call. My grandmother was never going to make the report - she's leaving it to me.

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Alice
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Hi Janet,

One tab at a time seems like a good way to approach this. I just wanted to say I've been following this thread and I think that you reporting this yourself could be very empowering for you. I'm sure this isn't really super pleasant for you to be doing right now (especially going through chat logs), I just want to encourage you to keep at it - you'll be done soon!

It looks like Heather is out for a little bit, I'm around if you'd like to talk.

[ 12-26-2011, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: Alice ]

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Heather
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I have to say, I'm pretty surprised and a little confused as to why anyone who knew about an adult asking for minors to create and send child pornography would NOT report it to federal authorities immediately.

But I'm glad you are doing that reporting. Perhaps when you're done, then we can talk about this more?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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The report has been submitted. I gave them his name, age, address, two examples of chats we've had recently and the passwords he had given me. I forgot to check the box that said webcamming was involved. In the long run, it probably won't make a difference but it's bothering me.

Thank you, Alice. It wasn't pleasant, but it does feel a little empowering now that it's over and done with.

I don't know, Heather, I've only talked about the bare essentials with my grandmother. She initially was going to contact him herself, but then we decided to make the report - which got put on hold because of holidays. I did not have an excuse to get away to make the call; my grandmother is the only one in real life who knows. She is more focused on us (I lied to her for a year about it having ended), and me ending the relationship.

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Heather
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You know, it really would make a difference, so what I'd suggest is sending them another email or calling the hotline to add that part.

I'm really glad that you reported this: for you and for anyone else who he might be exploiting. I hope that your grandmother can also put some of her own feelings about you not telling her aside to put more emphasis on helping you out and supporting you. This is really big stuff, stuff that probably already has and probably will for a while deeply impact your life and all your relationships.

Maybe where we should start is with giving you some support around the range of feelings you probably had with reporting. You voiced up there feeling guilty, but you do understand that if things are as they sounded, this person wasn't helping you with ANYTHING. This person was exploiting you and it's quite likely, as much as I know this can be a harder truth, that all of the things he has said and told you were entirely self-serving on his part, about getting what he wanted without any real regard for you at all.

I want to make sure you also know that while it's understandable to feel embarrassed or ashamed about your own behaviour or what you did or didn't pick up on, the way people, especially vulnerable people of any kind, tend to respond to manipulative people tends to be pretty much all about what you're being manipulated to behave like. Do you know what I mean? If not, then in other words, if you behaved the way this person was trying to get you to, and you didn't see the forest through the trees here, as I don't expect most people would, especially a young person, this isn't about you being stupid, but about you being manipulated. And that's on him, not on you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Sent the additional e-mail.

It has, more or less, impacted relationships in real life. Or potential relationships, rather. Only recently have I had opportunities to socialize with people my own age - and I had actually felt guilty for enjoying it when a guy was flirting with me. (Well, not guilty with the interaction, more that I was thinking about him in a non platonic context.)

I do understand what you mean. My biggest shame is that I did recognize that he was manipulating me/making me dependent on him/ignoring my feelings/etc. I thought I could make it healthy by confronting him about it, or busying myself when I was leaning on him too much. None of that worked, obviously. We would talk about it, it'd stop - and then it was back to what he wanted.

I've talked about it as much as I'm going to with my grandmother. I'm going to look at getting a therapist when I get back home.

[ 12-26-2011, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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You know, I don't think that having the sense you have more power than the person manipulating you is a bad thing. If anything, it tells me that your self-esteem weathered this better than some people's do. Do you know what I mean?

By all means, now you know and you found out. Moving forward in life, you'll be the wiser for it. But I don't think there's any shame in that. I also don't think there is any shame in behaving in an abusive/exploitive situation in the ways people being abused or exploited tend to. In other words, falling in line with the dynamics that person is creating is a human response: it happens to all kinds of people all the time.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I think I have an idea of what you mean, in the first paragraph. But any empowerment I had is gone really, I just feel calm. Which is just as good.

Now all I have to do is wait - for an update from the report and until I can get home to work on my issues.

Thank you, everyone, for your help.

[ 12-26-2011, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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Well, feeling calm with something like this, is, I would say, probably part of feeling empowered. Calm is pretty much the opposite of fearful or scared to tell, after all, which is all about being disempowered.

And happy to be of help and to keep talking through this as you need to over the coming days, weeks or months.

I think you did a really important thing here, and a very good thing.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Naturally I should have thought about it before posting, but would it be possible to move this thread to the private forum?

I thought you had to be invited to talk about it there, for some reason.

[ 01-01-2012, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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Heather
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Janet: we try and limit that area of the boards to very few users, and only those who feel their safety is at risk in positing publicly, such as an abusive ex discovering their screen name.

Are you concerned your safety is a risk because of these posts? If so, I'm not sure I understand why it would be, especially since you have just filed reports about this person with a federal tipline, who are now likely tracing this person's every online move.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Ah, that makes sense.

I wasn't concerned for my safety, just realized how public it was to post here. I haven't given any information that could identify me or him, just felt a little naked when I could find this thread through Google.

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Heather
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I understand, but it's pretty safe here so long as you follow our guidelines and don't post anything that can be personally identifying.

I can certainly explain to you why we keep most of the threads here save the rare exception public and why we also don't do this through email if you like.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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If you're still up for explaining why most threads are kept public, I'd like to read why.

A lot of things have gone down in the past 48 hours, but I don't exactly know what all I can share (publicly.)

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Heather
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Well, you never have to share everything in your life, period. And certainly, there will be things with users here that probably aren't the right things for the boards, even the protected spaces, either because of privacy, because we're really not in the position to be therapists for users, or both.

The protected space is a very limited space, here only for users who are in immediate danger in some way, and need a private space briefly to turn that around OR, who in order to talk about their issues, would have to make someone public about someone else without their permission. We need for that space to stay limited because per liability and other issues, it is vital the vast majority of the work we do here is something that is transparent and viewable. That's about protecting us as a staff and the org, and secondarily, about our limitations per time and resources..

Does that fill you in? If so, and there is something you have no other avenues to discuss and want to discuss here, but you strongly feel would make you unsafe to have be viewable, I'm happy to evaluate that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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I understand. There was not anything I really wanted to discuss, I just wanted give you guys an update. What I have to share now doesn't give anything identifiable away, so there should not be a problem with it.

I was contacted on Wednesday by his local police department.
They arrested him last night, he was cooperative. He saw a judge this morning, facing two charges.
I won't know the outcome until next week.

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Heather
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How do you feel about that outcome? That sounds like a really good one to me, but of course, you may have a range of feelings about it yourself.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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Well. I had been in contact with him up until Wednesday. We had started talking again on New Years Eve - which is why I was asking about moving the thread to private. I showed him this thread on the 5th, and tried to retract the report on the 1st.

I don't have any feelings on it, at the moment. I'm still a little in shock, as I didn't expect them to move so quickly. I'm relieved he's cooperated, and the detective was very nice, but I don't feel anything else besides that right now.

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Heather
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Do you want to talk about why you still wanted to talk to him and wanted to retract the report?

Or why you directed him to this thread? (And this website, which I'll be honest, I don't feel very good about. I mean, we have a lot of protections in place for our users, but sending someone you know seeks to sexually exploit young people to a site like this can really put other people at potential risk and make this space feel less safe. I'm sure you didn't intend to make anyone unsafe, and my guess is you're still not understanding what's safe and isn't, a likely part of why this person was able to worm their way into your life like they did, but I do think it's something we should talk about.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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In fact, even though the way we have things set up makes it pretty impossible for someone like this to use Scarleteen to contact any youth, I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of this person being here.

So, would you please contact me via email? What I think would be safest for everyone is to have my hosting company block his IP address so he can't come to any part of the site at all.

(I also have to say, unfortunately, I think we also have to absolutely nix giving you access to that other forum. We just can't risk someone like that being able to get access through you to some of our most vulnerable users in what they need to have as a safe space.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Wise Janet Weiss
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ETA: I understand.

Do I e-mail you through the form under "Contact Us"?

[ 01-13-2012, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: Wise Janet Weiss ]

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