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"Their hearts are in the right place, but the law needs to be enforced by someone who is qualified to enforce them.
They need to be very careful or they could get in trouble themselves."Battaglia said vigilantes like the Perverted Justice volunteers run the risk of being sued for defamation or invasion of privacy."If they're insinuating that someone is committing a criminal offense and putting their photograph and personal information online, they could be held liable in a civil suit," he said.
Increasingly, local police are relying on citizens to help them patrol the seedy underbelly of the Internet.
But police volunteers undergo extensive background checks and training on how to chat in a way that will build a criminal case against would-be pedophiles.
I have told my family about this and now I living with a friend of mine.
I have been kicked out of my house indifenitely," wrote a married Arizona man.
And kept going into what you see today."While some Perverted Justice contributors simply out their marks during illicit chats and tell them their data will be posted to the site, a volunteer named "Frank Fencepost" has men show up at his apartment bearing food, and answers the door with a baseball bat and a camera.
(Fencepost did not respond to interview requests for this article.)The men snared by the group are given a chance to explain their actions in "right of reply" letters, which are posted on the site.
Most contend they have learned their lesson and beg the site to take down their phone numbers so people will stop harassing them."People pm me all the time and tell me that they are going to find me and hurt me, threaten to kill me, and etc....
Last November, a 29-year-old Portland, Oregon, man was cruising the city's Yahoo chat room when he struck up a conversation with a 14-year-old girl using the handle "misspunkgirlie13." The conversation quickly turned to sex."i'm 29..
your 14 and adorable," he wrote the girl, who flirted back.
Law enforcement officials and seasoned activists who work as decoys in Internet pedophilia investigations have also denounced the group's methods."The biggest difference between them and us is that we are governed by entrapment laws," said Sgt.