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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.
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.
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.
Deery would begin a dialogue, dangling the illicit possibility, gauging how serious her mark was.
There were “players,” those who were just horny and despicable, and there were doers, or at least potential doers, the true bad guys.
American courts have long recognized the right of police to invent ruses. Courts and lawmakers become less and less scrupulous about basic fairness.
The more frightening and reprehensible the threat, the more license and latitude are given to the police.
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.