Special Feature Interview:
Single mother makes a stand against pedophiles and child pornography – “I believe all pedophiles are incurable and I know if they are not put away our children will be harmed.”
In March of this year single mother Debbie Johnson (not her real surname) made the news after she played an integral part in the FBI’s arrest of a man on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Debbie heads an advocacy group from her home in New York that is trying to get child pornography off the Internet. Debbie went “undercover” into the seedy world of online pedophiles to trap her victim. After convincing the suspect that she was the owner of a child-porn site, he contacted her to buy a membership. He then told Debbie of a site he operated on the net and asked her to join.
After finding a large amount of child pornography posted on his site, including photographs of children in sexual acts with adults, Debbie contacted authorities in the man’s home state of Illinois. Debbie was able to provide the police with the man’s name, address and phone number. When local deputies raided the man’s house, he was on the computer talking to Debbie. State’s Attorney William Poncin called the images found in the home “explicit and graphic.” The man, Joseph R. Griffith, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography with the intent to distribute and one count of possession of child pornography. Debbie’s attempt at passing herself as another pedophile was so convincing that Griffith, with seemingly deep pride, told her that if he wanted to see a photograph of him she could do so by visiting the Illinois State sex-offenders site. Griffith had also been charged previously in Nebraska with attempted first-degree forcible sexual assault. This might have been Debbie’s first official bust, but it wasn’t a one off fluke. Over the past five years she has reported more than 7000 online pedophiles and child pornography sites to the authorities.
CrimeNet spoke with Debbie from her home in the US: How did the FBI and other law enforcement agents react to the information you passed on regarding Joseph Griffith? They were rapt! They thought it was excellent, it got another one of our streets.
The vast majority of the public abhor pedophilia and child pornography, but very few would take the action you took and pose as one yourself to trap the offender. What was your motivation? My two children were sexually abused at a day care centre. My daughter was only 2-years-old at the time. It totally and utterly devastated me. I never want another child to have to experience that. So I am a vigilante- Debbie lost her daughter in a car accident when she was aged 9.Griffith was talking to you as if you were another pedophile, I imagine the content of some of the conversations were very disturbing. How did you manage to handle this side of your operation? Yes, his conversations were very gross, disgusting in fact. On some occasions we were messaging until 4 am. I had to sit and listen (read) to all his sick conversations. But the driving force that got me through was the fact that I knew I had to get him off the streets. He also gave me all his personal details, which helped the authorities to track him down and arrest him. How long did the messaging and contact last with Griffiths? A few weeks. By then I had all the information I needed. I then called the probation department. They were very happy to hear from me, to say the least. What is your long term plan? Do you intend to continue hunting online pedophiles and those who deal in child pornography? I will continue to hunt pedophiles until I can’t breathe. I am very serious about that. I will continue to work with the FBI and other authorities for as long as they are happy for me to do so. Have you received any threats or at any time feared for your safety? Oh yes, I do fear for my safety, of course I do. I have received threats, but my fear will not stop me. Pedophiles are sick people and the underground child pornography business makes them allot of money, so they do not take kindly to what I do. How many of these online child pornography groups and sites have you worked your way into? I am in about 300 groups like this currently and that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s from one of these groups I initially made contact with Griffiths.
That number is staggering! Are you close to having enough details on any others to hand over to the authorities? Yes, I think so. Actually I am pretty sure about one, but am working on a whole group of them right now. I can’t give up. These people on the net are the same people that are out in our real world raping our children. These people don’t JUST look at pictures on child pornography sites, they go after children. Young, innocent children – I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen.
Can you please tell me about your advocacy group? Sure. I have people from all over the US and from several countries, both men and women. I try to train them in what I do. They need to know the rules and laws and how to “act” when conversing with pedophiles. Unfortunately, but understandably, most people are unable to engage in these often very disturbing conversations that are required to infiltrate their circle and gain their confidence. I do it as a tribute to my deceased daughter. I believe all pedophiles are incurable and I know if they are not put away our children will be harmed.
SOURCE: Crime Net