When it comes to the problem of child molesters using the Internet, sometimes it seems as though there's a witch hunt in progress. Typical, everyday Pink morons are screaming at the top of their lungs: "Evil Internet Pedophiles Are Stalking Your Children!!! They will reach through the computer screen and SNATCH your children right out of the living room!!!"
That's the basic argument behind this site, Perverted Justice. The folks here are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore – or so they say – and they've put their own project in motion to capture those evil Internet pedophiles before they actually cause trouble for kids!
However, the methods used by Perverted Justice are questionable, to say the least. These guys create online personae for themselves to make it look as though they're young kids, then they troll adult-oriented chat rooms and entice "pedophiles" into making arrangements to meet them for sex. When the target shows up in person, he is promptly arrested and charged by law enforcement authorities…and his life becomes a living hell. What's more, Perverted Justice (or "PeeJ" ) puts the personal details of their targets online for the entire world to look at: pictures, names, addresses, phone numbers, and what have you.
Perverted Justice keeps track of the number of "busts" (exposures of alleged child molestors) that have been made using these methods – over 700 so far – but they don't place a lot of emphasis on the fact that only a small percentage of these "busts" – perhaps 1 in 6 or less – have resulted in actual criminal convictions. They've also been accused of using real underage kids in their efforts to attract online "pedophiles." These tactics have won them a lot of critics – and the arguments against this site do have weight. Folks who don't like Perverted Justice claim that it has helped to ruin the lives of many people who would have otherwise not been the cause of any trouble at all.
(There are many, many people out there with secret, private fantasies that are often quite dark and twisted…which is a big reason why porn Web sites about cannibalism, rape, incest, and other disgusting acts are very popular. However, the vast majority of these people would never commit acts like this in real life; they're only private fantasies. But very small number of these people are dumb enough to fall for the tactics of a group like PeeJ – and they're the ones who end up on Dateline NBC and other unconscionable "news" shows that Expose Evil Internet Pedophiles for ratings.)
What's more, PeeJ and its maintainers don't appreciate criticism. When they tried to rewrite the Wikipedia article on Perverted Justice into a one-sided advertisement for their site, the inevitable flame war broke out and the article was the subject of much discussion and heated arguments. It finally settled down into a more neutral look at the site (as Wikipedia's rules require)…but the folks at Perverted Justice put a special "notice" on their site for everyone who goes from Wikipedia to their site, warning about "the constant editing by anti-Perverted-Justice.com partisans."
The most notable opponent of Perverted Justice (and one worth looking at in itself) is Corrupted Justice, which uses the same methods against Perverted Justice that it uses against "online pedophiles." Corrupted Justice's severs have been subjected to online attacks, and they have accused Perverted Justice of supporting the attackers. In retaliation, PeeJ set up the site www.corrupted-justice.net especially to criticize the Corrupted Justice site in tit-for-tat fashion.
The persons (or person) running Perverted Justice have a low tolerance for criticism, as evidenced by an incident that took place in mid-2005. For a period of several months, when you clicked on the link to their Web site as listed above, you would be redirected to a welcome page especially for Wikipedia users. This page ranted about how unfair it is for Wikipedia's users to actually say bad things about Perverted Justice…and they singled me out as an example of how unfair the Wikipedia folks are! I consider this a BADGE OF HONOR! The folks at Wikipedia finally worked with the PeeJ site to settle their difference, and they removed the Wikipedia filter…but as of January 6th, 2006 (eight months later), the filter was still in place when you clicked on the above link, from this page. However, the filter was finally removed in mid-2006, and the link above now takes you to the main PeeJ page.
Their Opinions Page has a number of interesting articles, which generally cover these topics: "We Are Doing An Important Job Battling Evil Pedophiles," and "Our Critics Are All Idiots Who Don't Know We're Doing An Important Job Battling Evil Pedophiles." (You'll enjoy the one where they accuse Wikipedia of being a breeding ground for pedophiles.)
PeeJ's "exposures" of online pedophiles has won them a number of critics (and outright enemies), and in the middle of 2007 they began a new Web site especially dedicated to their chosen enemies. This Web site, entitled Corporate Sex Offenders, includes listings of businesses and Web communities that harbor pedophiles (according to PeeJ), and a full-fledged wiki that they are using compile their own database of pedophiles and online pedophile sites.
One more note about Wikipedia: Check out Xavier Von Erck's Wikipedia edit history, and you'll see that he is rather single-minded in his edits and contributions there. (Update, August 14, 2007: Xavier von Erck has been indefinitely blocked from editing Wikipedia.)