Vigilante Group Exposing Alleged Child Predator Leads To Suicide

GoblinCampFollower

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So we have a case of a 20 year old trying to pick up (or maybe even being pursued by) what he thought was a 14 year old. 14 has hit puberty and 20 years old is still a kid. 20 years old is still a teenager in terms of maturity. This is a grey area and shouldn't be cast in the same light as someone my age (32) trying to pick up an 8 year old.

Vigilante groups like this are idiots. They want so badly to destroy someone, they will expand what they consider to be evil to make sure they can find some excuse.

This is also why I lost my taste for revenge plot movies a while ago. The goal is to see violence. The "justification" is just kind of shoehorned in.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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So we have a case of a 20 year old trying to pick up (or maybe even being pursued by) what he thought was a 14 year old. 14 has hit puberty and 20 years old is still a kid. 20 years old is still a teenager in terms of maturity. This is a grey area and shouldn't be cast in the same light as someone my age (32) trying to pick up an 8 year old.
There really is no grey area here. A 20-year-old should know better than to try to seduce a 14-year-old. I have nothing but disgust for grown adults who try to pick up children - and, I'm sorry, but at 14, you're still a child.

That said, I also despise these self-appointed online vigilantes. Nothing good ever comes from vigilante "justice".
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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14 has hit puberty
Yeah probably but....you know, I'm not sure why that's important. Hitting puberty means you're biologically able to get pregnant, or get someone else pregnant - nothing else. I really doubt planning a pregnancy is on the minds of most adults who are seeking out kids for sexual reasons.
 

Imnotgoing Sideways

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So, nothing of value was lost. If someone's gonna off himself, what can some trendy Facebook twit do?

Though, remembering my gramma had her first daughter at 14. Daughter having her first son at 16. So, and so forth, gramma now has 5 generations under her. And, I'm trying to think of anyone in my family, with kids, who had their first kid after 18... I can think of two. My dad was 20 (mom was 17, I was technically in her high school grad pictures) and an auntie who met her guy in university.

Gladly, I'll never have kids. =^-^=
 

Beebo Brink

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I always distrust the motivations of vigilantes like these. Scratch one and you likely find the very kind of person they claim to be hunting. It's such a tired cliché, rooted in psychological truth. They hate what they see in themselves.
 

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I find it difficult to believe they're able to trap would-be child molesters without sending (likely illegal) photos of the minor they're pretending to be. Which means the vigilantees are almost certainly peddling child pornography.

Airlift them (and the trash they entrapped) out to the great Pacific garbage patch and dump them there.
 
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So we have a case of a 20 year old trying to pick up (or maybe even being pursued by) what he thought was a 14 year old. 14 has hit puberty and 20 years old is still a kid. 20 years old is still a teenager in terms of maturity. This is a grey area and shouldn't be cast in the same light as someone my age (32) trying to pick up an 8 year old.
Really? I mean 18 and 16 maybe but 20 and 14 is quite a difference.
 

Innula Zenovka

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My question would be why the vigilantes are posting the results of their activities on social media rather than turning them over to law enforcement.

In the case of the young man who hanged himself, I'm not completely clear what crime he is said to have committed. I can think of several possible offences but I would need (as he should have had, of course) competent legal advice about what the elements of the alleged offences were that the prosecution needed to prove and what defences -- particularly entrapment -- might be available.

This unfortunate young man was denied both legal advIce and a fair trIal and, instead, subjected to a cyber-lynching.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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My question would be why the vigilantes are posting the results of their activities on social media rather than turning them over to law enforcement.

In the case of the young man who hanged himself, I'm not completely clear what crime he is said to have committed. I can think of several possible offences but I would need (as he should have had, of course) competent legal advice about what the elements of the alleged offences were that the prosecution needed to prove and what defences -- particularly entrapment -- might be available.

This unfortunate young man was denied both legal advIce and a fair trIal and, instead, subjected to a cyber-lynching.
It's all about naming and shaming. That, and the hard-on these guys get from getting to "play cop".
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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My question would be why the vigilantes are posting the results of their activities on social media rather than turning them over to law enforcement.

In the case of the young man who hanged himself, I'm not completely clear what crime he is said to have committed.
Yeah I'm not sure he committed any crime either. Physically showing up to the house at all pretty clearly establishes intent I would think; but "intent" with no actual follow-through is only good enough for charges in some places, and not in others.

But like Katheryne said, I don't think the vigiliante really cared about whether an actual chargeable crime was committed.
 

Innula Zenovka

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Yeah I'm not sure he committed any crime either. Physically showing up to the house at all pretty clearly establishes intent I would think; but "intent" with no actual follow-through is only good enough for charges in some places, and not in others.

But like Katheryne said, I don't think the vigiliante really cared about whether an actual chargeable crime was committed.
Intent to do what? That's the question.

If he'd been "grooming" the child then that might well be an offence, and it might well also be an offence if it had been made clear what they were meeting up to do, though in both cases entrapment might be an issue. But it would depend on the actual contents of their communications and, as you say, on the law in that jurisdiction.
 

Tranquility

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Something about a criminal playing vigilante seems very off.
It is not the felony part that bothers me, because the article's main 'predator hunter', Erdmann, has a felony based on drug charges. Same with some of the other ones mentioned in the article. I think only one 'predator hunter' had violent criminal convictions. The non-violent felony charges really have no bearing on the shadiness of this kind of internet vigilante-ism.

I am pretty much certain that all these supposed hunters have massive egos and they do this as a power trip, not for any real sense of justice. It is essentially 'acceptable' bullying. Erdmann feels like the stereotypical wannabe who is a massive asshole and has more people who hate him than who can tolerate to be around him due to his insufferable ego.

My main issue is that this vigilante justice clearly does not hold up in court and these self-titled 'hunters' are too stupid to realize that they are doing more harm then help. Erdmann brags about 100+ 'stings', yet only a handful of court cases and, based on the NBC article, a lot of those court cases are either dropped (like the guy who beat the shit out of Erdmann, stole his camera, and clipped him with the car), have charges unrelated to Erdmann's 'sting', or very lenient convictions (due to the fact that it would be harmful to the conviction to put Erdmann on the stand).

It is only a matter of time that one of these 'stings' will target the wrong guy, he will walk to his car, grab a gun, and murder all the vigilantes involved.

There are also so many holes in the Malcolm story. First being that nothing in the article definitively proves that Malcolm knew he was going to meet a 14 year old. There is also no info regarding if Malcolm would have sought out an underage kid on his own or if Erdmann's tactics were the sole reason Malcolm went to that house and subsequently killed himself. Erdmann is likely going to face a lawsuit as a result of his involvement in Malcolm's suicide and I am betting Erdmann's tactics won't hold up in a court of law.
 

Zaida Gearbox

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It doesn't matter that he hadn't actually committed a crime. He'd been outted as a pervert on social media - he was an instant pariah. Guilty in the court of public opinion. I'm not a bit surprised he killed himself. But, really - if at the age of 20 he didn't know to leave a 14 year old alone - I'd say it's not a big loss anyway.

And yes, my great-grandma was 14 when she married my 30 year old great grandfather, but guess what? It's a much different world than it was almost 100 years ago when that happened. She always told me that if she had the opportunities women had *now* (1980s-1990s) she "would have never married some man and had his babies..."
 

Imnotgoing Sideways

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Why should it matter that a crime is involved? He killed himself. He knew there was a truth about himself which would make living impossible. When that truth was revealed, he took his own course of action and made his own decision.
 

GoblinCampFollower

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There really is no grey area here. A 20-year-old should know better than to try to seduce a 14-year-old. I have nothing but disgust for grown adults who try to pick up children - and, I'm sorry, but at 14, you're still a child.

That said, I also despise these self-appointed online vigilantes. Nothing good ever comes from vigilante "justice".
I agree that 14 is still a child. But I'm saying 20 is still basically a kid as well. Your brain isn't done growing at 20. And do we know the 20 year old was trying to seduce a 14 year old? I think these vigilante groups will approach the barely legal person, demonstrate the ability to talk like an adult, and then skirt over the fake age difference to entrap people.
 
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RodeejahUrquan

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I agree that 14 is still a child. But I'm saying 20 is still basically a kid as well. Your brain isn't done growing at 20. And do we know the 20 year old was trying to seduce a 14 year old? I think these vigilante groups will approach the barely legal person, demonstrate the ability to talk like an adult, and then skirt over the fake age difference to entrap people.
I agree with everything else you said except for the "20 is still a child" thing. Nah, bro, 20 is college age, your teenage years are over. I guarantee a 20 year old is less "childlike" than a 14 year old who's just starting on the puberty trail. Like, seriously...