Founded in 2002, Peverted-Justice has aided in the arrest of over 500 sexual predators. You can’t dispute that a vigilante group focused on catching online creeps is a good thing in theory, but the website has come under fire for their methods--they are really good at baiting predators in with fake minors. They’ve even been questioned so viciously that some implied that their unorthodox brand of justice was child pornography itself. While the lines are little more defined now, the grey area they were operating in during the early days of their site had yet to be seen--and a lot of people got arrested for sketchy activity.
Perverted-Justice became big news in 2004, when they collaborated with Dateline NBC on the To Catch a Predator series. The sting operations weren’t just successful in nabbing pedophiles, the show became a hit--a very lucrative one. The premise was simple, NBC would document the organization’s in baiting in guys who like getting sleazy with underaged kids, and it worked very well. A rented house complete with hidden cameras and staffed with volunteers posing as minors was set up. In just two-and-a-half days 18 men had visited the house after flirting with the fake minors. To Catch a Predator went on to great success, spawning knock offs of the popular premise. Even rapper Cam’ron was so inspired by the idea, that he discussed filming his own version of the show and releasing it on DVD.
Initially the idea of of Frank Fencepost and Xavier Von Erck, Frank left the site early on when his motives clashed with Xavier."Xavier became much more oriented toward getting pedophiles arrested rather than just making them complete social pariahs in their neighborhood," Fencepost told Rolling Stone in 2007. Frank had a talent for this, in 2004 he posed in a chat room as a 14-year-old girl with the screen name “misspunkgirlie13” and quickly engaged a 29-year-old man. Frank’s talented, the guy was happy to send over dick pics, amateur porn clips, and set up a meeting with the “14-year-old.” Of course when the perv arrived there was no girl, just Frank wielding a baseball bat and his partner a video camera. They filmed the whole interaction and quickly posted the chat, and personal info including cell phone number were posted on Perverted-Justice’s site.
The site itself and it’s tone don’t make a case for the validity of Perverted-Justice. If you click on any of the “Top 10 Most Slimy” you’ll be taken to full chat logs of the site’s worst dudes. The extensive chat logs are shocking and do leave you feeling “slimy” for reading them, especially when there are pages of transcriptions containing lines like, “thenewperson62 (7/15/2006 1:32:29 AM): would u like to see me naked in person.” Gross. But then again, the impact of posting what these boneheads are allegedly saying is the whole point of the site... yeah it’s complex and weird.
As the site’s popularity grew, their tactics became heavily scrutinized and then of course the law suits started. It’s a pretty big deal to post someone’s email, phone number, and photo along with a full conversation with a minor about butt sex and stuff. Even Rolling Stone got a pretty bad vibe from Xavier saying this about him in a piece from 2007, "It's easy to see how Perverted-Justice resembles a game to Von Erck. Intentionally enigmatic himself, he demands utter transparency from predators and Perverted Justice members, like a junior-high-school kid playing D&D who always wants to be the dungeon master so he can control every aspect of the game.”
Still, the site continues to out people, pedos ARE gross losers, and pretty much every case against Perverted-Justice gets thrown out, but the controversy continues. Maybe it’s the fact that founder Xavier Von Erck--that’s not his real name it’s actuallly Philip John Eide--kind of looks like Kevin Smith, and sounds pretty defensive and shitty when confronted by this ABC reporter.