Trapping The Lonely

With a few minor shifts of the narrative, he might have been the hero of a sad story at the top of a deep dive into what it’s like to be fat, gay and alone in a place not known for its tolerance of these attributes. You would have cried, gushed, emoted for his welfare.

Instead, he’s a filthy pedophile who should be pilloried before prison, followed by a life of ostracism and disgust. Woke is such an ephemeral thing.

A 22-year-old college student at Ohio’s Youngstown State University was arrested after falling for a fictional 15-year-old boy created by local cops.

Austintown police officers used a phony dating-app profile for someone purporting to be an adult to lure in the student earlier this month. After chatting, the catfish “revealed” he was 15 years old. The college student, A.G. (not his full name), indicated he didn’t have a problem with his age. The conversation eventually turned sexual and A.G. sent the faux boy some nude photos of himself.

All the makings of the villain du jour, from “seducing” a teen to sending nude pics. Of course it’s a crime for a 22-year-old to “lure” a 15-year-old into sex, even when the teen doesn’t exist, except in the fertile imagination of some cops.

It was clear from the exchanges, police said, that A.G. was developing feelings for the imaginary teen. A.G. described him as “my one and only” and talked about being his husband someday. On December 12, they agreed to meet in person. A.G. showed up at what he thought was the boy’s home with homemade chicken alfredo, soda, and lubricant.

Austintown police greeted A.G. instead.

Was A.G. some sick twisted pedo? Or was he a sad, lonely person whose feelings were played by cops saying the things designed to lure him into believing that he had found a person to love? Does it matter?

This a young man who is about 5’7″ and weighs 450 pounds, according to the police report. He is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes. I can’t imagine finding romantic partners has been easy in this man’s life. And then he finds what he thinks is someone reciprocating his flirtations and encouraging his advances and inviting him over to spend time together.

Having a hard time in romance doesn’t justify sleeping with teenagers, but in this case, there was no actual teenager and no actual sex; and there’s no evidence that he would have looked for an underage sexual or romantic partner on his own.

The point isn’t to excuse, or rationalize, why an adult should be allowed to have sex with a teen. Some would make that argument. I will not. This is a case where hysteria over pedophilia, particularly of the sort involving strangers on the internet finding, grooming, manipulating, then ruining a teen evokes the worst fears of parents.

It’s also a case to remind them that not every person on the internet is some sick twisted perv bent on destroying their child. Sometimes, it’s just a short, fat gay guy, barely out of his teens himself, who lives a very lonely life and wants to find love, human companionship, and, yes, sex.

It’s not that what A.G. did was good, but it’s that it wasn’t as horrible as your worst fears would suggest. Proportionality is what distinguishes the evil from the merely wrongful.

A.G. was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him. And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life.

Seeking out, and creating, the monster you seek to capture is an amazingly effective mechanism for police to give the appearance of effectiveness. It avoids the crime actually being committed, which means no one is harmed, and removes the hard work of actually investigating and finding the perpetrator of a crime. Closing cases is hard work. Creating them is far easier.

This may be entrapment. It may not. Whether A.G. had a predisposition to commit the offense is unclear. The cops merely provided the opportunity, although their methods involved, as they invariably do, manipulation of the perp to create that perfect opportunity, the one that lures him in, that plays his feelings to do the worst. Did they “abuse” his mental state or grease the skids as he slid into an attachment with the non-existent 15-year-old? That’s a question for his defense.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown asks the question:

Justice served?

Most of you will be able to easily answer that question. You know what “justice” is, right? It’s your subjective feeling, your accumulated experience and bias, your assumptions and fears. I, unfortunately, find the question too hard to answer. From the perspective of the mother who lies in bed awake at night praying that her beloved child isn’t lured into a sex nightmare, justice is that this pedophile will never be able to destroy her child’s life. From another perspective, A.G. is a sad, lonely young man, turned into a criminal, an outcast for life, based on a sham.

Chances are that A.G. would not have enjoyed a life of popularity and pleasure. He is far more likely to suffer a future of sadness and loneliness. Now, he’s guaranteed only misery if he becomes a convicted criminal and a registered sex offender. But this is the law.

26 comments on “Trapping The Lonely

  1. Billy Bob

    Our takeaway here is that the cops in Austintown have too much time on their hands. Your taxpayer $s at work! What should be clear is that some cops in that there impoverished part of Ohio have some very sick minds to desire to engage in this form of entrapment. Was the Chief in on it too, or was he in the dark? After all, an arrest is an arrest. It really doesn’t matter as long as they make the numbers by the end of the month. They do it to heterosexuals in other jurisdictions as well. We’ve seen them put phony hooker girls on the side of the road posing as the real deal. You can tell, because they’re always ugly. That’s one of the dirtiest tricks since Nixon. Makes it difficult for an honest prostitute to earn a living.

    And then there are the cops who engage in illegal behaviors while on duty, which we won’t go into this morning. Testilying is the most egregious offense to the system a cop can perform. We get the willys just thinking about it. Just when you thought the crime rate was going down,…

    1. SHG Post author

      Sometimes I think to myself, if only Bill could stick to one idea and not let the voices in his head take down those dark and ugly paths.

        1. Billy Bob

          I’d rather be an excellent Burrow Spelunker than a terribly terrific Dandy Andy. Now back to Judge Kozinski and Volokh Consp. Happy Holidays.

  2. Jim Ryan

    Jefferson Airplane:
    Don’t you want somebody to love
    Don’t you need somebody to love
    Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
    You better find somebody to love, love

      1. Jim Tyre

        Imagine how perceptions may have changed if, years before Jefferson Airplane existed, Grace Wing had married Jerry Brownfield instead of Jerry Slick.

  3. B. McLeod

    Until they become officially protected as “disabled,” it’s still OK to pick on fat people (unless they commit suicide). So, the “woke” can hang their hat on that in this instance, even though his “gay” points would otherwise render this an “outrage.”

    1. SHG Post author

      Even when (not if) fat becomes a protected class, it will still be too far down on the hierarchy to save him against a gay child. Outside of adding some intersectional points and smacking straight white cishet males, it will prove of little value.

  4. maggotification

    “…grease the skids as he slid into an attachment with the non-existent 15-year-old?”

    Now there’s a mental image I didn’t need to see.

  5. Pedantic Grammar Police

    This corrupt degradation from “Protect and Serve” to “Entice and Ensnare” comes from the top. Depending on who you ask, the FBI is either the most respected police agency in the world or a corrupt Gestapo. For many years their “biggest” catches have been stupid people whom they enticed into doing stupid things. For example, the successful 1993 WTC bombing used a bomb built by FBI informant Emad Salem after the FBI refused his request for harmless powder to replace the explosives. It’s no surprise that local police agencies follow our premier law enforcement agency into this transformation from public servants to predators.

    1. SHG Post author

      Thank you for explaining how the FBI engages in entrapment on a law blog. Without you, we would never have known, because it’s not like we pay attention to law stuff.

  6. Martin

    Isn’t it wonderful to live in a country where the cops lying to you persistently to entice you to commit crime is “good police work,” while you failing to fully recall things when talking to the police, even when they already know the truth, is criminal?

  7. LarryArnold

    Meanwhile the really dangerous sexual predators have figured out the odds that a 15-year-old blogging the internet is actually a 45-year-old LEO trolling, and they’re shopping elsewhere.

  8. Karl Kolchak

    Entrapment? No doubt about it in my mind. I still remember by first boss when I started my career as an LEO warning me that there were plenty of criminals out there, and I should not to ever try to make one out of somebody who wasn’t one. He was citing the case of some postal inspectors who arrested a guy for possession of child pornography (back when it used to be sent through the mail–good times!), and when they searched his house the only “evidence” found was the one magazine they had mailed to him. The “suspect” ended up killing himself.

    Guess they don’t teach that lesson to young LEOs that anymore.

    1. DaveL

      warning me that there were plenty of criminals out there, and I should not to ever try to make one out of somebody who wasn’t one.

      I’m going to guess you weren’t working for the federal government.

      1. SHG Post author

        Some people have deep but narrow experience. Some have shallow but broad experience. Few have deep and broad experience. Many have shallow and narrow experience. All want to tell you how it’s done.

  9. Charles

    The main character in the novel “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole fits this poor guy to a T.
    Ignatius J. Reilly was an obese college student who lived at home with his mother, and while not looking for love he nevertheless had a series of encounters that spelled disaster. Kennedy, the gifted author of this book, committed suicide.

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