It is doubtful that such a woman exists anywhere, and yet men fell for it. The bulletin board over her desk displays mug shots of her catches, very ordinary-looking men, facing the camera wide-eyed with shock, staring at the fresh ruin of their lives. One of the stunned faces in that array belongs to a man I will call “J,” who would spend a year in prison after taking Deery’s bait.For this account, both Deery and J were willing to speak openly and at length; transcripts of online chats and police interrogations have also been made available.
Baiting her hook with this forbidden fruit, she would cast the line and wait to see who bit. Men began vying for her attention the minute she logged on, night or day.Deery would begin a dialogue, dangling the illicit possibility, gauging how serious her mark was.Police patrolling the precincts of sin do not often find the streets empty.How are they to tell the difference between the casual sinner and the criminal?The space feels like a cave, which has always struck Deery as about right, because her job is to talk dirty online to strange men. She has athletic good looks, with tawny skin, big brown eyes, and long straight brown hair that falls over her shoulders.
Her parents sent her to Catholic schools, and her mother, a retired district judge, now jokes that she wants her money back.They include 30 minutes of free-form prechat, 60 minutes of moderated conversation, and 30 minutes of free-form postchat.A typical session draws 500 AOL members, but a few (featuring live video cybercasts) have attracted as many as 3,000.“The polite thing is to read what people are talking about,” Snowden says. After months of prowling Internet chat rooms, posing as the mother of two young daughters, Detective Michele Deery thought she had a live one: “parafling,” a married, middle-aged man who claimed he wanted to have sex with her kids.Her daughter’s beat is in the vilest corners of cyberspace, in chat rooms indicating “fetish” or various subgenres of flagrant peccancy.