Michael Winerip offered a disturbing NYTimes “booklet” article on Aug. 20, 2020, “Convicted of Sex Crimes, But with No Victims”. The tagline, “an online sting operation to catch sex predators snared hundreds of men. What were they guilty of?”
The article describes the history of Jace Hambrick in Vancouver, WA. He answered an ad from a girl that jokingly claimed she was 13 but that came from an adult website that supposedly screened its users for being 18 or over (he believed she was well over 18). Now this gets into what caused COPA (Child Online Protection Act) to finally be declared unconstitutional in 2007 (and is probably an Achilles Heel for a similar law proposed now for Canada).
When Jace went to meet the girl we has arrested, and the magazine article goes into the gory details of plea deals and sentencing and the judge’s own temperament. And the quirks of Washington state law. The upshot is that there is too much political gain for pursuing these kinds of cases.
In fact, the case sounds like one that would have fit onto NBC’s series “To Catch a Predator” which Chris Hansen, in the mid 2000’s. On that series, many of the john’s were foolish and not very reputable people. So it was easy to build public interest (and ratings) in the series.
This case sounds a little different, if you read his mom’s blog.
The legal hooker might be whether the defendant really had a right to assume the contact had been screened.
He says he intended to have a conservation with her to encourage her to get off Craigslist.
Dr. Phil’s video shows him taking a lie detector test.
A fictitious screenplay called “The Sub” that I wrote and uploaded in early 2005 depicts a substitute teacher who helps a mature teen student make a fake id and gets arrested in a bar, and then the sub himself gets arrested and labeled a s.o. At the time, the concept of the screenplay created a lot of controversy (Main blog, July 27, 2007 post). There is some similarity to this case in that the subject perceived the teen as an adult.
Kiggins Theater in Vancouver WA, Wikipedia embed, click for attribution