The FBI, Playpen, & A Girl Named “Amy”
Enter the FBI
The FBI ran a child porn site during Operation Pacifier to catch pornographers and child predators. The FBI site, known as Playpen, was located and seized inside the “dark web.” The site was created by Steven Chase and was only discovered on the Tor network by a foreign government when Chase slipped up and revealed Playpen’s unique IP address—a location in the U.S.
This new era of government sanctioned child exploitation paired with government immunity is bizarre. For one, the Federal prosecutors defended the agency’s decision to secretly hijack and peddle child porn for two weeks as part of a sting operation. During Operation Pacifier, tens of thousands of violent images of child porn and obscenity were uploaded to the site. “The FBI’s process here should be encouraged, not deterred,” a prosecutor in Dallas said in a court filing. Whatever.
Enter a girl named “Amy”
Deep in the shadows, following the FBI operation, a woman going by the name of “Amy” was following the money trail like a bloodhound to get her grubby hands on other people’s hard earned cash.
This isn’t anything new for Amy. Over the course of her adult life she has selfishly and vindictively pursued harmless men and women to the four corners of the Earth ferreting out the ones who had the courage – or maybe audacity – to sneak a peek at her child rape images in the “Misty Series,” cruelly circulated by child rapists, sodomites, and sadists. [Author’s note: The convicted uncle responsible for Amy’s images being circulated on the internet has not been contacted for his point of view. ‘Amy’ claims she was raped as a child by her uncle, who captured the incidents and circulated the images online. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children confirms it has found at least 35,000 images of Amy’s abuse in more than 3,200 child pornography cases since 1998. Without actually viewing the images, IFA cannot determine for a fact that the images are of rape, or simply consensual (but unlawful) sexual images of Amy and her uncle.]
For instance, Amy has sued Gregory Allen Webb in Federal Court, alleging invasion of privacy and civil liability for personal injuries after he was found to have distributed her old images to an undercover agent through the instant messenger service Google Hello! in 2008, which showed a young Amy being sexually abused by her uncle.
Enter the Compensation Laws
The laws for compensating victims of child pornography were introduced in the 1980s, when two women, Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, wrote up a model law giving the victims of such crimes the right to sue porn sellers, producers, and distributors, and claim that pornography somehow caused the defendants to attack them. (The law was adopted in Indiana in 1984 but, remarkably, was struck down by the courts). Many of these lawsuits pander to a sympathetic jury that are more likely to give state created victims like Amy wads of money just to keep up the status quo. Tellingly, in at least 174 cases on the heels of her uncle, Amy has been awarded restitution in amounts ranging from $100 to more than $3.5 million (Thankfully the $3.5 million verdict handed down by the Washington Supreme Court was recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. That case was pursued by Amy’s legal team because Doyle Paroline, of Brownsboro, Texas, had been convicted of possessing two measly images of Amy – oh, and he was wealthy. The $3.5 million figure was wholly crafted by a cunning psychiatrist hired by Amy’s lawyer.)
Advocates for girls and boys raped like Amy claim that the children involved have been forever deprived of their innocence and that the pictures create life long agony. Eric Berkowitz wrote about the national monetary support for child porn victims in the book, “The Boundaries of Desire: A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities,” by Eric Berkowitz (Counterpoint 2015).
But was the sting operation justified? Was it worth the “harm” to Amy and other alleged victims? For the FBI’s part, there were an estimated 150,000 members on Playpen and only around 870 people have been identified and charged so far around the world as of August 2018. After continuing to pander child porn images (without the victims knowledge or consent), they have had a capture and arrest rate of about 0.58 percent. This paltry number cannot in anyway be considered a success. And, further, how such a low rate of arrest can be thought to serve the common good is anyone’s guess.
And why isn’t Amy crying foul with the FBI? Or the Judges? Or the juries overseeing the 174 plus cases she has filed? All of these people are culpable for having harmed Amy by viewing her child rape images. Right? Yet, interestingly enough, Amy has absolutely nothing to say about this clear departure from her post abuse trauma inflicted by those who view her rape images. Amazingly, she appears to glibly accept this legally orchestrated mental harm as one necessary step in the process to creating personal riches and fame. Her actions are consistent with one popular mental health counseling theory, called the behavioral model which has a basis in Learning Theory. Learning Theory says that Amy’s suffering is a learned habit arising from the interaction between external events or stressors and an her personality. For example, because Amy’s lawyers are offering wealth, and the judges are guiding the outcome of the cases, and the juries are giving her what she desires, there is – Ta Da! – no suffering. But, on the other hand, because society has made villains out of the men and women who view child porn images, Amy magically conjures up a whirlwind of mental suffering against them. It’s not rocket science, readers.
And I’m not alone in my position that Amy is a lair and a scoundrel. John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and two other Justices agree with me. In one case before the Court, the Justices (in the dissenting opinion) determined that if they had their way Amy and other money grubbing children like her would get nothing.
Years ago in Indiana, the case law from the courts dictated that hyper-sensitive victims like Amy who could not show physical injury should never gain a monetary advantage from anyone. They were basically of the opinion that state created victims such as Amy are like buses, one comes along every 30 minutes claiming to suffer for some thing or another. In a famous case, Charlie Stuart Oldsmobile, Inc. v. Smith (Ind. 1976) the Indiana Supreme Court held to the rule of law, known as the Impact Rule, that damages for mental suffering by victims are recoverable only when the suffering resulted from a serious physical injury. The rationale behind this rule was that absent physical injury, mental anguish is speculative, subject to exaggeration, likely to lead to fictitious claims, and often so unforeseeable that there is no rational basis for awarding damages.
Steven W. Chase, 58, of Naples, Florida, was the mastermind behind Playpen. He created the site in August 2014 on the Tor network, an open network on the Internet where users can communicate anonymously through “hidden service” websites—where criminal activity is not uncommon. Chase ran the Playpen website, where members uploaded and viewed tens of thousands of postings of young victims, indexed by age, sex, and the type of sexual activity involved.
As of May 4, 2017, Operation Pacifier has produced the following results:
- At least 350 U.S.-based individuals arrested
- 25 producers of child pornography prosecuted
- 51 hands-on abusers prosecuted
- 55 American children successfully identified or rescued
- 548 international arrests, with 296 sexually abused children identified or rescued
For more information surrounding the dragnet, read a europol.europa.eu article.