One man is serving nearly four years. Another got seven. A third is serving 10 years. The three were among 28 men arrested in Kentucky between late 2006 and 2007 in three Internet sex stings set up by the citizen watchdog group Perverted Justice in consultation with local law enforcement. As part of the sting, Perverted Justice members pretend to be young teenagers while corresponding online with men who vividly described sexual acts they would like to perform — sometimes sending sexually graphic photographs or video via the Internet — and then arrange to meet at the child’s home.
While some states have had mixed results with the so-called “predator” cases, made famous by Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” segments, Kentucky’s were deemed a success. “Our experience with Perverted Justice was incredible,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Michelle Snodgrass. Of the 28 Kentucky defendants caught up in the stings, all but three cases already have resulted in felony convictions. Kentucky’s results contrast with those in Ohio, where a Cincinnati Enquirer analysis of 46 cases found the longest sentence was six months. One Texas prosecutor dismissed all 20 of the cases in his county, saying the evidence wasn’t good enough.