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Computer technology has provided the stalker with another means for accessing a target. Some investigators specialize in prosecuting Internet cyberstalking. While some cases involve adults as both offenders and victims, many pedophiles exploit children with this technology.

In U.S. v. Reinhardt, 975 F. Supp. 834 (W.D. La. 1997), the court granted the government's motion for pretrial detention of an alleged pedophile cyberstalker. The defendant was charged with producing and distributing child pornography. On government's motion for pretrial detention under the Bail Reform Act, the district court held that: (1) the defendant's case involved a crime of violence; (2) there were no conditions of release that could reasonably assure safety of the community; and (3) the defendant also posed a risk of flight.

Reinhardt illustrates how the Internet can be a tool for pedophiles and child pornographers. It demonstrates a pedophile's use of technology to stalk children for sexual purposes, to gain control over the child and his family, to recruit new victims, and to communicate with other pedophiles. Reinhardt exemplifies the amount of detail, care, and compulsiveness that is demonstrated in the profile of a career pedophile.

Pedophiles' social networks consists of other pedophiles. They socialize, telephone, write letters, e-mail, network, and share strategies for continuing their deviant relationships with children even when in prison. In Florida, one convicted child pornographer used his prison post office box number to expand his distribution of child pornography until he was discovered.

Pedophiles can move from an isolated position as solo operators into a network of perpetrators; Reinhardt, for example, had a co-defendant. Indeed, an elaborate and organized pedophile network exists on the Internet both nationally and internationally. The Reinhardt case illustrates the Internet pedophile as entrepreneur, one who has a product line on his own home page. Reinhardt provided advice to a "chat room" correspondent on how to build a long-term relationship with a young boy, how to manipulate parents in order that they not "cause problems," and taught his victims how to answer questions about the ongoing sexual relationship.

Pedophiles are totally preoccupied with their sexual interest in children. The probation office identified nine jobs Reinhardt held in four states between 1986 and 1997. The defendant's obsession with the Internet was reflected in his ownership of several computers. This case reveals the inner workings of pedophiles and child pornographers. The general public can now access all dimensions of child sexual exploitation through the Internet. They can call up a pedophile's home page or talk with him or her in a "chat room."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawStalking - Victimology And Targets Of Stalkers, Motivation, Relationship To Target: Nondomestic Stalkers, Domestic Stalkers