In the Grip of a Manipulative Chokehold: When a Molester Becomes a Trafficker

Course Description

In 2021, offender I.A. came onto federal radar: he had been caught exploiting a child while on probation for molesting a relative. Digital and social media evidence revealed an offender who sought online sexual contact with juveniles, with an interest in incest. While the new exploitation offenses were pending in federal court, jail video calls and text messages revealed a much more serious pattern of criminal activity. From pre-trial detention, I.A. had coerced his underage girlfriend to engage in acts of recorded exploitation with his relatives. I.A’s end goal, however, would prove even more sinister: I.A. was attempting to traffic his girlfriend for his own financial benefit. This study will focus on the importance of mining social media evidence and jail communications to recognize patterns of manipulation that can lead to further victimization. We will also explore the dangers posed by manipulative sex offenders, even when they aren’t pedophiles, when the system fails to hold them accountable.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand the importance of examining an offender’s entire social media content in the assessment of dangerousness, emphasizing the valuable insights gained from a comprehensive review.

2. Recognize the necessity of consistently monitoring jail communications, exploring the reasons behind this practice and its role in maintaining security and preventing illicit activities.

3. Explore the various methods employed by abusers to manipulate and persuade their victims into acting against their own interests, gaining insights into the dynamics of coercive tactics and psychological control.

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