A childhood-friend-turned-convicted-pedophile was kicked off Facebook a few days ago, much to my relief. But his case makes it uncomfortably clear just how dangerous social networking can be in the hands of an addict — including me.
Before I go further, here’s the original blog post I wrote about this guy about a week ago. That’ll give you all the background you need for what follows.
After talking to him on the phone, I had a decision to make: Unfriend him on Facebook or stay connected to keep an eye on him? I chose the latter.
Sure enough, despite what he told me about cleaning up his act, he was “friending” scores of teenage girls from such far-flung places as Indonesia and Thailand. I was able to follow the conversation threads he was having with these girls:
“Can you IM (instant message) me?”
And so on.
My friend, Kevin Littlefield, started to quietly notify our Facebook friends. I alerted the authorities that they should keep an eye on him and reported the activity to Facebook. Since then, I’ve learned that several other friends were on to him and alerted Facebook as well. One of us got through, because by the start of this week, he was gone from Facebook.
It’s been sobering to watch this guy. I consider myself very lucky that my addiction was binge eating and, to a lesser extent, alcohol.
At least with those addictions, you have a fighting chance to redeem yourself and fit into society. For someone addicted to sex — especially pedophilia — you’re all done once you’ve been caught and convicted. You have to register as a sex offender and tell all your neighbors.
That’s as it should be.
It’s one thing to have an addiction in which you slowly destroy yourself. It’s quite another to prey on another human being and damage them for life because your addiction makes you do something to them instead of yourself.
He doesn’t belong in society. Pure and simple. We all have a chance to redeem ourselves to God, but justice means the punishment for some crimes has to be permanent for as long as you remain on this Earth.
That old friend of mine is getting exactly what he deserves.
That doesn’t mean I feel good about it all. As an addict, I know how powerful things like Facebook can be. I’m not on there trying to pick up women. But I do find myself on there for long periods of time, simply curious about how other people’s lives are going. You can find a page for everything — favorite bands, favorite topics like history and politics, in my case. It’s very easy for me to put the blinders on and just stare at it for an unhealthy amount of time. I’m working on that one.
I’m not a special case here.
But in the spirit of this blog it is noteworthy.